By Joe Henricksen
The Baylor Basketball D-I Elite Event at York High School showcased plenty of talent, including some big names like Simeon's Jabari Parker and Kendrick Nunn enhancing their reputations, along with Farragut's Rashaun Stimage showing why he's a Hoops Report favorite (for the blog on Parker, Nunn and Stimage go to Big Names).
But there were a lot of other players in the weekend event that got a lot done. The Hoops Report takes a look at a few of those players were impressive at the D-1 Elite Event at York High School.
Class of 2012
• Tony Hicks, Chicago (St. Rita)
There is a large group of guards in the Class of 2012 that are Division I prospects who are trying to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Hicks, who the Hoops Report was so high on 12 months ago, seems to be putting it together at the right time. There aren't many guards in this senior class that can score it better than Hicks, who will knock down a shot and is at his best getting by opponents off the dribble. He's a slender all-around scorer with a quick burst off the bounce and is an ideal mid-major 2-guard. Hicks, who is another one of those under-recruited Class of 2012 prospects, played extremely well at the D-1 Elite Event with the Mustangs, particularly the second day of action.
• C.J. Jones, Chicago (Orr)
Since Jones, who was once committed to Ball State, entered high school he's been praised for his toughness and get-after-it style. Jones still may not be your ideal point guard and he may be an undersized 2-guard that doesn't shoot it great, but he is playing well. Jones has improved his skills -- his handle is a little tighter and his mid-range jumper has become more consistent -- while maintaining that ability to put some pressure on opponents with his willingness to defend on one end and get to the basket at the other end. Although he did de-commit from Ball State, he's a niche guy at that level and MAC-level schools should be all over this 6-0 combo guard.
Class of 2013
• Quenten Payne, St. Charles (North)
The junior guard switched AAU teams and had moments where he played extremely well with the Spartans. At 6-4 with a solid build, Payne has terrific size for a perimeter player. He's just a solid basketball player right now who does a lot of things well. He may not have the pure basketball skill and instincts his older brother Cully Payne has, but he brings different things to the table with his size.
• Marquise Pryor, Chicago (Orr)
The more and more you watch Pryor, the more you appreciate him. The 6-6 Pryor is arguably the best rebounder in the junior class. He gets after it on the boards, runs the floor and shows a willingness to do a little of the dirty work. Pryor has that junk yard dog mentality and uses his body and instincts so well on the glass. He's a get-things-done undersized 4-man whose stock will enhance even more if he pops an inch or two.
• Paris Lee, Maywood (Proviso East)
After putting together a very solid sophomore season at Proviso East, Lee is now having a stellar offseason. He's the definition of a basketball player who has a whole lot of grit to him. Who cares if he's 5-9! Lee was one Mac Irvin Fire player who played any game, at any eligible age group that they asked him to play. He handles it, can pass and has an ability to put the ball in the hole. And he competes and plays with some passion.
• Jared Brownridge, Aurora (Waubonsie Valley)
The Hoops Report fell in love with Brownridge's shooting ability when he dropped in 21 and 6 three-pointers on Brooks in December -- all in the first half. His release is quick, pure and he doesn't take long to get heated up. Brownridge was solid for the Illinois Wolves this past weekend. The 6-1 off-guard is not blessed with ideal foot speed and athleticism, and he must continue to show a little more comfort level with the ball in his hands.
• A.J. Riley, Peoria (Manual)
With the exception of maybe Nathan Taphorn of Pekin, there probably isn't a player on a very talented Wolves 16s team that has come as far as Riley has in the past six months. He's clearly one of the top 20 prospects in the Class of 2013. There is a lot to like with this big-bodied junior guard. Riley is built well and, right now, is a combo guard who will ultimately evolve into a 6-2 point guard. His shot needs some work, but Riley has a terrific feel, sees the floor, knows how to play and is a strong-bodied guard for his age.
• Xzavier Taylor, Chicago (Morgan Park)
Big "X" may be ready to take the next step. He's still pretty raw in many facets, but you can't ignore the height and the body Taylor possesses. He's a good athlete who runs the floor and can impact games with his size and presence. More importantly, Taylor showed an ability to get some things done this past weekend, especially on the glass, for the Mac Irvin Fire team.
• Jubril Adekoya, Tinley Park (Andrew)
The Hoops Report has continued to compare Adekoya to former Thornton player Joevan Catron, who just finished his career at Oregon this past season. You know when a college coach just can't get excited about the 6-8 stiff? Take this guy instead. He's an undersized 4-man right now who gets a ton done at 6-5. He plays with a motor and is constantly around the basketball and making plays. Adekoya is strong, with a big frame, is nimble on his feet and finds a way to finish against bigger players. Aside from Simeon's Kendrick Nunn, Adekoya was probably the most productive player this past weekend for a loaded Meanstreets 16s team.
• Alec Peters, Washington
Here is a no-namer among college coaches that really opened eyes with his play with the Peoria Irish. The 6-6 junior can fill it up, plays hard and understands how to play and what his limitations are as a basketball player. He may lack the quickness and athleticism that is coveted at the college level, but he plays hard, is pretty strong and shoots it with range with a pretty looking jumper.
Big-time event in Elmhurst
The combination of Baylor Youth Basketball and the York High School athletic department and booster club put on a first-class event in Elmhurst this past weekend. The event, which was loaded with talent, was run well with an ideal venue and location. The hospitality was second to none in comparison to so many other July events on the club circuit. In addition to Baylor Youth, a special thanks goes out to York head basketball coach Tom Kleinschmidt, York athletic director John Rutter, York principal Diana Smith, Mike and Anne Sullivan and David and Paula Cohn of the York Booster Club, Mike Mullins and Brian Stinnette.