Preps Talk

Best of the best: NBC Sports Chicago Boys Basketball Preseason All-Area Team

Best of the best: NBC Sports Chicago Boys Basketball Preseason All-Area Team

Since the IHSA boys basketball season is right around the corner, it's time to take a look at the main players you need to know for the upcoming 2017-18 season.

While this preseason all-area team will likely be very different than the one we see at the end of the season, the Chicagoland area is once again stocked with a host of talented players this season. The preseason all-area team has a lot of high-end college prospects on this list, but high school accomplishments are the most important factor in determining these teams.

First Team

Ayo Dosunmu, Morgan Park. The only player on this list to make our all-area team last season, the Illinois commit is the frontrunner for Player of the Year honors. The 6-foot-3 Dosunmu is a potential McDonald's All-American after he averaged 22 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and two steals per game last season. Dosunmu was injured the final two games of last season, but he helped Morgan Park capture a Class 3A state title and Public League Red-South title.

Talen Horton-Tucker, Simeon. The versatile wing forward was one of the area's best two-way players last season while helping Simeon capture its second consecutive city championship. Horton-Tucker averaged 18.2 points and seven rebounds per game last season and is signed with Iowa State.

Zion Griffin, Hinsdale South. Though many fans were unaware of the 6-foot-6 forward until he became a high-major recruit this summer, Griffin put up great numbers for Hinsdale South as a junior last season. Helping the Hornets win a Class 4A regional title as a double-digit seed, Griffin averaged 17.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game while shooting 58 percent from the field. The Iowa State commit is one of the area's best athletes.

Javon Freeman, Whitney Young. Helping Whitney Young to a Class 4A state championship last season, Freeman was one of the best guards in the state. Putting up 13.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game for the Dolphins as a junior, Freeman could have a monster senior season now that Lucas Williamson is gone. Freeman is signed with Valparaiso.

Xavier Castaneda, Whitney Young. Consistent floor generals can be tough to find at the high school level, which is why the 6-foot Castaneda is so special. The USF commit put up 10.1 points and 4.0 assists per game last season for the Class 4A champion Dolphins, doing a great job limiting turnovers and finding open teammates.

Second Team

Raekwon Drake, Orr. A huge presence at Orr the past few seasons, the 6-foot-5 Drake is known for his ridiculous above-the-rim play on both ends of the floor. Capable of throwing down huge dunks or erasing shots on the defensive end, Drake helped the Spartans capture a Class 2A state championship.

Drew Peterson, Libertyville. Perhaps the state's best uncommitted senior, the 6-foot-7 Peterson has been a consistent performer for the Wildcats the past few seasons. As a junior, Peterson averaged 19.5 points, seven rebounds and three assists per game. Capable of big scoring numbers, Peterson had three 30-point games last season.

Dannie Smith, Orr. Dominant at times during Orr's Class 2A state-title run last season, the 6-foot-5 Smith is perhaps the Spartans' best player despite not being the top college prospect on the team. Adept at scoring and rebounding, Smith averaged 11.1 points and seven rebounds per contest in his first full season of high school basketball.

Maurice Commander, Curie. The reigning East Suburban Catholic Conference Player of the Year transferred to Public League power Curie this offseason after starting for three years at Marist. The UT-Chattanooga commit averaged 13.7 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals per game last season.

Xavier Pinson, Simeon. Another transfer coming from the ESCC to the Public League, the 6-foot-2 Pinson was stellar at St. Patrick as a junior. After averaging 16 points, eight assists and five rebounds per game last season, Pinson joins a loaded Simeon squad that has city- and state-title aspirations. After briefly committing to Kent State in the fall, Pinson opted to open up his recruitment and is currently uncommitted.

Third Team

Camron Donatlan, West Aurora. Possibly the best multi-sport athlete in the area, the 6-foot-3 Donatlan was tremendous for the Blackhawks last season. Also a solid football player, Donatlan averaged 15.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 3.3 steals per game last season.

George Conditt, Corliss. Coming out of relative obscurity to become a high-major recruit, the 6-foot-10 Conditt is committed to Iowa State, following in the footsteps of his father, who played football for the Cyclones. Conditt averaged 15 points and 12 rebounds per game as a junior.

Sam Shafer, Lincoln-Way East. One of the area's premier sharpshooters, the 6-foot-6 Shafer is committed to Southern Illinois. Helping Lincoln-Way East to a school-record 20 wins last season, Schaefer put up 15.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game as a junior.

D.J. Steward, Fenwick. Bursting on the local scene as the area's best freshman last season, expectations are high for the 6-foot-1 sophomore. As a starter for the Class 3A runner-up last season, Steward averaged 15 points per game while shooting 55 percent from the field and 43 percent from 3-point range.

Justin Hardy, St. Charles East. Last season saw the 6-foot-5 Hardy put up big numbers for the Saints, as he averaged 19.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Shooting 56 percent from the field and 37 percent from 3-point range last season, Hardy showed he can be a lethal perimeter threat while also doing a lot of damage on the interior. The senior remains uncommitted.

Edgy Tim's recruiting news and notes


Edgy Tim's recruiting news and notes

Rich Central junior defensive back Mehki Miller (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) gave Miami of Ohio his verbal commitment earlier this week. 

"Miami (of Ohio) offered me a few months ago and I've been very interested in them for awhile now," Miller said. "I just felt that Miami is the best place for me and that they can get me to where I want to go. I talked it over with my family and my coaches and gave them my commitment."

