By Roy & Harv Schmidt
Knowing that in recent years high school basketball has very much become a guard's game, there is often considerable talk throughout the state as to which high school teams have the most talented back court duos. One team whose back court combination has largely flown under the radar is Elgin High School's 6'2 Armani Williams and 6'1 Jeremy Granger. In this blog we comment on that, as well as some in-state universities that hit the recruiting trail hard this past weekend.
We treked out to Elgin High School this past Friday night to watch the Maroons in action vs. Waubonsie Valley and came away extremely impressed with both Williams and Granger's performances. In Elgin's 73-58 victory, Williams came away with 30 points, including six three-pointers, while Granger finished with 17 points.
Williams is probably right on the fringe in terms of projecting as a D1 prospect. However, we will say this--any low major D1 program that is looking for a pure shooter would be wise to take Williams right now. Williams has unlimited range and is a tremendous spotup shooter from virtually anwhere on the floor. His ball skills still need to get better, but with his ability to knock shots down with consistency, we have no doubt that he can be an effective 2-guard at the next level. At the present time, Williams' primary recruiting interest is coming from small colleges, with Illinois Benedictine and North Central being two schools that were in attendance to watch him on Friday night.
Granger may be one of the better guards in the state from the 2008 class that few people know about. He has tremendous quickness and ball handling ability and can consistently get to the basket and beat his opponent off the dribble. While he appears to be a streaky shooter, at the same time he showed us that he definitely has the range. At this point what Granger needs to work on first and foremost is getting stronger. Both Granger and Elgin head coach Mike Sitter are hoping that a scholarship might ultimately come Granger's way, and from what we saw this past weekend we believe that he may certainly be deserving of one. One D1 assistant coach who definitely agrees is Chad Altadonna of Eastern Illinois University, who was on hand at Elgin to watch Granger vs. Waubonsie.
In recent years history has shown that teams with strong back courts generally do well come state tournament time in Illinois. With that in mind, we are beginning to think that the class 4A sectional at Jacobs High School in Algonquin, IL could shape up to be an extremely competitive one, as in addition to Elgin it could feature Jacobs, who is led by 6'1 point guard and University Of Northern Iowa recruit John Moran, as well as Rockton Hononegah, who is spearheaded by unheralded 6'3 junior guard David Brown, who has received scholarship offers from Northern Illinois, Wright State and Eastern Illinois. Therefore, Elgin is a team that could cause some serious damage once the state tournament rolls around, which wouldn't surprise us at all should it happen.
Meanwhile, DePaul University was hard at work on the recruiting trail over the weekend, as head coach Jerry Wainwright and assistant coach Ramone Williams were both in the gym at the City-Suburban Showdown at Northwestern University's Welsh-Ryan Arena for the purpose of watching 6'5 sophomore Alex Rossi from New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL. Rossi didn't disappoint, as he finished with 16 points, including four 3-point field goals in New Trier's 61-53 loss to East Chicago Central High School in East Chicago, IN. The Blue Demons also recently offered 6'10 junior center Kyle Rowley from Lake Forest Academy in Lake Forest, IL. They are looking for a mixture of players from throughout the state of Illinois as well as other parts of the country and are involved with several top underclass prospects in the classes of 2010 and 2011.
In addition to the DePaul coaching staff, Northwestern assistant Tavaras Hardy once again showed why he is one of the hardest working assistant coaches in the D1 recruiting ranks, as he was also front and center for the purpose of watching Rossi. The Wildcats have already offered Rossi a scholarship.