By Joe Henricksen
Since Eastern Illinois head coach Mike Miller took over the program, he and his staff have hit the Chicago area hard. The Panther staff snatched one up from the south suburbs last year in Richards star Shaun Pratl, tapped into the Chicago Public League with a commitment from Tommy Woolridge of Foreman earlier this fall and now have a commitment from Chicago Catholic League star Issac Smith, III of Leo.
The Hoops Report has felt all along that Smith, who did have a bit of an up and down summer, was a player that was flying under the radar. The 6-1 guard is poised for a breakout year as he becomes the center piece for coach Noah Cannon at Leo this winter. Smith played a smaller role last year for Leo, while James Pointer dominated the basketball. But Smith, who is among the top 30 prospects in the Class of 2010 in the Hoops Report player rankings, evolved into an athletic, lockdown defender who brought toughness to the floor each time out. While he still needs to get more consistent with his shot, he's a pretty versatile offensive player who is best at getting to the rim off the dribble but also capable of knocking down perimeter shots.
The combination of Smith, who played for Steve Pratt and Full Package during the summer circuit, and Woolridge will certainly upgrade the perimeter athleticism and toughness to the Eastern Illinois roster.