By Joe Henricksen

A little Flash returns; Parker to Illini's MM

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By Joe Henricksen

For more than a decade the Morris Shootout was the place to be, the premier event in the state of Illinois and one of the best in the country for college coaches to evaluate talent. While those days were 20 years ago, Bill "Flash" Flanagan brought some unique talent and a little luster back to Morris last weekend.

Flash's Fall Hoops Review included plenty of big names in high school basketball, including Tommy Hamilton, Sam Thompson, Jahlil Okafor and Paul White of Whitney Young, Mycheal Henry of Orr, Bruce Baron of Brehm Prep and Steve Taylor of Simeon to name a few.

Here is a quick Hoops Report rundown on the talent that was on display this past weekend in Morris.

Simeon's Farm System
The Hoops Report and plenty of others have noted the talent and depth up and down the Simeon program. What was startling to watch in Morris was Simeon looking so impressive at times--and then realizing coach Rob Smith's team was without sophomore star Jabari Parker.

Parker stopped by Kentucky and visited with John Calipari this past weekend while participating in the John Lucas Midwest Resources Midwest Invitational Basketball Camp in Kentucky. The prized sophomore is a wanted kid, with several heavy hitters, including Kentucky and Kansas, inviting Parker to their respective Midnight Madness practice Oct. 15. Parker, however, has decided he will be attending the Midnight Madness activities at Illinois, which is a big plus for coach Bruce Weber and his staff.

With so much talent in the pipeline it sometimes takes some time to be noticed at Simeon. With that being said, Marquis Todd will eventually be a special talent. The 6-7 sophomore will likely split time between varsity and the lower levels as he develops and gets acclimated, but Todd has all the makings of being a terrific college prospect before it's all said and done.

A college look
When Whitney Young takes the floor this winter there will be no team that resembles a college basketball team more than Tyrone Slaughter's Dolphins. There are the young and imposing twin towers in 6-8 Jahlil Okafor and 6-8 Tommy Hamilton. There is 6-7 junior Jermaine Morgan, 6-7 Luke Hager and 6-6 freshman Paul White. There is a ridiculous amount of riches in size and athleticism throughout the roster.

Okafor remains a unique player in that he already has such a nice feel for the game around the rim and with his back to the basket. He's a young hotshot prospect who understands who he is as a player and one who college coaches will covet due to the lack of true, back-to-the-basket big men out there. The scary thought is if Okafor gets to 6-10 or 6-11. If both Okafor and Hamilton, who trailed on the break and knocked down a pair of three-pointers, continue to work, progress and stay motivated, it's ridiculous to think what kind of combination these two could be in a year or two at the high school level.

Hard-nosed Peorians
There may not be a team in Illinois this season with a better tough-as-nails 1-2 punch than Peoria Manual's Kiki Stokes and Jacoby Roddy. These are a couple of players, who played this past summer with the Illinois Wolves, who are enjoyable to watch. What's interesting about the tandem is they may not fit a particular position right now when projecting them as college prospects, but they are both just players who battle and make plays.

Roddy, who is an athletic but undersized 4-man at 6-5, continues to show an ability to step out and knock down that 12-15 foot face-up jumper. And he rebounds and rebounds and rebounds. Stokes, meanwhile, reminds the Hoops Report of former Illinois player Chester Frazier in so many ways. While he may not be a true point guard or the ideal shooting guard, Stokes defends, competes, is about as tough as they come and finds ways to impact a game.

Rockford Files
Add the name Jared Mays to the list of promising prospects out of the Rockford area. The names Fred Van Fleet of Rockford Auburn and Marcus Posley of Winnebago, a pair of talented juniors have been noted a number of times, but Mays is a 6-1 freshman combo guard out of Rockford Jefferson with a lot of upside and will be heard from.

Surprise team
A group of central Illinois players, made up mostly of players from Bloomington-Normal, put together solid performances throughout the day with upsets of some teams with higher profile players. The leader was Anthony Beane of Normal, an ultra-athletic combo guard with good size. The 6-2 junior is still refining his perimeter jumper, but he is explosive and put the ball in the hole more consistently at Morris.

Keep an eye on Normal this winter, with Beane and the tandem of 6-5 D.J. Gillispie and 6-4 Anthony Goodar, the Ironmen will be long and athletic. Plus, 6-8 big man Parker Musselman continues to show he's made strides as a player and is a nice small college prospect.

Random thoughts ...
* Orr's Mycheal Henry, a prized commitment for coach Bruce Weber and Illinois, can just flat-out shoot the basketball. Henry is a legit 6-6 with elevation on his jumper and a high release point. He can get his shot off when he wants to and is so much bigger and stronger than last winter.

