Mike Conley, PG, Lawrence North – Here's the deal: if anyone tries to tell you that Conley isn't a standout college basketball prospect, don't even dignify it with a response. He "quietly" dropped 14 points and 11 assists on Proviso East. End of discussion.
Deshawn Sims, PF, Pershing – Wasn't his day as shots were not falling and overall whether it was a saggy zone or sound post defense, Cathedral made him work. He had 21 points and 17 rebounds – excellent statistics for sure – but shot just 7-for-23 from the floor in a performance that was, by his standards, average at best. Deserves a lot of credit for playing through the misses on offense and remaining extremely aggressive on the glass.
Jamil Tucker, SF, Gary Westside – He came out smoking in the first quarter and was a couple of rim outs away from a 20-point quarter. He would finish the game with 26 points (10-23) shooting and 9 rebounds.
Troy Cotton, SG, King – His game is rounding out and his stroke has always been his best attribute. Cotton hit for 19 on 12 shots and looked good in the process.
J.R. Keeylen, CG, Arlington – He comes off the bench and gave them 8 points and 4 rebounds but it was his energy and athleticism that stood out. He's got some academic issues and might need a little juco seasoning but don't be surprised when he's a good mid-major guard recruit in two years.
Jacob Pullen, SG, Proviso East – He's a really talented offensive player who hunts his shot, gets it off quickly and makes buckets. Pullen made 50% of his 10 3-point attempts to the tune of 26 against the No. 1 team in America.
Jeff Teague (pictured), SG/PG, Pike – Athletic. Long. Slasher. Explosive. He's a little bit of each and a lot of talent. 16 points on 7 shots and the versatility was on display. He's not a guy you've heard a lot about … yet. The 6-foot-1 guard is a multi-position guy.
Kenan Barlow, PF/SF, Cathedral – Might he have gone from part time starter to full time prospect against Pershing? It's possible. Coming off the bench, the 6-foot-6 Barlow gave his team buckets, energy and a naggy first half defensive presence that kept Sims off his game. The son of a former Irish basketball player is a long bodied forward who has some perimeter to his game and if he can perform consistently he'll be a coveted mid-major player. He had 18 points and 2 rebounds in the win and we'll keep track of him during the year to see if this was his breakthrough game.
Steven Thomas, PG, Cathedral – The game MVP went for 18 points, 8 boards and 4 assists. A strong game manager and effective communicator, the mid-majors in the area will work hard to keep him close to home.
Corey Wickware, PG, Southport – He's only 5-foot-10 (on a good day) but the heart is much bigger. He wasn't necessarily open when he drilled a 3-pointer that would send the game into overtime. Crafty, but not reckless with the ball, he has tremendous vision and confidence. He was their leading scorer last season and at 18 a game this year he fills that role nicely. He should be on the radar of every bracket busting mid-major program around. Did we mention he dropped 14 assists, the highest total we've personally witnessed all season long!
Korie Lucious, PG, King – It was a maddeningly frustrating game for him. Playing off the ball, Lucious shot just 3-of-14 from the floor and was never much of a factor in the contest. The bar was set so high so early that meeting expectations could be unreasonable – in terms of being a Top 15 player – in the long run. He's a talented player who clearly was pressing and not on the top of his game in the second contest of the season. With that said, the young man is a better shooter than he showed and made a few high level basketball IQ plays in the contest.
The coaching staff at Southport said that Ball State and IUPUI have sent Wickware letters but nothing more. Notre Dame dropped by to see the team workout once. … Kenan Barlow's father was a Golden Domer on the hardwood. … Southport High School is the nation's 12th largest high school basketball gymnasium but only the 10th biggest in Indiana! …
Head Coaches In Attendance – Illinois coach Bruce Weber.
Assistants in the House – Notre Dame, Ball State, Oakland, IUPUI, Indiana, Indiana State, Buffalo.
Kenan Barlow said that Southern Illinois, Florida State and Memphis had been in touch with him. … Steven Thomas, whose team is now 5-0, indicated Illinois, Notre Dame, Florida, Memphis and Purdue were checking on him. …
Deshawn Sims has always been a volume rebounder largely due to his ability to tip at the rim and keep balls alive. That's a strong trait to have in your game. … Derrick Rose will look a lot better when he's around guys who anticipate his high level passes and reciprocate his dimes with passes off their own. …
"I don't get up as early for work as early as I got up to get here today."
Illini fan Dave Miller, one of the many who made the trek from Chicago