The high school season continues to move forward with teams and prospects across the country delivering high caliber efforts weekly.  Regionally the Midwest is no exception as a number of talented prospects are in the midst of stellar campaigns.  Here’s a look at that and more in today’s news and notes from across the Midwest…

TEAMS TO WATCH
Note – Listed in Alphabetical Order

Grand Rapids Christian (Michigan)
Regarded by many as the team to beat in Michigan this season, GRC sits at 5-0 on the season and they’re powered by a balanced attack that can have 3-4 players in double figures each game.  The biggest piece on the board is Michigan State bound senior big man Xavier Tillman, a virtual double double machine.  He’s had a near triple double this season and a few double double efforts as well.  Tillman delivered a quality floor game and the balanced provided by the supporting cast has been equally impressive so far this season for GRC.

La Lumiere (Indiana)
The powerhouse from Indiana continues to roll through the regular season with a showdown against Sierra Canyon (California) coming up on Monday.  Brian Bowen and Jaren Jackson Jr. have been the catalysts throughout the season and both are deserving of legitimate McDonald’s All-American and Jordan Brand Classic consideration at this point.  This team is very deep and they can hit you from the perimeter, in transition, or on the blocks.  Add to the mix quality coaching and the ability to have anyone lead them in scoring on any given night and it’s easy to see why they’re undefeated and ranked as the top team in the country right now.

Minneapolis North (Minnesota)
They currently sit at 11-1 and atop the Minneapolis City Conference beyond the stellar play of senior guard Isaac Johnson and junior big man Odell Wilson IV.  Johnson is the catalyst to the tune of close to 23 points a contest but Wilson is a beast in the paint as the talented big bodied junior is averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds a game.  The 1-2 punch of Johnson and Wilson isn’t alone either as senior guard Jaquan Sanders-Smith is delivering 13 points and 5 assists a contest.  After losing their first game of the season North has ripped off 11 straight and they are playing excellent basketball at the midway point of the season.

Oshkosh North (Wisconsin)
Only a snow/ice storm in Wisconsin Tuesday has been able to slow North as the 9-0 squad has been exceptional so far this season.  Powered by an excellent perimeter that includes senior sharpshooter Philip Flory and junior lead guard Tyrese Haliburton, North has convincingly won game after game.  They currently sit atop the state rankings in Wisconsin at the Division 1 level and their stellar play as been a perfect balance of talent, coaching, depth, and commitment to date.  They’re the team to beat in Wisconsin at the midway point of the season.

Simeon (Illinois)
The powerhouse from Illinois continues to roll forward with an undefeated mark this season and they’ve done so in a variety of ways.  The key to this year’s mix is a combination of quality coaching, solid balance, and toughness.  They can hit you in a variety of ways and they have a number of quality prospects that have blended together to sit atop most state rankings at the midway point of the season.  Evan Gilyard, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Kezo Brown have been the catalysts for the most part this season but they have depth, versatility, and talent up and down the roster and virtually all have bought into the team concept so far this season in impressive fashion.

HOT PROSPECTS
Note – Listed in Alphabetical Order

MUSA JALLOW – 2018 – G/F – BLOOMINGTON NORTH (IN)
One of the more powerful and explosive prospects in the 2018 class nationally, Jallow has continued to build on a stellar spring and summer campaign with a quality junior one for Bloomington North.  A nice blend of instinct, toughness, power, and explosive athleticism, Jallow is a matchup problem for most as he can defend any of the five positions on the court and score in the same fashion from every level.  A classic slashing wing with a lethal mid-range scoring game due largely in part to his athleticism, Jallow can fill the box score and deliver high caliber floor impact on both ends.  He holds offers from Indiana, Vanderbilt, Butler, Northwestern, Purdue, Stanford, Toledo, and Virginia amongst others.  

DANIEL OTURU – 2018 – PF – CRETIN-DERHAM HALL (MN)
Really like this young forward since we first saw him a couple years ago.  He’s grown both physically and skill wise and he’s delivering a stellar junior campaign for Cretin-Derham Hall.  A high major impact talent, Oturu is averaging 17 point and almost 19 rebounds a contest…yes almost 19 rebounds a contest.  That’s big time interior production for a big time interior prospect whose best basketball lies ahead.

MARK SMITH – 2017 – G – EDWARDSVILLE (IL)
Saving his best basketball for his final season the talented guard has been nothing short of sensational at times during his senior campaign.  He’s averaging a near triple double this season with over 21 points, close to 8 rebounds, and almost 10 assists a contest.  He dropped a 37 piece on Jordan Goodwin and company in November and then followed that up with a 35 piece to help his team capture a holiday tournament championship.  In the process the talented guard has picked up offers from in-state powers Illinois and DePaul.  He’s been exceptional through the midway point of this season.

