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The Best in Illinois High School Basketball

News Archives



5/29

Nike Bluegrass Classic

    This weekend, Louisville, Kentucky played host to some of the nations best high school basketball players, at the second annual Nike Bluegrass Classic.

    The Illinois Warriors 17-under team traveled down to Kentucky with the acquisition of previously injured Pierre Pierce. However, they were without the assistance of Illinois-bound Roger Powell who injured his knee in a car accident during his high school season, and since then has continued to been a reoccurring problem.

    The 6'3" Pierce looked like he hadn't missed a beat, helping lead the Warriors to three straight wins to start the tournament off. After winning their bracket, it was a different story for the Warriors.

    Despite the terrific play of fifth-year prep school player Todd Townsend (New Hampton Prep) and 6'2" Mt. Zion point guard Matt McCollom, who arrived late Saturday night due to scheduling problems with baseball, the Warriors were ousted in the first round of championship play by S/B Select.

    The Warriors' 16-under A squad was unable to make it out of their pool, going 1-2 in pool play. However, behind the play of backcourt-mates James Romey and Kevin Kruger, they were able to regroup and win their consolation game. The 6'1" Romey and the 6'0" Kruger, son of Lon, compliment each other so well on the court. This supreme backcourt won't stay together for much longer, as the skilled and tough Kruger will be moving to a high school in Atlanta, with his dad acquiring the NBA Hawks job.

    The 16-under Warriors B team made it the furthest of the Illinois teams; eventually getting beat by Howard Pulley in the second round of the playoffs.

    The Family of Detroit went on to win the 16-under bracket, while the Playground Warriors from Wisconsin took the 17-under championship.


Illini lose Kruger

    Returning all five starters and with a solid future, University of Illinois Head Coach Lon Kruger opted to take the head coaching job with the NBA's Atlanta Hawks.

    "The News Gazette called this morning and woke me up to get my reaction," said Illinois signee Brett Melton, when asked how he found out about his coach leaving. "I was totally surprised. I was just real upset, because I know how great of a coach he is." The Illinois players will certainly miss Kruger but they feel they can overcome.

    "I talked to (Cory) Bradford and Damir (Krupalija) tonight," continued Melton. "We just talked about how we could still be a power-house next year." Indeed they will be, returning all vital pieces to their 22-10 team last year and a solid recruiting class coming in.

    After four years with the Illini, Kruger will be moving to Atlanta for the alluring money of the NBA. Taking his family with him, Kruger's son, Kevin, will also pack-up for Atlanta. A rising star himself, Kevin starred this past year for his Champaign Centennial High School team as a sophomore.

    With the cupboard full of talent, the University of Illinois job is open with plenty of formidable candidates. Back to News Archive Index


Thornwood Gets Transfer

    Already a very strong team, Eddy Curry's Thornwood High School will receive a boost next year with the acquisition of one of the state's top sophomores.

    The 6'6" Melvin Buckley, formerly of Marian Catholic, has decided that he will transfer to Thornwood High School next year.

    "His parents talked to the coaches at Marian and they didn't like their plans for the future. Last year, Melvin didn't start and he didn't get as many minutes as he deserved. They were planning on using him in the post, but all the recruiters are looking at his versatility," stated Melvin's AAU Coach, Troy Johnson.

    To commute to his new school, Melvin simply has to take a few steps out his front door and he's there. "I live right across the street from Thornwood," said Buckley.

    While he doesn't personally know any of the current Thornwood players, he said he's looking forward to meeting them, as he is already set to play in a summer league with them. "It will be a different experience going from Catholic League to Public. I feel that we will be strong in their division and we could make it down state."

    Thornwood, already a favorite to contend for the Class AA title next year, returning all five starters including All-American Eddy Curry, will get a big lift from the versatile Buckley. "That is really what Thornwood is missing and Melvin could help inside, help rebound and create some mismatch problems," commented Coach Johnson.

    While only a sophomore, Melvin has been getting considerable attention from colleges. He said that his favorites of the ones showing interest are Notre Dame, Northwestern and Michigan State.

    Melvin and his Illinois Warriors AAU team will be in Lexington, Kentucky this weekend to participate in the Nike Derby Festival. Back to News Archive Index


Alexander to Prep

    Thornton's 7'1" Chris Alexander has verbally committed to attend a 5-year prep school in Boston next season.

    "I just wanted to prepare better physically and mentally for basketball," said Alexander when asked about his decision to go the prep school route.

    Notre Dame Prep in Boston will get a visit from Alexander late next week and receive their official signed letter of commitment then. "I already gave him my [oral] commitment," said Alexander referring to Notre Dame Head Coach Bill Bark.

    Before Notre Dame, St. Louis was on Chris hard. However, Chris hasn't dropped the Billikens off of his list for after prep school. He considers St. Louis and Cincinnati the only university possibilities and hasn't given up on his dream. "If I have a good season I'll try and go to the league."

    Still needing to fill out more physically and develop his skills further, Chris is making the right decision by moving slowly in the right direction. Back to News Archive Index


Summers & Douglas to Sign

    Quincy All-Stater JD Summers has decided that Western is the place for him, but not Western Michigan.

    With the former coach of hometown Quincy University, Steve Hawkins, moving on to be an assistant at D1 Western Michigan, it looked like an enticing place for Summers to sign. After contemplating hard and apparently being very close to a commitment there, he has decided Western is the right place...Western Illinois, that is.

    After an illustrious career at Quincy High School, JD is expected to commit to Western Illinois University in the very near future. "He visited Western Illinois today, and that looks like that's where he will go," told JD's High School Coach, Loren Wallace.

    "He can score from anywhere," said Wallace. The Western Big Six MVP, Summers averaged 22 points and 8 rebounds last year for his Sectional Champion Blue Devils.

    The leading scorer in the WB6 last year, fourth all-time in Quincy scoring and the leading rebounder for Quincy the past two years, Western will certainly be getting themselves a solid player.

    Summers' teammate at Quincy, Andy Douglas, has also made up his mind on his college destination.

    Today at 2:45, Andy has a press conference scheduled to announce that he will sign with hometown Quincy University, who has just recently named a replacement for Steve Hawkins.

    The former assistant at Quincy, Mike Foster, will take over head duties as head coach at Quincy University and is starting with a solid player in Douglas.

    Douglas, a 6'1" combo guard, averaged 17 points last season while breaking the Quincy record for most 3-pointers made in a season. Back to News Archive Index


Notable Signings

Mattox Signs
    St. Joseph point guard Jabari Mattox has signed with academically-know Bowling Green University in Toledo, Ohio.
    The 6'2" point guard was a starter on St. Joe's '99 State Championship team. "Jabari possesses amazing quickness, great ball handling skills, along with a pure old school understanding of the game," commented Jabari's AAU coach Darryl Royster of the RBS All-Stars.
    A big and quick guard, Jabari is primarily known for his is in-your-face style of defense. Royster went as far as to call Jabari "the best defensive guard in the state last year."
    Jabari also played a major role to the RBS All-Star's twelfth place finish last summer in Orlando, FL for the AAU Junior Nationals.

Thorsen Finally to Eastern
    John Thorsen has finally decided that Eastern is the place for him.
    Before the high school season started, Eastern Illinois University offered Schaumburg's 6'7" John Thorsen a full basketball scholarship. However, John was unfamiliar with other universities and didn't want to jump into anything to quickly. Things have changed.
    After an average senior season and no other D1 looks, John was left empty handed. He thought Eastern used up his scholarship and gave up on him. However, that was not the case.
    "I called up Eastern and asked if the scholarship was still on the table, and fortunately for me it was, so I jumped on the offer and took it."
    Also, John's 6'9" brother Brian, who is in the same grade, is planning on attending Lincoln Junior College.

Okawville Guards Sign
    After wowing Southern Illinois fans last year with their play, Okawville's Tyler Hackstandt and Ryan Heck have decided their future destinations.
    The 6'3" Hackstandt has signed with Lamar University in Texas. An All-State player for Class A, Tyler is an athletic swingman that excels on the perimeter.
    Tyler's lesser know teammate Ryan Heck has signed with D2 Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. The 6'6" Heck is a long range bomber that put up outstanding figures this past season for an Okawville team that finished the regular season at 23-7.

