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Event Recap: Chicago Elite Classic

In the latest edition of ‘P.I. Pulse’, Alex Brown recaps some event standouts after attending the 11th annual Chicago Elite Classic, taking place at Credit Union 1 Arena on the west side of Chicago, Illinois.

With many of the top regional teams mixed in with a few national programs, the Chicago Elite Classic is a great opportunity to evaluate local talent matched up against national programs with different styles, schemes, approaches, and personnel.

Check out our 2021 Chicago Elite Classic recap here.

Event Standouts

Nyk Lewis

Guard | 6’0 | 2025 | Gonzaga College HS (DC)

Steve Turner’s squad came to Chicago with purpose, bringing home a commanding victory over a very solid St. Ignatius (IL) team while arguably playing the most aesthetically pleasing basketball of any team on the weekend. Leading the way was the electric sophomore guard, Nyk Lewis, one of the few underclassmen veterans of this event. After impressing Pro Insight last year by scoring 15 as a freshman at this event (along with a few steals and rebounds), Lewis went off for 24 points, creating halfcourt advantages at will within the scheme. With an airtight handle, constant pace changes, burst, and elite touch, Lewis was a nightmare for Ignatius as he constantly knifed through the lane in route to easy buckets for himself and teammates. Furthermore, Lewis is already excellent at manipulating and reading defenders in pick-and-roll, employing live dribble reads and an elite floater game as counters. The ability to be a downhill threat that can keep the defense guessing off the bounce with those counters is a coveted next level skillset, and really impressive for a high school sophomore. Additionally, his three-point shot looks clean and compact, as he knocked down a couple triples with comfort and without hesitation. Defensively, he plays with an edge and constant engagement, but doesn’t appear to have the best length along with relatively small hands. Overall, Lewis plays a far more poised and polished game than his underclassmen standing suggests, and is a name to track nationally for mid and high majors.

Thomas Batties II

Forward | 6’7” | 2023 | Gonzaga College HS (DC) | *Harvard commit

While Nyk Lewis’ polished downhill attack leads the way offensively for Gonzaga, Harvard commit Thomas Batties II shines brightly as a highly versatile two-way player alongside him. After immediately standing out last weekend as a modern 4 with a chiseled frame and huge hands, Batties only became more impressive as the game went on. While playing more of the 5 for Gonzaga due to the lacking size, Thomas dominated defensively with his switchability, rim protection, activity, motor, and BBIQ, blocking multiple shots and consistently making an impact each possession. On the offensive end, he added capable three-point shooting, aggressive and efficient finishing, as well as unselfish ball movement. His positive court presence, high motor, communication, intelligence, and team-first approach will be cherished at Harvard, and finding that in a two-way, true modern 4 archetype is a steal. It’s hard to not be bullish on his potential to thrive at Harvard, and it will be exciting to track his development.

Calvin Robins, Jr.

Forward | 6’5.5” | 2024 | Kenwood Academy (IL)

After wowing Pro Insight with his outlier athletic testing and mental approach at The Blueprint Combine in September, Calvin Robins showed up in a massive way when Kenwood sorely needed it. After being down 10 at the half and to a very talented Joliet West (IL) group, Robins went on to dominate the second half by scoring a team-high 21 points after being held scoreless before the break. Despite being just short of 6’6” as a 4, Calvin is an elite pogo stick athlete with the capability to explode from a standstill along with having a mind boggling second jump that allows him to play much bigger than his size. When pairing this outlier trait with a high motor, the results speak for themselves, infusing his team with energy. Usually, Robins functions as a play-finishing 4 with glue guy skills offensively while adding greater defensive versatility. Showing he is more than just a dunker, Robins scored in the mid-range with short jumpers and fades, keeping defenders from just playing him at the rim. He also really got it done from the free throw line as a result of his rim pressure off of cuts and dunker spot reps. Defensively, he is able to check guards and wings at the point of attack and adds the vertical play to really make an impressive impact on defensive rotations (as well as massive chase down blocks). Overall, the sky's the limit for Robins, who is on the right track to continue to gain national recognition as a prospect.

