College commitments for area boys basketball players have been slow the past few months. That changed over the weekend with pledges from two area stars as things are quickly beginning to pick up for the senior class.
Following a monster month of June that saw him earn numerous scholarship offers, St. Viator senior shooting guard Connor Kochera committed to William & Mary while on an official visit over the weekend. Kochera had other official visits lined up to Furman and Wofford, but the Tribe made a strong impression on Kochera as they were able to land him on his opening visit.
A high IQ scorer who can fill it up from all three levels, Kochera is expected to be a major All-Area candidate this season and will have to help replace the production lost from the graduations of Jeremiah Hernandez and Trey Calvin.
St. Viator continues to produce a high number of quality players, and the program is one of the best in the Northwest Suburbs when it comes to sending players to the Division I level. It's difficult to gauge where the Lions stand entering this season based on the summer as many of the team's starters are multi-sport athletes who had other obligations for other teams during the June period.
Curie senior wing Ramean Hinton also made a surprise pledge to Southeast Missouri State -- frequently known as SEMO -- over the weekend. The 6-foot-4 Hinton is expected to be one of the city's best players this season coming off of a strong junior campaign. Hinton already saw major minutes as a two-way wing last season as one of the Condors' main options on a nationally-ranked team.
SEMO head coach Rick Ray is known for recruiting the Chicagoland area very hard as he's a former Northern Illinois and Purdue assistant who frequently extends scholarship offers to local prospects. In landing Hinton, SEMO is getting a potential game changer in a skilled scorer who plays with a high motor on the defensive end.
The multi-positional Hinton has a lot to like about his game. He'll be the driving force for a Curie team with high expectations this season. Although the Condors lose DaJuan Gordon to Kansas State and important seniors like Trevon Hamilton and Justin Harmon. The team was one of the city's deepest programs last season with plenty of talented pieces expected to step up.
While the college commitments of two potential All-Area players is notable, the start of Monday's live evaluation period will also be critical for area recruiting. College coaches will be able to attend open gyms at high schools to evaluate players. It'll be interesting to see which head coaches make area players a priority as they attempt to secure official visits and commitments over the next several months.
Marian Catholic's Ahron Ulis and Morgan Park's Marcus Watson are the only senior high-major commitments to have happened since the summer but more are expected on the horizon along with a bunch of low-to-mid major players. The recent commitments of Kochera and Hinton over the weekend should be the start of a consistent pattern of recruiting updates over the next several weeks as official visits become a weekly occurrence.