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2015 Illinois Celtics Close Out Strong Year

August 16th, 2012
Chicago Hoops - Recruiting
by Scott Burgess, Friday, 8/10/12


The Illinois Celtics 15U team had a very successful run this spring and summer amassing a 42-9 overall record and four championships.  In July, they went 21-3 in front of college coaches.

There are several players on this team that I have been a fan of for a while, including  Chicago Whitney Young small forward Joseph Toye. The rising sophomore is a freak athlete with a physical body that attacks the rim strong off the bounce with great handles. He continues to improve his skill level every time I see him. Big time potential!

Another player that has really stood out is Plainfield East shooting guard Aaron Jordan. He is a smooth scorer that makes it look effortless on the perimeter. Jordan has an excellent jump shot along with a high basketball IQ. He has the upside to be a tremendous scorer.

Their 7’0” center Tyler Jackson of Nazareth Academy has struggled with his coordination in the past due to a huge growth spurt. He is showing improvement in this area as he is running the floor better. Jackson has a soft touch around the hoop, can hit a 15-footer, and has a great feel for offensive rebounding.

The player that gets over looked on the Celtics is their point guard Alex Edwards. He is a pass-first point guard that is quick and shifty. Edwards gets everyone involved and knows how to run a team. The Nazareth Academy sophomore got major run as a freshman and will see an even bigger role this year.

Myles Carter from Chicago St. Rita is one of my favorite big men in 2015. He is a good athlete that rebounds and plays defense. His offensive game is just reaching where his potential could be down the road.

The bulldog of this team is Dana Hawkins. The Oak Park-River Forest sophomore is a physical guard that has the heart of a lion. He sticks his nose in to rebound and loves to play defense.

Jackson and Jordan will be visiting Purdue on August 25th. Toye recently visited DePaul.




Illinois prospects

March 12th, 2012

The 2011 Fab Frosh Camp was the first opportunity for InsideIllini to take a look at many of the top prospects in 2015 in Illinois and nationally. The event brought major talent to Atlanta, and they performed over three days of competitive basketball. Check out our scouting report on the future of basketball.

Illinois prospects

Prentiss Nixon, 6’-0”, shooting guard (Illinois Celtics – Will Attend Bolingbrook High School)
Nixon established himself as the top prospect at the event from Illinois. He has the skill set of a young Bradley

Beal with his combination perimeter shooting and ability to attack off the bounce.

He is a deadly shooter with a smooth stroke. One game, he knocked down three in a row from behind the three point arc. Nixon attacks his man off the dribble and is smooth with the ball in his hands. He pushes the ball hard up the court in transition and can finish on the wing.

Nixon has the tools and length to be a good defender and showed that with a block where he ran down the defender and swatted the ball away. I was extremely impressed with Nixon and believe he has huge upside.

Charles Matthews, 6’-2”, shooting guard (Ferrari – Will Attend Whitney Young High School) Matthews, the younger brother of St. Rita point guard Dominique Matthews, established himself as one of the top 2015 prospects in Illinois. He has a thin body, but it is toned. He is a big-time scorer who is extremely smooth with the ball in his hands.

Matthews can both handle and finish with either hand. He has a nice mid-range jump shot but is at his best attacking the hoop strong. He gets in the lane at will and finishes in the paint. He has an explosive ability to finish in transition.

He definitely has a scorer’s mentality. Matthews could look to be more of a facilitator at times. Matthews will be a contributor for Whitney Young next year.

Joffrey Brown, 6’-1”, shooting guard (Ferrari – Will Attend St. Joseph’s High School)
Brown is a scorer, and he likes getting to the hoop. He is extremely aggressive and smooth with the ball in his hands. One problem, when looking to score, he puts his head down and bullies his way to the hoop without looking to see what defenders he is drawing for drive and kick opportunities.

His mid-range jump shot is solid, and he has the potential to be a good shooter. He reminded me
of a young Wayne Blackshear. At St. Joe’s, he will learn to be a complete player under Gene Pingatore and should be considered among the top 5 prospects in his class in the early stages. He has already been on the Illini campus multiple times.

Tyler Jackson, 6’-10”, center (Illinois Celtics – Will Attend Nazareth Academy)
Jackson was the prospect who had garnered the most hype from an Illinois perspective. The big man has been ranked among the best prospects in his class for awhile and was considered the headliner of this class.

He had the most physical body of any prospect at the camp. The first thing that stands out with Jackson was the way he runs. Quite frankly, it is painful to watch Jackson run the floor. His knees bang against each other, and he is slow down the floor.

This along with his lack of vertical is caused by him growing from 5’-5” to 6’-10” in four years. Doctors say he lacks calcium in his lower body, but they believe this will be cured later on in his career, once he grows into his body. They also say he could grow to 7’-2”.

Jackson is very skilled and has a soft touch around the hoop. He is the master of tip-ins and has a knack for knowing where the ball is going to come off the hoop. He was one of the top offensive rebounders in Atlanta.
Once he gets deep post position, he is a good scorer and shows nice but slow footwork. Jackson can also step out to hit a 15 foot jump shot. Later in the camp, he was doubled in the post, which was against the rules.

His skill set is actually very good for a big man. Many will not overlook his running, but scouts and college coaches see the skill set and potential Jackson possesses.

