Preps Talk

The 50 IHSA players on 2019 NCAA tournament rosters

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

The 50 IHSA players on 2019 NCAA tournament rosters

The 2019 NCAA tournament features 50 players who spent time playing boys basketball at IHSA programs this year as there will be plenty of local rooting interests despite Bradley being the only Illinois-based college program to make the Field of 68.

Some players are major parts of national title contenders while others are walk-ons and redshirts who contribute in practice every day. Here's a brief look at how each of the 50 players fared this season. If we missed anyone from an Illinois high school playing in the NCAA tournament, please be sure to let us know on our Twitter @NBCSPreps. 

KEY PLAYERS FROM MAJOR TEAMS

Jordan Caroline, Nevada (Champaign Central) -- The son of former NFL defensive lineman Simeon Rice enters his final season at Nevada. Over 2,000 points in his college career, the 6-foot-7 forward averaged 17.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game for the Wolf Pack.

Nojel Eastern, Purdue (Evanston) -- Becoming a key piece for the Boilermakers as a sophomore, Eastern's lead guard skills allowed Purdue star Carsen Edwards to play more off the ball. Eastern averaged 7.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game on the season. Eastern is also a capable perimeter defender who can guard up to four positions for Purdue.

Ethan Happ, Wisconsin (Rockridge) -- After a storied four-year career with the Badgers, the senior gets one final crack at the NCAA tournament. Happ averaged 17.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game for Wisconsin during his senior season as he's one of the most accomplished players in Big Ten history.

Talen Horton-Tucker Iowa State (Simeon) -- Last season's NBC Sports Chicago Player of the Year had some great games during his freshman season. Horton-Tucker averaged 12.1 points and 5.0 rebounds per game for one of the best teams in the Big 12 this season. Although Horton-Tucker has been inconsistent at times, there are other moments when he's taken over a game with his perimeter shooting.

Charles Matthews, Michigan (St. Rita) -- Helping the Wolverines to the national title game last season, Matthews recently returned to the lineup from injury. During his junior season, the off-guard put up 12.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. Matthews is also one of the best perimeter defenders of any player in the field.

Matt Mooney, Texas Tech (Notre Dame) -- Transferring to the Red Raiders for his final college season after starting at South Dakota, Mooney has become one of the better two-way guards in the Big 12. Mooney put up 10.9 points, 3.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game for Texas Tech while shooting 38 percent from three-point range.

Zach Norvell Jr., Gonzaga (Simeon) -- Playing a huge part of a No. 1 seed, Norvell averaged 15.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for the Bulldogs. A knockdown shooter from the perimeter, Norvell shot 37 percent from three-point range on the season.

Admiral Schofield, Tennessee (Zion-Benton) -- One of college basketball's breakout players this season, the senior has emerged on the NBA Draft radar. Schofield averaged 16.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 47 percent from the field and 41 percent from three-point range. A matchup nightmare, Schofield has been a huge part of Tennessee's top-five status for much of this season.

Paul White, Oregon (Whitney Young) -- The senior elevated his play in the Pac-12 Tournament, helping the Ducks to a surprising NCAA tournament bid. Another former IHSA state champion, White put up 10.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game for Oregon.

KEY PLAYERS FROM MID-MAJOR PROGRAMS

Tajuan Agee, Iona (Hyde Park) -- The older brother of Bogan star senior Rashaun Agee, Tajuan put together a very strong junior season. Averaging 13.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, Agee also shot 45 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range on the season.

Jordan Goodwin, Saint Louis (Belleville Althoff) -- A former state champion at Belleville Althoff, Goodwin has become one of the Billikens' best players as a sophomore. Averaging 10.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, Goodwin was one of the better all-around contributors in the Atlantic 10 this season.

