High school basketball fans in the Chicago area haven't heard about Dyricus Simms-Edwards or Zeke Schneider. But they will. They are two of the fastest rising juniors in the state. Illinois coach Bruce Weber knows about them. So does Kansas coach Bill Self. That should tell you all you need to know.
Why didn't anyone know about them until now? Because neither Simms-Edwards, a 6-1 junior guard at Washington, and Schneider, a 6-9, 220-pound center at Metamora, played AAU last summer. They didn't receive an iota of exposure.
This season, Simms-Edwards is playing in the same backcourt with Indiana-bound Matt Roth on one of the top teams in the state and Schneider is averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Simms-Edwards, who played with Illinois-bound D.J. Richardson at Peoria Central for two years before transferring to Washington, has received no scholarship offers. But Illinois, Kansas, Wisconsin, Illinois State and Wichita State are interested. He has just begun to attract attention.
"He is a point guard who is outstanding on defense, athletic, a good distributor, a good jumper, unselfish and sees the floor well," said recruiting analyst Bill "Flash" Flanagan, who observed Simms-Edwards in the Hersey Hawkins League in Peoria last summer.
"He was playing against college players and the best high school players. I'm not surprised he has emerged this season. He keeps getting better and better and he plays for one of the best coaches in the state in Kevin Brown. It's a Cinderella story. He didn't have any exposure until he came to Washington."
Flanagan said Roth, perhaps the best pure shooter in the state, and Simms-Edwards form "one of the best backcourt combinations I've seen" and he rates Simms-Edwards among the top five juniors in the state along with St. Joseph's Diamond Taylor and Sterling's Joe Bertrand, who will be Simms-Edwards' future teammates on Mike Mullins' Wolves AAU team.
Add Schneider to Mullins' AAU roster. Metamora is recognized as a football school so Schneider plays second fiddle. Like Simms-Edwards, he didn't get any exposure in AAU competition last summer. But his size and athleticism and ability to run the court has attracted interest from Illinois, Kansas and Illinois State. It won't be long before others find their way to Metamora. He is still growing. By next year, he could be 6-10 and weigh 235 pounds.
"He will be a high major (college) player in another year," predicts Flanagan.