Preps Talk

Motivated Markese Jacobs seeks national acclaim before senior year at Uplift


Motivated Markese Jacobs seeks national acclaim before senior year at Uplift

NORTH AUGUSTA, SC. -- Markese Jacobs doesn't have to impress college coaches during the July live evaluation period since he's already committed to Kansas. But the Uplift rising senior point guard is still motivated to make a strong impression during his final summer on the grassroots circuit.

Playing with a healthy and rejuvenated Mac Irvin Fire roster that includes Morgan Park's Adam Miller and former city players like Terrance Shannon (Lincoln Park) and Kahlil Whitney (Solorio), Jacobs is running an offense with a lot of talent around him the next few weeks. His ultimate goal is to make waves with national talent evaluators to improve his stock and overall ranking.

"We're extra motivated because we didn't get to play with each other fully healthy. We were missing guys some sessions. Some players weren't playing. Now our thing is, now that we're healthy, let's finish strong and accomplish what we want to accomplish," Jacobs said.

"My goal is to at least get top 50. They've got me in the 90s and 100s and I feel disrespected. My whole thing is coming out strong and breaking the top 50."

Since Jacobs doesn't have to worry about collecting scholarship offers since he's been pledged to the Jayhawks for over a year, he is focused instead of making sure that his point guard ability continues to grow. Jacobs also wants to continue to improve his perimeter shooting since defenses will collapse on him regularly next season.

"I have to show that I'm not only an athlete. I can play defense, score the ball and get the ball to my teammates," Jacobs said.

"Over these next couple months, my whole thing is getting off the dribble and hitting open shots. Going into my high school season, pretty much everybody in Chicago is going to be gunning for me. I'm going to get double teamed and stuff like that. So the opportunities that I get, I have to make the best of them."

Jacobs is encouraged by how things are going at Uplift entering next season -- especially now that he is a team leader. In the past, Markese could rely on leadership from his older brother Demarius, or Toraze Dobbs. Now, those guys have graduated and it's his time to shine as a team leader for the Titans.

"It's actually very different. I have to be the one talking now. I can't take a couple plays off like I normally can. So now, it's just, I have to come with it every game," Jacobs said.

Uplift will continue to develop its Class 2A rivalry with conference opponent Orr as both teams always feel like they're on a collision course during the postseason. This season, Jacobs has made it clear that a state title is his goal as he feels as though Class 2A is underrated in Illinois. 

"I'm trying to win state. That's my only goal. City is going to be what city is going to be. But my whole thing is winning state,' Jacobs said.

"Two A is actually pretty tough because it's the same two teams every time: us and Orr. For us, it's about finishing once we get to that game. We do pretty good up until that game, and then we fold. So my thing is just finishing and playing all the way through." 


WATCH: Trevor Keegan, the top 2019 football recruit in Illinois, to announces his college decision


WATCH: Trevor Keegan, the top 2019 football recruit in Illinois, to announces his college decision

It can't be easy being a low-key 6-foot-6, 310 pound senior in high school. But Crystal Lake South’s four star-ranked offensive tackle Trevor Keegan, the state's top recruit for the Class of 2019, has (for the most part) remained as ‘under the recruiting radar’ as possible.

Keegan has been very quiet. He hasn't revealed much when it comes to specific college leanings throughout his recruiting process. But that’s all about to change, as he makes his college announcement Friday night at 6:30 in South’s auditorium.

The calm before the announcement storm, so to speak, makes it all the more intriguing. It’s an event you can see live on @NBCSPreps via Periscope at 6:30 p.m. 

Keegan, who last week narrowed down his final top destination list to Michigan, Penn State and Georgia, is at the end of a rigorous decision process. He racked up 35 total scholarship offers from most —if not all— of the major players from every Power Five conference across the country. 

So which school will Keegan select on Friday night? 

According to Midwest Football Recruiting Expert Josh Helmholdt, "Trevor has been very quiet and really hasn't said much at all up to this point. Most roads for me on his decision leads to Michigan, yet if he decided on either Penn State or Georgia I would not be shocked."

Expect Keegan to make Friday’s verbal commitment official this coming Wednesday, Dec. 19, when the football Early National Letter of Intent Signing Period begins. 

Keegan, along with the rest of the Class of 2019, will be just the second football class allowed to sign an early Letter of Intent. Last December, the Class of 2018 took full advantage of the first early signing window as nearly 75 percent of all BCS scholarship players signed during the early period.

The Class of 2019 is projected to equal or even surpass last year's 75 percent early signing rate. 


High School Lites Basketball Preview: Week 3


High School Lites Basketball Preview: Week 3

High School Lites has plenty of great highlights from across the area this week. We have some ranked teams in the Public League, South suburbs and North suburbs, as well as highlights of some other enticing matchups as well. This week's Wintrust Athlete of the Week is Brother Rice's Marquise Kennedy, as we'll have more on the Loyola commit's hot start. High School Lites airs at 11 p.m. on Friday night on NBC Sports Chicago. Follow us on Twitter on @NBCSPreps for the latest IHSA Basketball updates.


