Three-Pointer: Young stars make their mark, a breakout junior and new-look Benet

Morgan Park's Adam Miller (44) dishes the ball away. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

This week’s Three-Pointer hits on some young, high-profile stars — and much-needed ones — making their mark, Glenbrook South’s breakout junior and a different look for perennial power Benet.

No. 1 

The senior class in the Chicago area lacks bonafide, high-profile stars who are nationally ranked and sought after high-major recruits.

But the younger classes seem to have more potential when it comes to big-name attractions. And big names are only a positive to the high school basketball scene, bringing attention to the sport, generating headlines and enhancing the experience of the many shootouts and holiday tournaments.

Morgan Park guard Adam Miller is already ranked among the top 35 prospects in the country in the Class of 2020.

Young’s D.J. Steward, who is currently a top 100 prospect nationally, showed this past weekend he’s set to elevate his stock. He poured in 25 points and added eight rebounds and three assists in a Chicago Elite Classic win over Mater Dei (Calif.).

Superstar sophomore Max Christie of Rolling Meadows is off to a fantastic start as well. Even with a two-point scoring game in a loss to Wheaton South, the 6-5 guard is averaging 22 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two blocks a game in the Mustangs’ 4-2 start to the season.

Ahamad Bynum of Simeon is another ballyhooed local player who is set to open eyes nationally. The 6-1 sophomore scored 18 points in Simeon’s season-opening loss to St. Vincent-St. Mary at the Chicago Elite Classic.

Then there is the emergence of Buffalo Grove’s Kam Craft, a 6-4 freshman who is off to a sizzling start to his career.

Highly-regarded coming into high school, the advanced perimeter shooter is averaging 24.2 points and 6.4 rebounds a game while leading his team in assists, steals and blocks. Craft is shooting 85 percent from the free-throw line and has made 11 three-pointers in five games.

No. 2

The breakout player of the year thus far? How about little-known Dom Martinelli of Glenbrook South.

A veteran senior group, led by point guard Will King, has coach Phil Ralston’s Titans rolling. But the 6-0 start to the season has been fueled in large part by the play of Martinelli, a 6-3 junior who averaged 9.3 points a game last season.

Martinelli poured in 34 points in Glenbrook South’s stunning win over Evanston last week and is averaging 23 points a game. He was MVP of the Buffalo Grove Thanksgiving Tournament.

Already a savvy scorer, Martinelli put in a ton of work in the offseason and has improved his perimeter shot.

“My mindset when last season ended was to become a better all-around player, but I especially wanted to become a better outside threat,” says Martinelli. “That extra work has made me a more confident player.”

No. 3

Benet is a different team with a look that right now deviates from its past success.

If you haven’t noticed, the Redwings scored 60-plus points in each game this season –– until scoring 58 in an overtime loss to York Tuesday night –– and are averaging 68 points a game in their 6-1 start. Last year Benet scored 60-plus times a total of eight times during the entire regular season.

Benet can score, plays with more tempo and can still shoot the basketball. But there is a little cause for concern as this team hasn’t shown the type of toughness and defensive execution as all Gene Heidkamp’s teams do –– at least not yet.

Senior Will Engels is a luxury on the perimeter and there is difference-making size and versatility in the tandem of 6-6 Kendrick Tchoua and junior Colin Crothers, who combined to score 51 points in last week’s 77-60 win over St. Charles East.

The 6-7 Crothers can work around the basket while also being capable of stepping away and making perimeter jumpers. The productivity continues to grow as well over his three years of varsity play. Crothers scored 23 in the win over St. Charles East and then pumped in 25 points in Sunday win over DeKalb.

Tchoua, meanwhile, has been a load, averaging 19.5 points and 11 rebounds a game. At this point the 6-6 senior is one of the best unsigned prospects in the Class of 2019 in Illinois.

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