Preps Talk

Recruiting News and Notes: Mariano Sori-Marin commits to Minnesota

Recruiting News and Notes: Mariano Sori-Marin commits to Minnesota

Mariano Sori-Marin (OLB), Providence Catholic

Providence Catholic junior outside linebacker Mariano Sori-Marin (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) added a recent offer from Minnesota and gave the Gophers his verbal commitment late last week.

"It's been pretty overwhelming," Sori-Marin said. "Minnesota just offers the best fit for me so I committed. Minnesota also offers strong academics, plus they also play in the Big Ten. After I visited, I knew that Minnesota is a great place to be so I talked it over with my family and I committed."

Sori-Marin, who missed nearly the entire 2016 season after suffering an injury in Week 1, went from largely under the radar to Gophers pledge in a hurry. 

"Both my recruiting coach at Minnesota (Brian Callahan) and the defensive coordinator (Robb Smith) came to watch one of my workouts in person a few weeks ago," Sori-Marin said. "The Minnesota coaches called me a few days later and invited me to come up and make a campus visit. I went to Minnesota last week with my parents for a visit and they offered me before we left campus. We went home and talked it over and gave it a few days to sink in. Minnesota is just a great fit for me and I'm very excited to be committed to the University of Minnesota."

Sori-Marin is now the third Illinois verbal pledge to Minnesota's Class of 2018, joining Glenbard North defensive back Tyrik Henderson and Marist defensive tackle Elijah Teague.

Denver Warren (DT), West Aurora

West Aurora freshman defensive tackle Denver Warren (6-foot-3, 285 pounds) has been highly impressive on the camp circuit. Warren added his first two scholarship offers last weekend from Iowa State and Central Michigan.

"It's awesome to add two offers already," Warren said. "I spoke with the coaches at Iowa State on Saturday and then about a half hour later I also talked to Central Michigan and they also extended me an offer. I'm just really excited and so is my family."

Warren, who played for Aurora Christian last season before transferring to West Aurora, has also started to draw more recruiting attention after adding his first two offers. 

"I've had 5-6 different college coaches start to follow me on Twitter right after I tweeted out my offers," Warren said.

[RELATED: Recruiting news and notes - Fenwick's Mike O'Laughlin headed to West Virginia]

Jaylan Alexander (ILB), Hoffman Estates

Hoffman Estates junior inside linebacker Jaylan Alexander (6-foot-2, 225 pounds) has added several scholarship offers and increased recruiting attention this spring. 

"I have offers so far from NIU, Western Kentucky, Illinois State, Eastern Michigan, Western Illinois, Central Michigan and Bowling Green," Alexander said. "We've also been seeing a lot of college coaches in school this spring. Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Central Michigan, NIU, Illinois, Western Kentucky and a few others have all been in so far. Most of the coaches come and watch our team workouts. Michigan State has also invited me to come and camp with them this summer."

Alexander also is lining up his summer college one-day camp schedule.

"I'm planning to go to the North Central College camp with Minnesota and then the following day when Iowa State is at NCC," Alexander said. "I'm also going to the Northwestern showcase camp and also NIU for a one day camp."

Alec Pierce (WR), Glenbard West

Glenbard West junior wide receiver Alec Pierce (6-foot-3, 191 pounds) has a half dozen scholarship offers, along with several BCS schools paying close attention to him.

"We've seen a lot of coaches in school so far," Pierce said. "Most of the college coaches come into school in the morning to watch our morning workouts. Illinois was in school, along with Minnesota, Purdue, Vanderbilt, Boston College, Northwestern and Wisconsin over the past week. It also seems like the entire Mid-American conference as been in school this spring."

Pierce has scholarship offers from Illinois State, Fordham, Central Michigan, Columbia, South Dakota and Western Illinois.

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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NBC Sports Chicago

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.