Preps Talk

Drake remains aggressive recruiting Illinois after commitment from Simeon's Messiah Jones

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Sun-Times

Drake remains aggressive recruiting Illinois after commitment from Simeon's Messiah Jones

Simeon senior forward Messiah Jones ended his recruitment by committing to Drake on Sunday night.

One of the more underappreciated players in Illinois last season, the 6-foot-5 Jones became a priority recruit for mid-major programs this summer after a strong run on the grassroots circuit.

As a junior at Simeon, Jones averaged 9.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, helping the Wolverines advance to the Class 4A state title game after winning a city championship. 

Playing for a talented — but undersized — team at Simeon last season, Jones was often tasked with defending and rebounding against bigger and stronger players. A plus athlete who performed admirably in a jack-of-all-trades role for the Wolverines, Jones was one of the most versatile frontcourt players in the area last season. 

The commitment for Jones is a solid grab for Drake. It's also a major statement from new Bulldog head coach Niko Medved.

Always an aggressive recruiter in the Land of Lincoln dating back to his time coaching at Furman, Medved is already making his presence felt in Illinois with the Bulldogs. With Jones committed, and another commitment from Danville guard Kendale Moore, Medved and his staff at Drake have already secured commitments from two talented Illinois seniors so far this fall.

Medved and his staff are hoping that the commitment of Jones also nets them a potential "package deal" as Drake is aggressively recruiting Jones' teammate and Simeon senior point guard Xavier Pinson. Taking an official visit to Drake with Jones last month, Pinson is still deciding on his future school as he just finished up an official visit to Kent State.

During his time at Furman, Medved successfully recruited Hinsdale Central's Matt Rafferty to his program, as the former all-area forward became a solid contributor for the Paladins. So it makes sense that Medved would continue to tap into his emerging Illinois pipeline after taking the job at Drake.

If Medved could get Chicago-area kids to go to Greenville, South Carolina, then he should have no problems getting them to come to his much closer new home in Des Moines.

High School Lites Basketball Roundup: Week 3

High School Lites Basketball Roundup: Week 3

High School Lites had plenty of action during Week 3 of the basketball season. 

Highlights include a matchup of CSL favorites as Niles North hosted Evanston while other rivalries took place across the Chicagoland area. 

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps for the latest news and scores for IHSA basketball.

Team of the Week: DePaul Prep Boys Basketball

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Simeon's Messiah Jones

Highlights

No. 6 Niles North takes down No. 19 Evanston

Willowbrook slows down No. 24 Hinsdale South

No. 11 West Aurora needs overtime to stop Glenbard East

No. 20 St. Viator collects big conference win over No. 18 Benet

Notre Dame beats Carmel

North Lawndale holds off Prosser

Prospect runs by Buffalo Grove

Batavia knocks off Geneva in boys basketball thriller

Geneva runs past Batavia in girls basketball 

 

 

Evanston vs. Niles North headlines busy night on High School Lites

Evanston vs. Niles North headlines busy night on High School Lites

 

High School Lites has a loaded show on Friday night as we have games from all over the Chicagoland area. Besides for the highlights, we have some great features in store as Simeon's Messiah Jones is this week's Wintrust Athlete of the Week. 

Geneva at Batavia (girls & boys), 5:30 & 7:00 p.m. -- This rivalry doubleheader should be a fun one in the Upstate Eight River. 

For the girls, Batavia (6-4) fell to Bolingbrook but was riding a four-game winning streak before that. They get another tough test in Geneva (8-0) as the Vikings have been dominating competition so far this season.

With the boys, the Vikings (6-2, 1-1) are off to a solid start as junior guard Jack McDonald has been a big presence for Geneva. The Bulldogs (6-1, 2-0) only have a loss against unbeaten Wheaton-Warrenville South as all of their wins have come by double-digits this season. 

No. 11 West Aurora at Glenbard East, 7:00 p.m. -- Two of the top teams in the Upstate Eight Valley collide. The No. 11 Blackhawks (5-1, 1-0) are coming off of a strong comeback win over York. Senior Camron Donatlan is one of the area's top players as he's a four-year varsity player. Glenbard East (5-2, 1-0) had a comeback win of its own against South Elgin with an overtime win last week.

Carmel at Notre Dame, 7:00 p.m. -- After opening losses in conference play, these two teams will try to get back on track in the ESCC. The Corsairs (6-2, 0-1) have won three games this season by three points or less, including a quality win over Waukegan. Notre Dame (3-4, 0-1) has lost three straight games and four of five overall as they look to get back on track. 

No. 24 Hinsdale South at Willowbrook, 7:30 p.m. -- An intriguing battle in the West Suburban Gold in this one. Hinsdale South (7-1, 1-0) has won seven consecutive games after dropping its opener as senior Zion Griffin is having some big games to start the season. Willowbrook (5-1, 1-1) dropped an overtime thriller to Proviso East as they try to stay with the top of the conference. The Warriors cruised past Addison Trail last week. 

No. 19 Evanston at No. 6 Niles North, 7:30 p.m. -- A battle of top 25 teams that could be the best game of the week. The Central Suburban South is a tough league this season and this could be a key game in the standings. The Wildkits (6-1, 2-0) are coming off of strong wins over Maine South and Uplift as junior guard Lance Jones is playing well. The Vikings (7-0, 2-0) have been one of the area's best teams so far as they feature talented players like Damaria Franklin, Dravon Clayborn and Jamal Stephenson. 

Prospect at Buffalo Grove, 7:30 p.m. -- An important matchup in the Mid-Suburban East as two unbeaten teams in the conference face each other. The Bison (5-3, 2-0) feature some talented veterans on a balanced roster as they're coming off of a win over Wheeling. The Knights (5-2, 2-0) lost two games to ranked teams to start the season and then rattled off five straight wins as senior guard David Swedura is off to a good start. 

No. 18 Benet at No. 20 St. Viator, 7:30 p.m. -- The ESCC has another big game on Friday as Benet tries to prove themselves on the road. The Redwings (7-1, 1-0) have been one of the best teams in the area to start the season as they try to pick up a big conference road win. St. Viator (7-1, 1-0) is off to a solid start after a road win at Marian Catholic last week. Another win over a ranked team would be huge for the Lions in this one.

Westmont at Coal City, 6:45 p.m. -- Westmont tries to stay unbeaten in the Interstate Eight for this one. The Sentinels (8-0, 3-0) went undefeated at the Lisle Thanksgiving event before their strong start in conference play. Coal City (5-3, 1-2) has dropped three of its last four games.

Viewers' Choice Game of the Week 

North Lawndale at Prosser, 5 p.m. -- This week's game takes is to the Red North/West as the Phoenix take on Prosser. North Lawndale (6-1, 1-1) had an early slip-up in conference play against Marshall while Prosser (3-2, 1-1) has lost to Orr.