Posted On: 01/8/18 6:00 AM
PrepHoops covered the 27th Annual Highland Shootout this past weekend which featured many of the top teams and players in both Illinois and Missouri. Here are our evaluations of the Illinois prospects at the event!
PG Jack Marinko (Edwardsville – 2018)
The day started off with a nice game between Edwardsville and Rockhurst. The standout for Edwardsville all season has been this 6’0” scoring point guard. Marinko is a tough guard that can flat out shoot the basketball! Marinko has deep range on his three point shot and a quick release both pulling up and off the catch. Sound mid-range shooter that can stop and pop on a dime. Mixes in runners/floaters on occasion. Works well around ball screens setting his shot up and finding teammates. Marinko is a big time prospect for D3 and NAIA programs. He is having a monster senior campaign and that continued at Highland going for 29 points.
PF Caleb Strohmeier (Edwardsville – 2018)
Strohmeier is a 6’6” face up four man that can stretch the floor with his shooting. That is exactly what he did early in their game against Rockhurst. The Edwardsville senior drilled a pair of threes off the catch. Works well as a pick and pop big man that can screen and fade to the spot to get his shot off. Shot it very well in the game we saw. Also got on the glass for a put back. Not a guy that can put the ball on the deck more than a couple dribbles, but with his toughness and shooting he would be an ideal get for a small college program!
SG Darius Beane (Carbondale – 2018)
The SIU commit has to play without his sidekick as Kani Acree is out with a knee injury. It was a bit of slow start for Beane early in their contest. He got things going by being aggressive on the offensive glass. Quick second jump out of Beane and was the most assertive we have seen him on the boards. His jump shot wasn’t on most of the first half and struggled at the free throw line too. Weird considering these are two of his strengths. Seemed to be short arming his shot. When the game was on the lane late Beane got it rolling drilling an array of pull up mid-range jumpers including one to send the game to overtime. Couple slick drives to the hoop. Rangy guard that should be a plus defender at the next level. Nice feel for passing it. He had 18 points.
PG Clayton Greer (Carbondale – 2020)
Greer emerged on our radar with his play for the Terriers. The 5’9” guard is tiny, but can really shoot the basketball. He hit a three and multiple jumpers from just inside the arc. Finished with 12 points.
SF James Baltz (Carbondale – 2020)
Baltz is a prospect that has had some buzz coming into the season. He stands at 6’3” with a well-developed body and strong legs. Probably not going to grow much more. Scores mostly on the interior getting on the glass. Didn’t show perimeter skill in this game. Physical wing had 8 points.
SG Zanidrelle Johnson (Carbondale – 2018)
Johnson is a senior that at 6’0” has a slender build. Slick handling guard that is quick off the bounce and slippery though traffic. Best take was a baseline drive that he finished at the rim. Johnson is also an active defender. He scored 8 points and is worth consideration at the D3/NAIA/JUCO levels.
SG Davarius Macklin (Carbondale – 2020)
Macklin is another prospect that was a new name to us, but put his name on the map. The 6’0” sophomore is a long and projectable prospect that should grow a couple more inches. The lefty wing is at his best as a spot up shooter on the perimeter at this stage of his development. Drilled multiple triples on his way to 11 points.
SF Sam LaPorta (Highland – 2019)
LaPorta will most likely play football at the D1 level in college, but he showed on his home floor he can hold his own with some of the stars from around the area on the hardwood. The 6’4” wing is a strong forward and super athletic. He consistently powered his way to the rim where he finished with physicality. Several big dunks. Showed a little bit of skill around the hoop. High points rebounds. Mostly a slashing wing that plays well in transition. He had 19 points.
G Brady Feldman (Highland – 2019)
Feldman is a 5’9” guard that excels as a spot up shooter for Highland. The junior guard caught fire from three with his quick release off the catch. To max out his value at the small college level he will need to show more skills as a lead guard. Finished with 17 points.
C Stephen Torre (Highland – 2019)
Torre didn’t do much in their game, but you have to take notice of the 6’8” junior post. He is long and really thin. Struggles finishing around the hoop because he is so weak at this stage. Once you put some weight on him he might be a nice player at the small college level.
G Jordan Holmes (Columbia – 2018)
Holmes is a prospect that continues to grow on us. The 6’0” combo guard got off to a fast start scoring against Highland. The senior who is a dual sport star also making an impact on the gridiron displayed his ability to score. Opened with a step back two and another pull up three. Creative ball handler that can get to the rack and is a good layup maker. Didn’t score much in the second half as he was more of a distributor showing off his vision especially in the half court. He had 14 points. Should be a priority at the D3/NAIA level for programs looking for a combo guard that is versatile.
PF Jon Peterson (Columbia – 2019)
Peterson stands at 6’6” with a nice base. He had one of the better games we have seen out of him this season. The junior post is a quality area rebounder that has a soft touch around the hoop. Not the best athlete, but when he gets space to work can make a fundamentally sound move. Hit a three early which is the first time we have seen him do that. Good post defender. He had 9 points. D3/NAIA prospect.