Rapolas Ivanauskas, Colgate (Barrington) -- Finally healthy after two seasons of shoulder issues, Ivanauskas became the Patriot League Player of the Year in his first full college season. Transferring from Northwestern, Ivanauskas put up 16.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game while shooting 43 percent from three-point range. Ivanauskas helped lead Colgate to its first NCAA tournament appearance in 23 years.

Nate Kennell, Bradley (Metamora) -- One of the key pieces for Bradley, this junior sharpshooter averaged 9.4 points and 2.4 rebounds per game while shooting 40 percent from three-point range.

RESERVES FROM BIG PROGRAMS

Evan Boudreaux, Purdue (Lake Forest) -- After transferring in from Dartmouth, the forward became a solid reserve forward at Purdue. Averaging 5.4 points and 3.2 rebounds per game, Boudreaux was one of the more productive second-unit frontcourt players in the Big Ten this season.

George Conditt IV, Iowa State (Corliss) -- Growing more comfortable as his freshman year has gone along, the big man has become a solid rotation center for the Cyclones. Conditt has played in 25 games while putting up 2.0 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game.

Zion Griffin, Iowa State (Hinsdale South) -- The freshman played in 17 games for the Cyclones coming off of the bench this season as Griffin averaged 1.8 points and 1.6 rebounds per game on the year.

Charlie Moore, Kansas (Morgan Park) -- The former Mr. Basketball has become a solid backup guard for the Jayhawks. Appearing in 33 games as a redshirt sophomore, Moore averaged 3.0 points and 1.2 assists per game.

Ed Morrow, Marquette (Simeon) -- In his first season with the Golden Eagles after transferring from Nebraska, Morrow became a key reserve for a top-25 team. Putting up 5.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, Morrow shot 59 percent from the field, also providing good energy on the interior.

Isaiah Moss, Iowa (Simeon) -- Part of a balanced Iowa attack, the junior averaged 9.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game while shooting 41 percent from three-point range.

David Nichols, Florida State (Mount Carmel) -- A graduate transfer from Albany, Nichols put up 6.4 points and 1.7 assists per game for the Seminoles as a backup guard. Nichols had 14 points against No. 1 Virginia in an ACC tournament win for the Seminoles last week.

Francis Okoro, Oregon (Normal West) -- Reclassifying and joining the Ducks this season, the freshman big man has been a solid rotation player. Okoro is averaging 3.1 points and 3.4 rebounds per game on the season as he looks like a big part of Oregon's future. 

Miles Reynolds, Oklahoma (Whitney Young) -- The former Whitney Young standout has carved out a solid role with the Sooners after spending time at Saint Louis and Pacific. The senior guard is averaging 6.8 points and 2.3 rebounds per game while playing in 20.0 minutes per contest.

Brock Stull, Minnesota (Rockford Boylan) -- Following a successful start to his college career at Milwaukee, Stull became a graduate transfer to Minnesota. As a reserve shooter, Stull appeared in 30 games and shot 45 percent from three-point range on the year.

Austin Trice, Kansas State (Hales Franciscan) -- Playing in 27 games as a reserve forward, Trice averaged 1.9 points and 2.6 rebounds per game for the Big 12 champions.

RESERVES FROM MID-MAJOR PROGRAMS

Jameel Alausa, Yale (U-High) -- A sophomore forward, Alausa played in nine games for Yale this season, averaging 1.3 points per game.

Armon Brummett, Bradley (Decatur MacArthur) -- Most effective on the defensive end, the freshman guard played in 23 games this season. Brummett scored 13 points, added 16 rebounds and earned 11 steals during the season.

Ryan Davis, Vermont (Conant) -- The freshman center was a reserve big man this season for the Catamounts. Davis averaged 3.5 points and 1.9 rebounds per game on the season while playing 10.7 minutes per contest.

Demarius Jacobs, Saint Louis (Uplift) -- The older brother of Uplift star Markese Jacobs started his college career with the Billikens this season. Jacobs appeared in 18 games off the bench as he played 88 total minutes.

