Ridgewood Live Event Review!!!!!!!
Updated: Jul 2
Once again Ridgewood High School hosted a great live event. Thanks to Dan Carden, Chris Mroz, the guy we call "THE ENFORCER", he knows who he is, and the rest of the staff for putting on an outstanding event. Thanks also to the college coaches who attended, as well as the high school players and coaches who gave a spirited effort all weekend. This was another live period for the college coaches, and they showed out in full force. A lot of young men left with offers on the table - take them seriously young fellas. With the transfer portal, this is not a time to brush off any offers given. Well here we go:
College coaches thoughts: The ones I talked to consistently said they love the evaluation period and seeing players play for their high schools. A lot of times people think only the travel circuit is where they really want to evaluate players. I was told that the coaches like to see these young men in both settings, that it is invaluable evaluation for them. They can see how different or the same a player is in both environments. I always say it's good that you play hard in every environment, whether there are thousands or a few people in the gym.
HARD TIME FOR SMALL GUARDS: NBA Draft just drafted only one player under 6'3" in the two round draft. It is hard for these small guards to get the looks they probably deserve. Some of it is the transfer portal, another is a player could get lost in a pick and roll situation. These high major and some mid major plus colleges want point guards with a long wing span: 6'3" and up. Illinois has a lot of very good small guards in high school basketball, but some are finding it hard to get offers. A player might have to go division two, prove himself, play well and then move up. This is happening a lot now with the transfer portal. One did get an offer from Iowa and took it, 6'0" point guard Brock Harding of Moline. Dalen Davis of Whitney Young (Chicago) is getting a few high major offers. Here are some of the other very good small guards that played this past weekend seniors unless noted:
Ahmad Henderson II, 5'10" Brother Rice (Chicago)
Cale Cosme, 5'6" junior Brother Rice (Chicago)
Mekhi Cooper, 6'0" Bolingbrook
Cordy Johnson, 5'11" Michele Clark (Chicago)
Robert McCline, 6'0" East St Louis
Ethan Thulin, 5'11"North (Downers Grove)
Xavior Gonzalez, 5'9" junior Fenton (Bensenville)
Benji Zander, 6'0" Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn)
Bryce Tillery, 5'10" Hillcrest (Country Club Hills)
Edwon Duling, 6'0" junior Kenwood Academy (Chicago)
Myan Whitfield, 6'0" Lincoln Park (Chicago)
Jackson Niego, 6’0” Lyons Township (LaGrange)
Max Johnson, 5'10" junior Oak Park River Forest
Gianni Cobb, 5'11" junior Perspectives Leadership (Chicago)
JaKeem Cole, 6'0" Rich Township (Park Forest)
Jalen Griffith, 5'9" Simeon Career Academy (Chicago)
EJ Breland, 5'10" sophomore, St Patrick (Chicago)
Eli Aldana, 6'0" St Viator (Arlington Heights)
POPULAR PLAYERS WITH COLLEGE COACHES: There were some players that most of the coaches wanted to see, here are some of them:
Darrion Baker, Hillcrest (Country Club Hills)- Pushing 6'9" this talented wing continued to sparkle as he has this Spring and Summer. He's more aggressive, more confident, and showing the all around game he is known to have. He had lots of eyes on him this weekend, and received some more offers. He has been considered a mid major plus young man, but could get some high major offers at end of the summer.
Drew Scharnowksi, Burlington Central (Hampshire)- 6'8" wing was also popular again this week and picked up some more offers. Continues to show his versatility as an inside/outside scorer who can take it off the dribble and finish. He also did some rim protecting this weekend and hit both backboards with relentlessness.
Macalaeb Rich, East St Louis- 6'6" wing is a high riser who gets you out of your seat with his athleticism. He was very popular amongst the coaches, and showed he can take it off the dribble, and has a serviceable three point shot. He showed rim protection in each game with some fabulous blocked shots. Received his first high major offer from Coach Dennis "The Sheriff" Gates and Missouri.
Hunter Duncan, Evanston Township- 6'2" point guard is another high riser who can get anywhere he wants on the court. Gets off the floor with nice hang time at the rim, with nice flip finishes with great english on the ball. He has a nice three pointer off the dribble separating from the defender, as well as catch and shoot. Transfer from St Viator (Arlington Heights).
Chris Riddle, Kenwood Academy (Chicago)- 6'6" wing is a big-bodied young man who is like the proverbial "bull in a china shop," slashing to the basket and finishing. Has an improving three point shot off the catch, and hits the passing lanes for steals.
Jackson Kotecki, St Ignatius College Prep (Chicago)- 6'9" forward was another popular player coaches wanted to see especially the mid major ones. He can step out, hit a three off the catch, nice jump hook in the post, and changes ends of the floor very well. Look for the offer list to jump for him.
Asa Thomas, Lake Forest- 6'7" wing was getting a deep look from the high major coaches in attendance. Knockdown three point shooter off the catch and has improved his slashing ability to the basket and finishing ability. Good passer and rebounder for his position.
