Category Archives: Events

Ridgewood Notebook: Indrusaitis Settling In With St. Rita; Notes on Bloom’s Brown, WV’s Langendorf

Ridgewood Notebook: Indrusaitis Settling In With St. Rita; Notes on Bloom’s Brown, WV’s Langendorf

By Kaleb Carter

Nojus Indrusaitis is drawing eyes on a national level after an explosive sophomore season. But his prep career has taken him into Chicago, as the rising junior has a new squad.

The class of 2024 wing was previously part of a burgeoning young group at Lemont. Early June he shared his intent to transfer and has been playing with the St. Rita Mustangs since.

He’ll join an already talented group with power conference recruiting prowess from the likes of fellow rising juniors Morez Johnson, an Illinois commit, and James Brown.

After going 23-12 a season ago, Indrusaitis’ arrival places the Mustangs among the upper echelon of the state a season removed from a sectional finals appearance (a 75-68 loss to consensus Illinois top-10 squad Kenwood). 

The Sun-Times’ Michael O’Brien actually had Lemont ranked higher in his 2021-22 end-of-season Super 25 rankings (Lemont at 13, St. Rita at 22). But Indrusaits’ presence makes St. Rita instantly superior to last season’s team in terms of talent on the floor. 

“It was just an opportunity to play against the best, and getting better is my main priority,” Indrusaitis said. “My goal would be to be a better defender for next year.”

At the Ridgewood Live Event (June 24-26) and Riverside Brookfield Shootout (the weekend prior), Indrusaitis’ athleticism was on display. The lengthy 6-6 combo player, said he’s hit a growth spurt since last year.

The capable scorer recently picked up offers from Marquette, Missouri and Iowa. He’s held an offer from Illinois since last season, and has offers from DePaul and Maryland as well. 

Indrusaitis said that needed chemistry with his new teammates will come through time spent together on the court. 

“I want to have a good relationship with them,” Indrusaitis said. “(I’m) looking for the best opportunity like finding out where I could impact winning.”

Indrusaitis has been playing on the Meanstreets 16U AAU team, and is plenty familiar with teammate Brown. 

“Our mindset is to win every time we step on the floor and be aggressive on defense,” Indrusaitis said. “Just being the best that I can motivates me.”

Jordan Brown Finding His Voice for Reloaded Bloom Township

Jordan Brown is an unassuming presence on the basketball court. But he should begin to draw eyes as Bloom reloads with a talented bunch of returners and transfers. 

Bloom lost its top two scorers from a season ago in brothers K.J. and Gianni Cobb, as the pair transferred to Perspectives. 

Brown is a 6-3 senior guard who facilitates aplenty and was able to step into big scoring role at times a season ago. He will have to more in 2022-23 as the top returning scorer. 

Coach Dante Maddox Sr. said that while 6-7 senior center Michael Garner is the most vocal of those on the floor, he’s pushing Brown to take on a bigger role in that facet of the game. 

“I’ve just been trying to use my voice,” Brown said. “I used to be real quiet because I was scared to talk. But as coach is trusting me more, I started to get comfortable with talking to my teammates.”

“Jordan is a 3.5 [GPA] student,” Maddox Sr. said. “High character, low maintenance and is selfless. He is about the team and has been raised right by his family. Family-oriented young man. He will help a program because he is a winner on and off the court.

Maddox also noted that Raeshom Harris, a 6-4 senior guard, will be key in helping new transfers adapt to the culture of the program, as will junior wings Jaden Clark (6–4) and Santana Flowers (6-5). 

Transfers Elijah Livermore (sophomore point guard), and seniors Jayden Watson (6-6) and Lierre Collier (6-2) will contribute majorly. 

At the Ridgewood Live Event, the Blazing Trojans trounced St. Charles North and handed New Trier a double-digit defeat, both of which Illinois-basketball.com was in attendance for. Bloom also defeated DePaul Prep and Normal West. 

Brown said he has lofty goals for the season. To get there, he knows his shooting has to improve, and he’s confident the college offers will soon begin to roll in. Improving his shooting is his most immediate goal. 

“I noticed throughout the course of last year’s season, teams having been making me shoot because I go the basket so much, so shooting 100,” he said. 

Langendorf Keys in on Defense for Waubonsie Valley

The offensive production isn’t in question for Waubonsie Valley 6-6 senior forward Jackson Langendorf. 

