By Kaleb Carter
IT’S BEEN… a few weeks since I’ve dropped my first notebook, let’s get on to some newer happenings.
Since the last edition, I attended 3 events, the Chi Basketball Academy at Whitney Young, Maine West’s Summer League and a shootout at Loyola Academy.
For CBA, a predictable matchup of Kenwood-Whitney Young marked the final on the girls side, but not without Butler College Prep giving the Dolphins a run for their money. The Lynx held a last-second lead in the semis before Young’s Kiaya Johnson netted the winner on a last-second layup.
Oakland commit Sereniti-Roberts-Adams and Yahri Smith’s growth should mean big things for an already loaded team with the starring Walton sisters.
Fast-forward to the final.
Danielle Brooks showed an expanded game that should grow bigger yet as the Class of 2026 sharpshooting guard gains size.
Destiny Jackson poured in bucket after bucket, and should probably be considered in the conversation, IF you’re having that conversation like nerds like myself are having, for Gatorade Player of the Year or Ms. Basketball. The offensive development of WY’s bigs will be a big factor in whether the Dolphins can defend their back-to-back City tiles.
But let’s get back on to Kenwood. For a summer game, the Broncos looked quite put-together. Game MVP Ariella Henigan was impossible to keep out of the pain, and can get a dozen free throws a night or more if she wants it.
Bishop Noll transfer Iceiss Thomas had a big stretch for the Broncos and as athletic wing/guard type she appears to be the type of piece a team needs to make an IHSA state run.
Hyde Park’s Jazmyne Bynum was smooth in winning the skills competition. Going to see Hyde Park will be a priority for me early in the season.
Loyola Shootout Presents New Looks
DePaul - Hersey
Prospect - Lane Tech
Maine West Summer Highlights
What Else Is Happening?
Heather Cassady, a Dunlap grad with quite the stretch of success in her collegiate, professional and coaching career, has stepped down after 11 years as the Dunlap coach. Not sure what that means for the coaching situation, but the Eagles…. Still have plenty of talent back with Julia Sollberger to compete in the Mid-Illini.
I’m curious what Roosevelt’s intent to change from an NAIA institution into a D2 program means. Currently, the programs at that level in Illinois are Quincy, UIS, McKendree and Lewis. Does that cut into anyone’s recruiting range? Does the proliferation of talented Illinois girls mean little difference for that level?
One transfer I’m excited to see catch on at a new program is Timia Ware at Central Florida. An LSU transfer, Ware had plenty of buzz about her coming out of Whitney Young, and should be in a good spot to thrive quickly in the AAC.
Lewis University and Bradley have caught my attention with the recent in-state offers they’ve garnered.
Normal’s Olivia Corson led her team to be one of the last unbeaten teams in the state last season. The 2024 guard has been picking up D2/D3 offers this summer, and joins the likes of Anna Gilbertson (Lake Zurich), Meegan Fahy (Maine South) as others I’ve noticed starting to get notable offers. When Missouri S&T and McKendree start calling, that’s a good sign that players have high-level, bordering D1 potential.
SIUE also continues to get after in-state talent, offering the likes of Danyella Mporokoso (Waubonsie Valley), Olivia Austin (2024, Nazareth).
Mporokoso (2026) notably picked up offers from Northwestern and DePaul.
Was happy to read one particular commitment. Ohio University came to Illinois and made a strong move in grabbing up big forward Danielle Scully of Nazareth Academy (2024). Why am I excited for this particular commitment? Yours truly is an Ohio University graduate!
Coach Ed Stritzel told me this about Scully in fall 2021:
“She’s a big kid with a strong body,” Nazareth coach Ed Stritzel said. “She’s got a Division I body already, but she can handle it at guard. The problem other opposing coaches have, they put a big kid on her and she out-skills you. If you put a guard on her, she’s good at going to the post she can finish in the post. She can do so many things.”