Illinois Spot-Lite 2023 Wrap-up!!!!!!!
Updated: Oct 3
PLAINFIELD, ILLINOIS: It was a great weekend of basketball at Plainfield Central High School. Big thanks to Larry Butler, Sean Bell, officials, staff, scorekeepers for running a great event as usual. Top teams and players, some sleeper prospects I hadn't seen before who announced their presence with authority. Here's the wrap-up:
METAMORA TOWNSHIP: I've been involved in this the last three years. Metamora has come up to the Chicago Area each time. First two years they only played one day and didn't compete for the title on Sunday. This year was different as they pretty much ran through the tournament, though defending champ Brother Rice (Chicago) gave them a great run in the second half of title game. They've been to the Class 3A State Title game the last two years. They finished runner-up in an overtime loss two years ago, and won the title last Spring in overtime fashion too. This team moves well without the ball on cuts, screens off the ball, and good ball movement. Will be a tough team to beat this year as they have quality guard play and good size on the interior. Some of the players will be featured in the all tournament selections. Coming to this event has seemed to do them well in spring boarding them to great seasons the last two years. I think this will be year three of a deep playoff run, and possibly running it back in Champaign (State Finals).
TYLER MASON, Metamora Township, Class of 2024 6'2" point guard: Winona State commit is a steal for this Division Two program. This is a Division One caliber point guard. Was his usual steady self, pushing the pace full court, protecting the ball, making good passes to cutters and open three point shooters. Hitting threes off the dribble and attacking the rim with nice finishes at the rim, whether it was a Euro Step, or straight line drives to the rim. Played good pressure defense on the ball making life miserable for opposing point guards. The Captain of the team and has led them to two consecutive title game appearances. His experience will be a plus throughout the season as it was in this setting. Will cut your heart out with his steady play on the court.
REST OF ALL TOURNAMENT TEAM:
COOPER KOCH, Metamora Township, Class of 2024 6'9" forward: Transferred from Notre Dame (Peoria). Iowa commit is looking like he's played in this offense for years. Seemless transition from what I saw as he was making cuts off the ball to the basket for post up finishes at the rim. He was stepping out and hitting threes, rim protecting, and hitting the glass on both ends of the court. Mismatch nightmare as he took advantage of his size on the block and using a nice jump hook to score.
MATT ZOBRIST, Metamora Township, Class of 2025 6'5" combo guard: Showed his versatility running some point and setting up the offense, as well as that lethal lefty three point shot. Can shoot if off the bounce, or off the catch. Showed ability to get to the basket off the dribble to score at the rim, set up cutters to the basket, or passing out to open three point shooters. Made some steals playing defense off the ball.
LUKE HOPP, Metamora Township, Class of 2024 6'8" forward: Versatility is his calling card as he can do just about anything on the court. He can hit threes, post up on the block and score with up and under or jump hooks. Gets the rebound and can dribble ball up the court to set up offense. Makes great cuts off the ball for layups, step out and hit a three, hits the offensive glass. Attacks the basket off the dribble to create for himself and others. Indispensable player for the Redbirds.
CALE COSME, Brother Rice (Chicago), Class of 2024 5'8" point guard: Lewis commit may be two inches smaller than listed, does not look like a big time player when you see him on the court. He's a KILLA though on the court. Deceptively quick, can get to the basket off the dribble, uses his body and low center of gravity to get space to score on layups. Good at drawing fouls in the paint, has an up and under move, ball fakes to get his shot off. Penetrates to the basket and can feed open three point shooters. Oh yeah he can hit threes off the dribble, or off the catch. Inch for inch one of the best players in the country.
ZAVIER FITCH, Brother Rice (Chicago), Class of 2024 6'7" wing: He's the tallest player on the team, but showed a big time slashing game to the basket and finishing at the rim. Hits step out threes either off the catch or off the dribble. Has a nice two dribble mid rang pull-up jumper. Hits the glass on both ends of the court. Watch for a huge jump in production in his senior year.
MARCOS GONZALES, Brother Rice (Chicago), Class of 2025 6'3" combo guard: He was an X-Factor this weekend. He ran a lot of point guard, getting wherever he wanted off the bounce. Strong enough to finish through contact at the rim with either hand. Created for himself and others when he touches the paint. Can hit the three point shot especially off the bounce. Gets into opposing guards and makes them work to bring the ball up the court. Draws fouls at the rim due to his strength as a guard.
NATE NAZOS, Batavia, Class of 2024 6'0" point guard: Led his team to the semifinals scoring, assisting, and defending. He scored on drives to the basket as well as three point shooting. He pushed the pace and when he didn't have a lane to the basket, proceeded to run the offense with slack passes to his teammates. Made some steals on and off the ball, and is deceptively quick off the bounce.
JAX ABALOS, Batavia, Class of 2025 6'6" combo guard: One of the most underrated players in his class. Lefty has a nasty three point stroke either off the bounce or the catch. Attacks the rim off the bounce and finishes with Euro steps around the defender, or a nice finish high off the glass. Also good at attacking in transition off the bounce, and putting pressure on the defense.
MALACHI JOHNSON, Guilford (Rockford, Class of 2024 6'2" point guard: Shooting from outside was up and down, but showed his all around game contributing in other areas. Played good on the ball defense, hit the glass on both ends, and made some good passes in half court and transition. Made some key steals in playoff games as his team made semifinals.
CINCO GARY, Guilford (Rockford), Class of 2024 6'0" forward: Is a big time slasher, athletic finisher at the rim in a variety of ways through contact. Hit the glass on both ends and showed a lot of hustle getting loose balls and possessions for his team.
CAM CERESE, Lake Park (Roselle), Class of 2024 6'2" combo guard: CAM.....OH CAM!!!!! Professional scorer. Big time scorer as he scored in a variety of ways. Did not matter the opponent, or who was defending him, he was putting up numbers in an efficient way. Scored on pull-up threes, two dribble mid range pull-ups, and finishes at the rim in a variety of ways. He found time to set up his teammates for baskets in the paint, and at the three point line. Oh and he also played defense on the ball and in the passing lanes as well as hit the glass.
JAMES BULLOCK JR, Marian Catholic (Chicago Heights): Class of 2024 6'7" wing was the most assertive that I've seen him in his play this weekend. No deferring he was aggressive in everything that he did. He hit a bunch of threes, but did not float out there like he has done in the past. He hit the glass, scored in the paint with post ups on the block, or rim runs. Dunked on a few guys (WATCH YOUR HEAD), hit the glass on both ends with assertiveness. I see him announcing his presence with authority in his senior season. Best I've seen him play.
JAKOB BLAKELY, Walter Payton (Chicago): Class of 2024 6'1" combo guard: Professional scorer. He scored on all three levels, pull-up threes, catch and shoot threes, attacking the rim. Add some mid range pull-ups and he has the entire package on the offensive end. He's a better defender than you might think in such a talented scorer. Quick hands allowed him to get some steals and score on breakaway layups.
REID OLSON, Niles North (Skokie): Class of 2025 6'0" combo guard: He was at the event for one day but what a day he had. Hit 10 threes in one game and was just on fire!!!!! He hits threes off the dribble as well as off the catch which is what he does best. He has developed a two dribble pull-up game from mid range.
DAMION PORTER, JR, Romeoville: Class of 2025 6'4" combo guard: Showed an improved three point shot especially off the dribble. He also hit some threes off the catch and shoot. This goes with his big time game with his strong finishes at the rim off penetration. Was a willing passer off the dribble pushing it in transition.
DARSHAN THOMAS, Marist (Chicago): Class of 2024 6'6" wing showed his three and D play with three point shots off the catch as well as off the dribble. Showed a slashing game from the perimeter and strong crossover finishes in the paint. Did Euro steps and finished with the right hand on the left side with a flip layup. Rim protected and rebounded as well.
EHI OGBOMO, East (Plainfield): Class of 2024 6'2" combo guard was the sleeper of the weekend. First time seeing him play and I was IMPRESSED!!!!! Big time mid range shooting package as he can hit them on step backs, fadeaways, two dribble pull-ups. Doesn't matter if it's a guard or a forward, he gets his shot off and hits it. Hit a few threes over the weekend and had an impressive dunk (WATCH YOUR HEAD) over MVP Tyler Mason.Track star too. College coaches buy stock right now!!!!!!
JEHVION STARWOOD, Class of 2024 6'3" point guard, East (Oswego): Lefty hi t a couple of nasty step back threes to put game away against Aurora (West). Scores from all three levels as he made some nice two dribble mid range pull-ups, and had some athletic finishes at the rim with a couple of dunks this weekend.
TERRENCE SMITH, Aurora (West): Played one day (Sunday) and though his jumper was not falling (rust from playing football), he still was effective with his athleticism. Unstoppable once he gets in transition as he finishes with attacks to the rim and finishes in a variety of ways. Hits the glass on both ends of the court. This all after catching three touchdown passes on Friday night. Two sport superstar.
OTHERS TO MENTION:
JeShawn Stevenson, Class of 2024, 6'4" combo guard, Lindbloom (Chicago)
Mickeis Johnson, Class of 2026 6'3" combo guard, Romeoville
CJ Savage, Class of 2024, 6'0"point guard, Aurora (West)
EJ Moseley, Class of 2025, 6'1" point guard, Romeoville
Mason Lockett IV, Class of 2026 6'3" combo guard, East (Oswego)
Adoni Vassilakis, Class of 2026 6'1" point guard, Marist (Chicago)
Kermunique Wellington, Class of 2024 6'7" wing, Bogan (Chicago)
Connor Doyle, Class of 2024 6'0" point guard, Guilford (Rockford)
Tommy Rochford, Class of 2024 6'4" wing, Lake Park (Roselle)
Jordan Brooks, Class of 2024 6'2" combo guard, Aurora (West)
Delan Davis, Class of 2025 6'1"point guard, Marian Catholic (Chicago Heights)
Zack Sharkey, Class of 2025 6'2" combo guard, Marian Catholic (Chicago Heights)
Adam Walker, Class of. 2025 6'10" forward, Romeoville
Donte Montgomery Jr, Class of 2025, 6'2" combo guard, Oak Lawn
Corey Lee, Class of 2024, 6'1" point guard, Oak Lawn
TJ Tate, Class of 2026 6'0" point guard Marist (Chicago)