Preps Talk

High School Lites Week 11 Basketball Capsules

High School Lites Week 11 Basketball Capsules

CSN Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school basketball games across Chicagoland for another basketball edition of High School Lites. Catch the show live at 11 p.m. Friday on CSN and streaming at 

This week's show has some quality rivalry games as we get to see some great highlights.

We'll have highlights from the Central Suburban North, North Suburban, Southwest Prairie, Southwest Suburban Blue, Southland and Upstate Eight River. 

This week's Viewers' Choice Game of the Week had the highest number of votes we've seen this season as we're heading to the Dog Pound as Zion-Benton plays Waukegan.

And this week's Wintrust Athlete of the Week is Whitney Young senior Lucas Williamson as the guard is having an outstanding senior season.


No. 1 Bolingbrook at Homewood-Flossmoor, 7:00 p.m. -- These two meet for the third time this season as the unbeaten Raiders go on the road to play the Vikings. Bolingbrook (22-0, 7-0) has already beaten H-F at home and for the title in the Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic this season. Homewood-Flossmoor (16-9, 4-3) is still dangerous as they try to separate themselves from a crowded pack in the middle of the SouthWest Suburban Blue. 

St. Charles East at No. 11 Geneva, 7:00 p.m. -- Another unbeaten is on High School Lites as the Vikings (25-0, 9-0) host a tough St. Charles East team. The Saints (15-7, 6-2) have a talented junior in Justin Hardy as they lost to Geneva at home on Jan. 21. The Vikings have a steady sophomore guard in Jack McDonald and plenty of weapons around him. 

Hillcrest at No. 21 T.F. North, 6:00 p.m. -- Huge matchup of conference unbeatens in the South Suburban Blue as Hillcrest heads to T.F. North. The Hawks (16-6, 10-0) have kings of the conference over two and a half decades as they battle a hot team in T.F. North. This is the start of a huge final stretch for the Meteors (18-3, 10-0) as they have three of their last four against the top teams in the conference.

Highland Park at Maine West, 7:30 p.m. -- This game went to overtime the first two teams played as this should be a good one in the Central Suburban North. Highland Park (12-10, 6-2) is in a battle with Deerfield for the conference lead. Maine West (13-7, 5-3) has won three straight games as new head coach Tom Prokopij has a balanced team that has had a big turnaround from last season.

Oswego at Oswego East, (girls and boys games) 5:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. -- This crosstown rivalry should be a fun doubleheader in the Southwest Prairie. On the boys side, Oswego (8-14, 5-5) had won four straight games until a loss at Minooka. Oswego East (12-10, 6-4) is coming off of a one-point loss to Downers South earlier this week. In the girls game Oswego East (21-4, 12-0) is a state title contender as they'll be heavily favored over Oswego (8-16, 4-7). 

Naperville North at Neuqua Valley, 7:30 p.m. -- Red-hot Naperville North heads to DuPage Valley rival Neuqua Valley in this one. The Huskies (18-4, 10-2) have won 12 straight games as they are a likely top-25 team if they win this one. Neuqua Valley (11-13, 4-8) will try to bounce back after losing the first matchup between these two teams on Jan. 7. 

Rich South at Bloom, 6:30 p.m. -- Bloom tries to stay unbeaten in the Southland as they host Rich South. The Blazing Trojans (16-6, 7-0) have hovered in and out of the CSN Preps Power Rankings this season as they won the first matchup on Jan. 6. Rich South (13-8, 4-3) has won three straight and is looking to prove themselves with a signature win before the playoffs.

Viewers' Choice Game of the Week

Zion-Benton at Waukegan, 7:00 p.m. -- We head to the Dog Pound for this week's Viewers' Choice Game of the week for a great rivalry in the North Suburban. Waukegan (14-7, 6-3) is talented and features a solid sophomore nucleus and a talented senior in Carson Newsome. Zion-Benton (17-8, 7-3) is currently just ahead of Waukegan in the standings as they both try to catch up to Stevenson. 

Former coach at LaSalle-Peru, Joliet West takes head coaching job at UIC

USA Today

Former coach at LaSalle-Peru, Joliet West takes head coaching job at UIC

UIC hired its next head coach this week as Luke Yaklich returns home to Illinois to take over the Flames.

There's a lot to like about the 43-year-old Yaklich when it comes to this hire for UIC. A native of Illinois who spent time here as a high school coach at LaSalle-Peru and Joliet West, Yaklich's basketball journey makes him the perfect candidate for UIC at this particular point in time.

Being familiar with the area as a former high school coach and assistant coach at Illinois State will certainly help with recruiting and other facets of the job. But it's Yaklich's ability to take UIC to the next level defensively that makes him the perfect hire.