Sam Lewis

Wing | 6’6” | 2023 | Simeon (IL) | *Toledo commit

Appearing to be all of 6’6” and now fully healthy, Sam Lewis immediately stands out with his strong frame and impressive movement, but further distinguished himself with his steady, stoic, team-first approach in the dominating win over St. Rita (IL). One of the best long-term prospects in attendance, Lewis has a potential pass-dribble-shoot skillset with the capacity to knock down open threes, attack the rim off the bounce, and move the ball where it needs to go. Not only that, he is a heady, intelligent player who can make quick decisions with the ball, almost always making the right basketball play. Furthermore, Lewis is adept at owning his space as a slasher and playing off two feet, appearing extremely steady and under control at all times. Naturally, he is talented and skilled enough to do even more for this team, but he consistently finds a way to impact winning on nearly every possession without needing to self-create. Defensively, Lewis gets after it on the glass and in the passing lanes, racking up deflections, blocks, and steals, even further cementing his value. Overall, Lewis is a versatile glue guy with pass-dribble-shoot chops and defensive versatility, the blueprint for a modern supporting wing. The level of shooter he can reasonably become will ultimately be a key factor in determining his ceiling, but Toledo got a stud of a player, and Pro Insight will be tracking his development very closely.

Wesley Rubin

Forward | 6’7” | 2023 | Simeon (IL) | *Northern Iowa commit

Overall, this may have been the quintessential Wesley Rubin performance, and perhaps the most focused and engaged he’s been in the last year. At around 6’7”, Rubin started by burying multiple threes with no hesitation, and then further augmented his impact by controlling the glass, moving the ball, and finishing around the rim in transition and from the dunker spot. He showed what makes him an intriguing modern 4/big wing bet at the college level, and he did it with the competitive switch turned on at the level that it needs to be to have a highly successful college career. Admittedly, this was the Wes Rubin that Pro Insight had been waiting to see, and ideally he will continue to build on this performance moving forward this season and keep this competitiveness and engagement in the right place.

Niko Abusara

Guard | 6’5” | 2023 | Benet (IL)

An interesting facilitator prospect at 6’5” who is generating a lot of Ivy League interest, Niko Abusara had a really impressive outing in a win over a talented Riverside Brookfield (IL) team. The most impressive part of his game is the offensive feel and facilitating, as he plays with a great pace and awareness overall. This Benet group does an excellent job of moving the ball, cutting, and finding shooters, and Abusara is a major part of that with his vision and BBIQ. Additionally, while he has a unique jumper with a hitch, Abusara made some from outside with a couple early threes to get his squad rolling. Even better, he balances his offensive skillset with a strong defensive IQ and feel overall, as well as the physical tools to be impactful off the ball. There is a lot to like here for an Ivy League team, and Abusara is looking like a great potential fit.

Jalen Griffith

Guard | 5’9” | 2023 | Simeon (IL)

An unsigned senior, Griffith is still playing with something to prove. Despite lacking positional size, there are few who can match his pace manipulation, handle, and feel. Griffith has the capacity to get into the paint at will, generating volume paint touches that result in open shots for teammates or crafty layups for himself. To complement this, he has a pure perimeter stroke and knocked down multiple range jumpers on the way to scoring 24 against St. Rita (IL). His ability to find his spots seemingly at will while creating defensive breakdowns will make him incredibly valuable at the next level. On the other end, Griffith embodies the Chicago defensive approach, playing with admirable toughness, engagement, and truly being a pest. Overall, Griffith wins Simeon games, and has a chance to be impactful at the next level regardless of his size.

Additional Musings

Daniel Johnson is one of the more interesting available seniors in Chicago, and performed well against National Christian (MD). Whitney Young (IL) doesn’t have a true big, and plays him more as a versatile 4 that can take perimeter shots, excel in transition, generate events defensively, and make a larger impact on the glass than you’d expect. More than just a shot taker, Johnson is the type of player that can pick it up in other little areas to augment his value. Johnson will try to fill that wing mold at the collegiate level, and with his mid-range prowess and three-point shooting volume, he is an interesting bet to do so successfully.