Pat McNamara, Fairleigh Dickinson (St. Viator) -- The junior saw his minutes fall during his junior season as appeared in 17 games, averaged 4.4 minutes per contest.

Antoine Pittman, Bradley (Rockford Auburn) -- A junior guard who comes off the bench, Pittman averaged 3.2 points and 1.7 rebounds per game while appearing in 18 games.

Trevor Stumpe, Wofford (Plainfield North) -- Missing the first 21 games of the season due to back surgery, Stumpe is slowly working his way back into Wofford's rotation. A double-figure scorer last season, the junior has played in eight games since his return.

Elyjah Williams, Fairleigh Dickinson (Evanston) -- As a sophomore, the forward developed into a reliable rotation player for the Knights as Williams averaged 8.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

WALK-ONS, REDSHIRTS AND INJURED PLAYERS

Michael Ballard, Wisconsin (Fenwick) -- Playing in nine games, Ballard scored two points and grabbed three rebounds during his sophomore season.

Brennan Besser, Duke (Latin) -- The senior has appeared in four games during 2018-19, scoring for the first time in his Duke career in two games this season.

Courtese Cooper, LSU (Elgin) -- Starting his college career at Triton, the big man displayed enough upside and production that LSU took him for the next few seasons. Cooper is redshirting to add strength this season as he should be apart of the Tigers' rotation next year.

Brandon Courtney, Saint Louis (Wesclin) -- The freshman played in two games for the Billikens in his first college season.

Tommy Gardiner, Marquette (Maine South) -- The freshman appeared in three games for the Golden Eagles this season.

Gabe Grant, Buffalo (Mount Carmel) -- A transfer who was previously at Houston, Grant is sitting out this season due to NCAA transfer rules. He'll be eligible to finish his college career next season.

Peter Hanley, Bradley (Peoria Notre Dame) -- Entering six games as a senior, the forward scored six total points while collecting two rebounds.

Carter Higginbottom, Wisconsin (St. Ignatius) -- Listed on the Wisconsin roster, Higginbottom didn't appear in a game for the Badgers during his freshman season.

Nicholas Hobbs, Iowa (Fenwick) -- Playing in six games during his sophomore season, Hobbs scored eight points on the season -- including a three-pointer in the United Center during a Big Ten Tournament loss to Michigan.

Jack Hoiberg, Michigan State (Hinsdale Central) -- The son of former Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg, Jack is in his sophomore season as he played in 12 games this season.

Messiah Jones, Wofford (Simeon) -- Helping Simeon to a great season last year, Jones is redshirting during his freshman year with the Terriers.

Kyle King, Purdue (St. Charles North) -- Playing in seven games as a freshman, the forward registered 16 total minutes while grabbing four rebounds.

Joey Lane, Ohio State (Deerfield) -- The senior played a career-high 38 minutes during the season as he scored 11 total points to go with six rebounds and six assists.

Mike Lelito, Marquette (Hersey) -- The sophomore saw action in three games this season.

Skyler Nash, Vermont (Riverside-Brookfield) -- Nash appeared in two games this season as his college career has been slowed down by injury.

Prentiss Nixon, Iowa State (Bolingbrook) -- After transferring from Colorado State, Nixon is sitting out this season due to NCAA transfer rules. The former Bolingbrook product was a double-figure scorer his final two seasons with the Rams.

Malik Osborne, Florida State (Rich South) -- Transferring from Rice after a promising freshman campaign, Osborne is sitting out this season due to NCAA transfer rules. He'll have three years of eligibility left beginning in 2019-20.

Jack Raboin, Saint Louis (Mattoon) -- The junior guard appeared in two games this season, scoring a season-high five points in a win over Appalachian State in December.