James Brown, St Rita (Chicago)- 6'9" forward picked up some more high major offers this weekend. Runs the floor well, is an improving outside shooter out to three, as well as guarding the pick and roll on the perimeter. Hits the boards hard on both ends.
Mekhi Lowery, East (Oswego)- 6'6" wing who showed his two way game this weekend. Very good slasher to the basket and finisher. Hits the open three off catch and shoot, rebounds, defends multiple wing positions. Good rim protector for a wing, gets steals with on ball defense and passing lanes. Very popular player with the division one coaches.
Quentin Jones, Marian Catholic (Chicago Heights)- 6'5" senior combo guard has exploded onto the scene and has picked up some scholarships along the way. He has a nice mid range pull-up jumper, was hitting the three off catch and shoot this weekend. Great potential as a two way player as he can defend four positions on the high school level, and likely three on the college level. Buy stock college coaches.
Jack Fiegen, New Trier (Winnetka)- 6'4" senior guard is the best shooter in the state of Illinois. I don't think it's close and he's starting to receive some attention from the college coaches. Received another division one offer after the shootout. He can get to the rim off the dribble and finish, rebounds off the defensive boards. You cannot give him any space or he'll burn you from the outside. Catch and shoot, off the dribble does not matter for him. He should have more division one offers.
Nick Polonowski, Lyons Township- 6'6" senior wing would be one that could give Fiegen a run as far as a shooter. He hit 6 threes vs Simeon Career Academy (Chicago). Knocks down threes at a high level and has the length to get his shot off. Has become better off the dribble getting to the basket and finishing. Look for an offensive explosion this year from him. Another to buy stock.
Tyler Smith, Leo Catholic (Chicago)- 6'0" senior point guard is a scoring machine who put up 30 in one game. He's also a nasty "get-in-your-face" pressure the ball defender. Gets steals on ball and playing the passing lanes. Great leader for a college team.
Grant Welch, Moline- 6'4" senior combo guard is another outstanding shooter from three as he's deadly off the catch and shoot. He can explode for threes in bunches and break a game open at anytime. Hits them at clutch times of the game when Moline needed them.
Derek Bishop, Mundelein- 6'2" sophomore point guard can score on any part of the court. Hits catch and shoot threes, off two dribble mid range pull-ups, and finishing at the basket. Toughness quotient is high and college coaches (as well as myself), need to get up to the North Suburbs more to see this young man.
Brayden Fagbemi, Benet Academy (Lisle)- 5'10" senior point guard is a true floor general. He plays better each time I see him play. He totally gave Iowa commit Brock Harding fits in their win defensively. He gets into you, moves his feet and forces you to pass the ball. Total pest for opposing point guards. He runs the team getting passes into teammates shooting pocket. He can hit threes off the dribble or the catch. Gets into the teeth of a defense and makes things happen.
Antwan Robinson, East St Louis- 6'5" senior guard can get shots at all three levels. Good three point shooter, nasty on two dribble pull-ups, and can get to the basket and finish. Defends all perimeter positions. Good 1-2 punch with Rich.
DJ Wallace, Hoffman Estates- 6'8" senior forward is an up and comer. He can score from three point off catch and shoot, good mid range game, scores around the basket with a good touch using either hand, and is a good rim protector. Showed he can bring the ball up the court comfortably. Changes ends very well on both ends as well as hits both backboards.
Javon Swansey, Niles North (Skokie)- 6'2" senior point guard sat out last season but is making up for lost time. He can slash to the basket and finish at the rim in a variety of ways, hang time or going around defender and scoring. Hit a couple of threes in game I saw and is an "in-your-face" defender. Buy stock college coaches, this is one to check out.
BEST TEAM: Sacred Heart Griffin (Springfield)- Defending Class 3A State Champs look so connected on the court. Senior laden team, they have a double/double machine in Zack Hawkinson (6'6" forward) who has added a perimeter game to his arsenal. 6'1" Keshon Singleton did a deja vu hitting a last second three to beat Homewood Flossmoor. He's the floor general. Jake and Will Hamilton (6'2") hits threes on each wing and can attack the basket. I would not be surprised if they pulled off a repeat as State Champs.
TEAM WITH MOST POTENTIAL: Evanston Township- You could put St Rita here but they had an expectation before this off season. Wildkits have brought in four transfers all seniors : Duncan, 6'5"wing Josh Thomas (Stevenson), 6'8" forward Nick Raic (Libertyville), and 6'4" guard Ephraim Chase (Sullivan, Chicago). Thomas is an inside/out player who can dunk on you. Raic is also an inside/out slasher who can hit the three, Chase is just a straight slasher and finisher at the rim. Add them to holdovers senior Prince Adams (6'5" forward) and sophomore Yaris Irby (6'0" point guard) along with three point sniper senior Jonah Ross (6'0" guard), and you have a contender folks. Look for a lot of excitement in Beardsley Gym next season.
