Category: PLAYER FOCUS

Team Look: DeSmet (Missouri)

DeSmet has a unique blend of talent this season. The Spartans will look to win the most talented district in Missouri Class 5 this season. In order to do so, the following players will play a large role in their journey. 

Brian Taylor
Class of 2022
Guard

Taylor is one of the most talented players in the state and deserves more attention. Currently signed to play at Milwaukee-Wisconsin in the Horizon league, Taylor is every bit of 6’4 and has a strong frame for a lead guard. He’s incredibly consistent and this is in large part due to a balanced skillset. Taylor is an equally effective shooter and slasher keeping the defense on their toes. In addition, he’s one of the better rebounding guards in the midwest and will consistently produce double-doubles. All in all, Taylor has a very complete game and fans can expect a big performance when going to watch him. 

Justin Duff
Class of 2023
Guard

Duff is one of the premier shooters in Missouri. At 6’4 he must be accounted for on the perimeter at all times. He possesses a quick release and natural ability to get open from screens, ball fakes, and cuts. Against Cardinal Ritter he made 6 threes in the first half alone, and 8 total in the game. His skill set and basketball IQ will catch the eyes of many college coaches as the season goes on and he plays his final summer of AAU basketball. 

Brennan Lovette
Class of 2022
Wing

Lovette has been hampered with an injury, but his impact in the past and projected impact in the future cannot go without mention. Lovette is a glue-guy and fills a variety of roles. At 6’5 he works well in the mid-range, can act as a point forward, and uses his frame to make plays on both ends. Like most on this DeSmet team, Lovette is a well-rounded player who plays both ends and limits mistakes. We project Lovette as a Division 2 prospect who should make early contributions in college. 

Program Look: Vashon Basketball

Vashon came into the Highland Shootout with a 12-0 record. They left with their first loss but learned a lot about themselves in the process. Imhotep (PA) is one of the best teams in the country and the Wolverines were in it till the end. There were many positives for this young squad to take home. Tony Irons has built a powerhouse program on Cass Avenue in the northside of St. Louis. His team is young, but there are many intriguing prospects. 

Kennard Davis appears to be among the elite in Missouri. The 6’5 wing has a motor that never stops. He’s a relentless defender and plays at an intensity level matched by few. This season the team relies upon him heavily. His game has evolved because of this. The 2023 prospect has always been a great slasher, but he’s now showcasing a smooth shooting stroke and a much-improved handle. His game has become more well-rounded each time we see him and he’s an exciting prospect to watch in person. 

Freshman guards Dierre Hill and Trey Wiliams have been thrown into the fire. With that being said, both are ready for the big stage. Hill is an incredible defender for a young player. He’s similar to Kennard Davis but in a smaller frame. Trey Williams on the other hand is a sniper from deep with a good feel for the game. He spaces the floor for his teammates and is not afraid to take on a challenge on the defensive end. He’s very nonchalant but steps up in big moments. These two guards have a bright future. 

Anthoni Sandford is a presence in the paint. The 6’5 big has a strong and wide frame. He’s a great screen setter, uses his body to dominate the glass, and is an enforcer near the rim. He’s the ultimate team guy who Tony Irons trusts. Sandford shows elite toughness and a desire to win. He’ll be a key player as Vashon sets their sights on another state title. 

Unsigned Look: Top 2022 Unsigned in Illinois

With so many talented players throughout not only the state of Illinois but the entire region, it is always an opportunity for high-quality players to fall thru the recruiting ranks. I will highlight a few players I have seen thus far in the early going of the season who have shown the ability to play college basketball.

2022 Christian Meeks 6’6 (Homewood-Flossmoor)

Christian who early in his career reminded me so much of a young Elton Brand but has since started to expand his game. He has really started to transform his game to play more on the perimeter which is going to help his long-term potential. He plays with great poise and does not force shots, instead of allowing the game to come to him and scoring within the context of the offense. He also is a quick leaper which makes his a very effective rebounder. He has been on an absolute tear this season winning MVP of the Hinsdale Classic scoring 18 in the championship game.

2022 Adidas Davis (6’5, Buffalo Grove)

A complete sleeper of a prospect in the state is the 6’5 lefty who not only scores from all three levels but rebounds the basketball exceptionally from the guard position. Was blown away by the effectiveness that Adidas plays with on both ends of the floor. He is more than just a 20PPG scorer as he is averaging 10RPG this season thus far. Adidas is a skilled and athletic wing with all of the tools necessary to be one of the top players at his position in the class. He is an excellent scorer. He can shoot to 20 feet and slash to the basket. He plays with good effort and is a solid defender as well as a good rebounder for his position. He plays with passion and is a winner and will be a solid addition to a roster.

