The high school season is off and running and a host of talented prospects and programs across the Midwest are already rolling in stellar fashion. Here’s a look at a handful of each in this week’s news and notes from across the Midwest…
TEAMS TO WATCH
Note – Listed in Alphabetical Order
Apple Valley (Minnesota)
Sitting at 2-0 on the season Apple Valley heads into a huge game against top ranked Champlin Park on Saturday in a statement game for both teams. Junior lead guard Tre Jones has been sensational so far this season and he’ll need to be at his best on Saturday for Apple Valley to win.
La Lumiere (Indiana)
This team is loaded and regarded as the #1 team in the country right now and justifiably so. Powered by a senior group that includes the likes of Brian Bowen, Michigan bound Jordan Poole, Michigan State bound Jaren Jackson, Isaiah Coleman-Lands, and Australian Jacob Epperson La Lumiere is undefeated and impressive every time out. As good as the seniors have been, sophomore lead guard Tyger Campbell has been stellar as well with his floor game, creativity, and overall leadership of an experienced and talented group.
Morgan Park (Illinois)
Sitting at 4-0 early in the season the powerhouse from Illinois continues to impress. Powered by junior lead guard Ayo Dosunmu and a solid supporting cast including, but not limited to, freshman guard Nimari Burnett Coach Irvin has a lot of pieces to play with this season and that means problems for the rest of the state as they look primed and ready for a big year.
Oshkosh North (Wisconsin)
One of the bright spots early on this season in Wisconsin, a trio of talented prospects in junior lead guard Tyrese Haliburton, senior guard Philip Flory, and junior guard Quincy Anderson have them undefeated and getting better by the day. Arguably the most serious challenge to two-time defending state champion Stevens Point in terms of an early look, North is balanced, versatile, extremely well coached, and primed for a potential state championship campaign this season.
Webster Groves (Missouri)
This team has a chance to do big things this year and it’s bolstered by two top 25 prospects in the 2018 class in lead guard Courtney Ramey and big man Carte’Are Gordon. This is as good a 1-2 punch as there is as individually they both have the ability to take over the game and collectively they can be virtually unstoppable when clicking on all cylinders.
Note – Listed in Alphabetical Order
Brian Bowen – 2017 – SF – La Lumiere (IN)
Arguably the most productive player on the top team in the nation this season Bowen has been exceptional. He’s averaging over 20 points a game while grabbing 6 rebounds a contest and he’s doing so within the context of the system with a team that has plenty of guys who need to get their touches. He will be a spring signee and he’s continuing to elevate his status as one of the premier prospects left on the board in the 2017 class.
Taylor Bruninga – 2017 – SF – Illini Bluffs (IL)
One of the top 2017 prospects left on the board and he’s only getting better with each passing week. Currently averaging over 35 points a game and over 15 rebounds a game through the first 8 games of the season, Bruninga has been flipping scoreboards like a video game early in the year. He’s long, skilled, instinctive, and trending upwards this season in impressive fashion.
Ayo Dosunmu – 2018 – PG – Morgan Park (IL)
Love this young man’s grit and ability to deliver on the hardwood. He jumped out of the box with a 51 point effort just to show the spring was no fluke and he’s continued to churn out quality efforts game in and game out with the most recent being a 25 point 9 rebound 6 assist effort in a win last night. MP is off to a 4-0 start and Dosunmu has been the catalyst. Expect a big year from the talented guard fro Chicago.
Tre Jones – 2018 – PG – Apple Valley (MN)
The talented young floor general posted a triple double in his first night out last Saturday and he followed that up with a solid 21 point effort in a victory Thursday. He’s talented, skilled, instinctive, and has the ability to both control the tempo and take over the game scoring or creating. Jones is part of a stellar floor general group in the region for the 2018 class as you can go up and down each state and find a high major impact lead guard or more already doing big things. Jones is right in that conversation as he’s been sensational early on this season.
Courtney Ramey – 2018 – PG – Webster Groves (MO)
The highly coveted floor general jumped out of the box in stellar fashion during his first game as he poured in a triple double to the tune of 28 points 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a 78-42 win earlier this week. He holds double digit offers, is a top 25 prospect nationally, and he’s only getting better. One of the premiere juniors in the country, Ramey is off and running in big fashion.
GAMES OF THE WEEK
(Note – This is not an exclusive list)
Chicago Uplift (IL) at Webster Groves (MO) – Saturday – St. Louis, MO
As part of the 2016 Midwest Showdown Shootout this weekend this game features two of the premiere floor generals in the country on paper for their respective classes in 2018 PG Courtney Ramey of Webster Groves (MO) and Kansas commit 2019 Markese Jacobs of Uplift (IL). At their best both are scintillating, skilled, and dominant and it’s an excellent early season test for both players as well as their teams this weekend in Missouri.
Apple Valley (MN) vs. Champlin Park (MN) – Saturday – Hopkins, MN
As good a game as there is this weekend, this one as part of the Tip-Off Classic at Hopkins High School this weekend features a plethora of talented Division 1 prospects. Tre Jones spearheads the Apple Valley attack and the multi-dimensional floor general is off to a scintillating start through the first two games. On the flip side Champlin Park is powered by a 1-2 punch of 2017 PG McKinley Wright and 2017 PF Theo John averaging 27 points and 19 points a game respectively through their first game of the season. In Minnesota terms it’s the #1 team versus the #6 teams and it promises to be an exciting and must watch matchup in Minnesota this weekend.
2019 SG Harlond Beverly of Southfield Christian (MI) was injured early in the week during a loss to Ann Arbor (MI) Tuesday. He left the game in the second quarter where he had already delivered 8 points 9 rebounds 8 assists and 4 blocks. He’s expected back in the next 2-3 weeks.
2020 G Jalen Johnson of Sun Prairie (WI) underwent surgery early this week for an injury suffered in the first game of the same. The good news is the injury was not as serious as expected and he should be back on the court later this season.