Weekend Wrap — Hill, Austin, Ulis earn MVP honors
Every week during the prep basketball season, IlliniHQ will give a wrap-up of how Illini commits and targets fared during the previous weekend's games. Here are a few notes from the past week that featured plenty of holiday tournament action.
AUSTIN COLBERT, a senior forward/center from Gill St. Bernard's (N.J.) School who is out until January because of New Jersey state transfer rules, and the Knights are 2-3 on the season after beating Paramus Catholic (N.J.) High School 69-50 on Friday in the Msgr. Eugene B. Kelly Classic at Immaculata (N.J.) High School. The Knights return to the court this Thursday night at Immaculata (N.J.) High School before heading to West Virginia to play DeMatha (Md.) in the Cancer Research Classic at Wheeling Jesuit University on Saturday.
MALCOLM HILL, a senior guard/forward from Belleville East (Ill.) High School, and the Lancers suffered their first loss of the season and finished third at the 16-team Collinsville Holiday Classic on Saturday night, but Hill still garnered tournament MVP honors. Hill tallied 110 points in the four games for an average of 27.5. In the Lancers' 52-33 win against host Collinsville (Ill.) High School in the third-place game, Hill had 23 points and nine rebounds, which came after he scored 20 of his team's points in a 41-40 loss to East St. Louis (Ill.) High School during Saturday's afternoon semifinal game and blocked seven shots. Hill came through with 34 points — along with four rebonds and three steals — on the strength of a 14-of-16 effort at the free throw line in Belleville East's 63-50 win against Decatur MacArthur (Ill.) High School during Friday's quarterfinal game. Hill also made 9-of-16 from the field, including 2-of-4 from three-point range. In Belleville East's first game at the tournament on Thursday morning, Hill had 33 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots as the Lancers beat Riverview Gardens (Mo.) High School 82-71. Hill and Belleville East (12-1) return to the court this Friday night at Collinsville before playing DeSmet (Mo.) High School on Saturday afternoon in the Highland (Ill.) Optimist Club Shootout.
MAVERICK MORGAN, a senior center from Springboro (Ohio) High School, had 25 points, 10 rebounds, four blocked shots and three assists on Friday against Walnut Hills (Ohio) High School as part of Springboro's Domino's Holiday Tournament, but the Panthers lost 63-62. In Thursday's 80-50 win against Meadowdale (Ohio) High School in the Domino's Holiday Tournament, Morgan had 17 points and eight rebounds. Morgan and Springboro (8-2) return to the court this Friday night at Miamisburg (Ohio) High School before playing at Franklin (Ohio) High School this Saturday night.
KENDRICK NUNN and JAYLON TATE, senior guards from Chicago Simeon High School, helped the Wolverines win the 82nd annual Pontiac Holiday Tournament on Saturday night. Simeon beat West Aurora (Ill.) High School 60-47 in the championship game, with Tate scoring 12 points and handing out four assists while Nunn had 11 points. In Simeon's 62-57 win on Saturday afternoon in the semifinals against Chicago Curie High School, Tate had 12 points — including a 10-of-10 effort at the free throw line — while Nunn added eight points. Nunn and Tate each had 18 points during Simeon's 88-53 quarterfinal win against Bloomington (Ill.) High School on Friday, with Tate adding six assists and five steals. In Simeon's first-round 77-20 win against East Moline United Township (Ill.) High School, Nunn had 13 points and four assists while Tate ended up with one point and three steals as Simeon's starters sat most of the second half. The Simeon duo and the rest of the Wolverines get back in action this Saturday in the Cancer Research Classic at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia. The Wolverines (9-1) will take on Montverde (Fla.) Academy, which features Florida commit Kasey Hill, West Virginia commit Devin Williams and one of the top unsigned seniors in the Class of 2013, center Dakari Johnson.
MICHAEL FINKE, a junior forward from Champaign Centennial (Ill.) High School who verbally committed on Dec. 12, and the Chargers placed seventh in the 16-team large school bracket of the State Farm Classic held in Bloomington-Normal. Finke had 29 points in Centennial's 66-53 win on Friday evening against Rockton Honengah (Ill.) High School in the seventh-place gamel. In Centennial's 61-30 loss to Normal Community (Ill.) High School in the fifth-place semifinal game on Friday morning, Finke only managed three points. Finke scored 16 points, but Centennial lost 53-43 to Chicago North Lawndale in a quarterfinal game on Thursday. In Centennial's tournament-opening 62-22 win against Plainfield South last Wednesday morning, Finke had a game-high 15 points. The Chargers (12-4) and Finke return to the court this Friday night at Bloomington (Ill.) High School. Centennial
CLIFF ALEXANDER, a junior center from Chicago Curie High School, and the Condors placed third at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament. Alexander, who has offers from Illinois, Connecticut, DePaul, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan Michigan State, Missouri, Tennessee and Wisconsin, had 20 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots in Curie's 53-45 win against Gurnee Warren (Ill.) High School in Saturday night's third-place game. In the 62-57 loss to Simeon in Saturday's semifinal game, Alexander led all scorers with 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds. Alexander scored 18 points and hauled in 13 rebounds during Curie's 62-54 victory against Joliet West (Ill.) High School in Friday's quarterfinal round. In Curie's 64-46 first-round win against Plainfield North (Ill.) High School on Thursday, Alexander had a game-high 24 points to go along with eight rebounds and seven blocked shots. One of his dunks temporarily halted the game while officials fixed the rim. Alexander and Curie (7-5) return to action this Saturday night against Muskegon (Mich.) High School as part of the Muskegon Shootout.