No. 12 Simeon at No. 2 Curie, 5:00 p.m. -- The Public League Red-South/Central features another major early-season clash in this one. The Wolverines (1-4, 1-1) have struggled out of the gate after a recent double-overtime loss to Bogan as a young team tries to figure out playing a difficult national schedule. Curie (9-0, 2-0) has come out of the gate red-hot as they earned a blowout win over Morgan Park earlier in the week. Condors senior DaJuan Gordon is looking like a Player of the Year candidate with his strong start. 


Taft at Payton, 5:00 p.m. -- The two unbeatens in the Public League White-North battle in this one. Taft (4-5, 3-0) has three straight wins, including a thrilling two-point win over Mather on Wednesday. Payton (5-2, 3-0) is also on a three-game winning streak as they have an impressive early win over De La Salle. 

Dundee-Crown at Crystal Lake South, 7:00 p.m. [GIRLS] -- A Fox Valley Friday night conference game should be intriguing. Dundee-Crown (8-3, 4-0) is one of the league's best teams as they've only fallen to opponents with undefeated records. The Chargers knocked off Riverside-Brookfield to begin Oak Lawn Holiday Tournament play on Wednesday. Crystal Lake South (3-6) took down Marian Central in a non-conference game earlier this week as the Gators try to earn a conference win. 

Niles North at No. 4 Evanston, 7:00 p.m. -- The Central Suburban South is never an easy league as this one will be fun. Niles North (4-2, 1-1) fell to ranked Glenbrook South last Friday night as they're one the road against a ranked opponent for the second straight week. Evanston (6-1, 1-1) has a talented group of guards led by Southern Illinois commit Lance Jones, Jaheim Holden and Ryan Bost. 

No. 20 Uplift at Marshall, 6:30 p.m. -- Two teams off to good starts in the Public League Red North/West face here. Uplift (5-2, 2-1) took down Crane earlier this week in league play as senior Markese Jacobs is a Player of the Year candidate. Marshall (5-1, 2-1) has only lost to No. 1 Whitney Young this season as they've been one of the Public League's more underrated teams.

Lincoln Park at No. 1 Whitney Young, 7:00 p.m. -- Staying in the Public League Red North/West, this should be a good test for No. 1 Whitney Young. The Dolphins (6-1, 2-0) remain unbeaten in Illinois as junior guards D.J. Steward and Tyler Beard are a force to reckon with. Whitney Young, however, needed everything to avoid upset against Prosser on Wednesday. Lincoln Park (4-4, 1-2) has a busy week as they lost to Orr on Wednesday. The Lions have an intriguing junior in big man Romelle Howard as they'll try to take advantage inside. 

Plainfield South at No. 23 Romeoville, 6:30 p.m.  --  We head to the Southwest Prairie for this one. Plainfield South (2-5, 0-1) has played a bit better than their record indicates as four of their five losses have come by four points or less. Romeoville (6-1, 1-0) lost its first game of the season to Bolingbrook this week as the Spartans find themselves back in the top 25. Junior Destin Whitaker is a player to watch for Romeoville while senior guard Mike Salter is a veteran presence. 

Shepard at Lemont, 7:00 p.m. -- An intriguing South Suburban crossover in this one. Shepard (6-2, 2-1) is in the mix in the Red with a number of teams as they've already earned two straight road wins entering this one. Lemont (4-5, 1-1) has two straight losses by three or less as they've been close to breaking through during a sluggish start. Senior Nate Ferguson is committed to Drake as he's one of the area's better forwards. 

No. 3 Bloom at No. 9 Homewood-Flossmoor, 7:00 p.m.  -- This non-conference battle is a rematch of an overtime thriller we saw earlier this season when Bloom beat Homewood-Flossmoor for the title of the Chicago Heights Classic. The Blazing Trojans (9-0, 2-0) are playing at an elite level to start the season as they've already earned some quality wins over teams like the Vikings and Morgan Park. Homewood-Flossmoor (5-1, 1-0) hopes to avenge their only loss of the season so far as they prepare for the loaded Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic later this month. 

No. 21 Downers Grove North at Glenbard West, 7:30pm -- This one has a chance to be really good in the West Suburban Silver. Downers North (7-0, 2-0) comes in unbeaten thanks in large part to the dynamic senior backcourt of Semaj Henderson and Trey Boston. Glenbard West (6-2, 0-1) counters with Southern Illinois commit Evan Taylor as they try to make a move in conference play following an early loss to York. 

Viewers' Choice Game Of The Week

Guerin at Elmwood Park, 7 p.m. -- We head to the Metro Suburban Red for our Viewers' Choice matchup this week. Guerin (0-6, 0-2) is trying to get in the win column this season while Elmwood Park (5-4, 1-0) lost earlier this week to Westmont to snap a three-game winning streak. This game won a tight race that featured over 1,600 votes as we had a strong turnout for our Metro Suburban week.