By Joe Henricksen
There are a pair of hard-nosed, productive players who come to play every day and are players you win with in the Class of 2009 in Illinois that have had solid springs, yet are sitting with one scholarship offer between them. Have no fear, D.J. Cooper and Conrad Krutwig, the offers will be coming.
Cooper, the talented point guard out of Hales Franciscan and part of Tai Streets' Meanstreets club team, has just one offer on the table -- from Loyola. Baylor, UTEP, Missouri, Kansas State and Valpo have all showed varying degrees of interest. There is no doubt Cooper's size brings a fearfactor among college coaches. He's probably 5-9 at best and slender. But he makes plays, is a very good on-the-ball defender, sees the floor extremely well, is tenacious and competes. I, myself, am typically not a fan of the small guard, but....
He may not quite be in the class of diminutive stars of the past like Maurice Acker, the former Hillcrest star at Marquette, or former Hales standout and Cal recruit Jerome Randle, but Cooper is not too far off and is a no-doubt-about-it mid-major talent. Cooper's interest will certainly pick up between now and the end of July.
Meanwhile, the City/Suburban Hoops Report was flat-out wrong about Krutwig of Jacobs. After watching Krutwig in a couple of different events this spring while playing for Mike Mullins and the Illinois Wolves, he can play at a higher level than originally thought. When the new Class of 2009 Hoops Report player rankings come out later this month, Krutwig's ranking will surely be elevated. He's better than a low-Division I player.
Krutwig plays so hard, runs the floor and has shown he's a much better athlete than given credit for. He already has a nice face-up, mid-range game but will also mix it up inside, get rebounds in traffic. The knock has always been he's a 'tweener at 6-5. But he has shown an ability to really run the floor and finish the break with a dunk. You win with players like Krutwig and the intangibles he brings. His overall foot speed on the perimeter is still a concern and he's still undersized for a four-man. But his strong all-around skills, combined with a nice shooting touch that does need to gain consistency outside 16 feet, make him a viable combo forward. Wisconsin-Green Bay, Loyola, Evansville and Northern Iowa are just a few of the schools that have shown interest in Krutwig, who continues to blossom this offseason.
The City/Suburban Hoops Report will have other thoughts from the Spiece Run 'N Slam Tournament in Fort Wayne in future blogs.