By Joe Henricksen

Thoughts, rumblings in late summer notebook

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The visits are coming for dozens of Class of 2014 prospects throughout Illinois, with a few commitments starting to trickle in. The City/Suburban Hoops Report talks a little about those in this notebook.

But if you've come here for any Jahlil Okafor or Cliff Alexander updates (it's been exhausting already), you've come to the wrong place today. They're still freaks of nature, they're still open and there still isn't any real significant news.

This is also a Tyler Ulis-free Hoops Report notebook, and there will also be no discussion of the most talked about juniors in the state: Stevenson's Jalen Brunson or St. Rita's Charles Matthews.

Here is a late summer rundown of thoughts and rumblings from the City/Suburban Hoops Report.

THE PROVERBIAL TRANSFER TALK: The transfer talk had been quiet until late in the summer, with two notable players in the junior class making moves: Whitney Young's Joseph Toye to La Lumiere in LaPorte, Ind., and Palatine's Roosevelt Smart to St. Viator. These two moves are certainly altering for the respective teams.

With Toye, a rising 2015 prospect, the overall talent level and depth of arguably the No. 1 team in the preseason will take a hit. You don't lose a player with the high ceiling Toye possesses and not feel it at the high school level. The 6-7 wing was poised to push his way into the Whitney Young starting lineup and the Hoops Report's Top 10 prospects in the Class of 2015 before his departure to La Lumiere.

With Smart and his returning 18 points a game, Palatine was gearing up to make a run at 20 wins, a shot at its first Mid-Suburban League West title since 2005 and have its best team in years. But ... Poof! Smart is off to St. Viator, which now means coach Mike Howland's team will be mentioned in preseason top 10 rankings talk and be in the thick of the East Suburban Catholic Conference race with Benet Academy and Marian Catholic.

Don't be surprised if there is another transfer or two before the school doors open this fall that could impact a ranked team or two.

O'MARA DOWN TO SIX: The recruitment of Benet big man Sean O'Mara is down to a half dozen schools, with an eclectic list of Xavier, Wichita State, Loyola, Seton Hall, UMass and Wake Forest.

It will be interesting to see how the local school, Loyola, fares down the stretch run in this recruiting race. The 6-9 O'Mara could be the centerpiece of a local college program headed into the Missouri Valley. On paper, it would appear Loyola is up against it with the likes of teams in the Big East, ACC and a Wichita State program fresh off the Final Four. Loyola, though, has hung in there, and Ramblers coach Porter Moser has been in on O'Mara long and hard over the past 18 months. Both Xavier and Loyola have been on O'Mara the longest, which the Hoops Report believes will make a difference in this one. The other four on his list of six have all offered this summer.

LEAVING THE BIG BOYS BEHIND: While no one will shed a tear for either Whitney Young or Simeon, it should be noted the two state basketball giants have both lost a significant player in the Class of 2015. While Toye has departed Whitney Young, the fast-rising Brandon Hutton of De La Salle was originally at Simeon. The 6-5 Hutton, who is an athletic, physical specimen, has been the talk of the summer among evaluators and college coaches. Hutton is a hot commodity among mid-major programs right now and has vaulted up the Hoops Report's player rankings, inching his way into the top dozen prospects in the junior class.

COACH ON THE MOVE: Multiple sources have confirmed with the Hoops Report that Plainfield North coach Nick DiForti will be making the move to Joliet West. The Joliet West opening was created when head coach Luke Yaklich left last month for an assistant coaching position at Illinois State. DiForti has been at Plainfield North for five seasons, highlighted by a 26-5 season in his first year as head coach during the 2008-2009 season. Read more HERE on DiForti's move to Joliet West.

AARON JORDAN'S UPCOMING TOUR: Plainfield East's Aaron Jordan, who is among the Hoops Report's top five players in the Class of 2015, saw his recruiting pick up over the course of the summer. He just recently visited Butler and was offered by first-year coach Brandon Miller. But Jordan has plenty more interest and visits planned.

Jordan's tentative schedule has a visit to Illinois set for Aug. 12 and a trip to Wisconsin a week later. Both Illinois and Wisconsin have offered Jordan. He's scheduled to visit Xavier Aug. 24 and is in the process of setting up visits to Creighton and San Jose State in September. Georgetown, Purdue and Northwestern all continue to show interest in the 6-3 scoring guard.

TOPS IN 2016: At the top of the charts in 2016 you'll find Simeon's Zach Norvell. The 6-3 combo guard is the Hoops Report's top-ranked prospect in the sophomore class in Illinois. Although not an athletic marvel, Norvell is big, strong and plays with a natural creativity and feel. As Norvell develops at the point guard position for Simeon this winter, his stock will rise even more and the fortunes of the Wolverines will do the same.

STRONG EARLY PUSHES FOR D.J. WILLIAMS: Simeon's versatile D.J. Williams has turned the corner, which the Hoops Report made note of in a story last month (here). Illinois, DePaul, Providence and Florida have all made early offers for the versatile 6-7 junior. You can expect Kansas, Georgetown and Michigan State to continue to get more and more involved with Williams as he showed this July he's ready to tap into that highly intriguing physical canvas.

Florida is one high-profile high-major program that continues to try and hit Illinois hard. Coach Billy Donovan and assistant coach Rashon Burno was the first high-profile national program to offer Marian Catholic's Tyler Ulis, but the Gators ultimately took Chris Chiozza out of Memphis first. Florida was in it down to the end with Simeon's Jabari Parker, offered D.J. Williams very early and is involved with Whitney Young's Paul White.

HELLO? WHERE IS THE ED MORROW LOVE? Of all the players in the Class of 2015, the most mind-boggling offer list for any prospect in the mind of the Hoops Report is Ed Morrow of Simeon. The 6-6 forward is among the Hoops Report's top half dozen prospects in the junior class and has a lot of interest, yet only has offers from Bradley and UIC.

Iowa, Iowa State, Illinois, Nebraska and Minnesota are among the schools who have shown interest in Morrow. But two offers? TWO?

Morrow is a slightly undersized 4-man right now, which is the chief concern among coaches at the high-major level. But he's a high-energy forward who competes and is at his best when he plays with exuberance. Morrow is always around the ball, excels at running the floor, rebounding and doing the dirty work.

The interest will pick up and the offers will be coming.

BIG EARLY RECRUITING HIT: There will be recruiting steals as more commitments roll in between now and the November and April signing periods. But Darius Austin to the University of Missouri-Kansas City is probably the first true steal in the Class of 2014 out of Illinois. The 6-6 forward from Cahokia committed to head coach Kareem Richardson on Tuesday, ending a recruitment that featured a wide range of programs that were interested in him. However, his game, size and position translates nicely to the level he chose and is an ideal recruit for UMKC.

With Richardson and associate head coach Angres Thorpe being staples in recruiting the state of Illinois in previous coaching positions, UMKC will continue to be a presence in recruiting the Chicago area and the state of Illinois.

Follow Joe Henricksen and the Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport

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Any word on the Waukegan job?

Great stuff as always from you Joe. Thank you. I agree with you on Edward Morrow. But other times when you have posted something about a player with little interest or offers you have been right in that their interest is about to blow up. So I am expecting the same here.

Hey, Joe.
Really enjoy your work. Curious as to where Ausar Madison wound up. Seems like he could have wound up at a lower level D1 school. Maybe Ivy?

Do we know if Jerome Davis ended up transferring out of Waukegan?


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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on August 7, 2013 9:17 AM.

Plainfield North's Nick DiForti heading to Joliet West was the previous entry in this blog.

Drake lands St. Viator's Arogundade is the next entry in this blog.

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