In the latest edition of ‘P.I. Pulse’, PD Web and Alex Brown recap a stacked weekend of high school hoops after spending the weekend in Chicago, Illinois attending the 10th annual Chicago Elite Classic:
Kenwood Academy (IL) | Guard | 2023
Darrin Ames had an excellent showing for Kenwood, scoring a team high 30 points (11/16 FG) and hitting 7 of his 9 three-point attempts. The junior guard has a lethal lefty jumper off the catch and off the dribble, along with some interesting change-of-pace flashes as a creator. He also added 4 steals and 3 assists, while only turning the ball over once. It is no surprise that the confidence and shotmaking of Ames has led to a ton of high major interest, already holding offers from major Big Ten programs such as Illinois, Maryland, and Michigan State.
Whitney Young (IL) | Forward | 2022 | Northern Illinois commit
Whitney Young was struggling early with AJ Casey unable to get it going, and it was Xavier Amos who kept them somewhat in the game. Amos is a slashing, herky-jerky forward that makes stuff happen on the offensive end, and was virtually unstoppable attacking the rim. Amos finished with a game-high 28 points on a very impressive 14/19 shooting, and if he can develop a serviceable outside game or add another complementary tool to his attack (such as leveraging his slashing gravity as a playmaker), he could be a very interesting player to track and potential steal for NIU.
Mater Dei (CA) | Forward | 2023
Simeon was in the driver’s seat for most of the game, but each time the hometown Chicago squad looked to pull away, Zack Davidson would find another bucket and keep MD within striking distance. Production is the name of the game with Davidson, who posted a game-high 25 points as well as 10 rebounds on well-timed cuts, crafty finishes, a big effort on the offensive glass, in addition to showing a soft touch further away from the rim. As we project Davidson to the next level, he could develop into a more of a combo forward or a straight 4, which will depend on his comfort sliding his feet in big space defensively and his shooting volume from 3, offensively. The shot has a high release point and looks to be a reliable weapon going forward, but Davidson only got up two attempts on a night where Mater Dei needed a spacer to add a different dimension to a struggling halfcourt offense.
Vashon (MO) | Forward | 2023
Kennard Davis was a 6’6"-ish whirling dervish for Vashon: a multi-positional defender with 2 blocks, 5 steals, at least a dozen deflections, high leverage rotations, mixing it up for loose balls, dunks, contagious energy, you name it. A separator between a player like Davis and other wings of his archetype is his offensive poise in high leverage situations. Vashon was able to short-roll Davis into the teeth of the defense and he repeatedly picked out the right read at his own tempo. Due to the athletic slashing ability, Davis gets played off of and the five attempts he took were all the correct decision for the situation, with no hesitation to shoot. The form has a bit of elbow flare with a corresponding hand alignment, but has a much cleaner release than even four months ago.
Gonzaga College (DC) | Guard | 2022 | George Mason commit
As a sub 6-foot guard, Dinkins’ best trait is that point of attack defenders cannot seem to time up his shifty handle or get him out of his comfort zone. At CEC, Dinkins lived in and around the paint, leveraging multiple advanced moves in a combo at different tempos, with the finishing package to convert on advantage. Whitney Young never quite found an adjustment that the senior guard didn’t have a solution for; he used the floater against drop, hit off-the-dribble jumpers against unders (2-5 3PA), created contact for free throws (6-6 FTs) and picked out timely passes when the defenders rotated to stop penetration (5 assists to 2 TOs). The intangibles were similarly impressive: Dinkins is a great communicator, on top of his team-running and leadership duties from tip-off to final buzzer.
Gonzaga College (DC) | Guard/Wing | 2025
Watching Nyk Lewis, there isn’t much that screams “freshman.” The 6-foot guard plays with a composure that is striking for a class of 2025 player who is just getting his high school career started. The stat line only shows 1 assist, but the passing patience and comfort in an interchangeable multi-guard front is best represented by 0 turnovers in 20 minutes played. Lewis filled out a robust stat sheet: 15 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 1/3 from 3 and 4/5 from the stripe. Lewis is seemingly the next in line of heady WCAC point guards who are able to contribute to winning basketball on day one, possessing the poise to play their game against a stacked conference, as well as a national schedule.
