By Joe Henricksen

A little of this, a little of that

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By Joe Henricksen

You never know how our teams from the state of Illinois will fare when they cross the state border and head out all over the country. There has been a lot of toe-stubbing over the years by our state's elite programs in national games. This past weekend, Morgan Park came home with an impressive win over Garfield High of Seattle in a matchup of two of the premier guards in the country.

Led by Wayne Blackshear's 26 points, Morgan Park beat Garfield and Washington-bound Tony Wroten 78-67 in the HoopHall Classic in Springfield, Mass. Wroten was one of the Hoops Report's favorite out-of-state players it watched this offseason. In fact, it was the 6-4 Wroten who led Seattle Rotary to a win over Blackshear and the Mac Irvin Fire this past summer on the club circuit. Blackshear and coach Nick Irvin got a little revenge Saturday night.

Now Blackshear, who tweaked a knee in the first quarter when he came down awkwardly after a dunk, will host No. 1 Simeon this Saturday in one of the marquee matchups of the season.

Blackshear, who has emerged as the Mr. Basketball favorite, could add a big piece to the resumé with a victory over Simeon. On the season the 6-5 Blackshear is averaging 32 points, 15.6 rebounds, 5.4 blocks, 4.4 assists and 4 steals a game for a team that has lost just once this season.

• The state's top teams had a solid weekend against out-of-state teams. Top-ranked Simeon handled its business with a win in Dayton, beating Dunbar (OH) 53-39 Sunday night, while De La Salle went 2-1 and finished third in the Bass Tournament of Champions in Missouri over the weekend. If Whitney Young can claim a win in Dayton on Monday, Morgan Park, Simeon, De La Salle and Young -- the top four teams in the Hoops Report's preseason rankings -- will have gone 5-1 over the weekend against out-of-state competition.

• Back to Morgan Park. ... The Hoops Report is a huge fan of sophomore point guard Markee Williams and all that he brings to the table as a lead guard. Strong, tough, competitive and fearless in that he isn't afraid of key situations.

Proviso East and sophomore Sterling Brown were very impressive in Saturday's win over Glenbard East. Coach David Chatman's club got after it on the defensive end, using its great quickness to force turnovers and create points. Offensively, the Pirates were patient and received a big effort from Brown (22 points). The 6-4 guard knocked down perimeter shots, both with a great looking and comfortable mid-range game and stepping out and knocking down a three-pointer. When Brown is an impact player and active, Proviso East is capable of playing at a higher level and he looks like a top 10 player in the class.

• How impressive has Benet Academy been this season? Point guard David Sobolewski goes down and coach Gene Heidkamp's club cruises. A tender back kept Sobolewski out of Saturday's game with Oswego, a lopsided win at the Naperville North Shootout, and he is questionable for Tuesday's matchup with St. Viator. Big man Frank Kaminsky stepped up with a big performance and kept the Redwings unbeaten heading into a busy upcoming week -- St. Viator on Tuesday, Marist on Friday and a big one with Glenbard East on Saturday at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates.

• Despite the fact Niles Notre Dame was upset by St. Patrick this past weekend, the Notre Dame battle in Peoria on Monday (Peoria Notre Dame vs. Niles Notre Dame) should be a good one. Peoria Notre Dame will resemble Benet Academy in some ways to coach Tom Les' Dons when they square off with the top-ranked team in Class 3A.

• Speaking of Niles Notre Dame, freshman guard Daunte Stephens is one of the more promising and impressive players in the Class of 2014.

• Want one fun freshman to watch? Marian Catholic's 5-5 Tyler Ulis is a good one and an entertaining point guard. He's put together a solid year for a player his age and size at the varsity level.

• Just a heads up: St. Ignatius may not always look the part, but the Wolfpack will be dangerous for top teams to play down the stretch. First, big man Nnanna Egwu is becoming a dominant factor on both ends of the floor. And second, Rich Kehoe can coach. With a win over Orr and Illinois recruit Mycheal Henry on Sunday, the Wolfpack are now 12-3 on the season. Up next is another key Catholic League game Friday night against yet another Illinois recruit -- De La Salle and Mike Shaw. There is no doubt that since Christmas the most impressive Illinois signee has been Egwu, who has averaged 22 points a game over his last five games to go along with being a defensive menace with his shot blocking ability.

• When Jerron Wilbut of Downers Grove South is focused and on the same page with his coach and teammates he is easily one of the top four or five prospects in the Class of 2012. And DGS is a different team.

• As stated in a previous blog, the Hoops Report really likes Farragut and its potential going forward, especially if it can get 6-7 junior Rashaun Stimage back from injury sooner than later. You have to love seniors, which Farragut is blessed with, and the all-around floor game of 6-5 D.J. Tolliver.