Greene to ISU
    Brother Rice's star point guard Vince Greene has signed on to play with the Illinois State Redbirds.
    The 5'9" Green averaged 20 points, 4 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2 steals for his Sectional Champion Crusaders.
    Greene is a blur at getting into the lane and creating. Also a great finisher, Vince takes the ball to the hoop with a certain fearlessness. But don't rest on his quickness, as he can drill the outside shot as well.
    Not expected to qualify academically, look for Vince to Prop 48 his first year at ISU.
Back to News Archive Index


Spiece Recap

    Illinois AAU teams had one team finish in the top eight of each of the three divisions at the Spiece Run 'N Slam All-Star Classic held this weekend at Purdue University.

    In the 15-under, sophomore-to-be division, the Chicago Demons made it to the semifinals, where they were knocked off by the Spiece Gym Rats Central Stars. The Demons, absolutely loaded with talent, were expected to win the tournament with such stars as Crane High School teammates Zo Thompson, Tino Valencia, Tremel Gilot and Carl Marshall. The Iverson-esk Marshall stood out for the Demons and impressed many.  At 5'11" Marshall is extremely quick, with a great handle and is built with long limbs, ala Iverson.

    The Illinois Warriors C team in the 16-under division also advanced to the semifinals in their respective division. Led by Melvin Buckley and Dee Brown the Warriors were eventually beat by the Tim Thomas Playaz. Brown, from Proviso East in Maywood, played superb at the point guard spot directing the offense, as he was in control the whole game. New Trier's James Romey of the Illinois Warriors A team also played well in the 16-under division, scoring a game high of 29 against Indiana Select Gold.

    Thought to rebound off of their championship loss at the ShowMe Shootout last weekend, team Illinois Gold was set to go home with a first place trophy. However, the eventual champions, Florida-based Team Breakdown had something to say about that. While the usual stars played well for the Gold; Eddy Curry, Najeeb Echols, Jason Straight, it was Lincoln-Way's 6'5" Adam Ferrari that surprised many, slashing to the hoop and playing very strong inside getting garbage points. Ferrari is built with a strong frame, yet is light on his feet with a nice handle on the ball.

    Although the Illinois teams didn't achieve as much as they would've wanted, team wise, they did display many individual skills and overall it was a successful event. Back to News Archive Index


Darius Declares

    East St. Louis' spidery 6'9" Darius Miles declared at a press conference today that he would enter his name into the upcoming NBA Draft.

    Expected to be a lottery pick, Miles couldn't pass up the opportunity and the money. Did his decision have anything to do with his lack of grades and not being able to achieve the minimum test scores for the NCAA?

    "No, because even if Darius did have his grades, then he would still do it because they were offering him to much money at that slot," said Darius' AAU Coach and confidant Larry Butler.

    With the physical conditioning not all there, Darius has a lot of work to do in the weight room and could use a better jumper. One thing is for sure; he can flat out play.

    While averaging 23 points, 11 rebounds and 7 blocks per game last season, Darius led his Flyers to a 22-2 regular season record and a fourth place finish in Illinois' Class AA state finals. Darius, like most great players of his caliber, at times seemed to fade within the course of the game and not put fourth a full-fledged effort. However, when Darius wanted to, he could simply do what he wanted on the court.

    "After a couple years of seasoning he will be a great player," feels Butler.

    An extremely quick player, with an ability to jump out of the gym, Darius has some great tools to accompany him on his journey to the NBA. Back to News Archive Index


Echols goes JUCO

    Simeon's sensational rebounder Cameron Echols has signed on to play with Tallahassee Community College for next season.

    It was thought by many that Cameron would eventually opt to play with UIC, however, grades definitely played a role in this decision as Cameron is far to talented not to be going to a mid-major D1.

    "Cameron was the state's leading rebounder last season," stated Simeon Head Coach Bob Hambric. Averaging 20 points and 14 rebounds last season Cameron led his Wolverines to a 29-3 record.

    TCC Coach Mike Gillespie is definitely getting himself a great pickup that has slipped through the cracks. Back to News Archive Index


Indian Hills Lands 2 from IL

    In the past four years Indian Hills Junior College in Iowa has won three championships, being crowned NJCAA champions in '97, '98 and '99 and finishing at 28-5 last season with a final poll ranking of fourth in the country.

    With countless players being sent to the NBA from Indian Hills, it was no wonder why two top prospects from Illinois were so eager to sign with them.

    "I was really impressed with the coaches, campus, tradition and the school as a whole," said Morgan Park's Imo Akhibi and recent Indian Hills signee.

    Imo signed on to play with the Warriors early this morning while on his visit. "I had a really good time there," expressed the 6'6" Akhibi. Starring on Morgan Park's Public League final four team this past season, Imo averaged 17 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks per game.

    Joining Imo on the Iowa campus next year will be Rock Island's 6'7" John Banks. Banks is a versatile forward that can play just about any position on the floor. Averaging 11 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists for the state qualifying Rockets, it was just as common to see him relieving the point guard of his duties and bringing the ball up the court as it was to see him banging with the trees in the post.

    Akhibi and Banks only hope to be as successful as some of the alumni from Indian Hills. Two of last year's graduates, Ernest Brown and Cory Hightower, are both expected to enter the NBA straight out of Indian Hills this year.

    Hopefully the tradition will stay alive in Iowa. Back to News Archive Index


Plank to Badgers

   Mt. Zion's 6'4" junior Neil Plank has given a verbal commitment to the Wisconsin Badgers.

    Plank is a solid 2-guard that is quickly rising not only his Illinois stock, but his national stock as well. Known as an all-around player and athlete, the 6'4" Plank averaged 13 points for his Mt. Zion Braves last season.

    One reason why Neil's stock is rising so quickly is his performances thus far with the Illinois Warriors AAU team. "He's an explosive wing guard with the ability to knock down jumpers," said Warriors Coach Larry Butler. Butler is very high on Plank, as it is common place to find him bellowing from the sidelines, 'Get Neil the ball!' When Coach's wishes are granted and Neil receives the ball on the wing, he rarely let's Butler down. With a solid jumper that extends easily to the 3-point line, Plank can drill the open shot. However, he also is athletic enough to drive past defenders creeping to close.

    What is often overlooked about Neil is his defensive ability. He has very quick feet and is a terrific on-the-ball defender.

    Wisconsin's first pickup from the Class of 2001, it looks like Neil will have a good opportunity to garner some playing time right away when he arrives in Badger Country. Back to News Archive Index


Summers & Douglas Updates

    Neither one of these Quincy stars have made a commitment yet as to where they will be attending college next year.

    JD Summers, Quincy's 6'3" All-State player, is now deciding between Western Michigan, Baylor and Morehead State in Kentucky. JD had a planned visit to Western Michigan last week, however, due to a postponement he will be taking that visit at the end of this week. Western Michigan's rookie coach Steve Hawkins is the former Quincy University Head Coach.

    Despite Quincy University yet to name a replacement for Hawkins, they are very close to signing Summers' teammate, Andy Douglas. "He probably will sign next week but he's waiting to see what happens with the head coaching spot," admitted Quincy High School's Head Coach Loren Wallace.

    Updates will continue on these two fine young players who have added to the Quincy tradition by breaking several individual records throughout their careers, as well as guiding their Blue Devils to a 21-4 record this past season. Back to News Archive Index


Iowa Gets Pierce

    Today, Westmont's electrifying combo guard Pierre Pierce has committed to play for the Iowa Hawkeye's.

    One of the best and most coveted players in this talent filled junior class, Pierre can do it all on the court. "He is an outstanding player that excels on both ends of the court," said Pierre's high school coach, Craig Etheridge. Pierre posted eye-opening stats this past year to the tune of 29 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals while leading his team to the Super Sectional finals.

    This spring, Pierre has played with the Illinois Warrior's AAU squad. Playing with the Warriors, Pierre has showed that he can perform at a high level not only on a high school level, but also at a substantially higher level as the Warriors play one of the toughest AAU schedules in Illinois.

    Pierre is able to play either guard position equally well, as he has size at 6'3". Possessing a solid handle on the ball, great quickness and a killer first step, Pierre is able to break-down defenders and make things happen for his team.

    "Pierre is a fierce competitor that is willing to do whatever it takes to win," mentioned Etheridge. Pierre led his Sentinels to a 24-1 regular season finish in Illinois' Class A division this past season.

    Having his recruiting situation out of the way, Pierre will be able to focus his attention on the high school season next year and he will certainly look to make up for last year's Super Sectional loss. Back to News Archive Index


Westinghouse Duo Signs

   Both Martell Bailey and Cedrick Banks have committed to play next season, right at home at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

    Together they led their Westinghouse team to a 24-1 regular season finish and a trip to the championship game for the state title this past season.

    Cedrick was one of the states very best this year. "He was MVP at every tournament we went to," said Westinghouse coach Chris Head. Leading his team with a cold-blooded approach, Cedrick has yet to qualify academically.

