Former Maine West Standout Van Fleet Walking Her Own Path

Provided photo of the family of Dylan Van Fleet, father Jeff, mother Lisa and brother Max.

Dylan Van Fleet will always set her own course, even as others follow in her footsteps. The Morton College (Cicero) freshman is quiet in nature, doing much of her talking through her actions. 

Some of that nature is by design, the rest by consequence of her lived experiences. 

Van Fleet’s Chi Hoops Express AAU coach Jerald Davis, who she affectionately refers to as “JD,” describes her as quiet toward adults, but said she has always gotten along well with teammates — dating all the way back to when he first saw her play with the program around fifth grade and continuing as he began coaching her directly in eighth grade.

“Dylan was quiet in the sense of, she was more non-verbal, but she was very, very physical, very aggressive, very tough-minded and highly competitive,” Davis said. “To be honest with you, I think that [her actions] was how she spoke.”

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Multi-Faceted, Methodical Tessa Prellberg Commits to Aurora

Photo credit – Kaleb Carter

Tessa Prellberg’s potential was obvious to Hinckley-Big Rock girls basketball coach Doug Brewington from the outset of her first varsity season.

“When I was a freshman, Brewington told me I was going to get 1,000 points,” Prellberg said. “I never believed him so I just pushed myself to get better.”

Now at 954 points without playing a minute as a senior, the standout Royals player has a chance to quickly eclipse that mark should there be an IHSA season this spring.

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Q&A with Angela Dugalic, former Maine West Star and current Oregon freshman

Former Maine West all-state performer and 2019-2020 Illinois girls basketball Gatorade Player of the Year Angela Dugalic is having a blast early in her time for the Oregon Ducks, in the midst of a historic year.

Ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press, the 7-0 Ducks have had only had one game postponed due to COVID-19 this season. Duke women’s basketball, for example, shut down its season entirely.

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Springfield’s Miller stays close to home, Commits to Illinois Wesleyan

Provided photo of Miller on his visit to Illinois Wesleyan.

With family and friends who attended Illinois State and others who live in the areas, Springfield High School senior guard Shane Miller feels more than comfortable in Bloomington.

This made his decision to attend and play basketball for Illinois Wesleyan a relatively easy decision.

“I’ve got some family that stay at Bloomington,” Miller said. “We always used to go up and see them. My brothers and friends also attended ISU. It just feels like the best fit for me. If something ever goes down, I’ve got people up there I can turn to, and [I can] also get a good education and also go [to] a good program.”

Miller has already scoped out places he plans to frequent; he was blown away by how much he liked the campus and family atmosphere shown to him on a visit. In our call Miller laughed, saying that he’d be likely spending a lot of time at the sandwich chain Potbelly.

The multi-sport athlete excelled in his own right in football as a junior. The 2019 season was his only playing organized football, but it was enough to warrant the interest of a few college coaches.

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Illinois DI Hoopers: December 21 Top Performers

On Monday, 36 Division I basketball players from Illinois saw the court, with five scoring in double figures.

Some notable performances are below, as well as all box scores at the bottom in sortable tables. You can also view all Division I men from Illinois and Division I women from Illinois.

Monday Notes

  • Oswego East graduate RayJ Dennis had 16 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals Monday. He’s averaging 14.3 points as a sophomore for Boise State, up from 4.1 as a freshman.
  • Austin Richie, who played high school basketball for Bloom and Marian Catholic, scored 14 points for Tulsa in a win over Memphis Monday. He has scored 33 points over the last two games after just 8 points over the first four.
  • Curie graduate Dajuan Gordon had 13 points and 12 rebounds for Kansas State in a win over Jacksonville. It’s the sophomore’s second career double-double, both in the last three games.
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Illinois DI Hoopers: December 20 Top Performers

A huge day for college basketball with 88 former Illinois high school players in action. In total, 24 players reached double figures scoring, with six double-doubles and the rare triple-double

Some notable performances are below, as well as all box scores at the bottom in sortable tables. You can also view all Division I men from Illinois and Division I women from Illinois.

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Illinois DI Hoopers: December 19 Top Performers

Saturday was a big college hoops day, with 93 Illinois high school basketball players in action across Division I teams. Twenty-one players scored in double digits, with two double-doubles and two other 20-point scorers.

Some notable performances are below, as well as all box scores at the bottom in sortable tables. You can also view all Division I men from Illinois and Division I women from Illinois.