The Langendorf name has been a feature of Aurora-area hoops the last few years. His brother Carter, once an all-DuPage Valley Conference player, is now playing at Concordia University. 

Jackson Langendorf was an all-DVC player and second team Naperville Sun all-area while averaging 11.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game as a junior. At Ridgewood, he showed off an array of back-to-the-basket moves in the post, as well as some face-up looks to mid-range depth. He’s already taken time to add to his offensive game this offseason. 

“I thought I had a good [junior] season, but there was a lot more I could’ve done and it was my first varsity season so I definitely learned a lot,” the rising senior said. “This year I definitely feel like I’ve gotten stronger and more athletic and will improve upon both those things throughout the rest of the summer. I’ve also sped up my shot and cleaned up the mechanics, so I’m feeling a lot more confident in that. And I feel like I’m really versatile, so I’m pretty excited about what I and the team can do this season.”

Where Langendorf knows he needs to be part of something bigger is on the defensive side of the ball in the second year under coach Andrew Schweitzer. 

“We have such long close outs we’ve got to be able to contest while not letting guys just get in the lane,” Langendorf said. “But one of the other biggest things is communication. Again that’s important in any defense but because our defense is always changing — due to personnel or play style of the other team — we really have to communicate. For me, the biggest things to make us successful is playing physical and keeping the ball out of the post when we can, then contesting shots in the corners and definitely rebounding.”

Teammate Treshawn Blissett, a junior 6-5 forward, also garnered attention at Ridgewood. 

For the weekend, the Warriors lost to Glenbrook North, Riverside Brookfield and Marist, but found themsleves in lower-scoring games, seemingly to their liking. Before Ridgewood, the Warriors had blossomed at Normal West’s shootout, which included a 16-point win over Rock Island. 

“The summer has been going really well for us,” Langendorf said. “We went 4-0 last weekend at Normal West, and we’ve been spending a lot of time in the weight room and getting more athletic. As a group this offseason we’re working on getting even better at our defense because it’s our second year playing it as a program and it’s so unique. And we’re also working on sharpening up our offense of course, but I’d say our biggest priority besides the X’s and O’s has definitely been the weight room.”

Ridgewood Live Notebook: Tinley Park, Kenwood and Others (+Photo Gallery)​

Keon Richardson at Ridgewood Live 2021

Ridgewood Live Notebook: Tinley Park, Kenwood and Others (+Photo Gallery)

Ridgewood hosted a live event and tournament June 25 to June 27. More than 80 boys teams from the Chicagoland participated, and many of the top players in the state were on display.

Kaleb Carter stopped by the event Friday and caught a number of games and got a chance to chat with some of the standouts.

Tinley Park's Keon Richardson Eyes the Future

Keon Richardson at Ridgewood Live 2021
Tinley Park's Keon Richardson at the Ridgewood Live event. (Photo: Kaleb Carter)

Keon Richardson said that Tinley Park is starting to put the pieces together that could lead to a successful winter season. While some of his teammates have missed action thus far in the summer period, the senior point guard and the Titans showed flashes of excellence.

“Summer been good, got a lot of competition,” Richardson. “Good up and down. The Hillcrest tournament was good.”

At Ridgewood, Richardson showed off a pass-first mindset and distinct court vision that has led to college contact from Tulsa and IUPUI. He’s due for a July 1 visit to Tulsa.

“I’m looking for a school that lets the guards be free, lets the guards coach on the floor,” Richardson said.

Kenwood's Davius Loury Does It All

Kenwood Davius Loury
Kenwood's Davius Loury (0) and JJ Taylor (1) guard a St. Charles East ball-handler. (Photo: Kaleb Carter)

Kenwood assistant coach PJ Jones said that rising junior Davis Loury, a 6-7 wing with more than a handful of Division I offers, is the Broncos’ “Mr. do-it-all.”

Quite a compliment for a program that has some of most talented players in the state of Illinois. 

“He’s kind of what makes our team go, especially (since) he’s a mismatch for most teams,” Jones said. “Some of our other guys really take up the other team’s best defender, so that usually leaves Davius with someone smaller on him … just getting him to crash the boards, post up when he’s got a little guy and shoot over top of them.”

Loury received an offer Friday from Appalachian State while at the event. He also holds offers from DePaul, Illinois, LSU, Miami (OH), Nebraska and Western Illinois.

This summer alongside his talented teammates, Loury is working on several simple aspects of his game. He emphasized his need to become a better ball-handler.

“My shot, dribbling, passing the ball, drive-and-kick and more athleticism,” Loury said. 

