The regular trip to Fort Wayne for the Spiece Run ’N Slam event the first weekend in May brought another opportunity to see prospects throughout the state.
Here’s a quick City/Suburban Hoops Report rundown …
Max Christie’s climb continues: The City/Suburban Hoops Report forever jumped on the Max Christie bandwagon in December after watching the Rolling Meadows freshman shine at the Jack Tosh Holiday Tournament at York.
After Christie wrapped up an ultra-impressive freshman season in March, the superlatives and upside were easy to describe. That was highlighted in a pre-spring story which labeled Christie as the best young prospect in the state.
The climb continues for the 6-4 guard. He shined again this past weekend with the Illinois Wolves at Spiece while playing with older age groups. When you project Christie he easily passes the test of the promising prospect who produces and boasts so much remaining upside.
Beard, Watson poised for big jump: Young’s Tyler Beard and Morgan Park’s Marcus Watson played significant roles for teams that reached state championship games this past March. But these two players are prepared to make arguably the biggest jumps in the sophomore class.
Beard, a top five prospect in the sophomore class, and Watson, who had 11 points and five assists in the Class 3A state championship game, both have dynamic scoring ability and a growing confidence.
More importantly, their roles will greatly expand as juniors next winter. Thus, the opportunity to shine and showcase their specific talents will be immediately available when the season tips off in November.
Both Beard and Watson are relentless in attacking the basket, particularly in the open court. Beard is a finisher at the rim, an outstanding rebounder for his size and position while also showing an improved perimeter jumper.
The 5-10 Watson is a blur in transition, difficult to stay in front of and is wired to score the basketball.
Adam Miller returns: The state’s top sophomore prospect, Morgan Park’s Adam Miller, missed time on the club circuit as he nursed a minor injury. He played this past weekend with the Mac Irvin Fire in Ft. Wayne after a short layoff that unfortunately kept him out of action during the all-important April “live period.”
Miller showed some expected rust in his first game Friday night. But as Friday and Saturday played out, the talented 6-3 guard began shaking off the rust and found his rhythm. He showed flashes, particularly with his strength –– shooting the basketball –– of why he’s the top prospect in the Class of 2020 and why the Fire misses him so much.
St. Viator duo one of best in 2019: There won’t be too many tandems that are better next season than the Jeremiah Hernandez-Treyvon Calvin combo at St. Viator.
Hernandez, a 6-3 versatile guard, has been talked about quite a bit in his young career. He was co-MVP of the East Suburban Catholic Conference and helped lead the Lions to a league title after averaging 15 points, four rebounds and three assists a game as a junior. Hernandez also has a few mid-major offers, including recent spring offers from Wisconsin-Green Bay and Kent State.
But Calvin remains a real sleeper, even after a breakout junior season in which he put up 16 points, five rebounds and three assists a game.
Calvin, a 6-0 point guard, is a shot maker –– mid-range, three-pointers, off the catch and off the dribble. He shot 44 percent from beyond the arc as a junior and displayed that shot-making ability at Spiece. There is a place somewhere for Calvin at the Division I level.
Now the two are playing together with the Young & Reckless team on the club circuit.
New Trier’s Ciaran Brayboy has a a surplus of offers, with the most recent coming from Toledo, Rice, Wofford, Bucknell, DePaul, Ball State and Brown. Columbia, UW-Milwaukee, Southern Illinois and Yale offered last year.
So there is a ton of growing interest. With a coveted big body, size and high academics, Brayboy will continue to attract heavy interest through July.
The 6-9 Brayboy has strength and a sturdy frame to take up space and body up defensively. He knows his role and typically plays within himself. Plus, he plays hard and really runs the floor for a player at his size.
While watching him with the Illinois Wolves again last weekend, Brayboy’s offensive game is also evolving, albeit slowly.
Rebounding extraordinaire: You want a player to get you a rebound? Call on Leo’s DeChaun Anderson to go get you one. The 6-6 junior may not have elite size, length or athleticism, but he has the right mindset, tenacity and feel for rebounding.
He rebounded at a high level this past season and continues to gobble of rebounds at a high rate on the club circuit with Young & Reckless. He’s one hungry player on the boards, a garbage man around the basket and is starting to show a little face-up jumper out to 15 feet.
One to watch in 2021: The Illinois Wolves are blessed with some terrific talent in the freshman class.
The young group includes Christie, the Hoops Report’s No. 1 ranked player in the Class of 2021. Notre Dame guard Anthony Sayles and Schaumburg big man Chris Hodges both received a generous amount of attention this past season and are among the top handful of prospects in the class.
But another name to keep an eye is Fenwick’s Bryce Hopkins, a big-bodied 6-4 wing with some skill. Hopkins played minor minutes at the varsity level a year ago for the Friars. But as he continues to show a versatile and improving game, it’s easy to see a bigger impact coming next season at the varsity level.
Odds and ends from Spiece …
D.J. Steward of Fenwick, the Hoops Report’s No. 2 ranked prospect in the Class of 2020, looked good. Really good. The smooth sophomore guard shot it well and looked the part of a high-major prospect. … Maurion Scott is one to watch for Division II programs and low-Division I programs moving forward. The Homewood-Flossmoor wing is long, agile and blessed with upside. The 6-4 junior had his moments playing with Young & Reckless at Spiece. … Chicago Christian guard Micah Schnyders played with the Mac Irvin Fire this past weekend and impressed. The 6-2 guard played with confidence and made his presence felt with his scoring feel and acumen. … Bolingbrook’s Joseph Yesufu and Tyler Cochran form one of the top perimeter combos in the state in the Class of 2019. It was expected that teammate Demari Grant would step into a more prominent role for coach Rob Brost’s Raiders. Grant has made some nice strides since the season’s conclusion. But on Thursday he tweeted he would be leaving Bolingbrook and headed to a talented Oswego East team.
Follow Joe Henricksen and the City/Suburban Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport