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.