By Joe Henricksen
Larry Butler's Illinois Spot-Lite Fall Exposure Shootout showcased a number of players, ranging from big names to no-namers, from young to old. But it was a host of young players that impressed the Hoops Report.
A trio of sophomores impressed during the day. And a pair of them will be playing for coach Robert Smith at Simeon this winter. Tywon Pinckney is a pretty complete point guard for such a young player. Although a bit on the small side at 5-10, he's every bit as good as the more talked about George Marshall, the tiny sophomore point guard for Brooks. Sondale Connor, a long, lanky and athletic 6-4 wing, has showed flashes early in his career. Connor has transferred from Brooks to Simeon and will surely be an impact player down the road for Smith's Wolverines.
The sophomore, though, that really opened the eyes of the Hoops Report was Mycheal Henry of Morgan Park, an unknown 6-4 wing. Like any young player his age he has a ways to go, but his athleticism and upside is undeniable. He is already an outstanding finisher around the basket.
Next Peoria star
There have been some very talented guards produced in Peoria over the past three or four decades. Another one is on the way. The Hoops Report talked about the play of Peoria's Bobo Drummond following the Chicago Summer Classic back in July, where he shined after just graduating from 8th grade. He is without question the next great player out of Peoria. He's a composed point guard who already has a nice little mid-range game. It would have been fun watching Drummond play with D.J. Richardson this season at Peoria Central, which would have taken a little pressure off the young freshman.
The Peoria area, which has been a bit down the last few years compared to what it has been, is on its way back in a big way. There are a lot of talented young players coming up through the pipeline.
Other thoughts and observations
Maybe some will say the Hoops Report is off its rocker, but is there anyone else out there that likes the game and upside of junior guard Mike McCall more than his more heralded teammate and classmate Lavonte Dority? While Dority has received much more national attention and has been a more highly-acclaimed player, McCall is clearly a better shooter and sees the floor better.... Crete-Monee's Mario Redmond, a 6-6 big-time athlete, continues to be prospect of intrigue. While the junior needs a lot of work on his perimeter skills and has to begin to play with more of a sense of urgency, he has a terrific body, length and will wow you with his athleticism and ability to run the floor. What an athletic tandem Redmond and 6-4 sophomore Jamie Crockett will be for coach Rocky Hill this season at Crete-Monee.... Keep an eye on Rock Falls 6-3 junior Tevin Rumley.
A Golden Flash?
On a recruiting note, don't be surprised to see Seton Academy's D.J. Cooper, one of the top point guards in the Class of 2009, commit to Kent State this week. Cooper had a terrific visit this past weekend and would be a great fit for a program that won 28 games last season, won the Mid-American Conference and reached the NCAA Tournament.