    Banks' counterpart, Martell Bailey, has achieved his qualifying core class grades and is waiting on his ACT score. "Martell was our floor-leader and our captain," chimed Coach Head. Not a very vocal leader on the floor, Martell allowed his actions to show all, as he finished the season averaging 14 points and 9 assists.

    Having one more scholarship available, look for UIC to stay in the city and pick up Simeon's Cameron Echols or possibly even another Westinghouse player in Craig Franklin. Back to News Archive Index


Pekin Star Signs with ISU

    He was the Peoria Journal Star's player of the year and now Pekin forward Dirk Williams has signed on to play with Illinois State for next year.   

    Posting averages of 18.6 points and 8.8 rebounds, Williams led his team to a 20-win season this past year while taking on the majority of the leadership role as Pekin started a freshman and 2 sophomores alongside Dirk.

    "He's a very good ball-handler and his best attribute was his unselfishness and making our other players better," said Dirk's coach, Joe Stoner.

    At a slender 6'8", Dirk brings a versatile style of play with him on the court. "He played a lot of inside for us, but really played more comfortably 15 feet away where he could face up or put it on the floor," continued Stoner.

    Dirk's shooting prowess allowed him to lead the league in free throw percentage the last 2 years at 81% and 84%, as well as field goal percentage this past year at 61%.   

    With Dirk taking his solid game to ISU next year, the Redbirds are certainly happy that this gem crept through the cracks. Back to News Archive Index


Banks to UIC

    According to Westinghouse Coach Chris Head, Cedrick Banks will commit to the UIC Flames basketball program in the very near future.

    "Definitely for UIC," commented Coach Head when asked where Cedrick will decide to commit. Whether he qualifies or not, Cedrick will opt for the Flames. "He will be a prop 48 at UIC if he doesn't qualify," said Head.

    The 6'3" Banks was perhaps the best player in the city this past season, averaging 16 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. "Cedrick was great! He was our go-to-guy when we needed a bucket," proudly proclaimed Head. Back to News Archive Index


Notable Signings

Marengo Star Signs
Versatile forward Kevin Schifferer has signed on to play with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. At 217 lbs., Schifferer looks to spend most time at the power forward spot for the Panthers, but won't be limited. "He can score from outside with the jump shot and can score inside with his post play," says Marengo's coach Roger Cannon. "He can shoot outside the 3-point line, way beyond," continues Cannon. The 6'7" Schifferer averaged 22.5 points and 7.3 rebounds this past season for a 24-4 Class A Marengo team.

Gilbert to Bradley
Phillip Gilbert is a 6'2" guard that loves to score. Averaging 18 points last season Gilbert helped lead his East St. Louis ball-club, with the help of All-American Darius Miles, to the state semifinals. Next year, Gilbert will take his scoring ways on to Bradley University. Gilbert will join Kankakee's 5'11" point guard Marcello Robinson who committed to Bradley earlier in the year.

NIU Gets a Pair
Northern Illinois has signed Chicago Kenwood's 5'10" point guard Walter Thompson. Thompson averaged 21 points and 5 assists last season. Also, headed to NIU is sophomore Perry Smith who has decided to transfer from Illinois State. Starring for Illinois State last year, the 6'4" swingman will have to sit out his first year for the Huskies.
Back to News Archive Index


Where is Mt. Zion?

    Missing the Class A cutoff by one student, the Mt. Zion Braves will stay put with the larger populated schools in Illinois' Class AA.

    Mt. Zion is slowly turning into one of the top basketball schools in Illinois. Returning three star players in Neil Plank, Matt McCollom and Jake Sams, the Braves have the start of a very strong nucleus.

    All three are playing this summer with the Illinois Warriors AAU team which will no doubt help improve on their already laudable games.

    The 6'4" Plank is one of the state's best shooters as well as bringing an athletic twist to the court. Able to hit the open jumper from past the 3-point line and in, defenses must respect the Braves fine shooting guard. However, when defenses get too close, Plank has the speed to accelerate into the heart of the defense and make things happen; occasionally even elevating over the heart of the defense.

    The solid play of 6'2" Matt McCollom often goes unrecognized, but should not be overlooked. McCollom continues to get stronger as a player and his handle on the ball allows him to play any of the perimeter spots on the floor.

    With Plank and McCollom patrolling the perimeter, 6'8" Jake Sams provides the size that Mt. Zion needs. However, the tall blond isn't restricted to solely the painted area, as he can get the job done from all over the court. "He just makes plays happen," commented one awe-inspired college coach while watching Sams at a recent shootout.

    With these three fine players, look for Mt. Zion to prosper next year no matter their class. Back to News Archive Index


Carr Signs With UIC

    UIC has signed another Chicago product, but doesn't look to be the last for this year.

    Lincoln Park's 6'3" guard Aaron Carr has signed on to play with the University of Illinois Chicago. "I signed the letters and sent them in yesterday after the [City-Suburban] game," states the combo guard Carr.

    The game Aaron refers to is the decisive win the city had over the suburbs in the annual City-Suburb All-Star game last night. In that game, Carr tallied 18 points and four assists in a winning cause.

    Carr will keep his winning ways at home in Chicago as he attends the downtown school. "The coaching staff really showed me that they wanted me. They said that if I commit to them then they will commit to me for four years. The others were inconsistent," stated Carr.

    Those "others" that Aaron refers to were Tulane, Bradley, Utah, Ball State and Western Michigan. While Ball State and UIC were the only ones that offered official visits, Carr says that the others were reluctant to oblige.

    In all probability, Aaron will be an academic qualifier as he maintains a 3.0 average at Lincoln Park, an academically known Chicago north side high school.

    As everyone anticipates the choices of fellow Chicago players Cameron Echols, Cedrick Banks and Martell Bailey, Aaron had positive things to say about Cameron. "Cameron said that he is going, but I don't know for sure. Ced and Martell are keeping it quiet."

    Indeed they are, but the future of UIC basketball definitely looks to be heading in the right direction. Back to News Archive Index


Player Journals- Townsend MVP

    Overall it has been a pleasure to work with Todd and have him submit his Player Journals. I've gotten to know him pretty well and I find him to be not only a great basketball player but a great person as well. He looks to have his head on straight and wants to do something great with his life but doesn't seem to feel that, 'basketball is the only way,' as is the thoughts of many young prep stars.

    It looks as if Todd will most likely enroll at New Hampton Prep School in New Hampshire next year and then look for a four-year university to attend.

    This summer Todd will participate one last year with his AAU team, the Illinois Warriors, as they travel around the country playing in various tournaments and events.

    For our fourth and last Player Journal from Todd Townsend Click Here.  Back to News Archive Index


4/9

Julian High School

    At the Illinois Spot-Lite's Annual Spring Shootout in Plainfield today somehow it was a team that garnered the spotlight in this usual individual showcase.

    James Peters; headed to an East Coast prep school, and Demario Eddins are both moving on. Julian Coach Loren Jackson said that Demario will be an academic qualifier and listed Illinois State and McNeese St. as possible destinations for the 6'7" swingman.

    With two great players of Peters and Eddins' stature leaving, one would think that Julian as a team would decline. However, that's not the case.

    Coming off being crowned champions at the Centurion Classic in Downers Grove this past week, Julian played very well today. Led by the solid play of super-soph Sean Dockery and top juniors 6'10" beastly Jason McKinnon (a load to handle down low), 6'7" Anton Palmer and 6'4" swingman Larry Booth, Julian has been playing superbly.

    Rest assured that the Jaguars will get their fair share of the spotlight come next year in the Public League. Back to News Archive Index


4/3

New York vs. Chicago

    The debate of who is the best, New York or Chicago dates way back but it was settled in the Wendy's All-Star shootout. Or was it? Click here for more.  Back to News Archive Index


4/2

Armond Williams- Austin H.S.

    Who's that 6'3" husky player with unbelievable hops for Team Chicago?

    That 6'3" forward in today's Wendy's All-Star Shootout was Chicago Austin's Armond Williams who was omitted from the game program.

    Armond was not initially scheduled to be playing for Team Chicago and certainly wasn't picked by the selection committee. However, he was there nonetheless and played magnificently in a 93-74 Chicago win over New York.

    The story of how Armond ended up in the game is really just a matter of being in the right place at the right time. "I went to the UIC Gym for what I thought was open gym and they (Team Chicago) were having practice. Coach Chris Head said, 'oh your here,' and he thought that I was there for the team but it all worked out," said Williams. Indeed it did as Armond finished 10 points with some crowd-pleasing dunks.

