The Riverside-Brookfield Shootout, always the featured attraction of the high school summer shootout schedule in the month of June in Illinois, tips off Saturday morning.
The event will again bring many of the top programs and players from across the Chicago area together for a sneak peek at the 2017-2018 season. Action begins Saturday at 8 a.m. with six games being played at a time throughout the day with the last game tipping off at 5 p.m. Bracket play begins Sunday.
Get to R-B early: The City/Suburban Hoops Report highlighted the best prospects in Illinois, regardless of class, in a Thursday column. Atop that list of talent was a player who has yet to play a high school basketball game: Pat Baldwin, Jr.
While Baldwin won’t officially play his first varsity game with Loyola Academy until Nov. 20, the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout’s opening time slot at 8 a.m. will feature the Ramblers against York in Baldwin’s debut. Loyola will play again at 9 a.m. against Hillcrest.
Unfortunately, Loyola’s promising twin tandem of Jordan and Bennett Kwiecinski, two of the better prospects in the Class of 2020, will miss the high-exposure R-B Shootout as they will be attending an out-of-state camp.
Out-of-state power at R-B: If the typical loaded R-B field of Chicago area powers wasn’t enough, this year’s 40-team field includes the first out-of-state team to participate in the shootout. And it’s a good one.
Vashon out of St. Louis has won back-to-back state championships in Missouri, including a 27-3 record this past season. The Wolverines have won a total of 10 Missouri state championships.
New look Curie debuts at R-B: The bulk of the 2016 Curie state championship team has moved on over the past two years, with key pieces like Devin Gage, Elijah Joiner, Terry Smith and Allante Pickens all graduating or, in the case of Landers Nolley, transferring.
While the Martin brothers, Treavon and Tyree, return for their senior year after being key figures the past two seasons, coach Mike Oliver’s team will have a whole new look next season, starting with an expected backcourt of Marquise Walker and Maurice Commander.
Walker has been a big name since he entered St. Joseph as a freshman and played a key role for a state championship team in 2016. Commander was the East Suburban Catholic Conference MVP this past season at Marist. They are both expected to be playing for Curie at this weekend’s Riverside-Brookfield Shootout.
Add another transfer, versatile 6-4 senior Jayden Gasby from Urban Prep Englewood, and rising Dajuan Gordon, an ultra-promising 6-2 guard in the Class of 2019, and the Condors will again be a preseason top 10 team in November.
Top five teams on paper at R-B (alphabetical order): Curie, Fenwick, Morgan Park, Simeon and Young.
Top 10 prospects to watch at R-B: Morgan Park’s Ayo Dosunmu and Nimari Burnett, Fenwick’s D.J. Steward, Simeon’s Talen Horton-Tucker and Kezo Brown, Young’s Xavier Castaneda and Javon Freeman, DePaul Prep’s Perry Cowan and Elliott Sieger, Larkin’s Jalen Shaw.
Loaded Orr better, deeper: Coach Lou Adams returns five of his top seven players from last year’s Class 2A state championship team.
There is a senior foursome who bring a boatload of talented experience, including powerful and athletic 6-5 Raekwon Drake, who led Orr in scoring and has received multiple Division I offers.
There is also unheralded Dannie Smith, a skilled 6-5 forward, four-year veteran shooting guard Brian Hernandez, and the rising Tyron Mosley, a versatile 6-5 guard who recently received an offer from DePaul and will visit Illinois next week.
But word has leaked that Chase Adams of Marian Catholic will be transferring to Orr. Adams, a diminutive point guard, is a table-setter who put together a very good junior year at Marian Catholic. Adams makes Orr better and deeper as it begins it quest for another Class 2A state title and run at a city championship.
Javon Pickett down to two: Although there has been one or two high-major programs still sniffing around, it appears former Illinois signee Javon Pickett of Belleville East is down to a pair of schools. The 6-4 Pickett visited UW-Milwaukee earlier this week and is currently on a visit to Drake. A decision for Pickett, who averaged 25 points a game this past season as a senior, should be coming soon.
THT’s recruitment: Talen Horton-Tucker, the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s No. 2 ranked prospect in the Class of 2018, has generated more and more interest since the completion of his junior season. The 6-4 senior-to-be says there are a host of schools he’s received the most interest from, including DePaul, Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Purdue, Iowa State, Michigan State, Xavier and Boston College.
Simeon adds transfer: If Simeon wasn’t already loaded enough on the perimeter, Zion Young, a talented 6-3 knockdown shooter, has enrolled after playing this past season as Wasatch Academy in Utah. Young, a Division I prospect originally from Merrillville, Ind., will play Saturday at the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout.
Red-hot George Conditt to visit Illinois: The City/Suburban Hoops Report highlighted the rise of Corliss big man George Conditt last month. The 6-10 Conditt, who is now among the top half dozen prospects in the Class of 2018, received an offer from Winthrop this past week and will visit Illinois and coach Brad Underwood’s staff unofficially on Saturday.
Conditt was an unknown six months ago in the Class of 2018 but has generated a buzz and several offers. In addition to Winthrop, UIC, UTEP, Chicago State, Stetson, Western Illinois, Miami-Ohio, Missouri State, Evansville, Northern Arizona, Ball State and Alcorn State have all offered.
Geneva point guard impresses: While he may not be a high-profile prospect in the Class of 2019, it’s impossible not to be impressed when watching Geneva point guard Jack McDonald.
The 5-10 McDonald was instrumental as a sophomore this past season in helping Geneva to a 28-3 record. McDonald averaged 10.8 points and 5.8 assists per game while shooting 45 percent from beyond the arc. He’s been the underrated backbone for a Mercury Elite team on the club circuit and will be a coveted small college basketball prospect over the next two years.
Tough, strong, smart and savvy, McDonald will be the cornerstone for newly hired coach Scott Hennig, who replaces the departing Phil Ralston, now the head coach at Glenbrook South.
Improving big man in FVC: He’s not to be confused with Cameron Krutwig, the best big man to come out of the Fox Valley Conference in decades, but young Alex Timmerman of Crystal Lake Central is making positive strides as a player and prospect.
The massive Timmerman, who is 6-8, 260 pounds, averaged 14.8 points and 8.9 rebounds a game this past season as a sophomore. He has played well for the young Fundamental U team on the club circuit this spring. A high-level student in the classroom, Timmerman will be an interesting prospect to follow over the next two seasons as big men are at such a premium for college programs.
New head coaches in Oswego: Both Oswego and Oswego East had late spring head coach openings in their respective basketball programs.
Matt Borrowman at Oswego stepped down after three seasons as head coach. While he will remain as an assistant, Chad Pohlmann will be taking over the program. Pohlmann has been Borrowman’s assistant the past two years after eight seasons as Oswego’s girls basketball coach.
Oswego East’s Steve Szymanski has stepped down as head coach at Oswego East after three seasons. Szymanski is also the head soccer coach at Oswego East.
Oswego East is in the midst of the interview process.
Follow Joe Henricksen and the City/Suburban Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport