Category Archives: Boys

Boys Commitment Notebook: Trice the Enforcer, Hall the future Buccaneer

Photos of Trayton Trice (left), Brandon Hall (center) and Caleb Corro (right) provided by Trice, Tai Streets and Saint Patrick High School, respectively.

Romeoville Coach Marc Howard has long relied on Trayton Trice, a varsity performer since his freshman year, to be an enforcer-type player thanks to Trice’s attitude and size on the floor.

“I always had that approach my whole life,” Trice told Illinois-Basketball.com. “Every time I would set foot on the court,(I’ve) always been the enforcer. I do all the dirty work, grab rebounds, guard the biggest or strongest guy on the court.”

Trice took one visit to Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, and realized quickly how much he liked nearly everything about the campus, the coaches and the men’s basketball program in general.

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Commitment Notebook: Murphy & Braman a big pair of verbals

Aidan Murphy (left) shoots a free throw in a game for Glenbard West (provided photo). Luke Braman (right) blocks a shot in a postseason game for Roanoke-Benson. – Photo provided by Suzy Thompson

Aidan Murphy is springing into the future, one leap at a time. For someone who has added at least nine inches to his vertical leap thanks to studious training, the potential outweighs what Murphy has already done on the court for Glenbard West.

The 6-6, springy Hilltoppers senior made his commitment to Division III Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Oct. 28.

“I chose Carnegie Mellon first because of the world class education,” Murphy said. “(I) felt connection with coaches and style of play, and really felt it would suit my game. I think I can contribute early as well with my shooting ability.  Absolutely loved the campus and think it’s the perfect size. Pittsburgh is one of the great sports towns and I’m very excited to play in it.”

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Commitment Notebook: Fierce Howard chooses Murray State, Hopkins to Kentucky

TaKiya Howard handles the ball in a February contest against Mother McAuley. Beverley Review photo by Tim O’Brien

TaKiya Howard didn’t have to lead her team in scoring to be the type of impact player that caused colleges to come running.

Now a 5-10 senior guard who helped lead the 17-15 De La Salle Meteors last season as a junior, Howard committed to the Division I Murray State Racers on Oct. 19, telling Illinois-Basketball.com that the Racers program fits her and her style of play.

“Murray State made the decision easy because of the environment they created, and I could tell I would be going there after our first conversation,” Howard said. “The coaching staff and the school as a whole I knew would be a good fit.”

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Neuqua Valley’s John Poulakidas Chooses Yale over Power 5

John Poulakidas commits to Yale

COVID-19 and its fallout put much of the traditional recruiting cycle on hold for John Poulakidas, as it did for so many athletes in the class of 2021. Still, the Neuqua Valley shooting guard had enough early interest to have his choice of more than 15 Division I schools — despite losing out on most of his final AAU season and the chance to meet many coaching staffs in person.

Poulakidas, a 6-6 sharpshooter who averaged 17.5 points and knocked down 76 triples as a junior, had the option to stay close to home: Loyola-Chicago, Illinois-Chicago, Bradley, Southern Illinois, UW-Milwaukee and Saint Louis all offered.

He also had a number of Power 5 options: Minnesota, Wake Forest, Rutgers and TCU.

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St. Rita Underclassmen Loaded with Talent: “I’m Going to Push Them”

st-rita-head-coach-roshawn-russell

If they didn’t know already, anyone who follows Chicago-area basketball Twitter found out on Wednesday, September 2, how much young talent the St. Rita boys basketball team has.

Over the span of a few hours, four of the Mustangs’ 2024 class — players who have yet to play a game in a high school uniform — and one 2023 player all received college offers:

  • Northern Illinois and Siena offered 2024 forward Morez Johnson, Jr.
  • Northern Illinois offered 2024 center James Brown
  • Northern Illinois offered 2024 wing Joshua Pickett
  • Northern Illinois offered 2024 point guard Jaedin Reyna
  • Siena offered 2023 combo guard Kaiden Space

It was the first offer for four of the five, with Brown already holding offers from Siena, Western Illinois and Howard.

The infusion of young talent aligns with Roshawn Russell, who enters his second season as St. Rita’s head coach, taking over the program. Finishing with a 21-11 record overall in year one gave faith to prospective players about the direction of the program, Russell believes.

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UMass Gets “Blue Collar” Center in DePaul College Prep’s Brian Mathews

UMass commit Brian Mathews from DePaul College Prep

Six years ago, Brian Mathews didn’t even play basketball: He was a soccer goalkeeper. Fast-forward to late August and Mathews committed to play Division 1 basketball at UMass.

How exactly did he go from hoops newbie to college player so quickly?

Like many other athletes thrust into basketball at that age, Mathews, a Chicago resident, was blessed with height that naturally attracts them to the game (or often brings people in the game to them). Mathews was 6-5 when he entered high school and had a size 15 shoe in seventh grade. Still, he was an expectedly raw prospect.

“He was big and long — imagine a puppy dog,” Tom Kleinschmidt, Mathews’ high school head coach at DePaul College Prep, said in a phone interview. “He was all over the place. His body was so big, he couldn’t control it at 12 years old [when I first met him].”

Still, being tall doesn’t guarantee that someone plays in college. Mathews had something many other young bigs lack.

“What stuck out to me was how hard he played,” Kleinschmidt said. “To get a kid that size to play that hard that early, it’s a great piece of clay [to mold].”

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