GAME OF THE WEEKEND: Moline vs Whitney Young (Chicago) - These two might end up playing for the Class 4A State Title next Spring. Lots of talent in this one with Iowa commits #1 senior Owen Freeman (6'10") and the aforementioned Brock Harding. They also have two top sophomores in Trey Taylor (6'4") and Braden Freeman (6’5”) who can knock down threes. Grant Welch hit some timely threes for Moline. Whitney Young was led by senior point guard Dalen Davis was unconscious from three in this game hitting 6 for 22 points. He was supported by senior Daniel Johnson (6'7"), Marcus Pigrim (6'3") and sophomore Antonio Munoz (6'6") with his athleticism. Moline came out on top 70-62 in one of the most high level summer league games I've seen in years. I'd love to see this one again in regular season and/or the State Playoffs.
Other top players seniors unless noted, *junior, **sophomore ***freshman
Marshall Gierke, 6'3" guard, Antioch**
Niko Abusara, 6'5" guard, Benet Academy (Lisle)
Brady Kunka, 6'3" guard, Benet Academy (Lisle)
Donovan Younger, 6'9" forward, Bolingbrook
Khalil Ross, 6'6" forward, Brother Rice (Chicago)
Carlos Harris, 6'1" point guard, Curie (Chicago)
Jeremy Harrington Jr, 6'5" forward, Curie (Chicago)
Chkasi Ofoma, 6'7" forward, Curie (Chicago)
Evan Jackson, 6'6" guard, DeLaSalle Institute (Chicago)
Jake Reimer, 6'7" forward, North (Downers Grove)
Finn Kramper, 6'3" guard, North (Downers Grove)
Demarion Brown, 6'8" forward, East St Louis*
Nathan Marshall, 6'4" forward, Fenwick(Oak Park)**
Logan Brown, 6'5" forward, Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn)
Dom Seaney, 6'4" forward, Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn)**
Ryan Cohen, 6'3" guard, Glenbrook North (Northbrook)
Matt Moore, 6'8" forward, Hillcrest (Country Club Hills): note just transferred to West (Joliet)
Lee Marks, 6'5" guard, Homewood Flossmoor*
Jurrell Baldwin, 6'6" guard, Homewood Flossmoor*
Jeremiah Fears, 6'1" point guard, West (Joliet)**
Justus McNair, 6'2" guard, West (Joliet)*
Rajan Roberts, 6'0" guard, West (Joliet)***
Calvin Robins Jr, 6'6" wing, Kenwood Academy (Chicago)*
Bryce Heard, 6'6" guard, Kenwood Academy (Chicago)**
Aleks Alston, 6'8" wing, Kenwood Academy (Chicago)**
Tommy Aberle, 6'2" guard, Lake Forest* Big Time baseball prospect
Shaheed Solebo, 6'4" guard, Lane Tech (Chicago)*
Matas Castillo, 6'1" point guard, Lemont*
Rokas Castillo, 6'1" guard, Lemont*
TaVariyuan Williams, 6'5" guard, Leo Catholic (Chicago)*
Aidyn Boone, 6'7" forward, Libertyville
Jalen Calloway, 6'0" guard, Lincoln Park (Chicago)*
Keyshawn Barfield, 6'9" forward, Lincoln Park (Chicago)**
Graham Smith, 6'5" forward, Lyons Township (LaGrange)
James Bullock, 6'5" forward, Marian Catholic (Chicago Heights)*
Tyler Van Gorp, 6'10" forward, New Trier (Winnetka)
Quinn Finerty, 6'1" guard, New Trier (Winnekta)
Reid Olson, 5'11" guard, Niles North (Skokie)
Alex Vincent, 6'8" center, Oak Park River Forest**
Jehvion Starwood, 6'4" guard, East (Oswego)
Mason Blanco, 6'2" guard, East (Oswego)
Dekwon Brown, 6'2" point guard, Peoria*
Eli Love, 6'6" forward, Peoria
Jaloni Johnson, 6'3" point guard, Proviso East (Maywood)
Ray Austin, 6'1" guard, Rich Township (Park Forest)
Jamson Culture Jr, 6'2" point guard, Rich Township (Park Forest)***
Arius Alijosius, 6'3" guard, Riverside Brookfield
William Gonzalez, 6'5" guard, Riverside Brookfield*
Mark Nikolitch-Wilson, 6'7" forward, Rolling Meadows
Foster Ogbonna, 6'4" forward, Rolling Meadows
Ian Militec, 6'6" guard, Rolling Meadows**
Meyoh Swansey, 6'2" guard, Romeoville*
Troy Cicero, 6'2" point guard, Romeoville
Miles Rubin, 6'9" forward, Simeon Career Academy (Chicago)
Wes Rubin, 6'8" forward, Simeon Career Academy (Chicago)
Richard Barron, 6'5" guard, St Ignatius College Prep (Chicago)
Phoenix Gill, 6'2" guard, St Ignatius College Prep (Chicago)*
Morez Johnson Jr, 6'9" forward, St Rita (Chicago)*
Nous Industraitis, 6'5" guard, St Rita (Chicago)*
Josh Pickett, 6'5" guard, Aurora (West)*
Terrence Smith, 6'4" guard, Aurora (West)**
DJ Douglas, 6'5" guard, Christian (Yorkville)