According to Jones, Loury’s versatility gives Kenwood more options, especially on the offensive end. 

“He’s another option to bring the ball up and run the offense through, that’s great,” Jones said. “It relieves some pressure off the other guys. For him as a player, being able to do multiple things, he played great defense today, being able to defend all five spots is something we want to see out of him.”

In addition to a flock of major Division I coaches being in attendance for 5-star recruit JJ Taylor (Class of 2023), the Broncos showcased Darrin Ames (2023) and recently returned and highly recruited Trey Pettigrew, a senior, on the floor. 

“He left Illinois when he was ranked the the No. 2 player in the state,” Jones said of Pettigrew. “With the COVID season in limbo, he moved out to Arizona. He was ranked the No. 5 player out in Arizona. With him, getting acclimated with the guys, he’s played in the same AAU program as some of the younger guys, different teams though, 16U teams, 17U teams. Getting him acclimated and letting him know that college coaches know that you can score the ball, but we want to see you facilitate a little more, personal that’s what I want to see him down.”

With rising freshmen Bryce Heard and Rob Walls contributing as well, the Broncos’ lone loss at the three-day event came to Glenbard West, a team loaded with senior, college-level talent.

Other Notable Teams and Players

  • St. Charles East’s Trent Warren (class of 2022) had a hot shooting weekend, putting up double-digits in three straight games, including 20 against Kenwood and 25 versus Fenton. He also used our photo (we see you, Trent) for his new Twitter profile avatar. 
  • Lots of coaches were in attendance, including Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Illinois’ Brad Underwood, Wisconsin’s Greg Hard, Bradley’s Brian Wardle, UIC’s Luke Yaklich and plenty of others. Former NBA superstar Shawn Marion was even there watching Kenwood. 
  • DePaul College Prep has reloaded, and perhaps most intriguing is Dylan Arnett (2022), a 6-9 forward who walked away from the event with a Western Michigan offer. He showed himself capable of replacing some of the production lost down low from North Dakota signee Brian Matthews. 
  • Hillcrest and Tinley Park both showcased potential in the form of talented guards and springy forwards, but both will need the extra time leading up to the season to put things together. Matthew Moore (2023) and Bryce Tillery (2023) of Hillcrest showed flashes of what could make Hillcrest nearly as good as it was in 2021
  • I don’t have much to say about Glenbard West that hasn’t been said. They look like state championship material. They’re downright huge. The 1-3-1 zone they trot out covers more space than any other zone that comes to mind at the high school level. GBW did finish the event undefeated, including a close win over Kenwood. A couple spurts from senior transfer Bobby Durkin (Hinsdale South), including a deep 3-pointer and a two-handed slam in rapid succession, opened eyes. 
  • I was witness at the end of my day to a close affair between Whitney Young and Lake Forest. Asa Thomas is no joke and is dangerous from wherever and in creating. Whitney Young’s length and athleticism plus clutch plays late from D-I recruits A.J. Casey (offered by Florida Saturday), Xavier Amos (2022) and Daniel Johnson (2023) led to the win over a charged up Lake Forest squad. Casey is so smooth and improving in his all-around game. 
  • DeKalb’s Martez Jackson (2022) is a scrappy guard who defends just the way DeKalb teams have been taught to over the last handful of years by head coaches Al Biancalana and Mike Reynolds (both of whom I covered previously at the DeKalb Daily Chronicle). 
  • Simeon’s  Rubin twins, Miles and Wesley (recent transfers from Homewood-Flossmoor) have tremendous upside as incoming juniors. They are going to be ridiculous to try and stop as a tandem in the coming years.
  • Bolingbrook has some fearless guards and lots of size. Beware of coach Robert Brost’s perennially reliable bunch. 
  • The way Batavia guard Trent Tousana carries himself showcases his confidence, and I’m excited to hear how often he scores in bunches this year. 

CPS Coaches Organize Anti-Violence Rally on Saturday, September 19

Tim Flowers was seven years old when he first saw someone killed in his neighborhood.

Flowers, now 32, had a long-time friend shot and killed in just the past few weeks on Chicago’s South Side. Gun violence and its effects on his community — Englewood, where he grew up and now lives again — have been a near constant in his life. That violence and a desire to show young people “we shouldn’t be living like this” is a driving force in Flowers’ motivation for organizing the Soaring Above All Odds rally on Saturday, September 19, at Murray Park in Englewood.

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