Williams Scores 11 in Freshman Debut

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Illinois D1 Hoopers: December 18 Top Performers

In the only Friday night basketball we have right now, 66 former Illinois high school basketball players were in Division I action. Of those 15 reached double digits scoring, with a trio reaching a double-double.

Some notable performances are below, as well as all box scores at the bottom in sortable tables. You can also view all Division I men from Illinois and Division I women from Illinois.

Debut Double-Double for Hawkins

Southern Miss had the first five games of its season cancelled, so juco transfer Fess Hawkins has had to wait more than three weeks to make her debut. The former Champaign Central (she played three seasons before transferring out of state) and Vincennes player did not let the chance to finally play go to waste.

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Illinois D1 Hoopers: December 17 Top Performers

On Thursday we had a strong group of college performances from Illinois players. Of those in action, 14 of 37 players scored in double figures. All the performances and some highlights are below.

You can also view all Division I men from Illinois and Division I women from Illinois.

Jones Does Everything for SIU

Sophomore Lance Jones has been a Swiss army knife for Southern Illinois as the Salukis have jumped out to a 4-0 start. The Evanston graduate started 26-of-32 games as a freshman, but he’s had an even bigger impact in year two.

On Thursday, Jones scored a team-high 18 points in an 85-64 win over North Dakota. Perhaps more impressive was the rest of his box score: 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals. He also took a charge.

You know Mike Ellis would love that stat line.

For the season, Jones is averaging 11.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.3 steals.

A Happy Birthday for Notre Dame’s Peoples

Schlarman graduate Anaya Peoples’ birthday was Thursday, and her performance for Notre Dame was extra reason to celebrate.

The Fighting Irish held on to beat No. 25 Virginia Tech 84-78, with Peoples’ two layups in the final 80 seconds giving Notre Dame the lead for good. She finished with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals.

After an ACC All-Freshman season, Peoples is averaging 13 points and 6.2 rebounds in her second season for Notre Dame.

Tim Robinson Finds Rhythm for Valpo

Kenwood graduate and Tim Robinson, a redshirt senior, had struggled offensively for Valparaiso to start the season. In the first six games he shot just 14-for-36 (38.9 percent) from the field and 4-for-14 (28.6 percent) from the arc.

That changed Thursday when Robinson scored a game- and career-high 21 points in an 89-71 win over Purdue Northwest, going 7-for-8 from the field and knocking down both of his triples.

According to the Post Tribune and NWI Times, Robinson called on an NBA player to help him get out of his rut.

“I told [Phoenix Suns player Langston Galloway] I was having a shooting spell, that I wasn’t hitting my shots like I should be,” Robinson said. “He gave me a few drills to do. And then, the next game, it happened.”

Despite the early season shooting, Robinson is averaging a career-best 9.3 points per game for the 3-4 Crusaders. On Thursday, two other Illinois high school players had strong performances for Valpo as well:

  • Connor Barrett, Loyola Academy: 12 points, 2 steals
  • Donovan Clay, Alton: 9 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 blocks, 2 steals

Shannon Jr.’s Stock Rising

After four years at Lincoln Park and a prep year at IMG Academy in Florida, Terrence Shannon Jr. was a top-100 recruit in his class. He started 20 games as a freshman for Texas Tech, averaging nearly 10 points per game. The 6-6 guard has made a leap in year two.

On Thursday, he finished with season-highs 20 points and 9 rebounds as the No. 14 Red Raiders nearly knocked off No. 5 Kansas, falling 57-58. For the year he’s averaged 13 points and 5.3 rebounds, shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from the arc.

Scouts are starting to give Shannon Jr. more draft buzz as he’s taken on a bigger role on a top-25 team. Though ESPN currently ranks him the No. 47 prospect for the 2021 NBA Draft, Bleacher Report had Shannon Jr. in the lottery as recently as November.

Big games against the nation’s top teams, like his play against Kansas, will only help his stock.

Also for the Red Raiders, Nimari Burnett — who won a state title with Morgan Park before transferring out of state — has been a key piece of the rotation. He hasn’t found his offense, shooting just 27 percent from the field and 18.8 percent from the arc, but he’s managed other ways to contribute.

He’s averaging a team-best 2.1 steals per contest, good for fourth in the Big 12. Eventually his shot will fall, but he’s managed to stay on the floor through his play on the other end of the court.