No Illinois High School Players: Abilene Christian, Arizona State, Auburn, Baylor, Belmont, Cincinnati, Florida, Gardner-Webb, Houston, Kentucky, Liberty, Louisville, Maryland, Mississippi State, Montana, Murray State, New Mexico State, Northeastern, North Carolina, North Carolina Central, North Dakota State, Northern Kentucky, Old Dominion, Ole Miss, Prairie View A&M, St. John's, Saint Mary's, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Temple, UCF, UC Irvine, Utah State, VCU, Villanova, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Washington

Edgy Tim's Week 8 analysis and picks

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NBC Sports Chicago

Edgy Tim's Week 8 analysis and picks

NBC Sports Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school football games across Chicagoland on the Week 9 edition of High School Lites, Friday at 11:00 p.m. Can Wilmington win on the road at Coal City in this backyard rivalry? Who comes out ahead in the Battle for the Alec Anderson Trophy: Bolingbrook or H-F? Can Prairie Ridge and Cary Grove just start overtime now? Can Nazareth Academy unleash its offense and beat a very strong Notre Dame defense in Niles? And will Friday's Metro Suburban Blue --and Class 4A-- showdown between IC and St. Francis stand as a potential playoff preview between the two?

Wilmington at Coal City, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: This Illinois Central Eight conference title game features two nearby rivals who know each other extremely well. It's one of the most anticipated games in southern Will and eastern Grundy counties all season. Wilmington (7-0/5-0), led by veteran head coach Jeff Reents, has the Wildcats playing well this fall behind a power running game led by RB Jake Rodawold and a nice mix of the play-action passing game behind QB Keaton Hopwood. Coach Dan Hutchings and the Coal City Coalers (7-0/5-0) have an experienced and deep roster. THey will also look to establish the running game with RB Dan Jezik. The passing game is also a strength with QB Peyton Hutchings. Can Wilmington contain the Coal City running game and win the battle in the trenches? Will home field be a factor?

EDGY's Pick: Coal City 28 Wilmington 14

(10) Bolingbrook at (6) H-F, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Despite the distance between Bolingbrook (6-1/3-1) and Homewood-Flossmoor (6-1/3-1) this game is undoubtedly one of the biggest rivalry games for each school. They will play for the Alec Anderson Memorial Trophy. Raiders head coach John Ivlow has returned to the triple-option offense with just enough play-action passing game to the tune of great success. The running attack is led by senior QB Deyvn Suggs; the experienced offensive line is led by senior John Williams (Cincinnati). The defense has speed and athleticism, guided by junior LB Tyler Mclaurin and junior S Justin Walters. H-F head coach Craig Buzea features a big and experienced offensive line led by seniors Marcus Harper II (Oregon), Michael Ford and Denzel Bryant. Junior RB Sean Allen is also having a strong season. The Vikings 'D can match just about anyone in the state speed for speed. Junior WR/SB Will Pauling and sophomore LB Malyk Jones are names to watch. Can Bolingbrook run the football against H-F? Can the Vikings' offense pound away at Brook's speedy defense?

EDGY's Pick: Homewood-Flossmoor 21 Bolingbrook 14

(18) Hillcrest at Lemont, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Hillcrest (6-1/4-0) has been playing lights-out football since a close 26-20 Week 1 loss to Brother Rice. Junior RB Mar'Kiese Irving has been one of the most sought-after recruits in the Class of 2021 and has led the way for head coach Morgan Weaver's Hawks this fall. Lemont (6-1/4-0) also dropped a close opening week decision (12-6 to St. Charles East), but they have been on a roll ever since. They have a balanced offense led by QB Luke Bailey and WR Anthony Sambucci (Western Michigan). Can the Lemont defense corral and contain Mar'Kiese Irving? Can the Hawks win on the road? 

EDGY's Pick: Hillcrest 28 Lemont 27

Prairie Ridge at (25) Cary-Grove, 7:00 p.m. #SendEDGY

EDGY's Take: Year in and year out, these two Fox Valley powehouse programs never fail to entertain. Same applies in 2019 where Prairie Ridge (6-1/6-1) and Cary Grove (6-1/6-1)-- expect a very tight, 'last-possession-wins' type of game. Prairie Ridge and head coach Chris Schremp will look to get the Wolves offense balanced and on trackled. The group is led by QB Connor Lydon and a backfield of RB Blake brown, Taidhgin Trost and Carter Evans. Cary-Grove and head coach Brad Seaburg will want to establish the power running attack with RB Blake Skol and QB Luke Eleftheriou. On defense, the Trojans have allowed just 36 points so far on the season. Will the team that limits the overall amount of mistakes win? 

EDGY's Pick: Cary-Grove 28 Prairie Ridge 21 OT

Grant at Grayslake North, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Grant (6-1/4-1) secured the Bulldogs' first state playoff bid since 2012 in last week's win over North Chicago. Head coach Chris Robinson's squad will rely on a stable of quality running backs along with QB Tyler Elfering. On defense, Grant has kept teams at bay all season. The unit is led by senior LB Kyle Rainey. Grayslake North (3-4/2-3) will be in must-win mode this week. The Knights are hoping that their recent offensive explosion over the past few weeks continues Friday night. North is led by QB Nick Fish. Can the Knights' offense put up points against a very strong Grant defense?

EDGY's Pick: Grant 35 Grayslake North 21

Antioch at Lakes, 7:15 p.m. 

EDGY's Take: Antioch (6-1/5-0) has been able to keep winning despite losing standout junior QB Athan Kaliakmanis (Minnesota) for the season to a Week 6 injury. Look for the Sequoits, coached by Brian Glashagel, to get the football into the hands of junior WR Dino Kaliakmanis (Minnesota) along with senior WR Treshawn Watson. Lakes (6-1/4-1), coached by Jordan Elder, was able to bounce back last week with a win over Grayslake Central after losing to Grant. Can the Eagles get starting QB Chris Selig back in the lineup after suffering a Week 6 injury? This is one of the top rivalry games in Chicago's northern suburbs.

EDGY's Pick: Antioch 35 Lakes 34

(5) Stevenson at Warren, 7:20 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Warren (7-0/5-0) is looking to lock up the North Suburban Conference title with a win. Head coach Bryan McNulty's Blue Devils defense remains the big story so far this season. The 'Township defense has allowed just 21 points all season and is led by senior DT Willis Singleton Jr. (Iowa State), junior LB Malachi McNeal and senior LB Juan Delacruz. On offense, Warren is getting a big season from RB Derrick McLaughlin. The experienced offensive line has certainly helped. Stevenson (4-3/4-1) features a first-year head coach in Brent Becker. He has relied on senior RB J.M. Etiene and backup QB Liam Crowley-- who has played well since filling in for the injured Justin Hiller. Can the Patriots' offense move the football consistently --and then score-- against Warren's defense?

EDGY's Pick: Warren Township 28 Stevenson 10

(3) Nazareth at (8) Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Nazareth (6-1/2-0) is coming off a big 39-29 win last Friday over Marist. The Roadrunners are stacked again this fall for head coach Tim Racki. Junior QB J.J. McCarthy (Michigan) is as dangerous as ever. He has a target in sophomore WR Tyler Morris. The 'Naz defense is also very solid. Keep an eye on senior ILB Marcus Griffin (GVSU), junior DE/OT Ryan Keeler and senior LB/FB Riley Theobald. Notre Dame (7-0/2-0), under Hall of Fame head coach Mike Hennessey, has been one of the biggest surprise stories in Chicagoland. The Dons have a tough one-two punch on offense with junior QB Anthony Sayles and senior RB Julian Schurr. LB Anthony Ranallo leads a very tough ND defense. Can the Nazareth offense dent a very strong ND defense? Can the Dons' offense keep the football and win time of possession?

