Posted On: 04/18/18 12:00 PM
Over the weekend PrepHoopsIllinois covered the Team Rose Classic at Whitney Young High School. In this article we breakdown What We Learned at the event!
LJ Johnson is Back and Primed for Statement Comeback
Johnson is a physically imposing wing with elite strength and athleticism on the perimeter. A year ago he moved away to play out of state and for different travel team in July. He is back in the Chicago area as he will play for Kenwood next season and is running with Young & Reckless on the circuit. The 2019 wing brings the physical gifts mentioned above along with a high end motor and off the charts competitiveness. He can score attacking downhill, hits and occasional three, and really locks in defensively. Passing showed some improvement. Look for him to reappear somewhere in the top 20 in our summer rankings update.
Breakaway is Up and Coming Program
Every spring there seems to be a program that emerges with under the radar kids. This spring that program might be Breakaway. We have seen them the last two weekends and have been impressed with the program at both the 17U and 16U levels. Players play as a team sharing the ball while putting each prospect in the best position to maximize their abilities. At the 16U level Joey Tianen, Colin O’Rourke, Nate Shockey, Kyle Lillwitz, and Sam Ronneburg are a fun group to watch. The 17s are led by an inside/outside duo of Zach Vaia and Caden Phillips.
Illinois Heat Trio Make Noise
The Illinois Heat 17U got a statement win on Friday night with the victory over host Team Rose. They are led by top 15 2019 prospect Glenbard West wing Evan Taylor. He is a high academic small forward that plays with excellent basketball intelligence as well with his passing and the way he sees the game. Plus jumper from 15-18 feet and can rebound for his position as well. Lyons Tyrese Shines locked up his man on the defensive end with his quickness and anticipation along with hitting some pull ups. The third in the trio is Downers Grove North combo Semaj Henderson who showed more of a burst than we saw during the year scoring and getting his teammates involved.
Y&R 16U Wings Elevating Game at Key Time
There are a lot of high profile players on Young & Reckless Stan 16U. A wing duo that sometimes get overlooked are Jones 2020 Josh Holmes and Rockford Boylan 2020 Johnny Close. They each can really score it. Holmes is an athletic and rangy wing that gets in the paint and can convert jumpers with elevation. Close is a lights out perimeter three 00point threat that drills them for days.
Alex Wood is Central IL Gem
This Normal U-High 2020 point guard is a player that not many talk about, but he just produces. He is a high IQ floor general that makes crisp dishes. It was his scoring prowess that stood out the most as he went for 24 points in the game we saw. Wood is a lethal pull up jump shooter from both mid-range and three.
Chicago Elite 16U Led By Nate Santos are Ones to Watch
The Chicago Elite 16U group made quite the impression at the Team Rose Classic. They are led by Geneva 2020 small forward Nate Santos. The smooth wing displayed a versatile scoring game with the way he scored it at all three levels effectively. Another wing is Niles North 2021 Jalen Butler. He wasn’t overly productive, but has all the physical tools to be a monster with his advanced strength and size for position. The third in the trio is 2020 power forward Romelle Howard. This Lincoln Park post rebounds at a high rate and scores with power on the block.
Finish What You Start
It wouldn’t be a grassroots season until a team left in the middle of a game because they were upset with the refs. Shockingly we got through two whole weekends without this happening. It occurred in the first game of the morning on Saturday. Seriously you are going to have your kids come to the event at 8 AM and midway through the game quit because you don’t like the refs? Just please don’t do this during a live period. It makes your program look bad and takes away an opportunity for the players to be seen which is what this is all about!