By Roy & Harv Schmidt
There may not be a hotter unsigned prospect in Illinois from the class of 2008 than Pinckneyville's Kyle Cassity, as the 6'5 wing recently added to his list of scholarship offers, continues to attract widespread recruiting interest and has even received some acclaim from some of the national "gurus." However, in many ways Cassity is still a relative unknown amongst many in-state observers outside of his immediate area. With Pinckneyville having reached the Class 2A state finals in Peoria this weekend, that should undoubtedly change and as a result there is a possibility that Cassity's recruitment could become even more solidified.
While Pinckneyville has as rich a basketball tradition as any Class 2A school in Illinois, unfortunately they do not receive the same level of exposure that other 2A schools such as North Lawndale, Peoria Manual or Hales Franciscan do. Such is the case when you are a small farm community located in southwestern Illinois and therefore are not as high-profile as teams that come from larger metropolitan areas. That is all the more reason why when a player like Cassity receives the degree of recruiting attention that he has, we take immediate notice.
At the present time Cassity has received scholarship offers from St. Louis, Penn State, Missouri-Kansas City, Evansville, Arkansas State and Southern-Illinois Edwardsville, all of whom remain strong contenders for his services. In addition, Michigan has also shown heavy interest, and while the Wolverines have not offered as of yet, head coach John Beilein has been present at a number of Cassity's practices and games, the most recent of which was Pinckneyville's supersectional victory over Trenton-Wesclin this past Wednesday.
Cassity first began receiving some national attention after an impressive performance this past December at the Marshall County Hoopfest in Draffenville, KY. The Hoopfest is annually one of the most-high profile high school basketball events in the country and always attracts a high percentage of national scouts and talent evaluators. We therefore find it more than mere coincidence that since that time Cassity's recruitment has skyrocketed.
Pinckneyville will take a 27-4 record into their Class 2A semifinal contest vs. North Lawndale tonight. Everyone knows who North Lawndale is, as they immediately carved a reputation as the "new kid on the block" in the talent-laden Chicago Public League when they upset Whitney Young (who at the time was the #1 ranked team in the Chicago area) back in January. North Lawndale sports as many as four potential D1 players and is led by 6'5 junior Jonathan Mills, who is a first team Class 2A all-state selection.
There is no question that North Lawndale will provide Pinckneyville with a huge test. However, should Pinckneyville come away with the victory, if Cassity has an outstanding performance, or both, there is a possibility that Cassity's recruitment could become even clearer upon the conclusion of the Class 2A state finals. With that being said, we are looking forward to finally having the opportunity to see Cassity play this weekend.