Yaklich turned into a star assistant coach over the past four seasons. He was often utilized as a defensive coordinator at his various stops. Going from Illinois State, to Michigan, to Texas over the past four seasons, Yaklich was responsible for four consecutive top-25 defenses, according to KenPom.

Although Steve McClain won at least 16 games in each of the past four seasons, the Flames could never reach their ultimate goal of the NCAA tournament. UIC hasn't reached March Madness since 2004. The past four seasons, UIC's best defensive team was only No. 107 in the country. 

McClain's teams had plenty of scoring pop and talent. Getting crucial stops could be difficult for the Flames.

While it may take some time for UIC to jump into the nation's top 50 in defensive efficiency, Yaklich has a successful defensive track record at the mid- and high-major levels.

Illinois State's dominant defense in 2016-17 was No. 19 in the country as the Redbirds just missed the NCAA tournament. Yaklich was then hired away to Michigan. In Ann Arbor, Yaklich helped an offensive-minded program under John Beilein become elite defensively.

The Wolverines advanced to the national title game and Sweet 16 in Yaklich's two seasons. Michigan had the No. 3 defense and No. 2 defense, respectively. 

At Texas, the Longhorns maintained the No. 24 defense in the country this season despite a talent drain that saw freshman center Jaxson Hayes leave for the NBA Draft to be picked in the top ten by the New Orleans Pelicans. 

UIC will need to figure out some other areas if they are to make it back to the NCAA tournament. Yaklich will need to hire a staff familiar with the local recruiting landscape. A sound offensive mind or two wouldn't hurt either.

But the defensive pedigree and player development track record has been there for Yaklich at multiple stops over the past four seasons. Now with a chance to run his own program, Yaklich is an exciting hire for UIC during an offseason in which college basketball's coach carousel isn't seeing a lot of movement. 

Edgy Tim's Recruiting News and Notes

USA Today

Edgy Tim's Recruiting News and Notes

Oak Park-River Forest junior three star-ranked ATH Jaden McGill (6-foot-0. 185 pounds) added an offer last week from one of his team schools when Michigan State extended him a scholarship offer. 

"The offer from them (Michigan State) means a lot," McGill said. "When I was younger they were a school that me and my friends would always dream about playing for."

McGill was set to make a spring  visit to Michigan State before the Coronavirus pandemic struck and is hoping to make up that planned visit later this spring or early this summer. 

McGill is now holding scholarship offers from Michigan State, Kansas State, Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, Ball State, Buffalo, Toledo and Kent State.

Oswego junior three star-ranked offensive tackle Otto Hess (6-foot-7, 285 pounds) was able to add his latest offer earlier this week from Arizona. 

"The offer from Arizona is great," Hess said. "It was pretty much unexpected but great since I've always wanted to play and go to school out West."

Hess, who also added an offer from the University of Illinois on Tuesday night, discussed his thoughts from adding an offer from the Arizona Wildcats. 

"I know that Arizona has a great business school. Coach (Kevin) Sumlin has accomplished some great things in his career. I had some limited contact with Arizona but it hasn't been a crazy amount of attention that made me feel like an offer was coming right away."

Marist sophomore offensive tackle recruit Danny "Deuce" McGuire (6-foot-5, 285 pounds) was able to add an offer on Tuesday from Michigan State. 

"I was surprised to get an offer from Michigan State," McGuire said. "I have had a few Michigan State coaches following me on Twitter for a week or so but it wasn't anything out of the ordinary."

McGuire, who is now holding early scholarship offers from Michigan State along with Illinois and Western Michigan is well aware of the Spartans program. 

"Michigan State is one of the top programs in the Big 10 conference. They also send a lot of offensive linemen to the NFL and they have a lot of new coaches from Colorado."

McGuire is now waiting and hoping to make college visits later this spring or early this summer, depending upon when the Corona virus pandemic comes to an end. 

"I'm just hoping that this all gets resolved soon and we can get back to school and hopefully I'll get a chance to visit some colleges in person again soon."

Ottawa Marquette junior tight end recruit Victor Mullen (6-foot-6, 235 pounds) is a name on the rise this early spring. Mullen, who is holding early scholarship offers from Iowa State, Central Florida, Louisville, Appalachian State and Central Michigan has been trying to stay busy during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. 

"It's been boring so far,"Mullen said. "I have a workout program I got from my trainer and I'm working out along with just watching TV. We started online classes and it's been going well so far."

Mullen has also remained in contact with several college coaches during the NCAA mandated dead period.

"I've stayed in touch with all of the schools who have offered me like Iowa State, Louisville, Appalachian State, Central Michigan and Central Florida. I was planning to make spring visits to Miami of Ohio, Illinois, Toledo and Bowling Green but those have all been canceled. I'm hoping to get back to visit those schools later this spring but for now who knows. I've made visits already to Iowa State, Louisville, Appalachian State, Central Michigan plus Toledo and Iowa."