High school basketball: Observations from the first live period weekend

Even as I sat and watched high school prospects this past weekend with college coaches in Indianapolis during the first “live” weekend of the spring evaluation period, the transfer portal dominated conversation.

And that was just from the college coaches who were actually in attendance.

This was the smallest number of Division I coaches out on the road evaluating during any “live” period I’ve ever seen. That’s because so many coaches were home, on campus, hosting potential transfers on visits.

While with college coaches, whether it was watching games, grabbing lunch or out to dinner, the focus was all portal. All the time.

All weekend heads were down, coaches checking the phone for the latest portal entry as the number continued to climb well past 1,000 transfers.

Coaches lamented how difficult it even was to watch and evaluate high school kids. They know it’s nearly impossible to win with freshmen and, worst-case scenario, keep your job playing freshmen. They’re just too young, too far away to win with in today’s college game.

College coaches evaluating younger classes like current sophomores and freshmen? Forget about it. Only if you have nothing else to watch.

“Do you know how hard it is to watch this when we’ve been watching film on college players for the past six weeks?” different coaches would repeatedly say in some form or another.

Nonetheless, there were still players who made a mark and continued to put together strong starts to their spring club basketball seasons.

Here is a City/Suburban Hoops Report spring Three-Pointer on three of those players following a weekend in Indianapolis:

No. 1: Never too late for Bobby Durkin

Last summer Bobby Durkin was watched and evaluated, both with Glenbard West in June and throughout July with his Breakaway club basketball team. College coaches didn’t bite.

Then all winter long the 6-6 senior was a key cog in the Glenbard West machine that ultimately rolled to a state championship. He produced and made key shots in big moments for the Hilltoppers all season, including scoring 30 points in a state semifinal win with plenty of college coaches in attendance.

Players evolve over the course of a year. They grow, gain confidence and, simply put, get better. Durkin, who was committed to Army for a bit, did just that and has shined the past two weekends while playing on the AAU scene as a senior.

Durkin’s strength has always been his shooting. He knocked in 82 threes this past season. And that’s the one great strength to have in basketball.

However, it’s clear he has put in the time to work on his body over the past year. His body is slimmer and stronger than it was last summer which has helped his athleticism.

This weekend Durkin will take an official visit to Wright State as many others are interested.

No. 2: Cameron Christie solidifies status

Over the past two weekends all Rolling Meadows star Cameron Christie has done is solidify himself as the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top prospect in the Class of 2023.

The 6-6 guard boasts the physical attributes with his height and endless length. There is the ease he plays with and a versatile scoring arsenal at his disposal. Put it all together and Christie has the highest upside of any junior in the state, which was on display this past weekend while playing with the Illinois Wolves.

The high-major prospect added another offer earlier this week from Virginia. .

No. 3: Big man impresses

There are some big names from Chicago atop the sophomore class. But a central Illinois big man, Normal’s Jaheem Webber, is an impressive old school 5-man and among the state’s best prospects.

Webber impressed while playing with the Illinois Wolves in Under Armour Association action in Indianapolis.

He’s 6-9 with a massive frame and strength for such a young player. At his size, Webber establishes post position and offers solid post footwork. Even as his offensive game remains a work in progress, he demands an extra defender when he works his way deep in the lane.

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