Aquan Smart’s ridiculous start

Niles North’s, Aquan Smart, is putting up video game stats to begin his senior season. The East Tennessee State verbal commitment has his team off to a hot start while being the focal point for every opposing team.

How ridiculous has Aquan been the past few games?

How about this…

30 point game — 27 points in the 3rd quarter alone!
34 point game with 6 steals!
38 point game — 20 in the 4th quarter alone!

Aquan’s Niles North squad early success is in large part to his hot start. These wild scoring games are coming against tough opponents, too. Aquan would be the first one to tell you that this a team effort, but we can’t ignore the gaudy numbers he’s posted recently.

Aquan’s grassroots team, Pure Prep, played in our RecruitLook Hoops League in 2019 — we know that he’s one of the best guards in the country. He began last April with a few Division One programs interested and stating they’ll keep tabs on him. At the time of his verbal commitment to Coach Forbes at ETSU, Aquan had 10+ division one offers!

His stock was high then… and it’s only getting higher! Take a look at these highlights from those 3 games.

Rowe Leads Chrisman In Thriller

In a game where seemingly nothing was going their way, Chrisman never wavered. After building a 13 point lead after one quarter, Deer Creek battled their way back with great defense and even better offense, closing the deficit to 4 at halftime. 

The two teams battled back and forth throughout the rest of the game, eventually needing OT to settle it once and for all. 

That’s when Chrisman decided to lean on one of their most experienced guards, Zachariah Rowe, to get the job done. 

With the final seconds waning, and Chrisman holding the ball, Rowe drove the lane to the basket for the game-winning layup all while finishing through contact with 1.7 seconds left. The crowd erupted after the ball went through the net, but it looked like just another shot for Rowe.

Like he’s done it time and time again. 

Rowe missed a crucial free throw late in the fourth quarter that could have given them a one point lead and possibly the win, but he made sure not to miss his second chance. 

“My teammates rely on me in big moments, and counted on me to step up,” said Rowe. “And that’s exactly what I did. Stepped up in the big moment. I just thank my teammates for having the faith in me to take the last shot and I finished the game.”

A lot of teams could give up huge runs to opposing teams after having a second quarter like Chrisman had, but the veteran leadership kept everything under control. 

That’s why the message coming out of halftime for Chrisman was simple, keep your composure and slow things down. 

“Coach told us it started on defense and that’s exactly where it started. Got us all buckets,” said Rowe. 

Rowe finished with 20 points to add to his game-winning shot, with his backcourt running mate Isaiah Jackson finishing with 16. Deer Creek’s Jerry Tullis finished with 28, and multiple three-pointers. 

Chrisman faces cross-town rival Truman today at 2:30pm for the Phog Allen Invitational Championship, which will certainly have tensions high and a high energetic atmosphere from the crowd.

 “Play our game. Defense is our main focus. Just start on defense and that’s going to win us a championship.”

Scouting Report : Marcus Stewart 2021

Marcus Stewart is a combo guard from Columbus, Ohio.

Class: 2021
Position: Guard
Height: 6’4”
AAU Team: ProBound
High School: The Wellington School

Strengths: Marcus is a smooth, left-handed scoring guard that can get buckets in a variety of ways. His instincts with the ball is what allows him to score at all 3-levels… he has a nice hesitation move that he can pull-up for a jumper or attack the basket based off his defender and help defense…. he can really read the floor and knows the angles at which he can attack the defense. His instincts with his ability to knock down the mid-range and 3-point jumper make him tough to defend.

He’s strong and skilled with the ball. He can handle it equally well with both hands and his passing is very underrated part of his game.

Marcus is active on the defensive end with his length and quick footwork. He’s constantly communicating with teammates and works hard on defense.

Currently getting interest from Mid-Major D1 programs.

Previewing opening night in the Southwestern Conference

Friday is the opening of Southwestern Conference Play. All teams are off to good starts, so this season of conference play is going to be entertaining.

Here is a preview of Friday’s Action

Ethyn Brown 2021

Belleville East at East St. Louis

The defending State Champions, East St. Louis, started the season 2-1 and are led by seniors LaShawn Johnson, Armond Williams and Jashawn Anderson. The flyers come into the match-up with these three seniors averaging double figures, an impressive front line and a swarming defense. East St. Louis is currently ranked 4th in the first AP basketball Poll

Belleville East has started the season 3-1 and is led by Junior Ethyn Brown, Sophomore Braxton Stacker and freshman Jordan Picket. While Belleville East may not have the size of East St. Louis, Belleville East does present multiple players that can attack the rim and are dangerous in transition. 

Edwardsville at Belleville West

Edwardsville has started the season 3-0 lead by Juniors Jalil Roundtree, Brennan Weller and Caleb Valentine. Edwardsville won the Jacksonville Tourney beating Macomb, Jacksonville and Glenwood Chatham. 

Belleville West starts the season going 2-3 playing in the always loaded Washington Tournament of Champions. West is led by the dynamic duo of Senior Greg Wells and Junior Tommie Williams. 

Shaun Riley 2021

O’Fallon at Collinsville

O’Fallon comes into the game 4-0 after winning the Alton Tip-off Tourney and are led by Juniors Shaun Riley, Mason Blakemore and sophomores Caleb Burton and Dawson Algee. O’Fallon has a mixture of size, athletes and shooters, which makes this team a difficult match-up. O’Fallon received a few votes in the first AP basketball Poll

Collinsville comes into the contest with a 4-0 record after an impressive showing — winning the Pyramid Tourney. Collinsville is led by Seniors Ray’Sean Taylor (26 ppg), Keydrian Jones, Cawhan Smith and junior Nate Hall. Collinsville can matchup with any style and has the Conference’s returning leading scorer in Ray’Sean Taylor. Collinsville is currently ranked 5th in the first AP Basketball Poll.

Alton has a bye on opening weekend.

What a great way to start off Conference Season!

Springfield Lanphier duo shine on opening night

Springfield Lanphier knocks off the defending state champions, Belleville West 55-44. Lanphier Lions were led by their young guards, Mekhi Phillips and Tevonta Jackson.

Mekhi Phillips – 2022 – 6’1 – Guard
Mekhi Phillips was already one of the best shooters in the Central State Eight Conference is off to a scorching start in 2019. Phillips buried 3 triples in their opening round win over Belleville West.  

Tevonta Jackson – 2023 – 6’2 – Guard
The highly-touted freshmen, Tevonta Jackson, displayed why he will be a difference maker for the Lanphier squad. Jackson’s skill set on offense is advanced for his age — his mid-range and ability to hit floaters is tough to defend. He has quick hands on defense and has the tools to be outstanding all-around defensive player.