EDGY's Pick: Nazareth Academy 20 Notre Dame 14

I.C. Catholic Prep vs St. Francis at Wheaton College, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: A huge showdown here in the Metro Suburban Blue-- as well as in Class 4A. I.C. (7-0/4-0) has relied on the arm and legs of senior QB/LB Danny Cronin. Junior RB Kyle Franklin remains a game-breaking threat at all times for head coach Bill Krefft and company. Many around St. Francis (6-1/4-0) felt that this team was maybe a year away. But next year is here. Keep an eye on junior QB Tommy Rittenhouse. He's one of the most dangerous dual-threat signal callers in Chicagoland this season. The Spartans also have a stable of talented backs and receivers. Can The St. Francis defense slow down and contain the balanced Knights offense? Can the IC defense get pressure on the St. Francis offense? Am I the only one who thinks this game could be Part 1 of 2 this season? (psst: playoff preview)

EDGY's Pick: I.C. Catholic Prep 34 St. Francis 28

Cinderella stories live on in IHSA football

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NBC Sports Chicago

Cinderella stories live on in IHSA football


For the past 24-plus seasons I've been blessed to cover IHSA football from one end of the state to the other. Every year I am able to see some amazing games and programs led by incredible coaches. But for some reason, the underdog/Cinderella stories always seem to stick with me.

One of my favorites stories over the years goes back to the 2016 season. 

I was getting ready to select a Week 9 game to go cover. I've always approached the regular season finale as a bonus playoff football week since so many teams seem to be on the postseason bubble-- a "must-win" to get in. If anything, these win-to-get-in games can either go one way or the other...they are either great, intense games or the opposing team just decided to not show up. 

I struggled to find a Week 9 game to attend. Joe Collins --my editor at NBC Sports Chicago-- suggested, "Hey, what about Larkin at Elgin?"  My initial thought: "So...what about it?" Larkin, under then-head coach Dragan Teonic was 4-4 and needed a win in the regular season finale to have a shot at a state playoff berth. All the Royals needed was a win over then-lowly Elgin (0-8). Why even bother covering this game? I assumed that Larkin would just roll over the Maroons and lock up a state playoff spot and I would be stuck covering a blowout. 

I gave Joe a lot of grief for "highly encouraging" me to check out Larkin at Elgin, with heavy emphasis on "a lot" of grief, yet off I went to Elgin's Memorial Stadium.

Well, turned out that the Maroons, led by head coach Anthony Mason, decided to show up and play. And did they ever. They stunned longtime rival Larkin 26-20 for their first win of the season, got the Town Jug trophy in the process and go the additional bonus of knocking the Royals out of state playoff contention. The game was an intense, hard hitting affaor. It was easily one of the biggest and best crowds I saw all season long. Remember, Elgin hadn't won a game all season long and was outscored 302-92 that season. But for (at least) one night Elgin, was the best team in Elgin. Heck, the way the Maroons played that night they might of been the best team in all of Chicago's western suburbs that Friday evening.

I will always remember the look on then-Larkin head coach Dragan Teonic's face after the loss to Elgin, a combination of shock and sadness. I'm sure the loss bothers Teonic-- even after three years. Teonic, who's since moved onto South Elgin (7-0) and is building the Storm into a power in the Upstate Eight, has had much better days since that fateful night. But it's always the hard losses you'll remember than any of the accomplishments. 

Covering Elgin's win over Larkin taught me a lot that night. Never assume a win. Never underestimate the power of what a group of highly-motivated kids and coaches can do on any given Friday night. And in some cases, you truly can throw out the records between two teams because, at least for one night, the records don't matter. 

So when you see teams like Elgin, East Aurora, Proviso East and LaSalle-Peru just having their own Cinderella moments in 2019, learn to appreciate them whether you're a fan of those schools or not. 

The many people involved from these schools deserve credit with sticking with it and never giving up. The personal struggles that several of these coaches have faced, both personally and professionally, can be overwhelming. In some cases many, many years have come and gone and finally after those years of struggle and sacrifice, they finally have a few minutes in the sun.