By Joe Henricksen
A whole bunch of random thoughts from the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout....
In what is always one of the top high school basketball events of the summer and, without question, the best run and organized event, it was nice to see the host school, Riverside-Brookfield, win the R-B Shootout. No, a summer shootout doesn't mean a whole lot in the long run, but in this case it's a big step and confidence builder for the players in this program.
Riverside-Brookfield was awfully impressive, especially in its win over what figures to be a top 10 team next winter--DeLaSalle. The most entertaining game on Saturday was R-B's win over DeLaSalle. Dan Oswald, a 6-2 senior-to-be, shot the heck out of the ball. He had a terrific first half, was quiet for most of the second half until knocking down a couple of huge threes down the stretch. And while ultra-talented Mike Shaw was mostly a non-factor in the game, the senior guard tandem of Derek Needham and Richie Fisher were outstanding. Fisher put on a shooting exhibition, matching Oswald shot for shot. With Needham getting into the lane whenever he wants and the presence of Shaw on the floor, look for Fisher to have a big season floating around on the perimeter. And with Oswald, junior Sean McGonagill and junior Billy Vandermerkt on the perimeter, the Bulldogs will be one to watch next season.
Needham, Evans Shine
DeLaSalle's Needham and Seneca's Seth Evans are two more reasons why there is more depth in the Class of 2009 than last year's class. Every time I watch Needham play I like him more and more. He is explosive in getting into the lane and finishing. He can break just about anyone down off the dribble and is knocking down shots. Needham had an outstanding day at R-B on Saturday and has been vastly overlooked by the Hoops Report.
Evans has been highlighted in the City/Suburban Hoops Report publication during the past two years and is showing that he is a steal for Wisconsin-Green Bay. Evans committed very early and is a nice fit for UW-Green Bay. He will never lose you games, take care of the ball and knock down shots. The fact he's a coach's kid shines through every time you watch him play. He could do for UW-Green Bay what Jason Richards, the former Barrington star, did for Davidson.
More and more talent in 2011
The current freshmen have been talked about at length. The potential in 2011 is endless. And another talented player is Evanston's Garrett Jones, who is going to form quite a trifecta with junior Ryan Frazier-Chambers and emerging big man Eric Dortch. Jones is so strong with the ball, a little bull in the open court.... I really believe York freshman guard Will Sullivan has a chance to be pretty special. Sullivan, who was solid in his role for coach Al Biancalana as a freshman this past season, is so smooth and unselfish. As he matures as a player and his assertiveness arrives, look for big things out of the 6-2 guard.... Keep an eye on Hinsdale South freshman Jason Viane, who has transferred in from Montini. Viane, the active and gangly 6-4 wing, should surely grow with some of the biggest feet you'll see. Viane is just another name to watch in the Class of 2011.
Improving and rising big men
There is a lot to like with 6-8 Luke Scarlata of Morton. While he may lack a little athleticism and overall quickness, this kid knows how to play and just gets things done. He does a lot of different things well and, with continued work in the weight room and conditioning, he has the frame and body Division I schools covet. And speaking of Morton, after a record-breaking and eye-opening season a year ago, this team may be ready to take the next step. Joe Belcaster and Oscar Macias are a pair of capable scorers that should take some of the pressure off Scarlata.... It will be interesting to watch the development of Mt. Carmel's Delino Dear, a stringbean 6-8 post who is so thin he can't keep his shorts on. He is just learning how to play, but he's making strides. And under the tutelage of Mike Flaherty, he could make huge strides in the next year. At this point Dear has a ways to go both as a player and physically, but he's so long and will beat every other big man down the floor.... Decatur Eisenhower's Brock VonNordeck opened some eyes with his play at R-B. The 6-8 big man is more athletic than I originally thought after seeing him play sparingly in the regular season. He's a no-brainer recruit for low-Division I schools.