Kennard Davis, Jr. is looking to be a really nice pickup for SIU, as the STL native was simply dominant vs. Curie (IL). Along with scoring at will around the rim on strong drives, Davis continued to exemplify a true havoc defender. He generated deflections, blocks, and steals with ease due to his activity, motor, and defensive versatility, and was a major part of why Vashon (MO) held a tough Curie team to only 3 first quarter points and a measly 36 overall. He is a competitive defensive force that should see the court early in the MVC.

Dalen Davis and Antonio Munoz were relatively quiet for Whitney Young, that is, until Davis hit a game-winning put-back to seal another win at the buzzer. Davis is a winner and will do very well at Princeton, and while Young didn’t get a massive game from him the value is still prevalent. Munoz has freakish athleticism and tools for a 2025, but struggled to find consistent playing time due to fouling and overall processing, two areas that will need to have developmental emphasis. He made some big time plays when he had the chance, with some critical steals and transition flushes. One to monitor closely, nonetheless.

Aleks Alston secured a spot in the starting lineup as a 6’8” perimeter-oriented sophomore, and played his role well. He buried a movement 3 and moved the ball off a live dribble and from a standstill in his usual and unique style. He looked poised and brought a team-first attitude, and has one of the highest ceilings of the 2025s in Illinois. While Kenwood isn’t asking him to produce at a high level yet due to their loaded roster, it was great to see Alston add value as a glue guy in this setting.

Miles Rubin struggled with foul trouble (a common theme throughout the CEC), but still showed the baseline elite skill that will make him extremely valuable to Loyola Chicago right away: rim protection. Miles had arguably the best rim protection instincts in the area, and constantly alters shots with his length and anticipation. While this wasn’t a standout performance from him, there is a lot to like moving forward.

Jeremy Fears Jr. and Dai Dai Ames both led their teams well and had quite a competitive battle going. Both got into foul trouble and received technical fouls, but it felt like the game was called way too tightly on them compared to the field, especially on such a stage. We would have liked to see them have more freedom to compete as the two most renowned senior guards in the state, but there is no denying the skill, leadership, and grit of two of the Chicago area’s finest guards. Fears finished with 16 points, 5 boards, and 5 assists, and Ames finished with 12 points after dropping 30 at this event last year.

Jeremiah Fears loved the big stage and looked right at home under the spotlight of a packed arena, scoring a team-high 17 points and grabbing a few boards for Joliet West (IL). One of the most promising scorers and ball handlers in the Midwest and only a sophomore, Fears more than held his own against a very good Kenwood squad, gaining valuable experience in big games against ultra-competitive, experienced opponents.

UNCW commit Matt Moore had arguably his best game of the season thus far, playing far more disciplined and focused when his squad really needed it from him. This was great to see on such a stage, and he finished with a double-double (13 points, 10 boards), also adding 3 blocks. He got some work done on the perimeter, stretching the floor at the highest in-game level seen from him thus far (prevalent in practice, however). Overall, the most valuable development was how Moore defended without fouling against Kenwood’s size and physicality, a key area that needs to continue to grow throughout the season.

Shaheed Soledo and Dalton Scantlebury, two names to track for Lane Tech (IL), both had impressive outings while flashing really positive baseline skillsets. Soledo, a junior, is a mid-major target — he flashed some playmaking off a live dribble and off jump passes, and has solid movement skills and finishing prowess. He turned it over a bit, but in general was a positive catalyst for Lane. Scantlebury was an intriguing 2025 big with great hands and touch at the free throw line, consistently making positive plays, protecting the rim, and hustling. Names to track in their respective classes.

Fenwick (IL) sophomore guard Ty Macariola was a surprise in Pro Insight’s first viewing of him, playing with incredible confidence, toughness, and competitive spirit. At 6’1”, he was an absolute bulldog that got it done as a slasher and a range shooter, making multiple huge plays down the stretch to secure the win. Macariola doesn’t appear to have a lot of physical growth left in him, but is a player to track for small colleges due to the toughness and approach.

Tyler Smith, the Leo (IL) transfer, was an x-factor for Kenwood alongside Calvin Robins, Jr., and knocked down multiple three-point shots and got to the line, scoring 18 while adding passing and defensive event generation with a few steals — an impressive outing for a quality role player.


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