Preps Talk

Recruiting news and notes: More offers on the way for Jones?

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Recruiting news and notes: More offers on the way for Jones?

Mount Carmel junior quarterback Anthony Thompson (6-foot-1, 195 pounds) added his first scholarship offer on Monday night from Northern Illinois. Thompson, who NIU watched in person throw at a Caravan morning workout, spoke about landing his first offer from the Huskies.

"It's pretty exciting," he said. "I've been a fan of NIU since my freshman year when Jordan Lynch, who went to my school was playing for them. I like how NIU uses its quarterback in the offense. The quarterback is asked to do a lot with both the pass and the run along with making a ton of quick reads. I've been to NIU a few times already and I really feel comfortable with the coaches and the school."

Bishop McNamara junior running back Jonathon Ward (6-foot-1, 175 pounds) landed an early scholarship offer and verbally pledged to the Central Michigan Chippewas last Friday. Ward, who rushed for 1,710 yards and 28 touchdowns last fall, had recruiting interest from the likes of Buffalo, Illinois, Illinois State, Iowa, Michigan State, North Dakota, North Dakota State and Purdue.

Evanston junior four-star ranked defensive tackle Naquan Jones (6-foot-4, 286 pounds) has 17 scholarship offers so far this spring and a few more could be on the way.

"I've been speaking a lot with Miami (Fla.) and also Ole Miss," Jones said. "They both are pretty interested and those could both turn into offers soon."

Jones, who is planning to visit Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin soon, is still trying to sort out his list of early favorites.

"I still don't have a list of favorites," he said. "I'm still trying to just sort all of this recruiting out and I'm also trying to decide when to make a decision."

[RELATED: Tuf Borland headed to Ohio State]

Lake Park junior three star ranked defensive tackle Mike Panasiuk (6-foot-4, 285 pounds) is also in high demand this spring. Panasiuk, who checked out the Ohio State spring game last Saturday and added his latest offer from the Wisconsin Badgers, isn't in a hurry to make an early college choice for now.

"It seems like several coaches are planning to visit me this spring," Panasiuk said. "Also several schools seem more and more interested that haven't offered me yet. Schools like Oregon, North Carolina and Michigan State all plan to visit me in school and they all want me to stay in touch. A lot of the feedback is positive and I want to make sure some of those schools have a chance to evaluate me. I have some schools in mind as far as favorites but I don't have a set list yet. I'm getting a better idea of some favorites but new offers could change all of that, so we'll see how the spring goes for me."

Naperville Central junior three star ranked wide receiver Emmanuel Rugamba (6-foot-1, 175 pounds) has already begun to draw a crowd of college coaches since the spring recruiting evaluation period began.

"The coaches from Northwestern have been in school along with Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, Western Michigan and NIU so far this week. I know that UConn is planning to be in school on Wednesday and Boston College is also supposed to be here soon."

[MORE: Illinois lands Phillips LB Amani Jones]

Rugamba, who visited Indiana for the third time last Saturday, also doesn't seem to be in any rush for now to make an early college choice.

"I might camp at a few schools this summer who haven't offered me a scholarship yet. I'm considering camping at Missouri and Vanderbilt and I'm also set to go to the Irish Invasion camp with Notre Dame. I really don't have any time frame. Once I find a school I'm 100 percent comfortable with then I'll commit. It could be in two weeks or two months or even longer. I'm not in any rush for now."

Two local Division III football programs will host one-day camps this summer, and those camps will also feature a few big time college football coaches. Lake Forest College and head coach Jim Cantazaro will host its one day camp at Willowbrook High School on June 13th and Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz and some of his staff will be working this camp. More details on the Lake Forest College camp can be found here, along with online registration information.

Also North Central College head coach Jeff Thorne and staff will host it's football camp on June 15 and the camp will also be instructed by Penn State head coach James Franklin and staff along with coaches from Bowling Green and Illinois State. Details can be found at here, under athletic camps.

Boys Basketball Playoffs begin on busy week of High School Lites

Boys Basketball Playoffs begin on busy week of High School Lites

High School Lites is down to the final week of the regular season in local high school hoops as the Class 3A and 4A schools finish up conference play. The boys basketball playoffs have also started as the Class 1A and Class 2A regional championships will be played on Friday night.

The girls basketball Class 1A and 2A state semifinals will also be featured. You can catch all of those games on NBC Sports Chicago on Friday beginning at 11 a.m. with the 1A semifinals. High School Lites will air Friday night at 11 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago

East Aurora at No. 11 West Aurora, 7:00 p.m. -- These two rivals meet for the 225th time. The Blackhawks (20-4, 9-0) won the first matchup by 22 points as they try to finish the season on a 12-game winning streak. 

Jacobs at Dundee-Crown, 7:00 p.m. -- Fox Valley rivals match up as Jacobs tries to go unbeaten in the conference. The Eagles (23-3, 15-0) has been playing very well as they've won 20 of 21 games heading into this one -- including an earlier win against Dundee-Crown. The Chargers (14-11, 10-4) has won seven consecutive games since dropping to the Golden Eagles as they're second in the Fox Valley heading into this one. 

Yorkville at DeKalb, 7:00 p.m. -- The top two teams in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East play in this one. DeKalb (16-11, 11-1) has already clinched a share of the conference title as the team's only league loss has come against Yorkville. The Foxes (17-8, 10-2) knocked off DeKalb at their place on Feb. 3 as they try to win again to get a piece of the division title. 

T.F. North at Lemont, 7:00 p.m. -- Two of the better teams in the South Suburban Blue battle on the eve of the playoffs. Lemont (17-8, 9-3) has picked up three straight wins entering this one. T.F. North (11-9, 9-3) is trying to build some momentum after recent close losses to Hillcrest and T.F. South.

Carmel at No. 10 Benet, 7:30 p.m. -- The ESCC closes out its season with this one. Benet (22-4, 7-1) is coming off a nice road win at Marian Catholic earlier this week. Carmel (17-10, 4-4) knocked off Joliet Catholic during the week as they've been a dangerous team in the ESCC. 

Class 2A Boys Basketball Regional Championships

Leo vs. Marshall, 6 p.m. -- The Lions are the favorites but the Commandos are the host of this regional title game. Leo (20-5, 8-0) has a 13-game winning streak as they won the Catholic League White. Marshall (8-17, 4-5) struggled in the win column but they were a competitive 4-5 in a very deep Public League Red-South. 

Uplift vs. Northridge, 7 p.m. -- This should be an interesting battle as Uplift is playing on the road at Northridge. Uplift (17-9, 6-3) has played an extremely competitive schedule that includes a recent close loss to No. 1 Simeon as Kansas commit Markese Jacobs and senior forward Toraze Dobbs are one of the best combinations in the Class 2A field. Northridge (22-5, 12-0) went unbeaten in the Independent School League this season as they're riding a 13-game winning streak.

Class 1A Boys Basketball Regional Championships 

Aurora Christian vs. Harvest Christian, 7 p.m. -- These two teams play for the third time this season in what should be an interesting regional title game. Aurora Christian (23-1, 10-0) is the host as they only lost to Winnebago this season. The Eagles beat Harvest Christian twice in a six-day span in December. Harvest Christian (18-8, 8-2) finished third in the Northeastern Athletic as they played the second game within two points. 

Class 1A Girls Basketball State Semifinals

Okaw Valley vs. Stockton, 11 a.m., NBC Sports Chicago -- Okaw Valley (29-5) is making its first state appearance after winning its first regional title in school history. Stockton (31-2) finished under .500 last season (13-15) and had an amazing turnaround that includes a current 15-game winning streak. 

