Last week’s announcement that 6-9 Owen Freeman would be transferring from Bradley-Bourbonnais to Moline has turned a very good team into a legit 2022-23 state title contender in Class 4A.
Following a regional championship season, Moline was expected to be one of the better teams in Illinois next year with the return of standout point guard Brock Harding. But the addition of Freeman, who has committed to Iowa, gives the Maroons a shot at a state trophy for the first time in over 70 years.
Moline last won a sectional championship in 2004.
The Harding-Freeman tandem will be a fun and dynamic one to watch. Both are among the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top six senior prospects in the state.
Harding is an elite point guard and coveted mid-major prospect who makes those around him better. Freeman is an athletic, rim-running big man who continues to develop offensively, both facing up from the perimeter and around the basket.
Senior Grant Welch is a productive 6-3 wing and small college prospect, while Trey Taylor should take a big step forward as a sophomore.
Glenbard West’s Bobby Durkin heads to prep school
It’s been a recruiting whirlwind for Glenbard West’s Bobby Durkin, one of the breakout seniors this past year while helping Glenbard West to a state championship.
Initially, Durkin was barely a blip on the Division I radar. He played last summer with Glenbard West following his transfer from Hinsdale South and then competed with Breakaway on the club circuit. With very little overall interest, Durkin committed to Army in September.
After more thought and some reservations, Durkin opened things back up again in December. He bet on himself and a senior season that he believed would attract more suitors, even if it extended into the spring club basketball circuit.
While the offers and interest picked up immensely, Durkin simply didn’t find the ideal fit he was looking for. He will now play during the July live period and head off to do a year of prep school and become a 2023 recruit.
Durkin has grown physically and as a player. He put the work in. In addition to sprouting to a legit 6-6 by the time his senior year began, he also tightened up and toned his body while improving his conditioning over the past year. He personally made that a point of emphasis.
“I knew last year that was a weakness in my game,” Durkin said of his physical limitations at the time. “I spent a lot of time and put work in with a speed and agility trainer, with lifting and really just reshaping my body. That became a focus of mine, probably right after the AAU season last year.”
While Durkin is a high-level shooter, he’s also a crafty player with a high basketball I.Q. The skill level is also present with his ability to handle the ball and pass. It’s what finally attracted Division I coaches.
“He is so versatile and skilled and can play so many different spots on the floor,” Opoka pointed out. “He can play on the wing, facilitate an offense and play the stretch 4. He’s a gym rat with a high I.Q. and intelligence.”
June live period update
The NCAA’s live evaluation periods on the recruiting calendar this summer will once again include a pair of weekends in June for coaches to watch prospects with their high school teams.
Locally, Riverside-Brookfield and Ridgewood will play host to three-day shootouts on back-to-back weekends. They will feature a combined 168 teams.
The 72-team R-B Shootout, which has become a summer staple in Illinois for top teams and players, will be June 17-19. Ridgewood will have 96 different high school teams in its June 24-26 shootout.
The other two sites will be Normal West (June 17-19) and Edwardsville (June 24-26).