* The Hoops Report still believes Simeon's Rashawn McElrath is being vastly overlooked by college programs up to this point. McElrath is a 6-6 wiry and active 4-man who always seems to be around the ball and making a play. While not real skilled, McElrath runs the floor, blocks shots, rebounds, defends and is constantly up at the rim.

* Kyle Heck of Metamora has been receiving some interest from college programs at all levels. The 6-2 guard opened some eyes with his play at Morris and is a solid small college basketball prospect.

* While it will be interesting to see how Young coach Tyrone Slaughter mixes and matches all the parts he has at his disposal, 6-5 junior Nate Brooks is a freak of an athlete.

* Brehm Prep's Bruce Baron is a prized individual talent when he's playing in control and within himself. If Oregon coach Dana Altman can rein Baron in, he has himself a legitimate Pac-10, high-major guard.

For more information or to subscribe to the City/Suburban Hoops Report, call (630)-408-6709 or email The first issue of the 2010-2011 season is due out in late November.

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How'd Farmer look for Manual? If he played up in Chicago or the suburbs he'd get a lot more pub than he does playing at Manual or behind all those kids on the Wolves.

Joe can you answer me this because it always confuses me. How can College Coaches invite a sophomore or freshman for that matter to attend a football game, midnight madness, practice etc. when the NCAA rules explicitly say they cannot text, email, call or even write a player until his junior year of high school? I know they can go through back channels like their AAU or High School coach but it just seems like its a a joke that there are these rules yet kids are getting recruited and offered scholarships when the colleges supposedly cannot have any contact with them for another two years.

Also how do many of these kids even get to campuses all over the country to make these visits when you cannot take an "official" visit where the school pays for your travel, room and board until your junior year as well. Traveling from Chicago to Kansas, Kentucky, etc. even by car and paying for a hotel, food, gas etc would be costly and to do it every weekend has to be very expensive. Not every family of kid who is being recruited has that kind of money to spend week in and week out. The NCAA rules just seem to be a joke, if you cannot initiate any contact with a kid until he is a junior it seems to me that offering a scholarship until he is a junior and inviting the student to these things would be against the rules as well.

But Joe isn't this what the NCAA has been trying to get rid of the "middlemen/people" as you call them or "street agents" as other call them? It seems to me that if the NCAA is serious about cleaning up recruiting it should make schools absolutely have Zero contact with underclassman including having those students call them or visit their campus and talk to them. So many of these kids are getting recruited so early their junior or senior year in high school means absolutely nothing. And many schools and kids are making mistakes on choices. Kids do not even know what they are having for lunch today but know what college they are attending 3 years from now to play for a coach or assistant coach who may or not be there. Also as you see with Shaw from De La Salle people media, coaches, etc. are going nuts on why he has not committed yet. Regardless of the reason its his life and what is wrong with taking his time, he's the one with the talent and its his life we are talking about.

You have to be good as a sophomore now a days to get recruited by a big school. The stories of a kid who develops are few and far between for a big time scholarship - the Davis kid is an exception rather than the rule. I think a lot of us were pulling for Butler last year because they won big with kids other did not want who did not committ early

This early committments are a joke as well and it is even spilling over to football now which I always fealt did the best job of recruiting players AFTER their senior season ended. They also used to have recruiting coordinators who did nothing but recruit and evaluate and left the coaching to actual coaches.

i wonda how much ca$h jabari waz offered by coach cal

Hey Joe,
Just a question. Is Duke showing any interest in Jabari Parker? I'm pretty sure Duke's basketball players have to be somewhat good students. Not sure if Jabari meets their standards or not though. Duke has Kyrie Irving now and Austin Rivers just decommitted from Florida and committed to Duke. Although it is likely those two players will have already gone pro before Jabari goes to college, it looks like Coach K is having tremendous success on the recruiting trail. So just wondering if Duke will pursue Jabari, because if they do they have a legit shot at snagging him.

Joe, saw a kid from BHS that is now at Peoria Manual, Christopher Bryson, the smallish guard that was dunking during warm ups and cames, saw Flash had him ranked in top 50. Do you think he can contribute to Manual program

Saw this kid from Peoria Christian School named R.J. Carter. He was definitely one to watch: I loved his change of directioin, shot selection, and how hard he was dedicated to defense. Be looking for him to be a small D1 prospect.

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on October 6, 2010 10:12 AM.

Offers + talent = hype for Class of 2014 was the previous entry in this blog.

Public League pair commits to UIC is the next entry in this blog.

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