Since the last time we checked into the CSN Player of the Year Power Rankings in the middle of January, there's been a change near the top, as Fenwick senior point guard Mike Smith has vaulted himself squarely into the race with Morgan Park's Charlie Moore.
In fact, it's looking like a two-man race as the season wears on, but there is still plenty of time in the state playoffs for important things to happen in the Player of the Year race. Here are five names in the discussion right now.
5. Justin Pierce, Glenbard West senior — The dream season for Pierce and his teammates continues as the Hilltoppers won their first conference title in 43 years. Pierce also passed Matthew Mache and John Shurna as Glenbard West's all-time leading scorer. Pierce has helped lead Glenbard West to a 23-3 record and expectations are high as the No. 2 seed in the East Aurora Sectional. Pierce is averaging 24.8 points and 11 rebounds per game on 60 percent shooting this season.
4. Zach Norvell, Simeon senior — The numbers haven't been huge for Norvell, but he's been remarkably consistent as a scorer and rebounder against the best competition this season. Norvell has also improved his ability to find others with assists as he's starting to get a better feel for breaking down defenses off the dribble. Norvell helped lead Simeon to the Public League Playoff title and they're No. 1 in the area right now.
3. Nick Rakocevic, St. Joseph senior — The best unsigned senior in Illinois is continuing to put up big numbers for a young Chargers team. The 6-foot-11 Rakocevic had 21 points and 18 rebounds against a top-five team in Fenwick and also had 18 points and 16 rebounds against Morgan Park earlier in the year. Already a state champion, can Rakocevic help lead the Chargers to a state title again?
2. Mike Smith, Fenwick senior — In a close second spot for Player of the Year is the 5-foot-10 Smith, who continues to put up big scoring numbers against great competition. Fenwick is 25-2 and Smith had 27 against St. Joseph, 38 against Simeon, 32 against Riverside-Brookfield and 21 against Whitney Young — all wins. Smith is a big-game player who usually steps up his scoring in the second half.
1. Charlie Moore, Morgan Park senior — The top spot still goes to the Morgan Park guard, who is continually a threat to score from anywhere on the floor. Although Morgan Park fell short of the Public League Playoff championship, Moore had big games of 32 points against North Lawndale and 26 points against Simeon. Moore also had 31 points — including 12 in overtime — in an overtime win over Riverside-Brookfield. Moore has been the most consistent player all season long and owns a head-to-head win over players two-through-four on this list.