PF EJ Liddell (Belleville West – 2019)
Liddell continues his dominance! The 2019 power forward was dominant a week ago at Centralia in their holiday tournament. He took it up another notch against Poplar Bluff. The 6’7” power forward that has filled out his frame is an absolute force on the high school level. He has diversified his offensive game to where he can score in a variety of ways. Liddell showed off many of those. Hit turnaround jumpers, threes from the top of the key, explosive takes from the perimeter, mid-range jumpers, and quick moves on the interior that he finished by carving out space. He is so efficient with the ball in his hands and might be the most impactful high school player in the state right now. Liddell was a beast defensively swatting shots almost jumping too high at times and spiking them into the ground. As we said at Centralia his passing has greatly improved. That was evident again at Highland. He finished with 26 points, 10 blocks, and 5 assists. High-major Midwest priority recruit.
PF Keith Randolph (Belleville West – 2019)
Randloph is a physical 6’5” power forward that has tremendous strength in his upper body. Built like a power five defensive end at the college level. Randolph finishes well through contact and absolutely mauls opponents on the offensive glass. He did that again against Poplar Bluff owning the glass. He had 13 points in the win. D2’s should get in early with this post.
SG Malachi Smith (Belleville West – 2018)
The Wright State commit just goes about his business and continues to produce. Smith who is a top 20 player in the 2018 class shot it well especially early. Drilled a pair of wing threes. The versatile scorer got in the lane where he hit a few runners and scored in transition as well. Smith will make an impact at Wright State throughout his career. He had 15 points.
PG Adam Miller (Morgan Park – 2020)
Miller had to step up for Morgan Park with the Mustangs star Ayo being less than 100%. The state’s top sophomore didn’t disappoint and showed fans why he is a coveted recruit. Converted on a number of his pull up jump shots. The lefty at times can fall in love with it, but was good shooting it in this one. He drilled them from all over the floor. Miller also had multiple explosive takes to the rim including a tough and-1 late. Best play of the day might have been when he got a steal and took it the other way for a one handed jam. The 6’4” lead guard presents great size and big time talent at the lead guard spot. Quality passer that had a few nice dishes. He finished with 23 points. High-major prospect.
F Cameron Burrell (Morgan Park – 2018)
Burrell has been absolutely phenomenal as a senior. The 6’6” combo forward has embraced who he is as a player and been a star in his role. He is a high energy combo forward that is more of a power forward at this stage. Super athletic and rangy. As always he got after it on the glass early and often. Burrell is an outstanding offensive rebounder that uses his quick second jump to score on put backs. Offensively most of his points come on put backs, dunks on dump offs, or in the transition game. He has shown to be a good free throw shooter. Burrell had 36 points and 11 rebounds. No brainer at the D2 level at this stage and low-major programs might want to start giving him some consideration.
SF Kenyon Duling (Morgan Park – 2018)
Duling is a Tennessee State commit that is a physical wing. Not the tallest, but he really knows how to play the game on both ends. Did a nice job defensively limiting and frustrating Chaminade’s star. Offensively he drilled multiple threes off the catch and scores well on the interior through defenders with his strength. Plus rebounder that makes that a priority in his game. Duling had 13 points.
PG Marcus Watson (Morgan Park – 2020)
Watson stepped up last year at the state tournament without Ayo and he had to do it again with the Morgan Park star injured. Watson is a lefty 5’10” sophomore guard that got to the rim with consistency. Slippery with the ball in his hands that attacks downhill with speed and elusiveness. Creative handles in the lane and is an excellent layup maker. Made several nice dishes as well. Didn’t show much of a jumper beyond one 12 foot pull up. Watson had 15 points and is a player that could eventually join the long list of D1 guards from Morgan Park.
SG Tim Finke (Champaign Central – 2018)
Finke was solid, but not his best against Vashon. The Grand Canyon commit has excellent size at 6’6”. His jump shot was really off on Saturday night. He couldn’t find the touch from anywhere on the floor. That didn’t stop him from impacting the game with his rebounding and passing. Had several put backs and made a few sweet dishes. Best play was when he caught an alley-oop from mid-court. Finke had 11 points.
SG A’Kieon Gill (Champaign Central – 2018)
Gill is a glue guy for Champaign Central that has nice size on the wing at 6’3”. He is tough on the glass and a quality spot up shooter. Gill finished with 8 points. Worth serious consideration at the D3/NAIA levels.
G Jonte Coleman (Champaign Central – 2018)
Coleman continued his strong play from a week ago at Centralia. The 6’3” guard can really shoot it from deep. He hit five triples off the catch in their game against Vashon. Coleman has an uber quick release and consistent mechanics each time he shoots the ball. The senior had 17 points. D3/NAIA programs should start to take notice.
SG Jaden Aikens (Champaign Central – 2018)
Aikens had his breakout game for Champaign Central. This 6’1” two guard has a physically built body. He shot the ball the best we have seen him in this game from three. Aikens is a small college role player that had 20 points.
F Khailieo Terry (Champaign Central – 2021)
Terry opened up the eyes of another group of fans to his elite athleticism. One of the best pure athletes in the state. The 6’4” combo forward is a freshman that really plays above the rim. High points rebounds and is explosive slamming the ball home on tip dunks and dump off passes. Terry is one to continue to track especially if the skill level can emerge. He had 6 points.