Open Gyms: St Rita High School(Chicago)!!!!!!!!!!
Headed to the South Side today to watch a young but experienced team scrimmage. Boy was it one of those get your popcorn ready scenes. The Top 2 players in Class of 2024 for Illinois went at it head to head Morez Johnson Jr and James Brown. I'm not sure what order I will put them in yet, but it was great. Johnson Jr got the best of the first part of scrimmage, then Brown turned it up on both ends. They will be a great tandem for the next three years. Here's some evalutions of a few players:
James Brown 6'8" forward, Class of 2024- He got exposed on the perimeter by Johnson Jr on two drives where he got blown by for buckets. He stepped it up by being a great hedger on the pick and roll. Scored inside with both the right and left hand, hit a couple of step out 15 foot jump shots. Blocked about 6 shots in the scrimmage. Future is bright.
Morez Johnson Jr, 6'8" forward, Class of 2024- Hit 2 three pointers in the scrimmage, drove by Brown twice like he was standing still and finished at the rim. Did have issues scoring on Brown on post ups, but showed his versatility as a two way player by blocking about 5 shots, and getting multiple steals. Game is growing leaps and bounds.
Jaedin Reyna 6'0" point guard, Class of 2024- Young floor general showed he's growing at the position. Hit a few threes, drove to the basket for buckets, and set up teammates for rim runs and three pointers. Received a scholarship offer from Illinois after the scrimmage.
Kaiden Space, 6'0" guard, Class of 2023- He showed he could run the show as well as hit threes off the bounce, catch and shoot, on and off the ball. Got after it defensively pressuring guards on the opposing team.
Jelani McGregor, 6'3" guard, Class of 2023- Lake Forest Academy transfer hit a couple of threes, along with some nice drives to the basket. Will fit in well with this team.
Melvin Bell, 6'2" guard, Class of 2025- Freshman had his moments, hitting a few nice mid range shots, and was aggressive driving to the basket. He was unafraid and looked like he belonged. He did have more than a few turnovers forcing the issue, welcome to high school basketball young man. I do look for him to be a part of the varsity rotation.
Watch for transfers Jordan Chandler from Curie, and Carson Brownfield from Homewood Flossmoor.
CONCLUSION: I think this team will get some surprise victories this year, but they are still so young. I advise teams to get them this year because the two years after that will be issues for other teams. Classy move by all the St Rita players shaking the hands of all the coaches and media thanking us for coming out. Class act.