Commitments: Brandon Hall to ETSU and Trayton Trice to Lindenwood
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.
“The campus is big and beautiful,” Trice said. “It’s a great community. I met all of the coaching staff and players, and it felt like being around family. It’s a great environment to be around. I sat down and got to watch the practice and see how they play and how I fit in. I loved coach (Kyle Gerdeman’s) system, and I could definitely see myself fitting right in. I then got to sit down with coach Gerdemen and we had a great conversation. He told me that he makes sure all his players graduate and they’re big on the education part. My main goal is to graduate and get my degree, so it just all clicked together it was overall a great visit.”
The class of 2021 forward, who plays primarily in the post for the Spartans, worked on his body this past offseason, dropping between 25 and 30 pounds and “turned it all into muscle,” according to Howard. The physical transformation was intended to spur the transition to becoming a more versatile wing player in college.
“I dropped a lot of weight, gotten faster and stronger, more explosive,” Trice said. ‘Started running the track, helped a lot with endurance and strengthened my legs. I been in the gym with my trainer working on ball handling. He helped me improve a lot on my ball handling, and I’m more aggressive getting to the basketball with my left hand.”
Trice and the Spartans have won 16 games each of the last two years. Romeoville was set to be without 2020 graduates Destin Whitaker (now a freshman at Fresno State) and Keedan Foster, the top scorers for Romeoville last season at about 20 and 14 points per game respectively.
As a junior, Trice scored 9.7 points and grabbed 6.1 rebounds per game. Howard calls Trice a “lonely giant,” saying he is all business on the court, but laid back and genial around teammates and friends off the court.
“A lot more bounce,” Howard said of Trice’s offseason growth. “He’s always had a good touch from the perimeter. He can shoot the three for a kid that’s played predominantly played a 4 or 5. He’s working to turn himself into more of a 3-4 at the college level. He has a good IQ and picks up offensive structure and defensive principles really well.”
Even before getting to St. Charles, Trice said he wants to finish his senior year with all A’s and B’s in his classes, and especially wants to win a regional championship if the season becomes unpaused.
“We’ve got some good talent and have a lot of good seniors,” Trice said. “We’ve got some talented upperclassmen and the (fall) practices we did have were good. We do a lot of defense so everyone (had) a big improvement from last year’s team to this year’s team. So if we do have a season, it’s gonna be great season for us.”
Hall brings high-level skills to ETSU
Thornton boys basketball coach Tai Streets, a former collegiate All-American and NFL starter in his own right, found himself wowed by Brandon Hall from the first time he saw the guard walk into the gym as a freshman.
While Hall was already a big guard early in high school — he’s now 6-4 — Streets found himself highly impressed with the young guard’s decision-making abilities, athleticism and skill.
“He could handle the ball and his decision-making — he can make everyone better,” Streets said. “Now he’s starting to dunk the ball on other people and all that other stuff. It’s just the ability, the natural ability, and as the years have gone on, every year he’s getting better and better… he’s becoming more of a leader.”
Now an East Tennessee State commit, Hall — a key piece of a Thornton team that went 32-1 last season — is putting it all together.
Hall was paired with a class 4A third team all-state performer in DJ Williams last season for the Wildcats, whose only loss came to a Bloom squad with five D1 starters who’d they’d already beaten, before COVID cut short their season in the postseason. Even next to someone of Williams’ skill-set, Hall averaged 18 points and nine rebounds per game.
“We weren’t the biggest team in the world, but we (mixed) and match[ed], and Brandon has to sometimes play bigs sometimes,” Streets said. “We’re very versatile though.”
Streets said that while Hall is excited to play at ETSU, which won 130 games over the past five season, Hall expected to be recruited by even bigger programs. Streets says Buccaneers fans should expect to root for a player with a chip on his shoulder.
“His versatility and his competitiveness, he’ll fit right in with those guys,” Streets said.
Corro set for Bourbonnais
Saint Patrick 2021 point guard Caleb Corro will take his skills to Olivet Nazarene.
A change-of-pace guard with a fearless knack for attacking the rim and a consistent shooting release, Corro also shows pizzazz with his passing ability while on the drive.
Corro was an all-East Surburban Catholic performer for the 23-8 Shamrocks. He heads to an already-successful Olivet Nazarene program that recently landed the commitment of Roanoke-Benson’s Luke Braman.