By Joe Henricksen

A few more thoughts from Tip-Off Classic

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By Joe Henricksen

As mentioned in a previous City/Suburban Hoops Report blog, the Chicago Hoops Tip-Off Classic offered an array of talent last weekend, which included talented incoming freshmen to even outgoing seniors. Here is another overview of that event with some additional thoughts and perspective.

On top of 2011?
He's not there just yet, but De La Salle 6-5 sophomore Dre Henley is fast approaching the top spot in the talented sophomore class. The Hoops Report absolutely loves his versatility, which includes a high skill level to go with that big body. Henley will showcase his skill level next winter as he will be playing plenty of point guard for De La Salle next season. Henley, who projects as a big, physical, skilled wing in college, will shed a little of that excess weight as his body matures and, possibly, grows another inch or two. At that point he could evolve into a physical force, capable of outmuscling defenders but with legitimate three-point range. Think former Nevada-Reno and NBA player Kirk Snyder.

Here is how the Hoops Report sees the top 10 college prospects in that class, while knowing that many of these spots are very interchangeable.
1. Tracy Abrams, Mt. Carmel
2. Sam Thompson, Whitney Young
3. Mike Shaw, De La Salle
4. Wayne Blackshear, Morgan Park
5. Dre Henley, De La Salle
6. Chasson Randle, Rock Island
7. Ryan Boatright, East Aurora
8. Jacob Williams, Bartlett
9. Nnanna Egwu, St. Ignatius
10. James Siakam, 6-7, Brehm Prep

Will talented Fire put it all together?
Yes, the Mac Irvin Fire 17U AAU team just may have the biggest collection of individual talent of any team in Illinois. However, will all that talent produce and equal wins when the big AAU events roll around? The first weekend of AAU play is hardly the time to base any future success on, but the team does lack a true point guard (could it eventually be Jereme Richmond?) or a distributor of any kind. And how will the minutes be split up between so many star-studded players? It will be interesting to see how this team shakes out over the course of the spring and summer. Richmond was by far the most impressive Fire player on the opening day of action.

Hoopy's move
A year ago the Hoops Report watched and was impressed with Isiah "Hoopy" Jones when he played with the Illinois Titans. Jones, who plays high school basketball at Mounds Meridian, moved on late last summer and hooked up with the Illinois Bobcats. He was impressive this past weekend for the Bobcats, showing his ability to run a team, beat people off the dribble and attack the basket aggressively. He plays mature and has a terrific body for a guard. Jones is a bonafide mid-major prospect and is among the top 20 players in the Class of 2010. The 6-2 junior still needs to tighten up his jumper and gain consistency with his perimeter shot.

South 'burbs' best in 2011?
It's generally accepted that Thornton sophomore guard Jay Parker is the premier player in the south suburbs in the Class of 2011. However, if Rich South's crazy athlete Macari Brooks continues to knock down shots with his improved jumper, the 6-2 wing will be able to make an argument. Brooks possesses off-the-charts, eye-popping athleticism. He's still learning how to play, but he's made progress with his perimeter shot since seeing him early in the high school season. Brooks need to continue to improve and refine his overall skills and establish a true position.

Team to keep an eye on
While the Illinois Kings AAU team may not boast the individual talent of the elite teams in the state, they are certainly one to watch with a number of under-the-radar players who, with an impressive spring and summer, could certainly open the eyes of college coaches at various levels.

Right now Neuqua Valley's Kareem Amedu, an undersized 6-5 four-man, has low-Division I interest and a. He is what he is, which is a productive inside player who has improved rapidly and come a long way over the past 12 months, especially on the offensive end. Amedu, along with Oak Park's 6-8 Jeff Dirkin and Lyons Township's 6-5 Justin Phipps give the Kings several options and versatility inside. The long and very slender Dirkin can step out and knock down perimeter shots, while Phipps was impressive with his strength, athleticism and overall skill level. Phipps was a regular double-double down the stretch for LT, including a 16-point, 14-rebound game in a regional win over Hinsdale Central.

The player to watch, though, just may be Riverside-Brookfield's Sean McGonagill, a heady point guard who is physically strong, knocks down shots and has a little more giddy-up than people think. McGonagill, Marist's Nick Valla and Bartlett's Luke Labedzki form a pretty solid perimeter together.

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8 Comments

DRE HENLEY IS REALLY THE #1 PLAYER IN THE CLASS 2011

ANDRE HENLEY IS A MAN AMONG BOYS. IF MIKE SHAW REALLY WORKS ON HIS GAME THIS SUMMER LOOK OUT !

Wat about george marshall
he should be number one because of his heart and his clutch performances

MARCARI BROOKS FROM RICH SOUTH HIGH SCHOOL HAS THE WORLD
BY THE TAIL, HE MUST HOLD ON TIGHT, HE IS BLESSED WITH SO
MUCH TALENT, IT IS SCARY, IF HE MAKES IT IN THE CLASSROOM
AND ELEVATES HIS MATURITY, HE WILL PLAY MAJOR COLLEGE
BASKETBALL AND IF HE PROGRESSES HE WILL MAKE IT ALL THE
WAY TO THE SHOW!
IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE ME GO SEE HIM PLAY, HE IS PLAYING
FOR THE ILLINOIS ICE, HE IS THE REAL DEAL, HIS LEAPING
ABILITY IS FREAKISH, NO ONE, AND I MEAN NO ONE CAN LEAP
WITH THIS MAN, HE IS ABSOLUTELY A GEM, HE IS A DIAMOND
IN THE RUFF, GO AND WATCH HIM AND YOU WILL BE CONVINCED
AS WELL!
NO DISRESPECT TO THE OTHER PLAYERS BUT IN THE OPEN COURT
MARCARI WINS HANDS DOWN, HE IS AN ABSOLUTE ATHLETE ON
THE BASKETBALL COURT!

i agree with the first to comments i say he is #1 because of his ultra versatility in some games i have watched him play all 5 positions on the floor and not just play em dominate at each spot and as far as a man among boys that is the truth he is stronger than a lot of players but its his grown man basketball IQ that sets him apart from almost everyone else in the class he has a calmness about himself when he's on basketball court i have never seen him get rattled or taken out of his game. QUESTION FOR JOE.H WHAT MAKES HIM NOT THE #1 PROSPECT IN THE STATE FOR THAT CLASS ? just wondering Joe.

Lamar .... I would not be surprised if Drew Crawford has the best college career of any of the top players in this senior class. However, I just think Brandon Paul has a little bit more upside than Drew does at this point. That's why I have Paul as the No. 1 prospect in the class. While Drew has plenty of untapped potential and will only get better, Paul's talents have truly not been scratched yet. Thanks for the post! .... Joe H

Joe.H I was talking about Dre Henley and the class of 2011 i think you got your blogs mixed up and P.S i think u are the best basketball talent scout in state hands down keep up the good work

Lamar .... I gotcha, my mistake. As I mentioned, I really think several of these players are pretty interchangeable. I admit, I have Abrams higher than most people. I just love what he brings -- toughness and he competes, great athleticism, etc. I think right now he's the best sure thing of the bunch, but that could change over time as the others gain more consistency. Dre Henley is right there and could be No. 1 before it's all said and done. Right now, though, if you had to be nitpicking it would be Dre, while a good athlete, is not an absolutely explosive athlete. You could certainly argue Henley is No. 1, though. That's how much he has progressed in the last eight months. Thanks for the kind words! .... Joe H

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on April 3, 2009 5:38 PM.

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