By Joe Henricksen
The following is a final look at the recent Illinois Spot-Lite Fall Showcase. There were several players on hand who continue to try and open eyes--seniors who are looking to show they've been overlooked and underclassmen who are looking to establish themselves.
Milton Doyle, Chicago Marshall ... A new name on the radar in the city. The 6-4 long and wiry junior, who transferred in from Tilden, is a player. He floats up and down the floor with ease and is the type of slasher who can get to the rim and finish. Look for Doyle to have a breakout junior season and be among the top 25 prospects in the Class of 2012. He was one of the real eye-openers in this year's Spot-Lite event.
Nick Burt, Lyons Twp. ... He's a 6-6 wing who has size, some athleticism and can really shoot the basketball. After being a role player on a very good LT team last winter, Burt will be one of the focal points this season for coach Tom Sloan. Burt, who was a bit up and down with the Illinois Defenders this summer, consistently knocked down open jumpers in the event and played extremely well. Burt is an off-the-charts student academically and, if he doesn't land in the Ivy League, would be an absolute terrific small college recruit.
Joey Miller, Charleston ... Miller put together a solid day on the floor. There weren't many kids in the event who went out and made a name for himself more than the 6-2 guard. He was impressive, knocking down shots--tough shots--and competed at a pretty high level while showing some athleticism.
Thomas Durrett, Lake Forest ... Just a junior and complete unknown coming into the event, this 6-4 wing shot the ball well and will be a factor for the Scouts over the next two seasons.
Ziggy Riauka, Downers Grove South ... Big Z, a 6-7 post with a jumper and touch around the basket, was solid. Riauka should be a hot commodity for small college basketball programs. He will be a perfect complement to the junior guard tandem of Jerron Wilbut and Jamal Millison for Downers Grove South this season.
Darius Paul, Warren ... The 6-7 junior has a ways to go as he's still growing into his body (does he grow a couple inches every six months?) and, as a result, deals with some awkwardness as gets accustomed to playing at 6-7. But make no mistake about it, Paul has really improved over the past 12-18 months.
Don't forget Hill-Bey
Malcolm Hill-Bey entered Mount Carmel as a freshman with a lot of hype. After a bit of a rocky two years on varsity and up-and-down play on the club circuit, Hill-Bey's name began to fall a little out of the limelight. But he was still young, learning the ropes and maturing as a player.
Now the 5-9 point guard is set for an important junior year, which he showed he's ready for with his play in the Spot-Lite Fall Showcase. Hill-Bey was solid. He was in attack mode while staying in control of things, both in the open court and in the halfcourt. Hill-Bey, who will team up with Tracy Abrams this winter, knocked down shots, including pull-up jumpers and showing an improved mid-range game.
Powell, Marshall quite a backcourt for Brooks
While George Marshall, the Brooks guard who has committed to Wisconsin, gets a lot of the pub at the South Side school, Michael Powell is a talented sidekick. Powell had a solid showing at the Spot-Lite event and remains one of the more underrated players in the Class of 2011. Powell has a tendency to play a little fast and a bit erratic at times, but the kid can really score from the guard position. It will be interesting and fun to see how Powell and Marshall fit together in new coach Bobby Locke's system.
Lincoln's Nelson can still shoot it
While a host of Division II schools have extended offers to Lincoln's Jordan Nelson, one of the top shooters in the state, the Division I interest remains limited to keeping tabs on the sharpshooter from central Illinois. Nelson, who wasn't his normal consistent self shooting the basketball in July, did what he does best at the Spot-Lite Event: shoot the basketball.
The 5-11 combo guard heated up as the day went on. He hit a couple of three-pointers in a non-descript performance in his first game, but he then hit six three-pointers in game two and knocked down seven more triples in game three. At the bare minimum, Nelson can be a specialist at the low-Division I level in the Hoops Report's eyes. He handles it better than people give him credit for and will play point guard for a solid Lincoln team this season.
Van Fleet and Posley
The tandem of Fred Van Fleet of Rockford Auburn and Marcus Posley of Winnebago teamed up together on the AAU circuit in July. While Van Fleet is highly regarded and already a name among college coaches in the Class of 2012, the Hoops Report continues to come away impressed with what Posley brings to the table each time out. The 6-2 guard is strong, physical and aggressive for his age, while always playing with a motor and a sense of urgency. Maybe it's from playing in the outskirts in Winnebago and always looking to prove himself, but Posley competes at a high level. While he is a capable shooter, more consistency with his shot would really enhance his stock as a prospect. But he's shown over the summer and early this fall he's a Division I prospect.