The April evaluation period is over, but Rivals.com is still on the road. This weekend our travels take us to Ft. Wayne, Ind., for the annual Bill Hensley Memorial Run-N-Slam.
One of the top events in the entire Midwest, it always gives a great opportunity to check out the regional talent and get a first look at some younger prospects.
Illinois Wolves 16's feature impressive front line trio
Over the years, program director Mike Mullins has built the Illinois Wolves into one of the top summer programs in the country. They are competitive on every level, send lots of players to college and feature outstanding coaching. While Mullins has always stood up for his guys, he's never been one to really hype them either. But, he is pretty excited about a trio of front line players on his 16-and-under team and college coaches have echoed his thoughts.
Leading the group is the class of 2014's No. 39 player Keita Bates-Diop. Long and skilled, the slender product of Normal (Ill.) University is a combo forward who can stretch defenses with his shooting, attack off the dribble and is improving rapidly. Joining the 6-foot-7 Bates-Diop are a pair of potential high major 6-foot-7 sophomores. Amanze Egezeke from Huntley (Ill.) High is a lunch pail/big-time effort guy who plays physically and gets on the glass. More recently, Malek Harris from Sandberg (Ill) High has been blowing up. He plays hard, rebounds, is athletic and has some skill.
The trio is already getting plenty of high major attention and we're looking forward to getting a good look at them.
How has Koenig developed?
The Wisconsin Swing feature of a pair of Big Ten committed players in Wisconsin-bound four-star combo guard Bronson Koenig and Indiana-bound big man Luke Fischer, although Fischer reportedly won't be playing this weekend. But Koenig still will be intriguing to watch.
Ranked No. 70 nationally, Koenig is a 6-foot-2 prospect at La Crosse (Wis.) Aquinas. One of the most talented open-floor passers in the class, Koenig is also a knockdown shooter. Word is he's improved his ability to break down defenders one-on-one and that he's gotten stronger.
One of the toughest perimeter defenders in the class of 2013 is Mishawaka (Ind.) Marian combo guard Demetrius Jackson.
The 6-foot-2 junior who ranks No. 61 nationally will be in town with MBA Select and we're looking to see how his game has progressed in the last year. We know that he can drive and he's been an effective jump shooter in spots.
We're also interested to check the status of his recruitment. There were a few times during the winter that he appeared to be on the cusp of making a decision and Michigan State and Notre Dame have long been strong with him. But, he's slowed things down a bit and is also considering others such as Illinois, Butler and Florida State.
Others to check in on
Martin's Wolverines features a pair of 2013 Rivals150 players in point guard Jaylon Brown from Fishers (Ind.) High and Maverick Morgan from Springboro (Ohio) High. As athletic as they come at the point, the six-foot tall Brown ranks No. 133 nationally while Morgan is a 6-foot-10 big man who checks in at No. 148. Both have been targets of high major programs and we'll be interested to see who is strongest with them and what their visit plans are.
A player from Oregon that has always intrigued us is 6-foot-5 small forward Calvin Hermanson. A shooter with some game off the dribble and a feel for making things happen on the offensive end and just missed making the updated Rivals150 for 2013. As a junior at Lake Oswego (Ore.) High, Hermanson was named state player of the year.
Finally, one of the most talked about West Coast players during the winter was freshman point guard Marcus LoVett. The six-footer from Burbank (Calif.) Providence put up huge numbers as a freshman and has been drawing several comparisons to a young Brandon Jennings. This weekend will give the Rivals.com a first look at the talented 2015 prospect as he will be playing with the Mac Irvin Fire's 16-and-under team.