By Joe Henricksen
Marshall coach Henry Cotton believes he's one of the most underrated players in the city and will be "the best unsigned player in the class" when he talks of 6-4 senior Milton Doyle.
He just might be right.
A year ago Doyle made quite an impression at last fall's Illinois Spot-Lite Showcase, grabbing the attention of the Hoops Report after transferring to Marshall from Tilden. He did so again Sunday at the 2011 edition of the Illinois Spot-Lite Showcase. The long, wiry and active Doyle was one of the most impressive performers at the event and is currently among the Hoops Report's top 20 prospects in the senior class.
However, what he's done between last year's Spot-Lite event and this year's has been minimal. He sat out last season after transferring to Marshall and then breaking his wrist last season. While he played a little club basketball with the Illinois Hawks, he missed most of the summer AAU circuit while he attended summer school. He did open some eyes in June with his performance at the Reebok Headliner tryout camp in Chicago and then attended the Reebok Breakout Challenge in Philadelphia in July.
But even with the Reebok event success, the recruiting interest and fanfare has been quiet. That should change as he will be seen as he's finally healthy, playing and poised to do what Cotton predicts.
"He's an exciting talent," says Cotton. "He's a natural player who does things and makes plays you can't teach. And he is such a respectful kid."
What Doyle does best is get to the basket and finish at the rim. He's a superior athlete with bounce and length, capable of beating defenders off the dribble and using his athleticism to convert plays. He gets out and runs the floor and is the ultimate finisher on the break. Simply put, Doyle finds ways to put the ball in the basket while creating a little havoc defensively with his length and quickness. Doyle's mechanics on his jumper are a work in progress, but he even showed an ability to make some perimeter shots at the Spot-Lite event.
Other players who opened eyes at the Spot-Lite Showcase
• Steve Taylor, 6-7, Simeon (Sr.)
Yes, the Class of 2012 is weak. But it's so clear that Taylor is by far and away the top prospect in the senior class in Illinois.
• Kendall Pollard, 6-5, Simeon (Jr.)
This is the forgotten man on a loaded Simeon team. He's always playing hard, willing to defend, do some dirty work and his offensive game continues to grow. Pollard is a solid mid-major prospect.
• Dante Bailey, 6-6, Glenbard East (Sr.)
A key member of last year's third-place finisher in Class 4A, Bailey had an eye-opening performance Sunday shooting the basketball. He was 6-for-6 from the three-point line in one game, poured in close to 30 points and was active and hustling. Bailey is an underrated prospect in the Class of 2012.
• Marvin Clark, 6-4, Glenbard East (Jr.)
A big-bodied wing with athleticism, Clark has improved both his handle and shot. As a result, the junior showed more aggressiveness offensively and was productive and played well throughout the event.
• Casey Boyle, 6-9, Grayslake Central (Sr.)
A project big man who is still in the developing stages, but he has really improved over the past 12 months. Boyle has emerged as a top small college prospect with size and an ability to face-up.
• Ben Ryan, 6-4, Washington (Sr.)
He's not blessed with quickness or athleticism, but Ryan has basketball smarts, some size on the wing and is a lefty who can make shots. Ryan's a very good small college prospect.
• Devante Jones, 5-8, Orr (Sr.)
He can be a little wild and he may not have a true position, but pound for pound there aren't many players with more quickness and athleticism than Jones. He can get where he wants and shoot it a little.
• D.J. Williams, 6-5, Simeon (Fr.)
It's very early and he's very young, but at this point Williams is arguably the top prospect in Illinois in the Class of 2015.
• Luwane Pipkins, 5-10, Bogan (Fr.)
There are other guards and players in the class who have received more pub early on, but Pipkins is about as good as any of them and will be an impact guard sooner than later in the Public League.
• Alex Majewski, 6-6, Brother Rice (Jr.)
A player with a nice combination of some size, decent athleticism and skill level. Majewski quietly put together a heck of a sophomore year for the Crusaders and will have a breakout season this winter.
• Luke Norman, 6-0, Freeport (Sr.)
The competitive Norman is always is in the middle of making things happen and will knock down some shots as well.
• Michael Hoekstra, 6-6, Bishop McNamara (Jr.)
He may be a bit of a no-namer in the loaded junior class, but he had a solid summer with the Peoria Irish and played well at the Spot-Lite Showcase. He's a competitive and active 4-man with some ability and size. Will step out and knock down the 15-footer and battle.
A thank you to Larry Butler of Illinois Spot-Lite, whose showcase event was well run and featured plenty of talent.