    Armond, Illinois' Dunk Champion, has already committed to play next year with Jimmy Collins' UIC Flames. Along with Armond UIC recently received a commitment from another Chicago player, William Lewis of Curie. But it doesn1t look like the bus will stop there.

    "I look for Martell Bailey, Cedrick Banks, Cameron Echols and Aaron Carr to also come," proclaimed Armond without hesitation. Jimmy Collins is certainly pushing hard for all four of those players to join their buddy Armond on the Chicago campus to bring in the best hometown recruiting class since DePaul two years ago. "I think that we could build a dynasty here just like they are starting over at DePaul," stated Armond.

    But will this "dynasty" pan-out or is it simply wishful thinking? Back to News Archive Index


3/31

Menard To Marquette
    He started off high school as a 6'3" 149-pound, hard-working, skinny post player, and now with 2 years behind him Kevin Menard has taken his game to new levels.

    Yesterday the Marquette Golden Eagles received a commitment from Lincoln-Way's star junior Kevin Menard. This past year Menard led his Lincoln-Way Knights to a 23-6 record while advancing to the sectional finals. "This year we've built our offense around Kevin," said Lincoln-Way coach Steve Little. As Menard averaged 20.4 points and 9 rebounds you could understand Little's thinking process.

    Progressing from a skinny freshman on varsity to a well-built 6'6" 205-pound workhorse, Menard has developed into one of the state's top players. "He's done everything we've asked him to do. He's just a basketball junkie," proclaimed Little. Menard is a strong forward that has been doing all that he can to better prepare himself for the college game.

    Playing in the post most of the time last year Menard didn't have adequate opportunities to show off his outside game. However, while taking his occasional 3-pointers he averaged a very impressive 50% from beyond the arc. The skills are obviously there but now he just needs to touch them up.

    Playing with the Illinois Warriors AAU team this summer Menard will have sufficient time to display those perimeter skills playing mostly the wing forward spot.

    Academically Menard is doing fine as an honor student at the suburban New Lenox school and will take the ACT this weekend. Other schools that were recruiting Kevin were Purdue, Bradley, Illinois State and Indiana State.

    Look for Lincoln-Way to be a very strong team next year as they return 3 solid starters and some great underclassmen including 6'9" sophomore James Augustine. Back to News Archive Index


3/22

Shootouts For Next Year

    We received word today of two of next year's biggest shootouts, both run by the Integrity Group.

    The first event, January 20, 2001 at the Rockford MetroCentre, will pit in the first game All-American Eddy Curry and his Thornwood Thunderbirds versus Minnesota-bound point guard Aaron Robinson and his Rockford Guilford Vikings. "It will be interesting to see how they (Guilford) attack Eddy Curry," said co-founder of the Integrity Group Bob Rylko. The second game in the High School Hoops Showdown will have Rockford Boylan playing Chicago Whitney Young. "Both games should be wars," proclaimed Rylko.

    The City-Suburban Showdown (Feb. 17, 2001) is an event that the Integrity Group created five years ago in hopes of showcasing the best in the city versus the best that the suburbs had to offer; at the time those kind of games would only be seen downstate at the finals. In the first game it will be a rematch of this years supersectional game between Gurnee-Warren and New Trier. The second match-up will be a possible preview of the state championship next year. Whitney Young led by 6'7" Najeeb Echols will go to battle against Thornwood and the 6'10" Curry. Although the individual match-up of Echols and Curry seems enticing enough, both of these teams will be listed among the nation's best, returning a cast of other great players as well.

    These games look to have great entertainment potential and only time will tell if that will pan out to be true.  Back to News Archive Index


3/21

Player Journals- New Trier to State Finals

    Todd Townsend and his New Trier Trevians have had a very successful year and should be proud of their prosperous season.

    On Friday (3/21) Todd and his New Trier team advanced and competed in the Illinois state tournament against a very strong East St. Louis team that consisted of such superstars as 6'9" All-American Darius Miles and 6'3" high-scoring Phillip Gilbert. Todd definitely looked forward to the challenge of playing against and guarding his longtime teammate and friend Darius Miles. Todd, Darius and Todd's teammate and All-Stator Matt Lottich have been friends since their freshmen years, playing with the Illinois Warriors AAU summer team.

    Todd is a great defensive player and does all the little things to help his team win. However, Todd and his team's play were of no avail against the stronger ESL team. Todd finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds and a number of highlights including a resounding dunk, where Todd did a double-pump slam over his buddy Darius that was on every highlight film imaginable.

    For our third Player Journal from Todd Townsend Click Here.  Back to News Archive Index


3/19

Westinghouse Downed

    Expectations were so high. The Warriors of Westinghouse were supposed to cruise through the regular season, capture the Chicago Public League championship, go down state and be crowned state champions. It all happened according to plan...except of course the last part.

    Going into Saturday night's game, The 'House played a Friday night game (beating Bloom Township), had a early morning walk-through (6:30 AM on Sat.), defeated home-town Peoria Richwoods (Sat. afternoon), and finally had to deal with the West Aurora Blackhawks for the state title on Saturday night. The 'House showed fatigue from their rugged schedule.

    Starting off the game Westinghouse didn't initiate the battle with their normal run and gun style, pressing, and harassing the opposing team all the way up the court. Instead they let West Aurora dictate their own tempo for the game. It didn't help that in the first half Westinghouse was flat offensively.

    Not able to produce their usual fast-break points, sitting back in a half-court zone, the Warriors were searching for offensively opportunities. In the end, Cedrick Banks and Martell Bailey did their usual offensive damage, finishing with 22 and 19 points respectively. Also one of the Warriors unsung heroes, New Mexico State-bound Dennis Trammell contributed 14 points with several clutch 3-pointers that almost brought the Warriors back at the tail end of the game. Unfortunately the Warriors efforts were to little and too late, as the Blackhawks were too much to handle.

    Leading the way for West Aurora was their 6'7 center Austin Real. Real (17 points and 9 rebounds) played a great game, owning the glass and getting some tough buckets underneath the hoop. The Blackhawks' 6'5, IBCA All-Stator and Loyola-bound Louis Smith contributed 8 points and 8 rebounds. West Aurora Juniors Jamaal Thompson and Derik Hollyfield each tallied 15 and 12 points respectively with Hollyfield simply on fire all tournament long from 3-point range finishing 11-13 from beyond the arc in the tournament. Back to News Archive Index


3/18

Miles Shines at State

    There was no doubt who was the best player on the floor in the state quarterfinal game between New Trier and East St. Louis. No, it wasn't the Stanford-bound, 3-sport all-stater Matt Lottich. And it wasn't New Trier's do-it-all forward Todd Townsend. The best player in yesterday's game and in all of Illinois is East St. Louis' 6'9 guard/forward/center Darius Miles.

    This game was a reuniting of sorts as Lottich, Townsend and Miles have all played on Larry Butler1s Illinois Warriors AAU team during the summer since their freshman years. However, friendships were put on hold in this contest as Miles exploded for 26 points, 20 rebounds, 9 blocks and 6 assists.

    It was a nonstop highlight-show with Miles providing the majority of the show. Darius continually snatched rebound after rebound, then proceeded to dribble the length of the floor weaving in and out of helpless defenders. At the end of those full court dribbling expeditions Miles would either make a Magic-ess no look pass or take it himself and bring down the house with a thunderous dunk. There wasn1t much that the Trevians of New Trier could do, as East St. Louis went on to win 68-48.

    The following morning Darius played another marvelous game tallying 18 points, 8 rebounds, 9 blocks and 4 steals. But unfortunately it wasn't enough, as his Flyers lost 43-30 to West Aurora in the state semifinals.

    Playing in the consolation third place game that same night Darius showed no fatigue, as he lead his team to a third place finish in Illinois.

    Miles commented at the state tournament that he feels that he will be headed to St. John's (where he has already commited) for next year. But he continued to say that if he could be lottery pick in this years draft then he would have to go with the NBA route. Miles to the NBA? We'll have to wait and see. Back to News Archive Index


3/16

Al Sewasciuk- Argo

    Heading into the state tournament this weekend you won't find Northern Illinois University-bound Al Sewasciuk of Argo High School playing on any of the eight teams still alive, but don't count on him not making some noise of his own in Peoria.

    The 6'4" shooting guard, Sewasciuk, has put his name on the short list of players that have qualified for both the 3-point Contest and Slam Dunk Contest for the IHSA's March Madness Weekend. "I feel proud to be selected by the coaches to be in the dunk contest with all of these people. Plus, I'm proud because now I have a chance to prove to everyone that white men can jump," commented the Caucasian Sewasciuk, referring to the stigmatism that whites are vertically challenged.

