This week the playoffs started for the High IQ Academy Fall League which has been one of the better events with so much talent under one roof. The play on the floor was stellar and the intensity was felt from the moment you walked in the gym.
2022 Matthew Neal 6’4 175 SG/SF (Hyde Park Academy)
Matt is a player I happened to see on the AAU circuit and bookmarked as a prospect to keep tabs on as he progresses through his high school career. I’m glad I made that bookmark because over the weekend he did not disappointment with his play on the floor. He is the definition of a player who’s energy and motor helps his team go to another level when he is on the floor as he just makes winning plays and does nothing to hurt his team. He not only opened eyes with his energy but with his over-all skillset on both ends of the floor. He has the potential to be a lock down defender with the ability to guard multiple positions and rebound at a very high level. His offensive game has came along quite well as he is able to make catch and shot three’s as well as put the ball on the floor and attack the rim finishing thru contact. He has a solid handle which he displayed on open court drives going end to end off defensive rebounds.
2024 James Brown 6’8 205 C (St. Rita High School)
Even before playing his first high school game James has collected four offers from Division 1 programs already making him a player to follow for scouts an college coaches. This early attention hasn’t stopped James from improving his game and taking advantage every time he takes the floor. He was an absolute force on both ends of the floor either blocking shots or making players adjust due to his presence. He rebounded the ball at a high rate which included rebounding outside his area. His offensive game is advanced for a player so young which is a testament to his work ethic. One point in the game saw the 6’8 James grab a rebound and take it the length of the floor for a score showing off an impressively tight handle navigating through defenders. James has a very bright future ahead with his continued development over the next four years of high school basketball.
2022 Tavari Johnson PG 5’11 150 (Lyons Township)
One of the best guard prospects I have seen in a long time with the pace and control of the game in which he plays. Tavari either by scoring on all three levels or facilitating to his teammates he opened a lot of eyes during the entire fall league but put on a show with his performance on Sunday. Tavari was able to control the game from the opening tip getting his teammates in the right spots to score but picking and choosing his spots to look for his own shot. He was able to run screen and roll effective either hitting the three if the defender went under on the screen or attacking the big off the dribble. He had a stretch in the game which he ran off three straight three-pointers on three different situations. One shot was off a high screen an roll on the left side of the floor then the second came in transitions on a secondary fast break then the last shoot came off dribble penetration which he got open and made off a catch an shoot corner three. He is one of the more under-the-radar prospects in the state but if his play in the fall league is a preview of what’s coming down the line he will not be over looked much longer.