Who's the best team you've seen this year?
It's hard to argue with Whitney Young so far. It has handled every powerhouse its seen from Simeon to Glenbrook North to Foreman. I think they're better than last year's state championship team, too. This team seems more rounded. Freshman Tommy Hamilton Jr. and junior Sam Thompson were impressive at Proviso West.
There's been a lot of talk about these freshmen. Who is the best and what makes them so good?
There are a bunch of talented freshmen, but I think De La Salle's Alex Foster, Simeon's Jabari Parker and Whitney Young's Tommy Hamilton Jr. all stand out. They're all very skilled for their age, but what I think really stands out is their IQs. All three play a lot older than they are. All three also already have a number of Division I offers. The future looks to be very bright for the area hoops scene.
Do you ever compare your basketball rankings to other people's?
Yeah, definitely. I'm always curious to see where the Tribune and Sun-Times have teams. For me, it's a bit of a competitive game. You want to have the best rankings.
Of last year's crop of area seniors, who is currently performing the best in college?
I think there are a few guys who stand out. Both of Illinois' freshmen, Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson, have been outstanding at times. Cully Payne has done a nice job at Iowa. Drew Crawford has been a major reason for why Northwestern has started out so well. Shaun Pratl has had some good games for Eastern Illinois, too.
Out of the Chicagoland players who have committed to major D-I programs, who has the best opportunity to make an immediate impact?
I think Jereme Richmond could be that missing piece for Illinois next season and really put them over the top. There are a bunch of guys who I think will be fine players at the next level, guys like Alex Dragicevich (Notre Dame), Ahmad Starks (Oregon State), Lenzelle Smith (Ohio State), Mike McCall (Saint Louis), Reggie Smith (Marquette), but it may not happen right away.
After the two losses last week, do you see Glenbrook North making a comeback and finishing strong back near the top?
I think Proviso West was just a bump in the road for Glenbrook North. This is still one of the top teams in the state. From having talked to coach David Weber just today, he thought the biggest thing was his team learning to play more physical. Both Whitney Young and Von Steuben really made it difficult on Alex Dragicevich and Austin Weber to score by playing them so close. I'm sure they'll be ready for it the next time it happens.
Do you see anyone else committing anytime soon?
I haven't heard any rumors lately, but I didn't expect Blackshear to commit when he did either. I think the biggest name out there that everyone is curious about is Rock Island's Chasson Randle. It seems like he has his choice of schools, and it should be interesting because Illinois is among of those.