The 16U Breakaway team will also be at the Swish N Dish tournament this weekend and boasts some quality guard play and a number of projectable forwards. Here are the evaluations of the 16U (all are 2024 grad year) players at the practice.
Alanas Castillo (6’3 PG/SG, Lemont)
A savvy mid-range scorer, Castillo shoots it best off of the dribble a few feet inside of the arc. While he’s more of a combo guard, Castillo gets downhill and makes plays in the lane with his length. During the 5-on-5 scrimmages, he created good separation multiple times and used his size to score over smaller guards. Castillo is a the type of pull-up shooter that can be hard to guard when he’s locked in.
Alex Gossett (6’6 SF, OPRF)
Gossett was one of the most impressive players of the day across all three teams. With effortless athleticism and power, he showcased a raw ability to get into the paint and figure out ways to score. He had an eye-opening poster dunk in the scrimmage and was slashing aggressively in drills and live segments. Gossett runs the floor hard and made some nice passes when slowed down. His jump shot is stll developing but he has decent mechanics and range right now, especially off catch-and-shoots. Look for Gossett to continue to be a difference making defender who can switch across multiple positions. He has a lot of projectable tools.
Athan Berchos (6’1 PG, Andrew)
The first word that came to mind when describing Berchos after the practice was leader. Throughout the evening, he was the constantly talking, encouraging, and directing teammates. That’s what you want in a lead guard and Berchos plays with that same maturity. He’s a high assist-low turnover player who did a nice job getting to his spots in 1-on-1 and 5-on-5. Berchos has good touch in that close range area with floaters, runners, and stop-and-pop jumpers. He’s also a crafty finisher around the rim and a capable three-point shooter. Berchos should have a big spring.
Bradley Biedke (6’6 SF/PF, Conant)
Biedke is an intriguing forward that does a lot of things well, primarily driven by his motor. The way he competed and went through drills with high intensity spoke volumes. Biedke is one of the bigger players on the team but finished near the front of the group during sprints. Around 6-foot-6, Biedke has a quick and high jump that aided him as a rebounder and finisher. He was moving well enough defensively to switch onto smaller guards and is plenty strong enough to move bigs off their spots. Biedke was comfortable ripping through from the perimeter and handling the ball to change ends. Given time, he can hit a three as well. Biedke is a kid who will show exponential growth over the next six months.
Bryce Huff (6’3 SG/SF)
Huff has a nice outside shot with good range psst the three-point line. His release is consistent and he understands how to set his feet as the ball is coming his way. During 1-on-1, he showed some pop getting off the ground into his shot. I’d expect him to continue to grow and fill out his frame as he matures.
Daniel Pauliukonis (6’8 SF/PF, Benet)
Long, wiry wings are becoming a priority for college coaches. Pauliukonis showed glimpses of being one of those players who can really impact games on both ends. He handles it more like a guard, shaking defenders and getting low when attacking the paint. I don’t know a ton of sophomores at 6-foot-8 who have his fluidity when slashing. His shot is compact and he was knocking down some two dribble pull-ups too. Being a mismatch with his skill is a strength, but his defensive potential with his timing and wingspan should be worth keeping an eye on. Pauliukonis is another kid who you should probably get familiar with now.
Daniel Sveiteris (6’6 SF, Downers Grove South)
A big, scoring wing, Sveiteris has gotten quicker, more explosive, and leaner since last summer. He delivered contact on drives and scored easily during the scrimmages a few times using his shoulders to get space. You have to respect his outside shooting and floor spacing, which led to defenders flying by and Sveiteris taking it strong to the rim. There is reason to believe that Sveiteris will be among the top scorers for this group in the spring with the various ways he can get a shot.
Dillon Dell (6’3 SG, Hinsdale Central)
Dell is a solid two guard that looks like he’ll provide energy and some shooting. In the early drills, he ran hard and was a reliable spot shooter who rarely had fluctuation in his form. The curl actions and weave shooting highlighted the consistency of his gathers to get up into his looks. The extra effort he gave defensively was noteworthy as well.
Domas Narcevicius (6’5 SG/SF, Stagg)
Coming off a solid season for Stagg, Narcevicius is built to absorb and deliver punishment with his physicality. He was able to get the upper hand inside of the arc during 1-on-1 by leaning on defenders and getting space. But Narcevicius thrives primarily as a marksman from three. He can shoot deep threes off of the bounce and wasn’t shy when he got open looks during the live portions of practice. Narcevicius is another player who looks to have committed time to improving his athleticism, which will be key in becoming a more impactul defender. He should put on some shooting displays this spring.
Jack Duffer (6’0 PG, Rolling Meadows)
Duffer is very composed with on the court, going through practice with a business-like approach. His moves are precise and his timing as a cutter or driver are strategic. The lefty guard has a smooth jump shot that was falling from different spots during shooting drills. In open space, he can dance a little bit with the ball to get defenders off balance and has a knack for making shots in crowds. He brought good energy on the defensive end and isn’t afraid to mix it up despite being giving up some size inside. Duffer is one of those kids who just knows how to play and also has the skill and mentality to produce early and often.
Jack Weigus (6’2 PG, Hinsdale South)
Weigus is one of the better ball-handlers on the team and took guys off of the dribble throughout parts of practice. He’s gotten taller and is stronger with the ball when taking hits going to the rim. I’d expect a lot of free throw attempts this spring on his drives. Weigus confidently made jumpers off of different actions with clean footwork and pace. A smart point guard who was excellent at times for Hinsdale South this year, Weigus didn’t seem to be affected by length around the rim or physicality off the ball. He should be a threat on or off the ball for them.