Preps Talk

Preps recruiting news and notes: Noah Shannon backs out of commitment

Preps recruiting news and notes: Noah Shannon backs out of commitment

Oswego three-star ranked defensive tackle Noah Shannon (6-foot-2, 290 pounds) this past weekend announced that he was backing off his earlier verbal commitment to Minnesota and has reopened his recruiting process. 

"I wanted to go on a few more college visits to make sure I did make the right decision," Shannon said. "I didn't want to have any regrets about rushing into a decision. I also want to see more schools in person and learn more about them."

Shannon is still very interested in Minnesota and according will "stay in touch with the Minnesota coaches and head coach PJ Fleck almost daily." Shannon also plans to visit Iowa this week and has plans to visit Indiana, Missouri and Arkansas sometime this summer.

Lyons Township three-star ranked quarterback Ben Bryant's (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) recruiting process has gone well after having Wisconsin pull his scholarship offer a few weeks ago.

"I've been able to add offers from Temple, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Western Michigan, West Virginia, Ole Miss, Georgia and also Colorado State," Bryant said. "Both North Carolina and Indiana have been showing a lot of interest lately."

Bryant will camp at North Carolina in June and also plans to visit Cincinnati, Western Michigan and West Virginia this summer.

Immaculate Conception junior to be outside linebacker Khali Saunders (6-foot-3, 195 pounds) added his first scholarship offer recently from the Iowa State Cyclones.

"I was very surprised (at adding his first offer from Iowa State)," Saunders said. "This is truly a blessing. I don't know much about Iowa State to be honest but I'll learn more about them soon."

Saunders also has been in contact with Iowa, Illinois State, Western Michigan and Northern Illinois this spring and plans to camp at Northwestern, Western Michigan and also the Lake Forest College satellite camp.

Oswego senior-to-be defensive back Josh Shodipo (6-foot-0, 185 pounds) has seen his recruiting stock take of towards the tail end of the just completed NCAA football spring evaluation period.

"My recruiting has been going well," according to Shodipo. "I have offers now from South Dakota State, Western Illinois and Indiana State and several other schools have been staying in touch like Iowa State, Western Michigan, Toledo, NIU, Miami of Ohio, Illinois State, Southern Illinois, and Wyoming. A lot of those schools want me to camp with them this summer."

Shodipo plans to camp this moth at the North Central College satellite camps (June 5th and June 7th) along with camping at NIU on June 14th.

Preps Basketball Player of the Year Preseason Power Rankings

Preps Basketball Player of the Year Preseason Power Rankings

The 2019-20 high school basketball season has plenty of star power to keep track of this season. One of the strongest groups of Player of the Year contenders the area has seen in years, this year's group features multiple nationally-ranked players and intriguing candidates.

We'll continue to monitor Player of the Year candidates as the season goes on but here's a look at the top five contenders entering this season. 

1. Adam Miller, Morgan Park -- The favorite entering the 2019-20 season has to be Miller after he was arguably the state's best player last season.

Averaging 28.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game, nobody in the area is capable of going for scoring runs quite like Miller. He can go on insane three-point bursts off the dribble while also creating offense for his Morgan Park teammates. The senior broke the Big Dipper Holiday Tournament scoring record while having games of 48 and 45 points there last season.

The Mustangs also could be the best team in the state this season as Miller will have plenty of help around him. That could mean some huge offensive nights for Miller since defenses shouldn't be about to key in on him with junk defenses like he saw so often last season. 

2. D.J. Steward, Whitney Young -- Steward had perhaps the best summer of any in-state player as he rose up national rankings and committed to Duke. But he's still slightly behind Miller in the Player of the Year preseason race because his numbers haven't been as massive.

Still averaging a stellar 24.3 points and 3.2 assists per game for the Dolphins last season, Steward is ultra efficient as an offensive threat. On a team that will play a national schedule with tons of opportunities against nationally-ranked teams, Steward will also get a ton of chances to make his case during the season.

While this season looks like a Miller vs. Steward race for Player of the Year going into it, both players are also trying to capture state titles after falling short last season. Earning state hardware could wind up being the difference in what should be a tight race.

3. Max Christie, Rolling Meadows -- If anyone is to push Miller and Steward's two-senior battle for Player of the Year it will likely be Christie. The state's top college prospect, the 6-foot-7 junior is a top-ten national recruit in the Class of 2021 who won a gold medal with USA Basketball over the summer.

Putting up 25.2 points, nine rebounds and 3.2 assists per game as a sophomore, Christie has already won MSL East Player of the Year honors and scored over 1,000 points during his two-year varsity career.

Capable of putting up 50 points during a game or throwing up a triple-double, Christie is one of the most electric players the area has seen in years. Watching his junior season should be a ton of fun as he has the potential to win Player of the Year if he can stay healthy and put up huge numbers.

4. Bryce Hopkins, Fenwick -- Also coming off of a big summer is this 6-foot-7 junior forward. Hopkins was already consistently putting up 30-point games by the end of his sophomore season. Now, the junior could emerge as a a sleeper Player of the Year threat after becoming a nationally-ranked Class of 2021 prospect this summer.

Committed recently to Louisville, Hopkins averaged 23 points per game last season. After seeing his complete scoring package grow and his strength continue to develop, Hopkins could be an unstoppable scorer for the Friars this season.

Hopkins will also be counted on to be a leader of a young team as Fenwick plays a tough schedule with tons of showcase opportunities this season. 

5. Ahron Ulis, Marian Catholic -- There are a number of candidates who could go in this final spot but Ulis gets a slight nod over the others. A winning player who has already made a trip to Peoria as a sophomore, Ulis has helped the Spartans to some very successful seasons while running point.

Averaging 18.3 points, 4.4 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game as a junior, the Iowa commit will consistently have the ball in his hands for a likely top-ten team as Marian Catholic has big expectations this season. If Ulis consistently shows an ability to knock down perimeter jumpers then he could have a huge season to close out a memorable high school career. 

Preps Basketball Power Rankings No. 14: Lake Park Lancers

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Preps Basketball Power Rankings No. 14: Lake Park Lancers

School: Lake Park

2018-19 record: 23-11 (8-6 DuKane)

Postseason results: Lost to Downers North in Class 4A sectional semifinals.

Players to watch: Luke Sgarbossa is a senior guard coming off of a strong junior year that saw him put up 15.5 points and 2.1 assists per game. Sgarbossa is a big-time scorer. Junior Trevor Montiel emerged as a player to watch this summer with some solid play as he can knock down jumpers. 

Why they're in the power rankings: The Lancers made a huge impression in the postseason with regional wins over DeKalb and Benet before losing a tight game in the next round. Lake Park also looked strong during June. With many pieces returning, the Lancers look like the DuKane favorites and a force to contend with in Class 4A.   

Did you know? Lake Park has captured 14 regional titles in program history but the Lancers only have one sectional title (2015) in program history.