Henricksen: Best unsigned senior, surprising St. Laurence, no elite teams?

Libertyville's Drew Peterson (3) slashes to the basket against Niles North. Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

Joe Henricksen’s City/Suburban Hoops Report Three-Pointer …

No. 1

Libertyville’s Drew Peterson isn’t the most celebrated prospect in the senior class, but he’s the best available one in the state in the Class of 2018.

Heading into the November signing period, Peterson had a host of options from low-major and mid-major programs. But he wasn’t able to find the ideal fit and opted to play out his senior year.

It appears Peterson is prepared to make the most of his final high school season after receiving initial offers from the likes of Elon, Rice, Bowling Green, Miami-Ohio and several others.

The highly-versatile wing has impressed over the first two weeks of the season with production that will surely attract college coaches over the next three months. Through five games under first-year coach Brian Zyrkowski, Peterson has put up some eye-popping numbers. He’s averaging 28 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals a game.

A late bloomer physically, Peterson is pushing 6-8 and slowly adding weight and strength to his wiry frame. But the production and skill set has always been there for a player who is among the top 10 prospects in the senior class.

 

No. 2

The list of teams with unblemished records is still lengthy just two weeks into the season. Several were expected and others have surprised. But one of the surprises with potential staying power is St. Laurence.

With the return of several players with varsity experience and a revamped Catholic League that has helped level the playing field with two new divisions, first-year coach Jim Sexton has a chance to build off his team’s fast start to the season.

St. Laurence, which finished 13-16 a year ago, has jumped out to a 5-0 start, including a big weekend win over previously unbeaten St. Joseph.

Senior Isaiah Harvey has been a revelation. The 5-9 guard is leading the team in scoring with 16 points a game, along with five assists, and poured in 34 points in the stunner over St. Joseph, including the game-winning three-pointer in the closing seconds.

Zion Fortune, an athletic 6-5 senior forward and returning all-Catholic League performer, has been a force with 16 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks a game, while senior shooter and defender Tim Molloy and junior Lance Jackson are chipping in 9 and 7 points a game, respectively.

In the newly-formed Chicago Catholic League, St. Laurence has emerged as one of the favorites in the Catholic League White. With continued progress and a feeble Class 3A field overall, the opportunity is there for the program’s first regional championship in 15 years.

How strong is this St. Laurence team? The Vikings, fresh off that win over St. Joseph, have a another measuring stick this Friday night with a road game at DePaul Prep.

 

No. 3

This is going to be one maligned regular season in high school basketball.

If the first two weeks are any indication, the 2017-2018 season will lack dominance from individual players and features fewer elite teams –– and even the potential for teams to become elite –– than in any season in recent memory.

There will still be favorites, most notably the Public League powers, but the door is open and there shouldn’t be an air of invincibility from any of the top teams.

With a senior group that lacks Division I talent and a junior class that isn’t exactly loaded, this type of season is to be expected.

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