    When asked on how he has became such an adept shooter and dunker Sewasciuk replied, "I shoot 1,000 jumpers a day and the jumping just comes natural for me, I really don't do anything for my legs."

    Last year as a junior it was Al's first year qualifying for the state 3-point finals. "I was happy to go down state. That was my goal last year, just to go down. This year is to win it all," declared Sewasciuk.

    But don't think that Al just excels in these showcase competitions only. He has performed marvelously during the season as well. Finishing against an above par schedule with averages of 22.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.5 steals while shooting 52% from the field and 41% from beyond the arc.

    Argo High School, not exactly know for it's excellence on the hardwood, has no doubt been a struggle on Al to gain exposure for himself. That's where AAU ball played a big role in Al's quest for recognition. Playing for the RBS All-Stars, Al was able to play in several high profile tournaments and events this past summer, the most notable of which was the 17 and under AAU Nationals in Orlando, Florida. In Orlando, Al burst onto the national scene while leading his RBS team to 12th place in the nation. Not to mention garnering a spot on the AAU All-American team along with such notables as Darius Miles (IL), Zach Randolph (IN) and Carron Butler (ME). Al thanks the RBS All-Stars as the main reason he received his scholarship at NIU.

    Although many other "big time" schools (among them were California, Oregon, UAB, Wisconsin and Michigan) sought Al's services after his breathtaking performances during the summer he ended with the Northern Illinois Huskies.

    "I had a bunch of bigger schools after me but it was about playing time. Plus I wanted to stay close to home, my family means the world to me."

    Look for Al to show some people in DeKalb, Illinois (home of the Northern Illinois Huskies) next year that, yes, white men can jump! Back to News Archive Index


3/11

Cardinals Crowned

    Youth reigned supreme as the underclassmen dominated Cardinals of Pleasant Plains topped the senior laden Wooden Shoes of Teutopolis 56-43 in the Class A Championship game at Carver Arena in Peoria.

    Guiding Pleasant Plains was their leading scorer, junior All-Stater Dusty Bensko. The 6'4" Bensko does it all for Plains: he jumps center, helps bring up the ball and takes the big shots on crucial possessions. Averaging 25 points and 9 rebounds for the state tournament finals Bensko made a good bid for why he should be considered the best Class A player next year. Unfortunately Bensko will most likely not continue his basketball career in college as he is expected to be picked in the Major League Baseball Draft next year.

    To reach the finals Plains survived a hard fought 3-overtime battle with conference rival Riverton in the semis. "It's a great feeling to work this hard and come through," said Plains coach, Cliff Cameron.

    In a losing effort Teutopolis All-State guard Mitch Koester broke open his mini slump with a game high 16 points.

    With all key players returning look for Plains to make another serious run at the crown next year.  Back to News Archive Index


3/9

Player Journals- Abingdon's season over

    Barry Welsh and his Abingdon Commandos fell short of the state championship but they have no reason to hold their heads low as they ended with a great year, finishing 24-5 for the season. Normally a clutch player, Barry came up short in Abingdon's last game as they fell to a strong Farmington team led by second team All-State player, Rhet Wierzba. With his season over Barry is now focusing on getting ready for his venture into college life at Indiana State University where he has already signed on to play next year. With a solid work ethic Barry is determined to play well and make the most out of his stay at ISU.

    For our second Player Journal from Barry Welsh Click Here.   Back to News Archive Index


3/7

H.S. Elite's Illinois All-State

   We are now ready to release our Illinois All-State teams. This includes ALL Illinois players, regardless of class or year in school. There were some great players left off and it was really tough but our first team consists of Darius Miles, Andre Brown, Eddy Curry, Click here for more.  Back to News Archive Index


3/6

Player Journals- March Madness begins!

    On Friday the Chicago Sun-Times released it's All-Area selections and Todd Townsend's teammate and best friend, Stanford bound, 3-sport star Matt Lottich (23pts, 7reb, 5asts) was honored as one of the 20 players as Todd made Honorable Mention.

    Rolling past the first two rounds of playoffs, New Trier keeps their focus of a state championship in the front of their minds. On course for a probable match-up with a tough Schaumburg team to advance downstate, Todd Townsend and his New Trier Trevians are ready for anything.

    For our second Player Journal from Todd Townsend Click Here.  Back to News Archive Index


2/28

Miles & Brown on McDonald's Team

    Class A's best Andre Brown and Class AA's best Darius Miles have both been selected to the McDonald's All-American game for Wednesday, March 29, at the Fleet Center in Boston, MA.

    Darius Miles has helped his East St. Louis team to a 22-2 regular season finish this year, while providing whatever his team needs on any given night. The 6'9" Miles can do it all, as he averaged 22 points, 13 rebounds and 7 blocks this season.

    The 6'9" Andre Brown was selected as our Class A Player of the Year as he posted such terrific numbers as 23 points, 13 rebounds and 2 blocked shots while shooting 52 percent from the field under constant double and triple teams. Brown's 23-1 Leo Lions finished the regular season as the best team in Illinois from Class A.

    Both representing the McDonald's West team, Miles and Brown have both made commitments to two of the premier college programs, in St. Johns and DePaul respectively. Miles is contemplating a decision to turn pro and enter into the NBA Draft, as he has not yet qualified academically yet. Back to News Archive Index


2/28

Player Journals- Townsend Eligible!

    Todd Townsend has lived a very rough and at times difficult life. The one constant in Todd’s life has been basketball. However, in November the IHSA tried to take that away from Todd. They were successful. Todd was ruled ineligible for his senior year of high school basketball. The high school career of Todd Townsend was thought to have come to an end before it ever really got rolling.

    In December Todd’s legal guardians, Joe and Kathy Schwaba, took the IHSA to court saying that Todd is well in his rights to play basketball at New Trier High School. They won their plea and today Todd is happy as can be at suburban New Trier High School, as he is starring for their basketball team and doing great academically getting 1A, 2B's and 2C's at the end of the semester marking period.  

        For our first Player Journal from Todd Townsend Click Here.   Back to News Archive Index


2/25

Player Journals- Welsh All-State

    We at HighSchoolElite.com are happy to have two of Illinois’ elite players contributing to our site with Player Journals. Our initial goal was to get two players from two totally different situations. We succeeded. One player, a Chicago Area Class AA player, Todd Townsend. Then, we have the distant Chicago Area ball player from Class A, Abingdon, Barry Welsh.

      Cookies n’ cream, white shadow, lil’ Jay Williams, all of these are nicknames labeled to our first player contributing to our Player Journals. Barry Welsh is an electrifying point guard who can rack up the scoreboards or just as easily get his teammates involved with his great court vision and passes. Welsh, a first team AP All Stater, has already signed on to play basketball for the Sycamores of Indiana State next year.

  Todd Townsend is a 6’7" forward for New Trier high school that can do it all. Todd has had some rough times in his life but all seems to be looking well and heading in the right direction since he moved to his current residence in Kennilworth. In order to get his academics in line (although, he is doing well at New Trier, his grades at Morgan Park were definitely sub-par) Todd will play at a 5th year prep school next year.

    We look forward to making this Player Journals section of our site a tradition, with two of the top up-coming seniors contributing each year. Todd and Barry have agreed to submit to us their Player Journals once every two weeks.

    For our first Player Journal from Barry Welsh Click Here.  Back to News Archive Index


2/22

Chicago Morgan Park

    Overachievers. With their regular season completed, no one would’ve predicted the Mustangs of Morgan Park to be in their current position. The Mustangs glided to a 19-5 regular season record and captured their first Chicago Red South conference championship since 1976. After all, they lost from last year’s team, star guard Brandon Mason to graduation-currently at New Mexico State- and the versatile Todd Towsend to a transfer-now playing for New Trier.

    "The three of us just had to step it up," said the 6’5" senior Imo Akhibi, referring to the Mustangs star trio of 6’6" junior Quinell Brown, 6’6" senior Casterdaryl (Cas) McKinnon, and of course Imo himself.

    Morgan Park’s leader, the 6’5" Akhibi is averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds with solid interior play. "I’m really working on bringing my game outside more for college though," said the 230lb. Akhibi. On Imo’s list for possible colleges that he will enroll at next year are Syracuse, UTEP, Bradley & New Mexico State. However, two of his close friends, Dwayne Williams and Cameron Echols of Simeon proposed  an intriguing idea to Imo last week. "They kept telling me that the three of us should go to West Virginia together." If that would indeed pan out, West Virginia would be getting three excellent young ball players. Assuming senior leadership along with Imo is the Mustang's man in the middle, Cas McKinnon.

    The lanky McKinnon is the high-energy center for the Mustangs who is averaging 16 points and 13 rebounds. The 6’6" McKinnon says that he is still very wide open in his college hunt. After Cas and Imo eventually graduate and move on, Coach Herbert Ray’s cupboard won’t be empty by any means.

    ‘Q’ as he is known to his teammates, is one of the states best from the Class of 2001. "He can do it all. He’s like the Scottie Pippen of our team," says Quinell’s proud teammate, Imo. Q is the leading scorer for Morgan Park at 19 points per and also manages to pull down 9 boards while playing the wing. Q is already being looked over by many high major D1 colleges, including DePaul, Purdue and Minnesota.

    If the Mustangs continue to perform at their present pace they will no longer be know as overachievers. Back to News Archive Index


1/26

Peters Ruling

    James Peters a senior power forward for Chicago Julian has really came on extremely strong this year. Peters has proven himself to truly be one of the elite players in Illinois as he continually dominates opponents with his extreme vertical leap and athletic skills. Not to mention Peters is 6’9" and has a man’s body at 235 pounds. Unfortunately this terrific season that Mr. Peters has been having, has been forced to a halt as he was ruled ineligible by a council of 12 Public League principals. These committee members reasoned that Peters, originally from Hyde Park High School and now combined with his stay at Julian, has used up all 8 of his semesters that are allotted to high school athletes. James will almost undoubtedly go on to continue his basketball career at the next level as several colleges including Michigan, UIC and DePaul are all eager to have his services on their campus for next year. Back to News Archive Index


1/20

Top Available Prospects- Post Players

    These 5 post men definitely have an argument saying that they are just as talented as the available point guards if not more so. This group is led by 6'8" James Peters of Chicago Julian. James has not been able to play the whole year and probably won't be able to play much more of the year as the IHSA is disputing his eligibility after a transfer from Gage Park earlier in his high school career. So college recruiters get out and see Mr. Peters while you can! 1) James Peters 6'8" PF Julian - Has emerged as one of the top players in all of Illinois with his rugged dominance underneath the basket and his tremendous leaping ability. 2) Cameron Echols 6'7" PF Simeon - This adept rebounder has really developed some crafty offensive post moves that he uses very nicely. 3) Chris Alexander 7'1" C Thornton - An agile big man, Chris really brings a lot to the table. Only a select few brave souls have enough courage to take the ball into the paint when Chris is in the area, as he is a supreme shot blocker. Brandon Pruitt 6'8" PF Lincoln Park - Immensely talented offensive player as he kills defenders with his array of post moves. Also, a warrior on the boards. Jabbar Battle 6'6" PF Crane - This 250 lb. workhorse is a load when he gets the ball around the hoop. Also, an active rebounder on both ends of the floor. Back to News Archive Index


1/19

Top Available Prospects- Swingmen

    Today we will 'swing' on over to the swingmen. This list consists of players that are all very versatile and able to play multiple backcourt positions. The head of this list is Morgan Park transfer Todd Townsend who has told us he will opt for prep school next year. 1) Todd Townsend 6'7" WF/SF New Trier - Todd is a rangy wing forward with an unconventional shot that seems to fall more often then not. Has been forced to play underneath the basket his high school career due to his teams' lack of size but will be a wing forward in college. 2) Demario Eddins 6'6" WF/SF Julian - It is unusual for a 6'7" kid to play the guard spot while in high school but the abundance of size on Demario's Julian team has allowed him to do that. Demario is best at slashing to the hoop and has a nice mid-range jump shot. 3) J.D. Summers 6'3" WG/SF Quincy - Over the summer J.D. apparently hit the weight room as he is now physically capable to play the 3 spot in college if needed. However, Summers would best be placed out on the wing launching his pretty jumpers from beyond the arc as he is an ideal shooting guard in college. 4) Craig Franklin 6'2" PG/WF Westinghouse - Able to dominate defenders out on the wing with his quick baseline moves to the hoop. Craig can either bring the ball up the court or rack it up from the wing. Great hops. 5) Tyler Hackstandt 6'3" WG/WF Okawville - Knows how to put points on the board. Drives the lane nicely and good athleticism. Back to News Archive Index


1/18

Top Available Prospects- Point Guards

    In the next couple of days we will be breaking down the top 5 unsigned seniors in Illinois in three different categories; point guards, swingmen & post players. We will start today where the majority of the talent still lies, the point guard position. Led by the Westinghouse backcourt, Cedrick Banks and Martell Bailey, all 5 of these players are no doubt major D1 material. 1) Cedrick Banks 6'2" PG/WG Westinghouse - Cedrick is a slashing type player with a very solid perimeter shot. He has proven why he is one of the state's best this year. Knows how to score points yet a very unselfish player. 2) Martell Bailey 5'11" PG Westinghouse - Lulls you to sleep then blows by you with his killer first step. When he gets to the rack he CAN finish with the big boys. Always under composure. 3) Aaron Carr 6'2" PG/WG Lincoln Park - Physically a strong point guard. An above average shooter and strong defender. 4) Vince Greene 5'9" PG Brother Rice - A scoring point guard with solid handle. Can light you up from 3-point range easily when given room and also a strong finisher in the lane. 5) Jabari Mattox 6'1" PG St. Joseph - One of the best on the ball defenders in the state. Needs to use better shot selection at times but knows how to get teammates involved when he wants to. Back to News Archive Index


1/9

"The House" Falls

    Is a loss a good thing? It is argued that for an undefeated team to go into the playoffs without a blemish on their record only sidetracks the team from their ultimate goal, the state championship. "Your mind starts to wander and you forget about the moment at hand," said a notable Chicago area head coach.

    The Westinghouse Warriors have started off this season like no other. The have already captured championships in the prestigious Chicago Public League and Proviso West tournaments. On top of that they defeated the then #1 team in the nation Virginia’s Oak Hill Academy. All of this was accomplished without the assistance of head coach, Chris Head. Head was ruled ineligible until Jan. 4 by the IHSA for coaching his high school team during AAU competition.

    After notable victories over the aforementioned Oak Hill Academy team and such Chicago Area powers as Hillcrest, New Trier, Julian, Simeon & Providence St. Mel, ‘The House’ was thought to be on their way to the #1 ranking in the nation.

    They finally received their wish on Monday, as The USA Today put The Warriors on top of the world with a #1 ranking. Let’s think how could the undefeated Warriors top themselves? How could they celebrate this momentous occasion… with a loss?

    Going into Tuesday’s game with the lowly Chicago Curie team, (not even ranked in the area) there were no thoughts of a loss. After all, they had their ‘Head’ coach back with them. The same coach who led them to the AAU National Championship Title in Orlando, FL.

    On the other hand, the underdog Curie team had other plans in store. On the Curie player’s minds was one thing and one thing only, beat Westinghouse. Their minds weren't being subdued with thoughts of an undefeated season or their position in the national rankings, all they were thinking about was an upset.

    When the final buzzer sounded, Curie had done the impossible or had they done a favor? Was Curie’s win in fact a blessing in disguise, now forcing Westinghouse to reassess their focus on the season? At least now there will be only one thing on Westinghouse’s minds, the state championship. Back to News Archive Index


1/8

Illinois McDonald's All American Nominees

    The McDonalds All American Staff has completed its list of nominees for the All American game to be held in March. The Illinois list in our opinion is a joke. Although it is nothing more then just a nominees list, it is not very accurate. Notable players left off the list are Chicago Julian studs James Peters and Demario Eddins, 6'7" Chicago Simeon rebounding machine Cameron Echols, 6'7" New Trier jumping jack Todd Townsend, 6'6" Riverton scoring machine Clint Cuffle and 5'10" Rockford water-bug Ameer Watts.  If you feel that any other elite players have been left off or vice versa speak your mind at our annual chats on Sun. & Wed. nights at 8pm Central Time. Back to News Archive Index


12/19

Illini Get Powell

    First it was the Manual boys (McClain, Griffin & Williams), straight off of 4 state championships. Then they got 6'10" McDonald's All-American, Brian Cook. In this year's class they have an outstanding shooter in Brett Melton. Now, they are already working on the class of 2001.
    On Thursday night 6'6" Roger Powell reportedly called the Illinois staff and gave his verbal commitment. The pickup of Powell is a big one. Ranked #3 by H.S. Elite, Powell is an athletic, solidly built wing forward who is averaging 16 points and 6 boards early on in the season.
    The Fighting Illini are doing exactly what needs to be done to make themselves a serious contender come March. They are keeping the hometown talent in the state. Next on Illinois' list is big Eddy Curry from Thornwood and Powell's AAU teammate Pierre Pierce.
Back to News Archive Index


