The 2019 SW IL Jets Fall League kicks off this weekend and will have no shortage of talent on hand. The league, which is in its first year, was brought to life by the SW IL Jets program director, Andre McMurray. The league will provide high-level play for six weeks on Sunday’s from September 8th until October 20th. But more importantly, it’s for kids to hone their craft in preparation of their high school basketball season, playing against some of the best local talent in the area.
McMurray had several potential benefits in mind when creating the idea of running their first ever fall league and he’s happy to see that come to fruition. “I just wanted to give the kids in the area another option to participate in a fall league and improve their game,” said McMurray. They’re not the only fall league in the area as Team Ramey and Brad Beal Elite run their own Fall League as well, but that’s not stopping him from providing another avenue for kids that’s not summer ball, in his own words.
Why a fall league? The answer is simple for McMurray, who wants to see kids exceed. “We just want them to have a real game like atmosphere before their high school season starts so they can just jump right into it.”
McMurray says they’re expecting at least 100 kids to be there on Sunday when the league starts. They won’t immediately get into game action to start. “We want to evaluate the kids we don’t have a feel for, we want the higher rated and more talented kids separated so they can battle each other and also improve their game,” said McMurray. There will be no easy games for teams come Sunday.
That local talent? Yeah, it’s pretty good. Ranging from the classes of 2020 to 2023, they’ve got future Division-I prospects who are playing for six Sunday’s, all for the same reason the other division prospects are as well, to just get better.
“The talent we have in the league. Basketball junkies are going to want to get out and watch these kids get after it.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ryan Kalkbrenner 2020 Trinity Catholic: Kalkbrenner is the 73rd rated prospect in the class of 2020 according to 247sports, with a handful of high major offers. With all of the major programs across the country vying for his services, you’re not going to want to miss seeing him in action on Sunday for the Fall League. The 6’11”center has a great feel for the game and controls the paint with his shot blocking prowess. Kalkbrenner is one of the player’s McMurray is most excited about having in the league, delivering high praise for the kid.
Rashad Weekly-McDaniels 2020 Trinity Catholic: McDaniel, the fresh Central Michigan commit, is taking no days off after the commitment. McDaniels is immediately getting into the basketball groove to get prepared for the next level. McDaniels’ leadership and ability to get his teammates involved will provide great basketball for the fall league.
Ethyn Brown 2021 Belleville East: Will be one of the better defenders in the league, but is also fearless on the offensive end. Brown has the ability to score at all three levels, which will be on display every Sunday of the league.
Shaun Riley 2021 Mt. Vernon: Riley has an innate ability to block the ball on the defensive end, will be one of the best shot blockers in attendance. Riley is developing into a nice stretch-four, who can really run and space the floor.
Cole Farrell 2021 Hazelwood Central: Farrell is not afraid to challenge you at the basket with his explosiveness and athleticism. Players will need to keep Farrell in front of them or else he’ll blow by them and score with ease at the rim.
Quani Rudd 2021 Mt. Vernon: Quani is sneaky athletic with deceptive explosion. Known more as a slasher, his offensive game is continuing to evolve as he learns to score at all three levels. There will be no shortage of impressive highlights from Rudd during the Fall league.
Jordan Pickett 2023 Belleville East: Pickett will be one of the youngest prospects in the Fall League, but when he steps on the court he displays game that’s beyond his years. Pickett displays great leadership skills at the point guard position which should not go unnoticed during the league.