Posted On: 07/6/19 3:21 PM

We are 24 hours into the Prep Hoops Summer Challenge in Aurora/North Aurora, Illinois and several 17u players have shown they are ready for the July run.  Here are the standouts from the start of the event. 

Blanch Stamps The W

What Dionte Blanch does after contact around the basket is simply amazing.  Very few players can absorb contact and then have the body control to complete plays like the Team Speights 6-foot-3 guard can.  The ability to hang in the air and complete the play helps but the touch and body control that Blanch has is something to see. 

He’s also using a change of direction off of ball screens to freeze defenders.  After fighting over a screen the last thing a defender wants to deal with is getting back into that deep stance and use more energy to keep a player like Blanch from the attack but Dionte continues to come straight at opponents with a hard attack or a change of direction dribble for separation. 

Last night in a big win over Fundamental U, it wasn’t just the basket attack from Blanch that impressed but also the clutch finishing to beat a good team was there.  Foul shots, a pull-up, and of course contested completions all game Blanch ten points in the final 150 seconds to earn the win. 

Blanch wasn’t the only guard playing big for Team Speights.  Wing Babacar Thiam hit perhaps the biggest three of the game for Team Speights and explosive guard Eric Lee‘s mid-game sequence was crucial to the victory.  In a back to back set of big plays Lee worked for a steal and then finished the play with a bench clearing dunk.  Lee then followed it by forcing another steal seconds later and that play became an open floor bucket. 

Prep Hoops Intro – Goanar Biliew

College basketball coaches of America it’s time to get to know 6-foot-7/6-foot-8 Goanar Biliew of Denison-Schleswig High School in Iowa because at some point in the future you will be glad you did.  Biliew was an honorable mention all state player as a junior averaging a healthy 18.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks a game with 68 percent field goal shooting and 71 percent shooting at the foul line. 

How does a man shooting 68 percent from the field?  Today Prep Hoops watched Biliew scored eight times in the paint for Beyond Ball and it was quickly clear how Goanar makes nearly 7 of every 10 shots he takes.  Everything was done without a play ran for him, it was activity off the basketball for put-backs, quick cuts, and strong post ups.  With every touch that came to his hands Biliew was too quick off his feet and too big/strong for the Ohio Hoopsters size to do anything with. 

Fellow Denison-Schleswig standout Charlie Wiebers hit three triples for Beyond Ball helping the team in this victory.  Wiebers scored 16 a game as a junior hitting 36 percent of his threes while dishing out 4.5 assists. 

Linke Up, It’ll Be Worth Your Time

Connor Linke of Fundamental U Rise is a top 50 Illinois senior and from an outsider’s point of view, Linke seems like he could be rising up the ranks.  Recent offers have landed in the hands of the 6-foot-8 center from St. Charles North by way of Army, UC-Davis, and North Dakota.  

The reasoning is clear, physical low post game with outstanding position and the perfect first step after collection of the ball.  The secret to Linke’s success is the target he provides.  You don’t ask for the ball in a spot until you get the right position and Linke consistently is grabbing excellent position.  From that position the Linke spin, quick drop step, or catch and completion with the ball high ranks with the best we’ve seen in the Midwest at 17u recently.  

The Scorcher

Parker Nielsen is a big guard with big confidence and a knack for finding a way to produce numbers in some way.  Today Minnesota Select is without Reid Patterson and Joich Gong (likely back in Minnesota with their high school team) plus David Ijadimbola and Ryan Thissen had tough shooting days.  Nielsen filled his scoring sheet but what really impressed me was the way he continued to try and get his teammates going with passes on their hands for attempts.  

Parker showed the mark of a leader continually having confidence in his teammates on a tough day, and when shots came to him, they went in.  When it became time to take the scoring role over Nielsen did that too.  Parker made five threes and 9 of 12 shots total scoring 23 of his team’s 43.  Nielsen would outstanding at the D3 level but the size, scoring touch, and game understanding look to be there for a good D2 look too. 

Team Efforts from SW Jets & Missouri Elite 

There are many games where big standouts are few, but quality contributions are many.  That was the case today when the Southwest Illinois Jets beat HIT and Missouri Elite knocked off Minnesota Select. 

The Missouri Elite backcourt of 6-foot-3 Brant Bowens (Rock Bridge HS) and 5-foot-10 Zhvaughn Ward (Battle HS) was the right chemistry mix that tortured Minnesota Select.  The rest of Select (not including Nielsen) shot 8 of 52 for the game and that’s just not a bad shooting night for a team, that’s also good defense.  Bowens, Ward, and Jacob Ungles did a great job working with the guards scoring a dozen each and Ungles grabbing a dozen boards.  Inside, 6-foot-6 Carson Parker of Montgomery Parker HS had 14 points and six rebounds using a balanced frame to turn into balanced scores.

The Jets lived up to their name forcing HIT into mistakes and transitioning the other way for production.  David Roberts and Rashad Weekly-McDaniels have to be the strongest pair of guards I’ve seen this year.  They both look like 6-foot-1 fullbacks charging at a defense.  Both scored 11 with Roberts collecting six boards and Weekly-McDaniels moving the ball for five assists. Jackson Creel hit four long jumpers (three at the arc) and Lashawn Johnson produced an athletic 11. 

Summer Challenge Notes

  • Sam Schultz collected a dozen boards, made four buckets, and was the best passing big I saw all event with six assists.  Great feel, rarely forces anything.
  • Lance Mosley scored 15 first half points for HIT hitting three shots at the arc and rolling from there. 
  • Tyree Ihenacho is a division one prospect.  The Prior Lake, Minnesota wing is playing a lot of one for Select and rarely turning the ball over, he has to be one of the best rebounding guards in the Midwest (12 in this game), plus scored four times. 
  • Kaliem Taylor had 25 this morning for All in Gold beating UTS Elite
  • Illinois Bears 6-foot-5 wing Tyler Stokes had 30 with five threes in a one scoring loss to IBA. 
  • Shooter of the event so far? Maybe 6-foot-1 2019 DAndrew Leamy of  Downriver Bad Boyz who has a dozen triples in two games so far (47 points total). Teamamte Christopher Dobessi had 30 in a loss to the Wisconsin Starz.