DARIUS AUSTIN, a junior forward from Cahokia (Ill.) High School who has interest from Illinois, Cincinnati, Iowa, Michigan, Xavier and others, along with offers from DePaul and St. Louis, helped the Comanches win the 16-team Centralia Holiday Tournament on Saturday. Cahokia knocked off Jacksonville (Ill.) High School 65-58 during Saturday night's championship game, with Austin scoring eight points and six rebounds. In Cahokia's 70-60 win against Belleville West (Ill.) High School during Saturday's semifinal game, Austin had 10 points and four rebounds. Austin tallied 11 points and nine rebounds in Cahokia's 48-41 quarterfinal win on Friday against Effingham (Ill.) High School. In Cahokia's opening tournament game on Thursday, Austin had 14 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots during a 72-54 win against Champaign Central (Ill.) High School. Austin and Cahokia (12-2) resume play this Friday night at Belleville Althoff Catholic (Ill.) High School.
LARRY AUSTIN, JR., a junior guard from Springfield Lanphier (Ill.) High School, and the Lions won the 16-team Pekin Holiday Tournament on Saturday. Lanphier beat the host Dragons 76-60 in the championship game, with Austin, who has offers from Illinois, Bradley, DePaul, Iowa, Kansas State, Memphis, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Southern Methodist and Wake Forest, scoring a game-high 26 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Austin received tournament MVP honors. In Lanphier's 49-47 semifinal game win against Washington (Ill.) High School on Saturday, Austin had six points, four assists and three steals. Austin and Lanphier knocked off Peoria Richwoods (Ill.) High School 50-47 in the quarterfinals on Friday. Austin scored 15 points, grabbed six rebounds and had four assists during the victory. In Lanphier's 63-53 first-round win against Bartonville Limestone (Ill.) High School on Thursday, Austin had 19 points and seven rebounds. Austin and Lanphier (8-5) are back in action this Friday night at home against Rochester (Ill.) High School before playing at Chatham-Glenwood (Ill.) High School this Saturday night.
TREVON BLUIETT, a junior forward from Park Tudor School in Indianapolis, poured in 34 points during Park Tudor's 66-53 win at Tri-West (Ind.) High School on Friday night. Bluiett, who has offers from Illinois, Butler, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas State, Louisville, Michigan, Notre Dame, Purdue and Xavier, had 27 points in Park Tudor's 46-43 win at Lapel (Ind.) High School on Thursday night. Bluiett and Park Tudor (7-1) return to the court this Friday night at home against Heritage Christian (Ind.) School.
CARLTON BRAGG, a sophomore forward from Villa Angela-St. Joseph (Ohio) High School, had the holidays off. Bragg, who has interest from Illinois, Dayton, Indiana, Louisville, Missouri, Texas and Xavier, and the Vikings (5-2) return to action this Friday at Cleveland Central Catholic High School.
JALEN BRUNSON, a sophomore point guard from Lincolnshire Stevenson (Ill.) High School, who has interest from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Purdue, and the Patriots will play Oswego (Ill.) High School in Monday afternoon's third-place game at the 32-team Proviso West Holiday Tournament. Stevenson (10-3) lost 67-52 in the semifinals on Saturday to Chicago Morgan Park High School, with Brunson scoring a game-high 17 points. In Stevenson's 54-51 win against Maine South (Ill.) High School in Friday's quarterfinal game, Brunson tallied a game-high 23 points, and in Stevenson's 58-49 win against St. Charles East (Ill.) High School during Thursday's second-round action, Brunson had 16 points, four assists and three steals. After the Proviso West Holiday Tournament ends, Brunson and Stevenson are off until Friday, Jan. 11, at Mundelein (Ill.) High School.
HYRON EDWARDS, a sophomore point guard from East Chicago Central (Ind.) High School, and the Cardinals went 1-1 at the North Central Tournament on Friday and Saturday. East Chicago beat Castle (Ind.) High School 66-61 on Friday before losing 97-56 on Saturday to North Central (Ind.) High School. Edwards, who has offers from Illinois, Indiana and Purdue, and the 3-5 Cardinals return to the court on Wednesday, Jan. 9, at home against Griffith (Ind.) High School.