12/16

Abundance of Photos

In our continuing quest to bring you the best and largest collection of photos, we have now added more! We pride ourselves on having the greatest photo gallery of top boy's basketball players from Illinois. To view our extensive photo gallery, just go to Illinois player rankings and click on the player's name you wish to see. Just a reminder that all photos are the property of HighSchoolElite.com and unauthorized use of any of our photos is prohibited. Back to News Archive Index


12/13

 Robinson a Gopher

As it is being widely reported that Aaron Robinson of Guilford High School in Rockford has given the Minnesota Golden Gophers a verbal commitment. Robinson is a 5'8" silver-quick point guard that plays for Larry Butler's talent filled Illinois Warriors team. Aaron is right around the same level as the other top point guards in Illinois: Pierce, Straight and Bynum. Yet he receives much less publicity being in Rockford. Back to News Archive Index


12/12

Eligible? (Todd to Prep School)

    This isn't how it was supposed to be. The New Trier basketball team was expected to be one of the elite team's bar-none this year. With the perimeter presence of Matt Lottich, James Romey and Staunton Peck and the inside presence of Ivan Pjevcevic and Todd Townsend there would be few teams able to stop the mighty Trevians. However, as the New Trier team took the floor today against Maine West, Ivan and Todd were nowhere to be found. They were decked out in their team warm-ups, regulated to sitting on the bench.
    Ivan Pjevcevic is a transfer student from Yugoslavia who decided to move in with his uncle this year. It just so happens that he is 6'9" and a heck of a basketball player. Ivan honed his skills last year while playing on Yugoslavia's national team. Originally on the first ruling (along with Todd) Ivan was declared ineligible to play by the IHSA. Then, after further information was brought into play the IHSA caved in and has declared Ivan to be eligible to play come Dec. 17 against Evanston. However, the ruling of Todd Townsend didn't turn out quite as good.
    "I was angry because they tried to take what I did and make it into a negative," said the former Morgan Park star, Townsend. Todd along with New Trier's Athletic Director, Principal and Joseph and Kathy Schwaba (the family that Todd lives with) all had a meeting with the people from the IHSA last Monday (12/6). "They made it sound like the meeting went really well when we walked out," commented Townsend. That was not the case though. When arriving back at school Todd was surprised to find a fax that held the fate of whether his senior year at New Trier would include actual games or just practices. The answer was practices.
    Not allowing his basketball skills to relinquish, Todd will continue to practice with the team for the rest of the year. Todd also attends all of their games and is a somewhat of a vocal leader for the Trevians. Todd told me yesterday that his high school days would not be over with after he graduates from New Trier. Making the commitment to continue to better himself academically, Todd will enroll in a prep school "somewhere out east" next year. Todd is still undecided on exactly what school he would like to go to next year but he did mention that the Schwabas do have family in Boston and North Carolina. The best of luck to this young man who is only trying to make a better life for himself.
Back to News Archive Index


12/10

Hoops in the Loop Shootout

This Sunday(12/12) there will be five outstanding games taking place at Northwestern's Welsh Ryan Arena in Evanston. The first game, sure to be a thriller, pits Chicago Crane against Providence St. Mel. The match-up to watch in this game will be 6'7" senior center Jabbar Battle of Crane going up against the 6'8" sophomore Stan Gaines. The second game, which is the headliner, will be Chicago Whitney Young versus Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. Oak Hill was ranked #1 nationally up until they faced the quicker Chicago Westinghouse team on Thursday(12/9) and lost. It will be interesting to see how Oak Hill will bounce back after having their 35 game winning streak snapped. Then, one of the most physically imposing players in the nation, 6'10" Eddy Curry, leads his Thornwood team against Jessup W. Scott, one of Ohio's best. Four fifths of the way done and the defending Class AA state champs, St. Joe of Westchester will face Rock Island. Finally, in the last game 6'6" Morgan Park transfer, Todd Townsend and 6'9" Ivan Pjevcevic will be reduced to sitting on the New Trier bench. Todd, although still practicing with the team, has been ruled ineligible for the rest of the season. Ivan on the other hand will become eligible on Tuesday(12/14). The Trevians will have to rely on the leadership of Matt Lottich to guide them past Maine South. The first game will start at noon and the last game is scheduled to tip off at 7:00 P.M. For more information call Hoopla Sports at 708-579-1900. Back to News Archive Index


12/5

Jabari Mattox-St. Joseph

This mourning I had a chance to speak with Jabari Mattox's AAU coach, Darryl Royster of the RBS All-Stars. Darryl said the colleges that are looking at Jabari are Loyola Marymount and American University in D.C. He also said Utah is considering and that Bradley is probably out of the picture after they signed Kankakee's Marcello Robinson. Jabari is one of two returning starters (Chad Tancil the other) for the Class AA State Champion, St. Joseph Chargers. Mattox is a solid floor general that rarely commits turnovers and applies tremendous pressure on the opposing team's point guard. St. Joseph is off to a 4-2 start losing to St. Rita and Benet Academy. Back to News Archive Index


11/28

Quick Recap

Today six of Illinois' top teams played in a star studded shootout at the UIC Pavilion. The first game pitted the Whitney Young Dolphins versus Class A power, Providence St. Mel. The Dolphins came out on top 77-68, with Whitney Young's 6'7" junior, Najeeb Echols garnering MVP honors with 22 points (14 in the second quarter). In the second game and main event, Chicago Westinghouse defeated Peoria Richwoods 49-41. The Warrior's full court press proved to be too much for Bob Darling's Peoria Richwoods team. Martell Bailey finished with 16 points and the game's MVP award. In the final game, an afterthought from the first two, Chicago Julian proved to be to strong and to big for the under-matched Peoria Manual Rams. 6'6" junior, Martese Williams was recognized as MVP for the game with his solid board work and 11 points. Look for complete coverage of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Classic on Tuesday when we can get our pictures up to the site. Back to News Archive Index


11/19

Hairston no to Evansville

Stetson Hairston has commited to the University of Southern Illinois. Yes, this is the same Stetson Hairston who we reported on the first of September as having given U of Evansville a commitment. To read the whole story visit Bob Gibbon's All Star Report. Back to News Archive Index


11/18

Quick Facts

Jason Edwin, the unfortunate young man who was ruled ineligible to play basketball for his senior year of high school basketball, has signed with the Saint Louis Billikens. Edwin was ruled ineligible three months ago by the IHSA because of circumstances where as he had to be self-supportive financially, being an emancipated student.

Elgin's 6'5" senior, Marcus Smallwood has decided to stay close to home and sign with the DeKalb based Northern Illinois Huskies.

Whitney Young's 6'9" Damien Williams elected to sign with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Back to News Archive Index


11/17

Miles to St. John's

The well anticipated decision of Darius Miles was finally made public this morning as he declared for the Red Storm of St. John's. Darius Miles is an enigma of sorts. He is six feet nine inches in height, yet he is quicker then your average guard. Darius prefers to roam around the perimeter like most big men do. However, this big man was made for the perimeter. Whether on offense, using his quick first step, or on defense using his long arms to stamp the ball Return to Sender, Darius can flat out dominate games. The commitment of Miles to St. John's will likely bring upon his good buddy Omar Cook, who is considering St. John's and Miami. Either way, look for the Red Storm to finish with one of the elite recruiting classes. Back to News Archive Index


11/15

Aggies Loading Up

Lou Henson hasn't forgotten. Henson, the director of the University of Illinois' last final four appearance in 1989 hasn't overlooked the abundance of basketball talent in the Chicago area. Back in '89, Henson had the help of Chicago products, Nick Anderson (Chicago Simeon) and Kendall Gill (Rich Central). Henson, feeling the need for some of that Chicago talent down at New Mexico St., has called upon the services of Dennis Tremmel and James Moore. Tremmel, one of the stars on the loaded Chicago Westinghouse team seems to do whatever his team needs to win. Moore, a 6'8" forward out of Thornridge, continues to surprise everyone with stunning performances almost every time out. With the commitments of both Tremmel and Moore the Agies might not be getting the next Anderson and Gill but they are receiving two solid top 30-caliber Illinois products. Back to News Archive Index


