Posted On: 01/26/18 9:30 PM
PrepHoopsIllinois evaluated a Catholic League heavyweight battle on Friday night between Fenwick and DePaul Prep. It was a big night at DePaul Prep as they retired the number of their head coach and former standout player Tom Kleinschmidt. It was tight early as both teams were trying to feel each other out. It was tied after the first quarter and Fenwick held a four point lead going into the half. The third quarter DePaul Prep stormed back to take a 39-38 advantage heading into the fourth quarter. The final frame was owned by Fenwick. They dominated with their defense and transition scores. Fenwick got the road win 61-51. Here are our 5 Takeaways: Fenwick vs DePaul Prep.
Fenwick is Battle Tested
The Friars might have played the toughest schedule in the entire state of Illinois. Between their non-conference schedule playing teams like Simeon and Morgan Park along with the Proviso West Holiday tournament and then their vaunted Catholic League schedule it has prepared them for anything. This was a back and forth game for the first three quarters in a packed gym on a special night at DePaul Prep. Their experience against tough teams this year helped them take control of this game late. Their record might not show it, but this is not a team I would want to play in March. In a one game scenario they can give any team a game.
DJ Steward is A Special Talent
A big reason that they can challenge anyone in the state is the play of their super sophomore DJ Steward. The long and rangy point guard is one of the two elite prospects in the state of Illinois in the sophomore class. His length played a huge factor on the defensive end in this contest. He got steals and deflections on quite a few occasions and then used his elite speed in transition to score at the other end. So fast in the open floor! His jumper wasn’t on most of the night although he did hit a corner three. Most of his points came on drives to the hoop where he finished with acrobatics at the rim. This kid just has that “it” factor you can’t teach. Steward finished with 25 points in the win.
Nixon’s Key for Fenwick
The Nixon’s are Steward’s running mates for the Friars. Damari Nixon is a left handed combo guard that is more of a scorer at this stage. The lefty has a smooth pull up jump shot and likes to score in the paint with runners and is very effective on back cuts selling the fake and going to the hoop. He had 13 points. Senior guard AJ Nixon played well in the first half. The strong combo guard hit a pair of threes off the catch. That is what he is best at going for 8 points.
Perry Cowan Showing Progression As Go to Guy
DePaul Prep’s star 2019 shooting guard Perry Cowan was honored before the game for recently scoring his 1,000 point. He has started to pick it up as of late with some big games and was solid again against Fenwick. Cowan is a projectable wing that has always had upside as a scorer, but didn’t really make that big jump over the summer. It seems like it is starting to click in the second half of his junior campaign as he is more comfortable being a go to guy. We feel the best part of his game is his ability to score from the mid-range. The state’s top shooting guard can rise up off the bounce with elevation on his shot drilling it with ease. Also connected on a couple threes in this game. He had a few impressive drives including one where he caught it with his back to the basket at the free throw line, spinned, and took it strong to the rim for a score. Cowan also scored some in transition on his way to 21 points.
Future Bright at DePaul Prep
Despite the loss the future remains bright for DePaul Prep. They are a very dangerous team in 3A. The majority of this core has been together for three years and they are primed to make a run in March. Cowan is being more assertive as a scorer. Junior guard Raheem Anthony is making a consistent presence as a scoring threat. He drilled a couple sweet mid-range jumpers after pulling up off the bounce. Pavle Pantovic showed flashes inside in this game with a pair of spins in the lane, but only managed four points. When he gets consistent post touches it gives this team an inside presence. You can’t forget about the x-factor in sophomore Lance Mosley. The 2020 prospect is a plus shooter and athletic wing that connected on an array of jumpers going for 8 points.