Oak Park (IL) | Guard/Wing | 2023
Lewis is one of the more improved prospects during this early HS basketball season. The lanky junior made a huge impact on both ends of the floor, posting a game-high 21 points to go with 13 rebounds and 3 steals in the raucous environment that was the Oak Park vs. Fenwick game. At 6’5, Lewis possesses an interesting blend of shot-making, vertical athleticism and slinky moves to create space. He had as impressive of a three-play sequence in the third quarter as any player had in the CEC: a step-back 3, pinning a layup attempt and then throwing a perfect skip pass against full court pressure to create an Oak Park transition opportunity. Judging from the prior EYBL 16u games that we’ve seen from Lewis, he is clearly a better shooter than the 1/5 from 3 he showed on this night, but there is a streakiness in his jumper that may be the determining factor of his college level.
Kenwood Academy (IL) | Forward | 2023
Davius Loury impressed with his floor stretching and smooth mechanics at 6’7”, hitting 4 of his 8 three-point shots and scoring 20 points at CEC. Loury showcased a smooth floater and some serviceable open court handling, as well. Although he did struggle with foul trouble, only playing 17 minutes, Loury had moments that made a clear impact on the defensive end. He grabbed a couple steals, wasn’t afraid to be physical on the ball, and displayed the fluidity and athletic tools to be worth investing in his defensive development further. If he can continue to improve his ancillary skills, he should be an exciting pickup for a high major team.
Vashon (MO) | Wing | 2023
Jayden Nicholson was one of the more impressive wings in attendance, and showed his ability to impact the game in a variety of ways. Finishing with 18 points on 7/12 shooting (1/3 from deep) along with 4 assists, Nicholson played an efficient, unselfish game within the flow of the offense. He was able to make plays for others as a slasher by using his physicality, patience, and athleticism to occupy multiple defenders and capitalize. He looked very poised when pressured as the ball handler, which was rather impressive for a wing handler at this stage. He was also a force on the offensive glass, using his strength, timing and positioning to secure 6 offensive rebounds. Defensively, his size, mobility, and strength allowed him to be an impactful on ball defender as well as an impactful stunter.
Damion Porter, Jr.
Fenwick (IL) | Guard | 2025
Friday just wasn’t Fenwick’s day: turnover issues, shooting 0-10 from 3 and 6-20 from the free throw line ended up being too much against a talented OPRF team. The final margin was 14, but that’s a deceptive total that doesn’t represent the seesaw feel of the tilt. Fenwick, with it’s roster filled with underclassmen, battled until the end in a rivalry game on a college court in a rowdy environment. That bodes well for what’s next in Fenwick’s future, especially with freshman Damion Porter, Jr. in the fold. The stat line was a mixed bag, but the 6’3” guard with a well-built frame and long arms brought an aggressive mentality that bodes well for the coming seasons. Porter is one to keep checking on as he gets his feet wet and the season progresses. The long term development could really take off if he grows to the size of a wing. It’s worth noting that Porter holds an early offer from George Mason.
Thornton Township (IL) | Guard | 2023
Scoring a career-high 19 points off the bench, Vincent Rainey had a terrific showing for Thornton alongside Illinois commit Ty Rodgers. Rainey lit it up from deep, showcasing his confidence and touch from range. He did a great job of capitalizing on the playmaking and gravity that Rodgers brought to the game, and was the x-factor in getting Thornton the win against a very talented young group for St. Rita. The 5’10” guard impressed those in attendance by showing up when the lights were bright.
St. Rita (IL) | Guard | 2024
With Ty Rodgers making life difficult for the twin towers of St. Rita, it was Jaedin Reyna who stepped up to fill the scoring void. Reyna got hot from the perimeter and from mid-range, scoring 17 points in the loss. Reyna plays with an intriguing change of pace and the ability to go on a scoring rampage with his jumper off the catch or dribble. If he can continue to improve on his flashes as a playmaker over the next couple years, Reyna’s dynamic offensive attack is sure to win him plenty of high major interest.
Thornton Township (IL) | Forward | 2022 | Illinois commit
With Thornton using Rodgers as a point forward and positionless (1-5 switchable) defender, the senior’s full arsenal was put on display at CEC. With his strong frame, excellent mobility, and defensive motor, he was able to blow up plays on defense and heavily mitigate the budding interior creation of the St. Rita bigs (including fellow Illinois commit Morez Johnson from the class of 2024). Offensively, Rodgers did a solid job of creating for others and finding his spots on the interior, using his superior athleticism and physicality. The outside shot is still not a part of his game, but the toughness, playmaking, and defensive versatility that Ty Rodgers brings to the table should make Coach Brad Underwood and the Illini fans very pleased.