Category: PLAYER FOCUS

Demarion Watson-Saulsberry’s recruitment is blowing up

Demarion Watson-Saulsberry is a 2022 recruit that played again this summer with Grassroots Sizzle — and his recruitment is blowing up.

Demarion is a 6’7″ bouncy Wing that had lots of college interest back in January when we interviewed him but was yet to pick up an offer. Well, that has changed — dramatically. Demarion is now ranked number 117 overall in the 2022 class, is labeled a 4-star recruit, and has 10+ division one offers.

Demarion’s offer list includes: Mizzou, Minnesota, Creighton, Xavier, Florida, Iowa, Iowa State and others.

Demarion’s defense is something that a lot of schools notice right away. He’s a tremendous shot blocker and creates a lot of turnovers with his length. He’s put in work on the offensive end this year and it showed when we saw him a RecruitLook Hoops events. His scoring versatility immediately jumped out when we saw him block a shot, sprint down court, and catch a lob for a dunk. And then on the very next possession, he caught the ball in the mid-range with his back to the basket…made a few footwork/ball fake moves and took one dribble for a tomahawk dunk.

Expect Demarion’s ranking to climb and offer list to continue to grow as he polishes up his offensive skill-set. Demarion will play this high school season with Totino-Grace in Minnesota.

High IQ Academy: Weekend Recap (Week 4) Fall League Showcase

As we enter the final week of play before the start of the playoffs the action on the floor didn’t disappoint. It was a solid mix of featured players both upperclassman and some of the younger players getting an opportunity to showcase their talents. With the playoffs beginning next week I look forward to more great play on the floor as teams look to build on the upcoming season.

2021 Michael Hill 6’0 160 PG (Hyde Park Academy)

Having watched Mike play over the course of the fall league it goes without saying that Sunday was his coming out party. He played a complete game from the point guard possession on both ends of the floor from the opening tip until the clock hit zero. He leads his team on the offensive end of the floor by getting his team into their offensive sets. He showed great leadership in this particular contest by not only connecting on six made three-pointers but realizing that his team needed his scoring in this game. The opponent was playing a 2-3 zone and he recognized that with his outside shooting ability it would bring them out of the zone and open up the floor for driving lanes. He picked up the full court on defense and made his presence felt helping his team rebound the basketball throughout the entire game. His presence on the floor was huge for his team helping to lead them to a close win icing the game from the free-throw line. If he continues to play with this type of leadership and poise he will have a breakout senior season.

2021 Devonta Blevins 6’6 170 SF (Rich Township)

One of the sleepers in the state for the senior class is Devonta who had his game on full display breaking his defender down off the dribble and getting to the rim for dunks. I was impressed all game long with his high motor and attacking style of play. He didn’t just bring his energy on the offensive end he also used his motor on defensive barking out defensive coverages to his teammates and getting his hands on rebounds. He has shown the ability to thrive in either an up-tempo style offense but also when the game slows down he can generate his own shot or create for teammates. He will continue to see his stock rise this season when his continued work on the floor.

2021 Grant Newell 6’7 180 SF (Whitney Young)

Grant is the prototype of a smooth wing player with athleticism that makes college coaches and scouts alike stand and take notice when he is on the floor. He was able to score on all three levels on the floor in a magnitude of ways by hitting catch and shoot baskets and attacking the rim. He was able to play both forward positions and showed great awareness taking bigger defenders to the perimeter and smaller defenders to the post. He has a solid skill-set that will translate seamlessly to the next level. If he continues to play with this aggressiveness throughout his senior season Whitney Young will be a tough out come March.

High IQ Academy: Weekend Recap (Week 3) Fall League Showcase

Week three of the High IQ Academy was not short of star power on the floor this week. This week sees a highly anticipated matchup between the top-ranked players in the 2022 and 2023 class as AJ Casey (Whitney Young) matched up against JJ Taylor (Kenwood Academy). Both players competed at a high level for a fall league game and didn’t back down at all to the high level of competition.

Neither team was a one man show as both clubs are littered with high ranking players up and down the roster.

This was a game we can potentially see come March for a city or state championship.

2021 Jalen Houston 6’1 175 PG (Bogan High School)

Jalen isbeyond focused as he enters his final season of high school basketball and it is showing with his performances on the court. The main take away I have got is how adapt he has been with adjusting his style of play to the players he is on the floor with. That is huge for a lead guard at this level to know when to be aggressive and score and when to play a more traditional role of a point guard and get his teammates involved in the game. He is not just getting his guys involved in the game he is making life easier for them with his speed and strength getting into the lane drawing two defenders and making on time passes to his shooters. He also had the play of the day with a one-handed dunk down the middle of the lane. He reminds me a lot of Eric Bledsoe with his stature and feel for the game on both ends of the floor he will be a major target for college coaches as the season gets started.

2021 Phillip Berryhill 6’6 165 SG (Curie High School)

Phil has been dominating so far in the fall league and that was the case on Sunday as he has continued to show improvement in his decision making with the basketball in his hands. He showed great playmaking ability from the off-guard possession either scoring or assisting on all his teams’ baskets down the stretch. A player of Phil’s caliber has shown the ability over the course of his career to be a high-level scoring threat from all three levels of the floor. Now going into his senior season, he is showing not only the ability to make others better but the willingness to trust his teammates to make plays as well. That will be a major factor for his ball club who is always a fixture in the city and state championship picture.