Other Notes

  • Edwardsville grad Makenzie Silvey scored a season-high 24 points in a win over UMKC. Earlier this week she reached No. 15 on the SIU all-time scoring list. Also for the Salukis, Lincolnwood grad Abby Brockmeyer had 23 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
  • Mattoon grad Drake Jeffries led Wyoming in scoring (19) in a win over Omaha.
  • Althoff Catholic grad Jordan Goodwin led Saint Louis with 16 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists in a win over N.C. State. The St. Louis Dispatch called him Saint Louis’ Yadier Molina, though I hesitate to add Cardinals references to this site.
  • Kenwood grad Jonaie Johnson scored had season highs in points (16), rebounds (7) and assists (7) for UMKC in a loss to SIU.

All Performances by Men from Illinois High Schools (12.17.2020)

PlayerHSCollegeResultMin.Pts.Reb.Ast.Blk.Stl.
Jordan GoodwinAlthoff CatholicSaint LouisW: 80-69 (NCST)361615512
Donovan ClayAltonValparaisoW: 89-71 (PNW)2397352
Kyndall DavisBogan / Homewood-FlossmoorLong IslandL: 72-87 (SHU)1202110
Thomas BellCahokiaNorth TexasW: 85-55 (HB)28510130
Terrence Hargrove Jr.East St. LouisSaint LouisW: 80-69 (NCST)401000
Lance JonesEvanstonSouthern IllinoisW: 85-64 (ND)32184705
Nick RobinsonKenwoodValparaisoW: 89-71 (PNW)24212113
Terrence Shannon Jr.Lincoln ParkTexas TechL: 57-58 (KAN)33209000
Connor BarrettLoyola AcademyValparaisoW: 89-71 (PNW)27120102
Justin BrownMaristWagnerL: 75-81 (BRYANT)1749001
Drake JeffriesMattoonWyomingW: 82-78 (OMAHA)25193010
Nimari BurnettMorgan ParkTexas TechL: 57-58 (KAN)2122003
Demarion Bariffe-SmithNiles NorthJackson StateL: 60-83 (BRAD)501001
Anthony D'AvanzoNotre Dame (Niles)Southern IllinoisW: 85-64 (ND)1945101
Jeremiah OdenSt. RitaWyomingW: 82-78 (OMAHA)1404100
Detalian BrownUpliftNorth AlabamaW: 99-51 (CR)2182001
Demarius JacobsUpliftSaint LouisW: 80-69 (NCST)1574200
Chris CrossUrbanaSouthern IllinoisW: 85-64 (ND)100000
Nate ShockeyYorkNorth DakotaL: 64-85 (SIU)620000

All Performances by Women from Illinois High Schools (12.17.2020)

PlayerHSCollegeResultMin.Pts.Reb.Ast.Blk.Stl.
Kaylah RaineyBelleville EastNorthwesternW: 70-54 (PURD)100000
Quierra LoveEdwardsvilleSouthern IllinoisW: 79-68 (UMKC)27102203
Makenzie SilveyEdwardsvilleSouthern IllinoisW: 79-68 (UMKC)37241501
Kate BullmanGrayslake CentralIllinois StateW: 69-38 (OMAHA)14114030
Isis FitchHomewood-FlossmoorBradleyL: 68-84 (SD)601000
Michelle PruittHomewood-FlossmoorUTEPL: 75-83 (NAU)27177111
Jonaie JohnsonKenwoodUMKCL: 68-79 (SIU)35167701
Abby BrockmeyerLincolnwoodSouthern IllinoisW: 79-68 (UMKC)30237500
Juliunn RedmondMarshallIllinois StateW: 69-38 (OMAHA)2593421
Aannah InterranteMcHenryBradleyL: 68-84 (SD)100000
South DakotaMontiniSouth DakotaW: 84-68 (BRAD)400000
Frankie KokkinesMontiniSouthern IllinoisW: 79-68 (UMKC)100000
Maya WongNormalIllinois StateW: 69-38 (OMAHA)1643411
Brea BealRock IslandSouth CarolinaW: 103-41 (TEMP)1953302
Anaya PeoplesSchlarmanNotre DameW: 84-78 (VT)34158303
Sheahen DowlingTrinityFlorida Gulf CoastW: 91-55 (WI)1624000
Kiara LewisWhitney YoungSyracuseL: 68-92 (UNC)24103301

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Illinois Next-Level Preps: December 16 College Basketball Roundup

On Wednesday, 47 former Illinois high school basketball players played in a Division I basketball game. There were plenty of strong performances, as 13 total players reached double digits, and two women had double-doubles.

You can also view all Division I men from Illinois and Division I women from Illinois.

The DJ Steward Highlight Show

At 9:34 p.m. last night I got a text that simply read “Something happened” along with this Tweet:

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