This was one of the most eventful weeks of the season with so many top matchups and standouts. The players of the week and other notes are below.
Antonio Munoz (Whitney Young)
Munoz has blossomed quickly for the Dolphins and has the look of a star wing. In a high-octane game with Lane Tech, he poured in 19 points and 14 rebounds. He followed that up with 15 points against an athletic and experienced Joliet West team yesterday. The sophomore has high D1 upside.
Ben Oosterbaan (Hinsdale Central)
Oosterbaan continues to stand out for the Red Devils. In a heated rivalry game in a packed gym against Lyons, Oosterbaan put up a game-high 17 points. Scoring both at the rim and from the perimeter, the 6-foot-6 Michigan baseball commit was effective. He came back on yesterday to lead them with 18 points and another victory over Batavia.
Brady Kunka (Benet)
Consistency is maybe the most overlooked trait for high school players. Kunka showed poise and competitive fire in a 26 point outburst against top-ranked Kenwood. Whether it was at the foul line, on face-up shots, or from deep (where he hit five of them), he was locked in all game. One of the top available seniors in Illinois, Kunka is having an All-State year.
Brayden Fagbemi (Benet)
This is the first time that two players from the same team have made this list in the same week. But the smooth operating that Fagbemi displayed against a Kenwood team with a number of active guards has to be appreciated. There wasn’t any point where he seemed out of rhythm. He connected on multiple threes and had a couple unorthodox finishes around the rim. The Johns Hopkins commit has been making plays all year.
Cam Cerese (Lake Park)
Cerese is making a case for being one of the bigger breakout players in his class. The highlight game was a 37-point performance where he added seven dimes and made 14 foul shots. Then he had 29 points the next game. He is a relentless scorer and tough on-ball defender who should be a name to track for coaches in the spring.
Jaheim Savage (Phillips)
When Phillips needed a big bucket, Savage was there. The unsigned senior dropped 37 points and a game-winner this week to lead the way. As the year has progressed, he has continued to get better. A few JUCOs have offered Savage over the last few weeks.
Jeremy Fears (Joliet West)
Joliet West got a huge win over Whitney Young in large part because of the efforts from Fears. With 28 points on the day, he had a variety of tough buckets down the stretch and defensive plays that got everyone on their feet. Fears is a legitimate McDonald’s All-American candidate.
Jurrell Baldwin (Hyde Park)
Baldwin was critical in Hyde Park’s win over Kenwood, contributing 23 points and 15 boards. The transfer has been excellent on both ends, showing some guard skills and interior grit. Only a junior, Baldwin is going to be a scholarship recruit.
Payton Pitts (Francis Parker)
Pitts had a career day with 34 big points in a win over Thornridge. The lefty guard added five rebounds to go with his career-high point total. Pitts is still uncommitted and has the academics, strength, and vision to act as a lead guard at a high-academic program.
Roderic Gatewood (Meridian)
Gatewood has been one of the leading scorers in the state, breaking the school record for made shots in a game on way to 45 points. Gatewood has done a good job of filling up the scoring column, continuing that with a 33-point outing yesterday.
5 Things I Liked To See:
1. When Sides Collide Shootout As A Whole
2. Brayden Fagbemi Getting His Respect
After yesterday, it seems like more people around the state are taking notice of Benet point guard Brayden Fagbemi. He has been a dynamic player for them all season and had a big summer with the Illinois Attack, but there wasn’t a ton of coverage on him. Now the Johns Hopkins commit seems to have fans and media outlets around the state buzzing. It’s about time.