ODELL WILSON IV – 2018 – PF – MINNEAPOLIS NORTH (MN)
Minnesota is host to a number of evolving prospects and Wilson is yet another who is in the midst of a stellar junior campaign.  A powerful interior prospect who can score from multiple levels, Wilson has controlled the paint with consistency and he’s delivering to the tune of 18 points and 10 rebounds a contest.  He’s instinctive, powerful, and playing his most consistently dominant basketball to date.  One to keep close tabs on moving forward.

COMEBACK SENIOR
PHILIP FLORY – 2017 – SG – OSHKOSH NORTH (WI)

A former commit to Marquette who re-opened his recruitment after former coach Buzz Williams left for Virginia Tech, Flory has had to navigate through a couple injuries early in his high school career and he’s finally healthy and starting to play at a nice level consistently.  A classic catch and shoot marksman with range and size, Flory can fill it up from beyond the arc and he has the pieces to fit nicely into the right Division 1 system.  He’s averaging close to 13 points a contest and he continues to show quality leadership for the best team in Wisconsin at the midway point of the season.

JUNIOR STANDOUT
KEZO BROWN – 2018 – G – SIMEON (IL)

Loved a number of things about this young guard heading into high school and after a solid opening campaign he took a couple steps back during his sophomore year.  Now healthy and getting quality minutes, Brown has been exceptional at times this season for arguably the top team in Illinois at the midway point.  He can score from a variety of levels on the court and his toughness combined with his willingness to dominant on both ends and fill the box score is what has always made him a potentially special talent.  Bounce back stories like these are what you hope to see more often and Brown has been a huge reason for Simeon’s surge through the midway point of the season.

SUPER SOPHOMORE
HARLOND BEVERLY – 2019 – SG – SOUTHFIELD CHRISTIAN (MI)

This explosive young wing opened a lot of eyes with a scintillating MVP performance at the annual NY2LA Sports Futures Camp this past October.  After suffering an injury early in the season Beverly has since bounced back and he’s delivering at a higher level with each passing game.  This young man is a high major impact talent with top 25-50 potential nationally.  He has the tools both physically and skill wise to contribute in any type of system and his ability to score at each level combined with his instincts makes him a potentially special talent given his size and length.  He’s scored 15 and 20 in the past two games and he looks like he just starting to get his rhythm back after the early season injury.  

FRESHMAN WATCH
ISAAC LINDSEY – 2020 – SG – MINERAL POINT (WI)

A sharpshooting guard with size (6’2), instincts, skill, and feel, Lindsey is an excellent young perimeter talent who can score in efficient and dominant fashion.  Averaging close to 22 points a contest so far this season, Lindsey brings to mind comparisons to former in-state sharpshooters like Matthew Thomas (Iowa State), Riley LaChance (Vanderbilt), etc.  He is young, he has game, and he can play.  He looks the part of a high major impact guard on the rise in Wisconsin.  

BACK ON THE BOARD
2017 PG Tai Bibbs of West Chicago (IL) received his release from Drake and re-opened his recruitment earlier this week.  The skilled athletic guard was an absolute steal for Drake when he signed and he is now back on the board and immediately assumes the position as one of the most talented lead guards on the board nationally in the 2017 class.  Bibbs can score at each level, he handles the ball, he has size, he has range, and his best basketball lies ahead.  One of the true best kept secrets in the country heading into last spring, Bibbs was exceptional for Mercury Elite on the NY2LA Basketball Association circuit and you can expect him to generate a lot of interest in the coming weeks now that he is back on the board.  

GAME OF THE WEEK
LA LUMIERE (INDIANA) VS. SIERRA CANYON (CA) – MONDAY JANUARY 16TH

As part of the 2017 Spalding HoopHall Classic this upcoming weekend, La Lumiere powered by the likes of Jaren Jackson Jr., Brian Bowen, Tyger Campbell, Jordan Poole, etc. take on the California power led by the 1-2 punch of Marvin Bagley and Cody Riley.  The depth of both teams is obscene and the talent of the big names is equally insulting.  Bagley is the real deal and a potential NBA #1 pick someday and we’ve always loved the potential of Michigan State bound Jaren Jackson Jr. who has been sensational at times this season.  This is must watch TV and will be on ESPN Monday so check it out.