Lebanon vs. Schlarman, 12:45 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago -- These two teams have combined for two losses this season as this should be a good one. Lebanon (31-1) just won its first sectional title in school history as they've now moved on to state. Schlarman (31-1) is led by junior Anaya Peoples, a Notre Dame commit and five-star prospect in the Class of 2019. 

Class 2A Girls Basketball State Semifinals

Harlan vs. Eureka, 5:30 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago -- Two red-hot teams play in the first semifinal in Class 2A. Harlan (25-6) is riding a 12-game winning streak as this is its first appearance at state for girls basketball. Eureka (28-3) has a 19-game winning streak as they make their first state appearance since 1988.

Marshall vs. Teutopolis, 7:15 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago -- Two storied programs in the state match up in this one. Marshall (20-7) will be making its 21st state appearance as head coach Dorothy Gaters is one of the most storied coaches in Illinois. Teutopolis is making its 17th appearance at state as the Lady Shoes (28-6) seek their first title since 1995. 

Check out the AP boys basketball polls as regular season winds down

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NBC SPORTS

Check out the AP boys basketball polls as regular season winds down

Here is the latest AP boys basketball polls. The girls basketball polls are done with the playoffs underway in all four classes.

Class 4A

School                                 W-L       Pts   Prv

1. Simeon (9)                      25-3      90    1

2. Belleville West                23-2      75    3

3. Curie                                22-3      74     2

4. Danville                           23-2      67      4

5. Whitney Young               22-7     52     T5

6. Normal West                   21-6     28     T5

7. Quincy                              19-4      21     T10

8. Bloomington                   18-7      15     8

9. Evanston                          20-5      14     7

10. New Trier                       22-3       12     NR

Others receiving votes: Moline 11, Niles North 10, Lisle (Benet Academy) 10, St. Viator 5, Naperville North 4, Maine South 2, Rockford Jefferson 1.

Class 3A

School                                            W-L          Pts    Prv

1. Morgan Park (7)                       18-9         88     2

2. Springfield Southeast (2)        22-3         82     1

3. Marian Catholic                        20-4         67     4

4. Hillcrest                                      21-5         57     5

(tie) Springfield Lanphier             22-3         57     3

6. Alton Marquette                       28-0         44      6

7. Centralia                                    21-4          32      7

8. DePaul College Prep                20-6          31      8

9. Champaign Central                  17-7          13      10

10. Decatur MacArthur                 18-8         9        NR

Others receiving votes: Lincoln 6, Burlington Central 6, Bogan 3.

Class 2A

School                                       W-L          Pts     Prv

1. Orr (11)                                 23-4         110     1

2. Warsaw West Hancock      22-2         83       3

3. Pinckneyville                       25-3         76       T4

4. Winnebago                          24-2         75       2

5. Monticello                            22-1         69       6

6. Leo                                        19-5         65       T4

7. Bloomington Central Catholic       21-6         42   8

8. Effingham St. Anthony                    25-3         23   7

9. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley               24-3         12   NR

10. Trenton Wesclin                             24-4         9     NR

Others receiving votes: Eldorado 7, Corliss 6, St. Joseph-Ogden 6, Bureau Valley 5, Uplift 5 Teutopolis 4, Williamsville 3, Quincy Notre Dame 2, Farmington  2, Casey-Westfield 1

Class 1A

School                                      W-L          Pts      Prv

1. Aurora Christian (9)            22-1        108      1

2. DePue (1)                              24-2        85        2

3. East Dubuque (1)                26-3        80        4

4. Annawan                              25-3        75        5

5. Payson Seymour                 26-2        68        3

6. Sterling Newman                 23-4       57        6

7. Colfax Ridgeview                  24-4       48        7

8. New Berlin                             25-3       33        8

9. Cairo                                       21-5       22        9

10. Nokomis                              21-7         9        NR

Others receiving votes: Newark 8, Quest Academy 5, Milford 4, Cissna Park 2. Okawville 1.