JAQUAN LYLE, a junior point guard from Evansville Bosse (Ind.) High School, had 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, but the Bulldogs lost 70-57 at home on Friday night to Dayton Marshall (Ohio) High School. Lyle, who has offers from Illinois, Cincinnati, Indiana, Louisville, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Tennessee and Texas, and Bosse (7-2) will return with two road games this weekend against Evansville Central (Ind.) High School this Friday and against Vincennes Lincoln (Ind.) High School this Saturday.
CHARLES MATTHEWS, a sophomore guard from Chicago St. Rita, and the Mustangs went 1-2 at the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C. St. Rita beat Christ Presbyterian (Tenn.) 78-64 on Thursday in first-round action. Matthews only had four points, but grabbed 12 rebounds and had six assists. His brother, junior guard Dominique, who has also attracted interest from Illinois, had a game-high 27 points. In St. Rita's 71-60 loss to Scott County (Ky.) High School during Friday's quarterfinal game, Charles Matthews had 15 points and six assists. St. Rita's tournament stay ended with a 67-58 loss to Bishop Gorman (Nev.). Charles Matthews had seven points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals while his brother, Dominique, had 22 points and six rebounds. St. Rita (8-4) and Matthews, who has offers from Illinois, Arizona, DePaul, Providence and Southern Methodist, return to the court this Friday night at home against Chicago De La Salle.
SEAN O'MARA, a junior forward from Benet Academy in Lisle, Ill., who has offers from Illinois, Boston College, DePaul, Georgia Tech, Marquette and Virginia, among others, and the Redwings will play Chicago Bogan High School on Monday afternoon in the fifth-place game at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament. Benet (13-3) beat Homewood-Flossmoor (Ill.) High School 71-55 on Saturday in a fifth-place semifinal game, with O'Mara scoring a game-high 23 points, grabbing eight rebounds and distributing four assists. O'Mara had 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting, eight rebounds and four blocked shots, but Benet lost 50-46 to Proviso East (Ill.) High School during Friday's quarterfinal game. During Benet's 63-49 win against Berwyn-Cicero Morton (Ill.) High School in Thursday's second-round action, O'Mara had 11 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. Benet and O'Mara will get back in action this Friday night at Niles Notre Dame (Ill.) High School.
JAHLIL OKAFOR, a junior center from Chicago Whitney Young, and the 9-1 Dolphins will play tonight for the tournament championship in the 16-team Beach Ball Classic held in Myrtle Beach, S.C., against Bishop O'Connell (Va.) High School. Okafor, who has offers from Arkansas, DePaul, Illinois, Michigan State, North Carolina and Ohio State, among others, with interest from a multitude of Division I schools, had 17 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots in Whitney Young's 67-43 rout against Scott County (Ky.) High School during Saturday's semifinal game. Whitney Young won its quarterfinal game 76-67 against Bishop Gorman (Nev.) High School on Friday night. Okafor finished with 20 points and eight rebounds. Okafor and Whitney Young opened the tournament with an 80-44 victory against Myrtle Beach (S.C.) High School on Thursday in first-round action. Okafor had 16 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots. Whitney Young and Okafor get back in action this Saturday against Prime (W. Va.) Academy in the Cancer Research Classic at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia.
TYLER ULIS, a junior point guard from Marian Catholic (Ill.) High School who has interest from Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee and others, played a critical role in the Spartans winning the 40th McDipper Tournament at Rich South (Ill.) High School on Saturday night. Ulis had a game-high 29 points to go along with four assists and three steals in Marian's 61-58 championship game win against Bloom Twp. (Ill.) High School. Ulis — who earned the tournament's MVP honors — helped Marian Catholic (13-1) reach the championship game after scoring 18 points, distributing seven assists and making four steals in a 61-52 win against Seton (Ill.) Academy and Minnesota recruit Alex Foster in the semifinals on Friday night. Ulis had 20 points and four steals in Marian Catholic's 56-34 quarterfinal win against Rich East (Ill.) High School on Thursday, which came after Marian Catholic won its first-round game 69-52 last Wednesday against Rich Central (Ill.) High School. Ulis scored 17 points and had nine assists in the victory. Marian Catholic and Ulis are slated to host Marmion (Ill.) Academy this Friday night.
D.J. WILLIAMS, a sophomore forward out of Chicago Simeon, played a bit role in helping the Wolverines win the Pontiac Holiday Tournament championship. He didn't score in 18 minutes of action against West Aurora in the championship game and did not play in the semifinal win against Chicago Curie. In Simeon's win against Bloomington, Williams had one point and four rebounds, and in Simeon's win against East Moline United Township (Ill.) High School, Williams had six points and five rebounds. Williams, who has offers from Illinois, Florida, Cal-Poly, DePaul, Nebraska and SMU, and Simeon will head to West Virginia this Saturday to play Montverde (Fla.) in the Cancer Research Classic.
KEVIN ZABO, a junior point guard out of Wolfeboro Brewster (N.H.) Academy, had last week off. Zabo, who has offers from Illinois, George Washington, Iowa State and West Virginia with interest from Connecticut, Marquette and Ohio State, among others, and the 9-4 Bobcats resume play this Saturday.