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Posted On: 12/26/18 10:30 PM
PrepHoopsIllinois opened our coverage of the holiday tournament season with the 32 team Jack Tosh Holiday Classic at York High School. We saw tons of hoops and prospects. See which ones were the biggest standouts from the first day at Jack Tosh!
C Chris Hodges (Schaumburg – 2021)
The single best performance of the day was out of this 6’8” center. Hodges is the top post prospect in the sophomore class. He started off a bit slow as it looked like he was trying to figure out what would work against the big TF South front line. Then it was on! Hodges was flat out dominant scoring at will in the last three quarters of the game. He is a throwback back to the basket post that understands angles and uses the glass to bank it in. Physical big man that can go through his man when needed. Showed advanced footwork along with a lethal hook shot that he went to over and over again. Seals man off very well. Ran the floor beating his opponent down the court multiple times for scores. Even stretched it out to three on one occasion. Hodges had 38 points on 15-16 from the field to go along with 6 boards!
G Mike Hodges (Schuamburg – 2019)
The older brother also had a huge game for Schaumburg. This combo guard was outstanding getting in the lane where he made plays for himself and others. Scored on several drives converting with runners. Also showed he was more than willing to get others involved with his passing making sound decisions including finding his brother multiple times. He had 26 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 dimes.
SG Max Christie (Rolling Meadows – 2021)
Christie is the top sophomore prospect in the state and best overall prospect regardless of class. The 6’5” wing has an advanced offensive game. He has a feathery jumper that he drills from both three and mid-range. Opened up with a deep three off movement. Incredible elevation on his shot along with a clean release. He also got to the rim for several finishes at the cup. Silky smooth with the ball weaving in and out of traffic. Christie went for 22 points and 8 rebounds.
SF Martin Macenis (Stagg – 2019)
Macenis matched Christie in their head to head matchup. This 6’6” small forward is among the best unsigned wings on the board. He has an ultra-skilled game scoring, handling, and passing. It was even more impressive knowing he was sick doing it as he had to miss a big portion of the second half. Macenis is a plus jump shooter that didn’t take any threes, but he drilled jumpers inside the arc. Also displayed more athletic pop than we had seen in the past off the dribble. Had a couple big dunks including a monster tip slam. Quality passer with a feel for the game. Macenis played extremely well going for 23 points (11-18 FG), 5 dimes, and 4 boards.
C Julian Campbell (Palatine – 2021)
Campbell is a 6’6” center that is a wide bodied post. He has lost weight since we saw him last in July. Campbell started off a bit slow, but in the second quarter he took over with a dominant 17 point quarter where everything he threw up went in. Despite his big body he is actually more of a perimeter based post. Campbell is an outstanding mid-range shooter. He also can stretch it out to three where he hit several from the top of the key. Fluid release on his jumper. He had a high/low finish and scored on a dump off in the paint. Campbell went for 25 points.
SF Ethan Helwig (Metea Valley – 2019)
Helwig is one of the better unsigned wings in the senior class. The skilled small forward can really stretch the floor with his perimeter shooting. Quick release with elevation off the ground. He gets his shot off with ease and can create space with his step back. Helwig went for 22 points on mostly feathery jumpers.
PG Grant Niego (Lyons – 2020)
Grant is the junior Niego brother for Lyons. He played about as good as we have seen him in their opening round performance at Jack Tosh. High IQ point guard that gets others in the right spots to make plays. Runs the team and also mixes in scores. Mostly a shooting threat he did hit a pair from three, but it was his improved game off the dribble that shined through. Converted an array of crafty drives and runners in the paint. He had 21 points.
PF Tom Welch (Naperville North – 2019)
This Loyola commit was phenomenal when we saw him in the first half against Sandburg. The senior forward has size and strength to go along with plus athleticism in the front court. What makes him such a terrific prospect is the versatility he brings to the table. Welch opened the contest with a pair of alley-oops. His ability to play above the rim has really improved over the last year. Shooting form continues to get better as he hit threes both off the catch and pulling up while creating his own shot. Most impressive play was a transition jam where he went behind his back en route to the rim. Welch scored 30 points.
F Aaron Tims (Hinsdale South – 2020)
Tims is a combo forward that leans toward a four at this stage. The 6’7” lefty is so quick around the hoop. Uses his quick second jump to get on the glass. Bounce off the floor is also evident on the multiple alley-oop slams that he threw down. Tims finished very well around the hoop going for 22 points and 6 boards. Lots of upside with this forward.
SG Jeremiah Williams (St. Laurence – 2020)
Williams is a rangy wing that has elevated his game this season. In our first eval of him this season he has definitely improved since we saw him over the summer. At about 6’4” the junior is best using his long strides and athleticism to get downhill. He is a slasher with the ability to get skinny through traffic and finish with either hand at the rim. Had a sweet finish with his off hand on a jump stop in the lane. Did hit one three late in the game, but he is definitely more comfortable as a driver at this stage. I came away impressed with his passing. Found open teammates for higher percentage looks. Defensively he can check multiple positions and did a nice job locking down the opposing perimeter threats. He had 19 points and 5 dimes.
F Deng Reng (Wheaton North – 2019)
Reng is a long and lanky combo forward that presents long term developmental upside. Defensively is where things start with Reng. The 6’6” forward can switch and defend the two through four spots effectively. He moves his feet very well laterally and can swat shots. Will need to continue to add strength which will only improve this aspect of his game. Offensively he has long strides running the floor scoring in transition. Got on the glass for a couple put backs. Quick second jump getting offensive rebounds. With added strength he will finish better. Can stretch the floor with a good looking jumper as he hit both of his three point attempts. Reng had 24 points and 6 rebounds.
PG Christian Davis (St. Ignatius – 2019)
Davis is an athletic point guard that looks to score more than pass at this stage. Shifty and quick twitched with the ball off the bounce. He had multiple athletic takes that he finished with runners or even a reverse layup. Struggled shooting from three, but when he got in the paint he was effective as he had 19 points.
SF Jayden Johnson (Batavia – 2020)
With two games going on in separate gyms all day it is hard to see everything, but we did manage to peak in on the other court to see one of the top 10 2020s in the state. Johnson had 20 points on the scoreboard when it was early in the second quarter! What he does best is shoot it from three and that is exactly what he did here drilling 7-13 from beyond the arc on his way to an impressive 32 points while barely playing in the fourth quarter. One of the most underrated scorers in the junior class.