Miller joins Simeon quarterback Alante Brown and Nazareth Academy defensive back Devin Blakley as pledges in the Miami Redhawks growing Class of 2019. 

Lake Forest sophomore defensive linemen Rylie Mills (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) continues to add scholarship offers from across the Midwest this spring and made a recent spring practice visit to Michigan.

"I had a really good time at Michigan and it was a very good overall visit," Mills said. "I was able to visit and meet with defensive line coach Greg Mattison. Coach showed me around the facilities along with the weight room plus the new athletic training center. The weight room was huge and everything was just very impressive. They also had an academic presentation and we learned more about the importance and focus on academics at Michigan."

Mills now holds seven Big Ten offers (Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern) along with offers from Notre Dame, Vanderbilt and Tennessee so far this spring. 

Buffalo Grove junior athlete recruit Tom Trieb (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) added his second overall scholarship offer and his first FBS level offer from Northern Illinois University last weekend after making a spring practice visit.

"I went to NIU on Saturday to watch a spring practice," Trieb said. "After the spring practice I went and talked with the NIU coaches and they offered me a scholarship. It was a great surprise for me and my family."

Trieb, who played linebacker and running back last season for the Bison also learned that he's being recruited by the Huskies staff at a new position.

"NIU said that they are offering me as a tight end. I've never played tight end before so that was a bit surprising. The NIU coaches just feel I'll be a good fit for them at tight end and I'm totally fine with it. I just want to play in college and I'll basically play anywhere the coaches want me to play."

Highland Park junior inside linebacker Thomas Motzko (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) was able to add his first two FCS level scholarship offers within an hour of each other late last week.

"It still really hasn't set in just yet," Motzko said. "Landing my first offer (South Dakota State) has been one of my biggest goals for a long time. Getting my second offer (Missouri State) less than an hour in the same day was just amazing."

Motzko has also been drawing steady recruiting attention this spring from the likes of South Dakota, North Dakota, SIU, Miami of Ohio, Western Michigan, NIU and Rutgers along with Army and Cornell.

Recruiting news and notes: Nazareth Academy's Devin Blakley verbally commits to Miami of Ohio


Recruiting news and notes: Nazareth Academy's Devin Blakley verbally commits to Miami of Ohio

Nazareth Academy junior three star ranked defensive back Devin Blakley (5-foot-10, 190 pounds) decided to give Miami of Ohio his verbal commitment earlier this week.

"Miami of Ohio is just a great fit for me so I decided to commit," Blakley said. "I've known for a while now that Miami was the place for me. I just didn't see any reason to keep waiting so I called up the coaches and committed."

Blakley, who had offers from the likes of Iowa State and Air Force long with multiple Mid American Conference schools is the second State of Illinois pledge for the Redhawks Class of 2019. Blakley joins Simeon QB Alante Brown who earlier this month gave Miami of Ohio his verbal commitment. 

New Trier junior three star ranked athlete recruit Duke Olges (6-foot-5, 240 pounds) has been looking harder at his multiple college offers and options. Olges, who has been playing baseball for the Trevians this spring will make two unofficial visits this weekend then will begin to narrow down his favorite schools.

"My plan is to go see Duke and Virginia this weekend and see how everything goes with those visits," according to Olges. "After that I'm either going to narrow things down to a top schools list or I might even make a decision. I just feel that I have some great offers right now and don't want to wait too long in making a decision. Playing the waiting game is a risk because kids are already starting to make decisions. I don't want to miss out and lose some great offers."

Stevenson junior inside linebacker recruit Maema Njongmeta (6-foot-1, 210 pounds) has continued to add scholarship offers this spring including recent offers from both NIU and Toledo. Njongmeta was also able to head out east over his recent spring break and made a handful of college visits.

"I was able to go out to visit Princeton, Army and Penn over my spring break then we headed up to Canada to visit with some family," Njongmeta said. "All three visits I felt went very well and overall it was a fun trip. I thought it was very beneficial to see all three schools in person. Army has the whole military stigma but it was good to see the academy in person. It was great to see what West Point and academy life is all about in person and it was super cool. Every school brings something different to the table. I was able to definitely get a better feel for each school I visited."

Njongmeta has reached also out to someone very familiar with the recruiting process in former Stevenson and current Northwestern super back Cameron Green.

"We have a wonderful lady who works at our school who was able to get me in touch with Cameron Green. I knew of Cameron since I was in eight grade but didn't know him at all. He's a great guy and has been a big help for me. He's given me some good advice and is someone who's been through the process and knows what I'm going through with the recruiting process."

Urban Prep Bronzeville junior defensive back Jeremiah Webb (6-foot-1, 187 pounds) was able to add his first scholarship offer earlier this week from Northern Illinois University. 

"I'm still really excited (about adding his first offer from NIU) and my phone has been blowing up," Webb said. "I've been working hard for a long time now and it just feels good to add my first offer from NIU."

Webb has been eyeing the NIU Huskies program for some time now.

"I've been looking into NIU for a long time. They have a great, winning program and have been to multiple bowl games over the years. NIU is also close to home and I've been to NIU for a camp last summer and I also went to the NIU spring game. It's great to get my first offer from such a good program like NIU."

Webb has also drawn recruiting attention from Northern Iowa, Iowa State, Cornell and Holy Cross so far this spring.