- Reggie Rankin, College Basketball Recruiting
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RIVERSIDE, Ill. -- The 15th Annual Nike Mac Irvin Back to School Shootout featured high-level talent in a variety of graduating classes from the surrounding Chicago area. The event was highlighted by the presence of ESPNU 100 SF Wayne Blackshear (Chicago, Ill./Morgan Park), Terrific 25 PF Thomas Hamilton Jr. (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) and 2014 C Jahlil Okafor (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) who has size, talent and off-the-charts upside.
2011, SF, 6-foot-5, 205 pounds
The future Louisville Cardinal attacked the rim repeatedly with strong drives, scoring through contact or from the charity stripe after drawing the foul. He provided highlights on the break by catching lob passes for two-handed dunks in traffic and took advantage of matchups by posting smaller or weaker defenders and driving by less mobile ones. The big, strong wing was aggressive and productive throughout the game.
Thomas Hamilton Jr.
2013, PF, 6-8, 250 pounds
Hamilton continues to display great skill for a player of his size and he is a matchup nightmare. He can pick and pop and hit the open jumper or roll and be equally as productive catching and finishing in the lane. He can put it on the floor from the wing or score with his back to the basket thanks to his excellent touch. He also passed well out the post when doubled or felt the presence of multiple defenders. However, strength and conditioning is the key for long term success for the big-bodied post.
Quinton Chievous (Chicago, Ill./Notre Dame Prep)
2011, SG/SF, 6-6, 200 pounds
He played with toughness and competed on both ends of the floor. Chievous scored on the break by getting to the rim and attacked defenders in the half court with quick slashes, where he welcomed contact and finished with good body control. He also hit mid-range jumpers and is much more athletic than he appears. Chievous played with great energy, urgency and held our attention throughout the game. The son of former Missouri star and NBA player Derrick Chievous likes Colorado State, Southern Illinois, Washington State, Providence, Rutgers, DePaul, Baylor and South Florida.
2014, C, 6-9, 250 pounds
He is a big, wide post who is almost impossible for a defender to get around in the low post. Okafor has great skill, touch and footwork for his size. He has light feet although his calfs look like tree trunks and he runs the floor extremely well. He can also spin into a jump hook over his left shoulder with ease and passes out of the post to the open man on the perimeter when he attracts multiple defenders. As he continues to grasp the speed of the game and works to get into good shape, he will become a special player.
Players to watch
Mike Turner (Chicago, Ill./University)
2011, PF, 6-8, 195 pounds
The skilled combination forward is a crafty scorer and a good athlete. Turner has the ability to stretch the defense in pick-and-pop situations because he can knock down open shots with range to the arc. He can also post and elevate over smaller defenders or finish above the rim on the break. Turner competes and plays with passion as well. Princeton, Penn, Bradley, Valpo and UIC have all offered with local Northwestern taking a strong look. Turner has all the makings to be an over achiever on the college level and is definitely one to keep a close eye on.
Jerome Brown (Chicago, Ill./Morgan Park)
2011, SG, 6-4, 180 pounds
Brown, who has good size and a smooth stroke, flat-out knocked down open shots. Coming off screens or spacing on the side of dribble penetration, he can make the defense pay when his feet are set. Brown also displayed a nice mid-range pull up after one or two rhythm dribbles. He runs the outside lane on the break and displays a nice feel for the game and plays to his strengths. This true shooting guard is being recruited by Tulsa, Southern Illinois, Bradley, UIC, Western Kentucky, Northeastern, DePaul and Central Michigan.
• Deshawn Delaney (Chicago, Ill./Carver) is an active live body combination forward. He is undersized as a power forward, but makes up for it with aggressiveness. Delaney scores inside and out and rebounds on both ends. The 6-4, 180-pounder is hearing from UIC, Eastern Illinois and East Tennessee State.
• Delaney's teammate, Class of 2012 Michael Howell (Chicago, Ill./Carver) is an excellent athlete that plays above the rim on the break. He attacks the rim with slashes where this lefty can finish through contact. He is an undersized SF, but simply gets the job done.
• Juwan Starks (West Aurora, Ill./West Aurora) is a wiry, strong wing that can get to the rim and knock down mid-range jumpers and open 3s with needed time and space. The Class of 2012 slasher has Indiana State, St. Louis, Nebraska, Providence, Albany and Eastern Kentucky all taking a look.
• Class of 2012 small forward Frank Williams (Chicago, Ill./Phillips) is an extra long, thin slasher with great upside. He can handle the ball well for his size and get to the rim on the break. He is hearing from Wisconsin-Green Bay, Albany, Penn State and UIC thus far.
Reggie Rankin was an assistant coach at seven schools for 13 seasons, most recently at Dayton. He played at Ohio University from 1986 to 1990 and was an All-MAC first-teamer in his senior season.
Wayne Blackshear highlights Nike Mac Irvin Back to School Shootout, writes Reggie Rankin.