I was out in Oak Brook to watch Breakaway’s three teams practice over the weekend. The 17U group features a lot of positional size, shooting, and unselfishness that should make them a contender in the UAA. Here are the evaluations of the oldest group.
Anthony Kemp (6’5 SG, Bradley Bourbonnais)
Kemp’s value as a versatile, multipositional perimeter player stood out during live segments. He’s a big guard with the upper body strength to take bumps and the quickness and activity to defend out in space. As a direct driver, he attacked angles well in live portions and showed some playmaking feel. The ability to contribute to winning on both ends is notable.
Brendan Savage (6’3 SG, Hinsdale South)
It doesn’t look like Savage misses many days in the weight room. The 6-foot-3 shooter finished well in the open floor and was able to complete a few plays through contact during half court portions of practice. His elevation on spot up shots should give him an edge against longer defenders throughout the spring and summer. If he’s able to shoot it consistently from three, those driving lanes should widen up for him.
Bryce Salek (6’5 SG/SF, Yorkville)
Athleticism and leaping ability were the two things that were most impressive from Salek. Still a very consistent shooter as he showed during shooting drills, Salek got above the rim on multiple occasions and finished with some force. He also showed some potential on the wing power sliding to cut off opposing ball-handlers. From a college perspective, Salek has some intriguing traits to keep an eye on.
Connor May (6’7 SG/SF, Palatine)
May is player who can legitimately produce on or off the ball. He has a mature skill set with how comfortable he is handling the ball, using his frame to protect it against ball pressure, and making passes from different angles on the move. When he was spacing the floor, his footwork and shot mechanics were crisp without wasting motion. May has evolved into a complete scorer, showing that he can hit tough jumpers off of the bounce, drive closeouts with either hand, and do some damage with his back to the basket out of the mid post. Add in his ability to communicate defensively and rebound at a high clip, and it’s easy to see the potential. May is going to be a coveted Division 1 target over the coming months.
Jack Stanton (6’2 PG, Downers Grove North)
Coming off a heroic run in the state tournament, Stanton looks primed to carry that momentum through the coming live periods. When practice went live, Stanton’s comfort commanding the offense, getting guys in the right spots, and making pinpoint passes off of the dribble was good to see. He’s got that extra burst on his first step after rocking defenders to sleep that allows him to regularly get downhill where he makes sound decisions. Known for his advanced shot making, Stanton displayed ideal lift and balance getting to his spots and hitting pull-ups or sprinting off screens. He got above the rim for a few dunks as well and looks to have added more strength. Stanton is a big-time gamer who is going to continue to rise in the eyes of Division 1 programs.
Jake Riemer (6’8 PF, Downers Grove North)
Looking taller and even more put together than the last time college coaches saw him, Riemer has the ideal build of a college big. He didn’t take many jump shots during the season, but there is a lot to like about the rotation and touch that he showed from the perimeter. In addition to making multiple standstill threes, his low post game was on display against a high-end rim protector in Jakstys. He used his lower half well to initiate contact and get separation for jump hooks and drop steps in the lane, using a high release point to get them off. Also a powerful short corner finisher with solid open court speed, Riemer was moving well and dunking often. D1 and D2 programs will be watching him closely this spring.
Jason Jakstys (6’11 PF/C, Yorkville)
There’s a whole lot to like about the long-term upside of Jakstys. He shined during the full court segments covering ground quickly with his length, catching and finishing on the move, and shooting the ball well. You can tell that he’s going to be an asset spacing the floor and drawing out opposing bigs with the way he can stroke it when he’s on balance. On the interior, his defensive presence is immense as an anchor and shot blocker who can go get shots above the rim. Jakstys shows a big target in the post and was able to score over the top of length. He also set solid, wide screens up top to get guards free. Already holding a few Division 1 offers, Jakstys should remain as one of the best post prospects in the 2024 class.
Justin Sveiteris (6’7 PF, Downers Grove South)
Sveiteris has a good face-up game at his size. His mid-range shot from 15 to 18 feet is consistent but he also knocked down stationary threes during some of the drills. He pursues the ball well off of the rim and is coming off a junior season where he had a big rebounding output. Division 3 programs will like his inside-out potential.
Luke Kinkade (6’2 SG, Neuqua Valley)
Kinkade is a proficient off-ball shooter who had no problem shooting at a high clip during the practice. It’s hard to find players who can light it up coming off pindowns and staggers as well as they can on spot-up shots, but he is excellent when running into looks on the move. To counter aggressive closeouts, he was effectively attacking the elbows off of one or two dribbles to get short jumpers. There’s value in how well he will extend defenses and open up slip opportunities for teammates. Kinkade was excellent for Neuqua this season and is the type of shooter who should translate seamlessly to a college system.
Ryan Cox (6’3 SG, Fremd)
Cox is another productive lefty shooter with a really nice looking shot from three. He has a pure release stepping into threes and looked best when he was drifting off the ball for his shots. At 6-foot-3, he’s fairly wiry with long arms and should continue developing physically. Cox also looked good in the live portions timing up his cuts for layups away from the ball. He has the type of shooting ability to change games from beyond the arc.
Talen Pearson (6’6 SG, Nazareth)
Pearson is one of the more underrated, well-rounded wings in the class. His shooting off of the dribble was fluid, making a high rate of his pull-ups during drills with good elevation. He has a crisp, one-motion shot that allows him to shoot from a few feet behind the three-point. What really stands out is how many ways he can be used in an offense. He ran some point during practice and used his length to see over other guards. When he went off the ball, he cut hard, caught and attacked with good intent, and scored a little around the rim. Pearson is also a very good defender who is disciplined, agile, and intelligent. He’s another kid who should get looks from scholarship programs.
Yusuf Cisse (6’2 PG, Conant)
Cisse was in the paint all day with dribble penetration to either set up teammates or take contact to score. He’s got a nice combination of quickness, strength, and body control when maneuvering in the half court. His composure and poise with the ball was great to see as well, rarely stacking mistakes together and instead finding ways to improve. Defensively, he gets up into other guards and recovers quickly. Cisse should be a steadying presence for Breakaway and a solid point guard prospect at the college level.