Preps Talk

Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 24 Lincoln-Way East

Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 24 Lincoln-Way East

School: Lincoln-Way East

2016-17 record: 20-11, 6-4 Southwest Suburban Blue

Postseason results: Lost to Joliet Central in Class 4A regional finals.

Players to watch: Senior Sam Shafer is a 6-foot-6 sharpshooter who is committed to Southern Illinois. Shafer is one of the area's biggest perimeter threats and he is an All-Area candidate. Senior point guard Joe Buggemi proved himself on the varsity level as a capable floor leader last season while senior Zach Parduhn had bright spots on both ends of the floor.

Why they're in the power rankings: Lincoln-Way East is coming off of a 20-win campaign in which they knocked off Class 4A third-place finisher Bolingbrook late in the regular season. The program also scored its first varsity basketball win over Homewood-Flossmoor. With a bonafide scorer in Shafer and an experienced backcourt, Lincoln-Way East is ready to make some noise.

Did you know? Known primarily as a football school, Lincoln-Way East has made 17 consecutive trips to the IHSA state playoffs on the gridiron, spending most of this season at No. 1 in Edgy Tim's NBC Sports Chicago football power rankings. On the hardwood, the school is hoping to earn its first regional title this season.

Edgy Tim's recruiting news and notes

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USA TODAY

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

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

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.