A summer version of the City/Suburban Hoops Report Three-Pointer:
There is still some work to do but with three hot in-state prospects making a push in July, Illinois could have four players ranked together in the top 100 for the first time since the Class of 2017.
Young’s AJ Casey is an established top 100 name who is currently a consensus top 30 prospect. It would be very surprising if Yorkville Christian’s Jaden Schutt doesn’t make the jump into the top 100 following July, while Buffalo Grove’s Kam Craft and Glenbard West’s Braden Huff may be forcing their way in as well with their play.
The Class of 2017 finished with four players as consensus top 100 prospects: East St. Louis’ Jeremiah Tilmon (No. 40), Belleville Althoff’s Jordan Goodwin (No. 52), Evanston’s Nojel Eastern (No. 67) and Edwardsville’s Mark Smith (No. 90)
Each year there is usually always one AAU basketball matchup I would want to see in the summer here in Illinois. And inevitably is usually never happens.
Unlike high school basketball where you typically can find a way to see the top teams play one another either in a high-profile shootout, holiday tournament, Chicago Public League play or, finally, in state tournament action in March, it rarely ever happens in club basketball in Illinois.
Basketball politics and shoe company affiliations get in the way of what should be a no-brainer: the best local teams and players going at one another — somewhere, somehow.
This year it’s clear the top two teams in the state are the Meanstreets and Illinois Wolves 17U teams. The City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top five prospects in the senior class all hail from one of these two teams. They’ve also shown it on the court.
The Illinois Wolves went 7-0 this past weekend playing in the Under Armour Association. Glenbard West’s Braden Huff and Yorkville Christian’s Jaden Schutt are high-major prospects.
Tuscola’s Jalen Quinn, the best player in Illinois outside the Chicago area, is on the cusp of being one as well.
Glenbard West’s Cade Pierce is a mid-major prospect who is pushing top 10 status in the senior class, while DePaul Prep’s 6-9 Dylan Arnett continues to see his stock rise as a Division I prospect.
The Illinois Wolves will travel to Dallas this weekend to continue their Under Armour schedule.
Meanstreets, meanwhile, tuned up for the always rugged Nike EYBL play that begins this week by barnstorming through the lesser Prep Hoops event in Alabama last weekend, cruising to four wins.
Young’s AJ Casey, Buffalo Grove’s Kam Craft, Oak Forest’s Robbie Avila and Glenbrook South’s Nick Martinelli are the local talents, while Meanstreets is also able to draw from neighboring states. High-profile stars like Gary West Side’s Jalen Washington, a recent North Carolina commit, and top 100 talent Ty Rodgers out of Michigan, rounds out a group of a half dozen Division I players.
Meanstreets began a stretch this past weekend where they will be on the road for 19 consecutive days. Nike EYBL play starts July 13 and runs through July 19 while the famed Peach Jam Tournament will be played from July 20-25.
How about a City/Suburban Hoops Report sponsored club basketball exhibition featuring these two teams at the end of the month?
Glenbard West, led by a pair of Division I prospects in Braden Huff and Cade Pierce, received a ton of hype and notoriety with their play in June — and deservedly so. The Hilltoppers will be in the conversation for No. 1 when the preseason rankings come out in November.
But a team that impressed, played extremely well and boasts individual players who continue to open eyes this summer is New Trier. Coach Scott Fricke’s Trevians, which quietly finished 13-2 this past season, should be a bonafide top 10 team when the season tips this Thanksgiving.
Big man Jackson Munro continues to excite with his play and development. Although the 6-8 senior remains one of the most overlooked prospects in the senior class, the late-blooming Munro will be a difference-maker this winter.
Following another solid weekend with Fundamental U on the club basketball circuit this past weekend, look for the recruitment of Munro to increase. He did his work around the basket and also stepped out and showed an ability to knock down the three.
The under-recruited Munro, who boasts a 35 ACT, has just one offer — from Loyola-Maryland — but is seeing the interest pick up among other schools.
Sharpshooter Jake Fiegen made noise last year as a sophomore, but the 6-2 guard has also made significant strides since and is one of the best shooters in the junior class.
There is additional size, shooting and experience in 6-4 Noah Shannon, 6-5 Karlo Colak, guard Josh Kirkpatrick and 6-10 junior Tyler Van Gorp.