11/14

Many Notable Commitments


Within the past week there have been a number of commitments from some of Illinois' lesser know players. One of the most notable is that of Rockford's Frank Richards. The talented and very athletic Richards gave the University of Ohio Bobcats a verbal commitment. As well, Jesse Mackinson of Pontiac gave Eastern Illinois a verbal commitment. Along with Mackinson, his 6'2" teammate Jason Telford also made public his college destination. Jason, along with West Aurora's Louis Smith gave the Ramblers of Loyola of Chicago two solid commitments. Finally, Hinsdale Central's deadeye shooter Steve Callahan gave Lehigh University a verbal commitment. A big pickup by the Engineers! Back to News Archive Index


11/10

Blue Demon Bandwagon


Today, Martin Luther King's Imari Sawyer has officially jumped on the Blue Demon bandwagon. In the late 70's and early 80's Chicago products Terry Cummings and Mark Aguire had DePaul basketball rockin'. Then, two years ago the commitments of Quentin Richardson, Bobby Simmons and Lance Williams set the city on fire. Now this year, Andre Brown and Imari Sawyer are keeping that tradition alive. With DePaul staying strong in it's talent filled hometown, DePaul basketball looks to be a force to reckon with for a long time to come. Back to News Archive Index


11/5

Chris Alexander-Thornton


Last night I had a chance to speak with the self proclaimed # 2 player (behind only Darius Miles) in the state, 7'1" Chris Alexander. Chris had some very interesting things to say. First off, he said that he won't make a decision on his future until after the season. He did however say that his favorite was Fresno State because of former Thornton star Melvin Ely. His second favorite destination would be The League, yes, the NBA. Chris also said that he is still considering DePaul and Georgetown. "DePaul is close to home and Georgetown is a great school for big men," said Alexander. There have been numerous reports in the past that Chris may not qualify academically for college. With Chris preparing to take the ACT in December, he feels that qualifying will not be a problem. Best of luck to Chris in his endeavors. Back to News Archive Index


11/2

Cummings Chooses UCLA


"There's no place like home." It was said best in the movie The Wizard of Oz. In the case of 6'9" T.J. Cummings that couldn't be more true. Cummings, the son of Golden State Warriors' Terry, grew up for the most part on the west coast, as his dad is located in Cali playing with the Golden State Warriors. Therefore, the younger Cummings decided to give the Bruins of UCLA a verbal commitment and be closer to his father and childhood. Dorothy, you couldn't be more right! Back to News Archive Index

Marquette Gets Two


The Marquette Golden Eagles have drastically raised their stock today as being a team to reckon with in the talented Conference USA. The commitments of 6'4" Dwayne Wade from Richards and 6'6" Odartey Blankston from Hillcrest to the University of Marquette has a lot more meaning then what appears on the surface. With the commitments of Wade and Blankston, the Golden Eagles unquestionably get two solid basketball players that will help them achieve success in the very near future. However, their commitments also reestablishes their recruiting presence in the Chicago area. Having picked up two of Chi-town's best two years ago in Whitney Young's Cordell Henry and Hinsdale Central's Brian Wardle, the Golden Eagles were thought to be back in the mix of things in the talent filled Chicago area. Now the commitments of these two young men reaffirm that The Golden Eagles of Marquette are without a doubt... back. Back to News Archive Index


10/27

Brown To DePaul


Leo's 6'9" power forward, Andre Brown, has committed to Pat Kennedy's Depaul University. The chiseled Brown has been expected to give the Blue Demons a commitment along with friend, Imari Sawyer for the past few weeks. Andre is every bit of a power forward as you'll find in this years senior class in Illinois. Brown has been described by one opposing AAU coach as, "a man amongst boys." That is by no means an understatement, as Brown was the first player ever to be choosen as All-State in Illinois in both Class A and AA. As he did so two years ago for Class A as a sophomore and last year when Leo's population increased in Class AA. Back to News Archive Index


10/21

Recent Commitments


There have been an abundance of top Illinois players committing to colleges within the past couple of weeks. The first of which is Eligin standout Marcus Howard to the Sycamores of Indiana State. Howard played exceptionally well at the AAU Nationals in Orlando this summer where he helped his RBS team finish as the number twelve team in the nation. Another top player who recently committed was Monwell Randle of the Hillcrest Hawks. The fierce and competitive Randle committed to South West Missouri State. Also, Riverton's Clint Cuffle has committed to the University of Evansville. Cuffle is a good student with plenty of potential on the hardwood. Lastly, Al Sewasciuk, who we rate as the most underrated player in the senior class of Illinois, gave Northern Illinois a commitment. A huge pickup for the Huskies. Back to News Archive Index


9/23

Dwayne Wade-Richards


At St. Xavier College today, High School Elite was able to speak with the 6'5" do everything guard/forward, Dwayne Wade. When asked about his future plans, Wade said that he is still wide open. However, he did mention DePaul, St. Louis, and Michigan State. Wade was unable to play as he is nursing a bum leg that he injured at the recent 5-Star Tournament in Staten Island, NY this past weekend. Wade's Illinois Warriors team came in a very respectable second place in this talent filled tournament. Back to News Archive Index

More Photos

High School Elite has recently attended several top tournaments and shoot-outs in the wonderful state of Illinois. While at these venues we were fortunate enough to speak with and take pictures of all of the top players in attendance. Among the player's photos that we will have posted on the site are Eddie Curry, Jason Edwin, Aaron Carr, Monwell Randle, Todd Townsend, Roger Powell Jr, Mike Thompson and many more.


9/1

Modido Niakate to SIU

France native, Modido Niakate has commitment to the Salukies of Southern Illinois. The 6'1" Niakate shinned at Bob Gibbons TOC at the beginning of the summer. "Mo" is a very athletic guard that plays AAU ball with the southern Illinois based Illinois Elite. Back to News Archive Index

Stetson Hairston to Evansville


Honorable mention all-stater Stetson Hairston has given a verbal commitment to the Purple Aces of Evansville. The 6'2" Belleville East star plays in AAU ball with the Illinois Warriors as well as the St. Louis Eagles. Back to News Archive Index


8/30

Logan a Hurricane

 
Country Club Hills native Reo Logan will be attending the University of Miami next year. The 6'10" Logan recently got back from his campus visit at Miami and was very impressed with Leonard Hamilton's system. Apparently, no one on the Miami team had a bad thing to say about Coach Hamilton. Logan will be a nice addition to the quickly rising Hurricanes. The next target on Miami's list is crafty Omar Cook from Crist the King in New York City. Back to News Archive Index


8/26

New Trier Looking to go Downstate


The Trevians of New Trier. It was expected that New Trier high school would be one of the top teams in the Chicago land area for this upcoming year. After all they had 6'4" Stanford signee Matt Lottich and a solid supporting cast. Even so the Winnetka based Trevians weren't exactly on anyone's preseason list to win the state championship or even go down-state. However, that has all changed now that 6'7" Todd Townsend and 6'9" Ivan Pjevcevic are walking the halls of the wealthy suburban high school. Both Townsend and Pjevcevic are in the works of obtaining legal guardianship in suburban Winnetka. Townsend formerly attended school and played for Chicago Public League's Morgan Park. Todd also played for the talent laden Illinois Warriors summer team where he made solid contributions as a sixth-man. Pjevcevic lived in Yugoslavia last year and also showcased his abundant potential while playing for a Yugoslavian based team. I'll assure you that New Trier is now on most everyone's preseason list to contend for the state championship. Back to News Archive Index


No Go for Edwin

Nationally ranked Jason Edwin has been awaiting this decision for quite some time. The Illinois High School Association has ruled that Edwin will be ineligible to play basketball for this upcoming season, his senior year. It all started last year when Edwin led Warsaw High to an undefeated regular season record going into the state playoffs. Warsaw is located in the smaller weaker Illinois division of Class A and were predicted by many to come away with a state championship. However, Edwin was ruled ineligible right before the Class A tournament due to questions of him violating strict IHSA rules about emancipated students. He was suspected of getting financial help from his second family in Warsaw. Seeing how that would be in violation considering he has to be self supporting due to the fact that his real family remains in the Virgin Islands and he basically had to pay his own way since he came to Warsaw in '97. After the decision to rule him ineligible for the state tourney he worked his tail off during this summer holding down as many as three jobs to try and prove to the IHSA that he was self supporting. Then this last Thursday the head honcho of the IHSA, David Fry killed all of Edwin's dreams of another shot at a state championship when he ruled him to be ineligible once again. In conclusion, this sad story eventually won't end up being that sad as Jason is being carded by many top Universities and will receive a full ride to college. Lets just hope that that the IHSA and David Fry won't be close behind. Back to News Archive Index

 

 


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