There are only 2 more weeks of the regular season and things are heating up around the state in conference play. A few big showings at shootouts highlighted some of this week’s players of the week.
Players of the Week:
Brady Kunka (Benet)
Benet has a target on the back as one of the top teams in the state across classes. In a tight game with a solid Marian Catholic team, Kunka came up big with 20 points and 13 rebounds. You don’t see a ton of 6-foot-4 guards owning the glass the way Kunka did, also providing shooting and aggressive driving. Whether it is at the D2, high-D3, or NAIA level, Kunka is going to make a college program better.
Cole Certa (Bloomington Central Catholic)
Now a coveted mid-to-high major recruit, the 6-foot-5 junior continues to impress against tight defense. He broke Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum’s single-game scoring record at the O’Fallon Shootout with 43 points. His shooting ability remains elite, but Certa’s creativity and off-the-dribble game have taken massive leaps.
Cooper LePage (Crystal Lake South)
LePage had a signature performance with a career-high 31 points in a win against a very good Huntley team. Heating up from the perimeter, the Northern Michigan commit connected on six threes and made big shots throughout the game. LePage also scored 20 points in a game earlier in the week. The athleticism, aggressiveness, and pull-up game that he shows make him a threat at multiple levels.
DJ Douglas (Yorkville Christian)
Yes, Douglas has earned another player of the week honor. He had the highest individual scoring output of the week when he went off for 50 points in a win where he carried the load on an array of difficult shots. Facing constant double teams against Normal yesterday, he still managed 24 points and had five boards. Douglas is the best uncommitted senior combo guard in Illinois.
Gage Peterson (Waltonville)
Only a freshman, Peterson is a difference maker on both ends and looks like a promising long-term prospect. The 6-foot-4 forward displayed seasoned low-post footwork and touch in a 39-point game where he grabbed seven rebounds. Clearly one of the top 2026 prospects in his area, Peterson is a name that should be more well-known around the state.
Jamson Coulter (Rich)
Another impressive freshman coming off of a big week, Coulter had games of 30 and 24 for the Raptors. He is starting to find his groove at the right time and brings a level of body control, scoring instincts, and strength that is uncommon for a player of his age. Look for Coulter to continue to project as a Division 1 prospect.
Je’Shawn Stevenson (Lindblom)
Every week, Stevenson has a legitimate case to be on this list. The breakout junior campaign continued to roll along with a 43-point, nine rebound game on Friday and a 27-point game earlier in the week where he pulled in 12 rebounds and swatted seven shots. Low-major D1 and D2 programs should have him on their radar.
Josh Wolf (Glenbrook South)
Wolf is a marksman who sometimes goes underappreciated to those outside of the GBS locker room. He has been a steady perimeter scorer and solid defender for the Titans, but the highlight of the week was a 35-point outburst where he connected on a school-record nine threes.
Luke Smith (Addison Trail)
Addison Trail has leaned on the sophomore for the last two seasons and for good reason. The crafty point guard flirted with the individual game program record with a 43-point game yesterday. He gets it done in a number of areas as a shot creator and is on pace to go well over 1,500 career points.
Ty Pence (St. Joseph-Ogden)
The Illinois State commit became the school’s all-time leading scorer recently and put that scoring prowess on display with 40 points in their shootout yesterday. There is legitimate reason to view Pence as the type of player who can carry SJO downstate with how well he can fill it up and impact the game.