2024 Michael White 5’8 150 PG (Hyde Park Academy)

The freshman guard will have four years to find his footing within the high school game but the future is very bright from the limited time I was able to watch him play over the weekend. He did the things that will not show up in the box score which is a great attribute for a player at this stage in his growth. He was able to use his size to advantage by drawing charges and picking up the opposing team’s guards full court. On the offensive side of the floor, he showed a smooth handle and solid form on his jumper. Being a left-handed guard, he has a solid handle on the ball and with his shooting ability can play either of the guard’s spots. He will be a name to closely monitor as he progresses over the next four years.

High IQ Academy: Weekend Recap (Week 2) Fall League Showcase

Another solid weekend of fantastic high school basketball on both the JV (Junior Varsity) and varsity level this past weekend.

Going into the second week of the fall league here at the High IQ Academy I was able to spot talent on both levels as well as see some of the more established players continue to show the growth and maturity with their games.

2021 Julius Rollins 6’6 180 SF (Hillcrest)

Julius’ all-around game was on full display this weekend as he took over the game on both ends of the floor. He has the potential to be a 2-way player being able to score on all three levels with the added dimension of guarding the opposing teams best offensive player. His offensive repertoire was on full display from start to finish during the game. He showed a smooth shooting touch from the mid-range and capped things off with an impressive inside the free-throw line slam dunk. His recruitment is something to closely monitor as the late signing period could see him getting a lot more attention from some of the bigger programs with so much long term potential for this prospect.

2022 Devonte Hall 6’0 160 PG (Hyde Park Academy)

Making his debut this weekend Devonte was leading the charge for the Hyde Park team and his game didn’t need much time to make a positive introduction. For a player this size his athleticism showed from the opening tip going inline to inline with speed an getting down hill challenging bigger players at the rim. No play was ore evident than this as during the 2nd half of the game he turned the corner an attempted a dunk on the big drawing a foul in the process. He fearlessness in attacking will serve him well with his new team as he brings an improved outside shoot as well.

2023 Sam Lewis 6’4 170 Guard (Oak Park River Forest High School)

A hidden gem in this class that will not be hidden for much longer. The word smooth is the best way to describe the skill level for a player like Sam. With his size and ball-handling ability, he is adept at playing on the ball but has a shooting touch all the way out to the three-point line so he is capable of playing off the ball as well. With incredible size already he gets to his spots on the floor with ease and plays with poise far beyond his years and is never rushed on the floor. He was also taking command of the team on the floor being a vocal leader getting his guys in the right spots which showed how mature he is at this stage in his career. After this season this is a player with continued work on his game you will be hearing a lot about moving forward.

2021 Darrell Reed 6’8 220 Forward (Hammond High School)

A high motor frontcourt player who never stops when he is on the floor. This is a player on both ends a team has to make a consorted effort to locate as he rebounds on both ends of the floor at such a high rate. As you are watching Darrell play he jumps off the floor with his athletism and toughness. Darrell is a traditional power forward prospect with an insanely impressive wingspan. With his length, he’s able to play much bigger than his actual height suggets and allows him to keep multiple plays alive with the abilty to back tap rebounds when he is unable to secure it himself.

High IQ Academy: Weekend Recap (Week 1) Fall League Showcase

What a weekend of hoops here in Chicago as the High IQ Academy started its Fall League with some of the best and known high school players in the state of Illinois.

But with all showcases, it was the players who weren’t the most known coming into the gym that left with some of the biggest buzzes after their performances.

I will highlight some of the players to keep a close eye on this upcoming high school season that will continue to open eyes with their play on the court.

One of the first players I spotted during the action had a feel and poise for the point guard position which made me think he was older than his actual sophomore grade level.

2023 Christian Marshall 6’0 170 Guard (Oak Park River Forest High School)

This was a prospect that I never saw before coming into this event but left me eager to see him perform over the next four weeks. The first thing that stood out about Christian was his athletic ability along with his open court speed. Once receiving the outlet pass he was able to turn into a different gear getting down the court and getting into the lane and finish thru contact.

2022 Malik Jenkins 6’6 205 Wing (Hyde Park Academy)

This player showed a very mature feel for the game for a player who is embarking on the start of his junior season. His leadership on the floor was just as impressive as his all-around skill set for the Thunderbirds. He showed tremendous versatility throughout the entire game scoring from all over the floor. He knocked down three’s was able to show pick an pop ability in pick and roll situations as well as taking rebounds the length of the floor getting to the rim creating three-point play opportunities.

2021 Kendale Martin 5’8 170 PG (Kenwood Academy)

What he lacks in size he certainly made up with his heart and toughness on the floor. He is a true floor general in every sense of the word and leads his team to a tough win down the stretch of the game. The numbers didn’t jump off the page but his calmness on the floor was the deciding factor for his team getting the win. He showed veteran poise by making sure his team was organized on both ends of the floor down the stretch. He maintained a positive assist-to-turnover ratio for the game and showed the ability to run the offense and make timely baskets in crunch time.

2022 Nick Martinelli 6’7 210 Wing (Glenbard South)

Having seen Nick play before over the summer I came away impressed with some key factors he added to his game that will not only help him in the short term but also as he makes the transition to college. He showed more of a willingness to rebound which is great for a player his size but now he has added a more refined ball handling to the equation for a player who has already shown the ability to score the ball at all three levels on the court.