The high school season tipped off earlier this week in some areas with talented prospects already putting in quality work on the hardwood right off the bat.  So with the first days of the season underway it seems like a perfect time to glance at some teams and prospects to watch closely in the state of Illinois this upcoming season…

FIVE TEAMS TO WATCH
Note – Listed in alphabetical order – This is not an exclusive list

Bloom 
They’re loaded from top to bottom and Minnesota bound senior big man Martice Mitchell paces the attack.  Dante Maddox Jr. and Keshawn Williams join Mitchell along with others to form a legitimate state championship contender this season.  By most accounts Bloom is the top team in the state on paper to start the season but obviously there’s a long way to go.  Long, talented, athletic, and equipped with a deep roster, Bloom checks every box on the hardwood.

Fenwick
Louisville bound junior Bryce Hopkins paces the attack but sophomore guard Trey Pettigrew is front and center as one to pay close attention to.  The 1-2 combo of Hopkins and Pettigrew is worth watching in and of itself but Fenwick has a solid supporting cast as well.

Morgan Park
While most of the focus will be on a loaded backcourt that boasts Illinois bound senior Adam Miller and Wake Forest bound senior Marcus Watson Jr., Coach Irvin offers up one of the potential breakout performers of the year in junior wing Brandon Weston.  Weston is a do it all athletic tough skilled talented that impacts the game on both ends.  Add to the mix a strong supporting cast both young and old and it’s easy to see why Morgan Park has state championship aspirations again this season.  They’re loaded and deep once again.

Rolling Meadows
Junior guard Max Christie powers the attack but his younger brother Cameron joins him as a freshman this season.  As talented as Christie is the opportunity to watch both compete at the same time is an intriguing prospect for any fan and given the big production one would expect from Max game in and game out Rolling Meadows is another team to track this season.

Whitney Young
Always in the thick of things each year, Young is paced by Duke bound senior guard DJ Steward and his exploits this past spring and summer have him trending upward at a fast clip.  One of the premiere lead guards in the country, Steward like Adam Miller of Morgan Park is must watch basketball and the combination of Steward with fellow senior guard Tyler Beard gives Coach Slaughter one of the premier backcourts in the state this season.  

FIVE PROSPECTS TO WATCH
Note – Listed in alphabetical order – This is not an exclusive list

Amar Augillard – 2021 – 6’5” – F – Zion-Benton (IL)
A tough physical forward who can play multiple positions, Augillard is in the mold of former Zion-Benton standout Admiral Schofield with his ability to score at multiple levels and create matchup problems in the process.  He’s physical, he can score off the bounce, he has range beyond the arc, and he’s a legitimate mid-high major caliber D1 prospect blooming late much in the same fashion the Schofield did before him.  At his best he fills the box score and can fill it up with consistency from each level.

Ethyn Brown – 2021 – 6’0” – PG – Althoff Catholic (IL)
A quick and talented guard with handles, athleticism, vision, and the ability to score at multiple levels, Brown has the potential to be a big story over the next 8-12 months as he’s trending upward.  In a state where most of the focus will be on senior guards this season, Brown is one that stands to really make a big jump when it’s all said and done.  One to watch closely in Illinois this season.

Nigel Hylton – 2022 – 6’8” – F – Lake Forest Academy (IL)
A talented scoring threat by way of Canada, Hylton can score from each level and he boasts solid athleticism, nice size, and plus length to boot.  Really started his ascent last July with a strong performance at an NY2LA Sports platform, Hylton has continued to carry that momentum into the season and he could be one of the breakout performers of the next 8-12 months in the sophomore class.

Dominic Martinelli – 2020 – 6’5” – G/F – Glenbrook South (IL)
Always consistent and rarely getting his just due, Martinelli is a skilled talented basketball player that checks most boxes.  He makes good decisions, he sees the floor well, he can score at multiple levels, and he has the ability to put the team on his back and take over the game when needed.  As seniors go he’s unheralded by most accounts by dominant and among the best in terms of consistency and production.  If you like old school pure basketball player types, Dominican is your guy.  He makes plays game in and game out.

Martice Mitchell – 2020 – 6’10” – F/C – Bloom (IL)
A fast trending prospect who’s off the board to Minnesota and could likely be a steal for the Gophers when it’s all said and done.  While Bloom is loaded from top to bottom Mitchell is the first one you see when they take the court and his size and length combine with athleticism and instincts to form a high major impact prospect who can score, rebound, and disrupt things on the defensive end of the court.  There’s a lot of clay to mold with Mitchell and it’s far from a finished product.  His best years on the hardwood lie ahead with hard work.