Wheaton Academy is off to a similar start as last year, winning 14 of its first 15 games with its lone loss coming to an out-of-state opponent. It will be interesting to see how the seeds shake out in the Riverside-Brookfield Sectional in a few weeks if Wheaton Academy marches in with a 17 or 18 wins. Right now the top-seed should be Crane. But where does a team like Wheaton Academy, which hasn't played the schedule many of the teams in the sectional have, get seeded? After watching Wheaton Academy this year, the Hoops Report doesn't believe this team is as strong as last year's team that was awarded the No. 4 seed and finished 24-3 overall. Wheaton Academy was stunned in the regional semis last March by Wheaton St. Francis.

HOOPS REPORT MAILBAG: Have a question you would like answered regarding high school hoops, the Hoops Report or anything else, present or past? Post a message here on the blog or email the Hoops Report at hoopsreport@yahoo.com. The questions and answers will be posted in a Hoops Report mailbag in coming weeks.

For more information or to subscribe to the City/Suburban Hoops Report, now in its 16th year of publication, call (630)-408-6709 or email hoopsreport@yahoo.com

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15 Comments

Hopefully you've seen Wheaton Academy play more than just at this past Naperville North shootout. Although they handily beat Rich East, up by around 24 in the third quarter, they were ragged after playing late the night before and then having a 12:00 game. Not much rest for the kids. If you judge the other teams/players from that day you'll see the same thing. Crete looked very out of sync as did my favorite player Jamiee Crocket, not to mention Aurora West, and their talented junior who took a ton of shots to score his points. I wouldn't judge Crete or Aurora West too much based on that day either. It was a nice event, but doesn't tell you much about that teams that played in it since they all had tough game the late evening before.

Joe,

Great article as always. What are you hearing about the freshmen class?

I live up North and hear a lot about Milik Yarbrough, who just had 34 against Lake Zurich and is probably averaging between 18-19ppg, growing in confidence with each game. He carried the team into OT against a 19-2 Mundelein squad, scoring the last 6 of regulation, including taking the ball full court with 4.5 seconds left and laying it in to force OT.

Thanks,
Wayne

I have to agree with you on Wheaton Academy. It's tough to replace a great player like Rusthoven. They have some talented young men there, but Rusthoven was pretty special. And I also agree that he was a consistent force game in, game out. You always knew how he'd do. Wheaton's good. But hard to tell how good based on their schedule. Wish they played some of the Neuqua's and such to measure against. I do agree with skyhigh about how ragged the teams and players looked. But that's part of high school ball. That's why anyone can be beat on any given day.

Skyhigh, West Aurora might have been a little ragged after a tough game against Glenbard East on Friday. it was a very physical game. Coming back to play another game on Saturday afternoon (for both teams most likely) leads to less than stellar play.

I have seen Wheaton Academy four times this year. I would agree that they are not as good as last year. Koral is a terrific player and great addition, but they don't seem to have the same starting five firepower they did last year with Rusthoven. They also don't seem to have as much bench depth as last year. Combined with their lack of strength in scheduling that could compromise their playoff plans. If Wheaton Academy wants to reach higher ground in basketball they need to schedule tougher teams and/or play in tougher Christmas tournaments than they currently play. I would love to see them play at York's Christmas tournament. MMM, WA lost to St. Francis last year in the tournament and mmm, SF plays at York at Christmas.

Joe do you see a dip in officiating this year? Or a change in the way the game is being called? The Glenbard East / West Aurora game is an example. Play was rough from the first drive to the basket - hard foul with no call. The rough play got worse throughout the game. However the calls that were made were the ticky tack fouls where no advantage was gained. It was like ticketing jay walkers but letting the assaults go. I have seen the game called more and more this way which pushes the finesse player out of the game and detracts from the game in general.

The other call I dislike is where they let a guy carry the ball during his dribble (or lack thereof) all night long and then in the last minute of a tight game the ref will make that call. What?!? Like the guy wasn't doing that all game. And at the time it is called it tilts the game in favor of the other team.

Joe....where is Morgan Park-Simeon? And what time Saturday? Thanks. Love your blog.

Joe...Trying to decide which game to go to Friday. DeLaSalle at Ignatius? Haven't seen either team play. Do you think it would be worth going to? I know you can't say if it will be a blowout but is it worth going out of my way to attend?

Joe, Whitney Young has lost two in a row - in Dayton on Monday and again on Tuesday night. Is it just a mid-season let down or it WY having some deeper problems? With all that talent I would think they would be rolling over teams.

Hey .oe

what do you know about Jordan thomas of new trier.
seen him play and he is one of the best point guards in the class of 2014.

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on January 16, 2011 10:09 PM.

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