2022 Jaylen Drane 6’1 (Simeon)

A floor general leading one of the best teams in the state. He has been highly recruited since entering high school and with a big senior season, he will have a lot of coaches looking for his services. He’s a true point guard who has great size who possesses great court awareness and savvy. He is a master at penetrating and dishing. He sees the court with a true point guard mentality. Sets up teammates well and works hard on defense, breaks opponents down off the dribble, and is a steal guy on defense against opponents. He can really push the ball down the court and he gets wherever he wants with it. He gets into the paint at will and can get it to the rim with his athleticism and explosion.

2022 Byron Hobbs 6’5 (Hyde Park)

The senior guard passes the eye test as he has great length and a skill set that will easily translate to the college level. Hobbs is a good shooter who plays hard and displays great basketball knowledge. He can stroke the three or take it to the hoop. On the break, he can finish with either hand or pull up for a jumper. Byron does not try to force the issue offensively, preferring to stay within the confines of his team’s offensive philosophy, though he has the ability to score. He has decent enough quickness to put the ball on the floor and penetrate to the hole if he faces defensive pressure. He works effectively off the bounce and uses the pull-up jumper in the mid-range area of the floor to complement his forays to the rim, due to his ability to rise up over the outstretched arms of defenders for the jumper. He has helped be apart of his team winning the Big Dipper tournament an earning a top ten ranking so far this season. With a continued play like he has shown thus far he will have a slew of colleges coaches making offers.

2022 Xavier Lewis 6’8 (TF South)

After a solid summer on the AAU circuit with Y&R Lewis has come into this season with a more balanced skill set. Xavier is one of those prototypical wing-types that can do just about anything on the court. He has a long, lean frame that oozes potential and a feathery touch out to 22-feet. His stroke is smooth and effortless and he doesn’t need a lot of space to get it off, especially off of the catch. He has a versatile game and can even post up smaller defenders and shoot over the top of them or drop a baby hook. His stock continues to rise as he is a highly looked at athletic prospect who will make a strong transition to the college game.

Stock Risers: 2023 Midwest

The class of 2023 is starting to make noise in the Midwest. After the start of many junior season’s here are a few players that are making noise and will gain attention from college coaches. 

Troy Cicero
Class of 2023 
Romeoville High School

Cicero was a player we saw at the Centralia Holiday Tournament. He’s a 6’1 point guard with excellent shot-making ability and pace. He’s able to make leaning shots and fire quickly off the bounce. On the other end, Cicero has quick hands and feet allowing him to be a pest on the defensive end. Cicero’s Twitter account states that he has a 4.67 GPA as well. With his combination of ability and academics, we expect him to be a major target for Ivy League and high academic schools. Impressive young man. 

Tyler King
Class of 2023
Parkway West High School

King is a 6’2 shooting guard with explosive leaping ability. He’s new to the varsity scene in St. Louis but will become a household name very soon. Player’s with this level of slashing prowess and athletic traits don’t fly under the radar for long. We expect King to burst onto the scene in AAU this summer. He projects as a major scorer in the St. Louis metro area for the future. 

Terry McMorris
Class of 2023
Del City High School

Morris is a product of Oklahoma City, OK. At 6’6 he’s got incredible length and defensive instincts for a wing. He’s a gamechanger on that end of the ball and adds excitement to any gym. McMorris has the traits and mentality that Division 1 schools covet. He’s beginning to put it all together and will soon be a top prospect for colleges in the region. 

2025 prospects to track from Missouri

Zyree Collins
Class of 2025
5’10 Guard

Collins is the younger brother of SLU point guard, Yuri Collins. He possesses many of the same characteristics Yuri has such as pace, change of speed, and great passing vision. Zyree however appears to be a more aggressive shooter from range. He holds a SLU offer and is averaging 14PPG and 4APG in his freshman campaign. 

Trey Williams
Class of 2025
6’0 Guard

Williams is at Vashon in St. Louis. He’s a deadeye shooter with good wiggle on the perimeter. He already starts for a 8-0 Wolverines squad and will continue to progress further. Keep an eye out for Williams on the AAU circuit.

Brock Camp
Class of 2025
6’5 Forward

A young post prospect out of Columbia, MO. Camp is a big body post player who is light on his feet and has a high skill level for a freshman. He passes well out of the post and absorbs contact well around the rim. He’s been a key player for Hickman.

Terron Garrett 
Class of 2025
6’4 Guard

Garrett plays both JV and Varsity for CBC. This years Cadet’s squad is loaded, so while he may not get a lot of varsity minutes that is not a good measure of him as a prospect. He has a smooth shooting stroke, combo guard abilities, and possesses a long athletic frame. We think he projects as a high caliber prospect down the road.