Julian Torres, 6’-8”, center (Illinois Celtics – Will Attend Bolingbrook High School)
Torres is an extremely big and thick post player who uses his body to his advantage. He backs his man down in the post to establish position at the block. Torres rebounds at a good level and is a tough man to move when he is on defense.

He needs to improve his hands and conditioning to reach his ultimate potential. Torres is quite a baseball prospect as well. Notre Dame has already talked to him about that sport.

Aaron Jordan, 5’-11”, combo guard, (Illinois Celtics – Will Attend Plainfield East High School) Jordan is a solid guard who got in the lane well and scored at the camp. He is a tough on-ball defender. Jordan is a nice complementary player who could develop into more as his high school
career progresses.

Glynn Watson, 5’-9”, point guard, (Illinois Celtics – Will Attend St. Joseph’s High School) Watson is the younger brother of former Illinois point guard Demetri McCamey . He is a good player and is at his best when shooting

the ball. His set shot has nice form and is pure.

Jeremiah Ferguson, 5’-10”, point guard (Will Attend Wheaton Academy)
Ferguson is a quick and shifty lead guard. He has nice vision and made several great lead passes in transition. I was impressed with what he did defensively. Ferguson is a pesky on-ball defender who gets steals while using his quick hands.

Alex Edwards, 5’-8”, point guard (Illinois Celtics – Will Attend Nazareth Academey)
Edwards is a lefty who is slick with the ball in his hands. He is smart and shows excellent leadership from the point guard position at a young age. He will be teaming with AAU teammate Tyler Jackson at Nazareth Academy next season. He has the potential to continue to raise his stock.

Dana Hawkins, 5’-9”, point guard (Illinois Celtics)
Hawkins is a strong and compact guard with potential to be a nice player down the road. His strength allows him to overpower thinner defenders and get in the lane.

National Prospects
Mickey Mitchell, 6’-7”, small forward (Texas Titans)
Going into this camp, I knew nothing about any of the prospects. Mitchell played in the first game I witnessed on Friday, and my jaw dropped! His passing is insanely flashy, but he does not turn over the ball as much as you would think considering the high-risk nature of his passes.

He sees the floor phenomenally and is one step ahead of the defense. Mitchell handles the ball excellently and is especially smooth in transition. In the Top 20 All-Star Game he crossed over his defender before half court, and the defender fell to the ground.

He gets into the lane with ease and finishes great through contact. Mitchell absorbs the bump and throws the ball up toward the hoop like he knows it is going in. His perimeter shot is also well above average despite a slightly awkward release. His range reaches out to well beyond the three point line.

He is a highly intelligent player who makes the game look easy. He is one of the top five players in the class of 2015 nationally. High majors across the country are already sending him mail. He is rumored to be an even better football prospect, with Texas already inquiring about the incoming freshman quarterback.

Skal Labissiere, 6’-9”, power forward (Memphis War Eagles)
This young man was named prospect of the camp, and his personal story might be even more phenomenal than his game. He is originally from Haiti and almost died in the earthquake.

In Atlanta, Labissiere established himself among the elite prospects in the nation! He is a long and bouncy athlete with a high skill level. His footwork in the post is phenomenal, as he looks like a pro right now in that phase.

He has several effective post moves, but his best is the jump hook. He has a soft touch around the hoop but can also throw it down with power when needed. His length helps him rebound at a high level.

Labissiere runs the floor smoothly and gets rewarded with easy buckets. He is a shot blocking machine! He does it when guarding his man, coming from weak side, in transition, and even had several two handed volleyball blocks. Quite simply he is special, and with added weight and continued development, he should be toward the top of his class.

King McClure, 6’-3”, combo guard (Triple A Stallions)
McClure has great size and strength for the guard position. He can play and defend either guard spot because of his physical tools and high level of athleticism. McClure is an explosive passer who sees the floor and delivers a pass in the blink of an eye. He had several drives into the lane where he made no look passes for assists.

His speed with the ball and ability to slice through the defense are phenomenal for such a young guard. When attacking the hoop, he gets to the line at a high rate. Although he had many impressive plays throughout the weekend, his most impressive was when he blocked a shot to himself, drove through the defense, and pulled up quickly for a nothing-but-net three pointer.

McClure established himself as one of the top backcourt prospects in the nation.

Semir Sehic, 6’-7”, power forward (Texas Titans)
Quite simply, Sehic was the best rebounder at the camp! He dominated the glass throughout the camp and prided himself on getting every rebound. Sehic rebounded at a high rate by using great fundamental boxing-out principles and understanding where the ball was coming off the hoop.

He is a good scorer from the block, and his go-to move is a face-up jumper. His footwork out of the high post is effective, and he has great mobility. He is a shot blocker and a solid defensive presence. Sehic looks like a center in the model of Cole Aldrich.

Matty O’Reilly, 6’-2”, shooting guard (Oakland Soldiers)
O’Reilly was the best shooter at the camp! He is absolutely money from three point range. He can hit shots off the bounce, coming off screens, and in catch-and-shoot situations. He is one of the best young shooters I have seen in a long time.

In the top 20 game, he nailed several threes including one that made me throw my notebook in the air! He is active in other areas of the game and plays extremely hard. O’Reilly makes the little plays that help a team win.

He has a very bright future ahead of him.

Daniel Giddens, 6’-9”, power forward (World Wide)
Giddens is a thin post player who is athletic and quick off the floor, which helps him rebound well. The power forward has a high skill set and shows nice moves out of the post. His face-up game is effective out to 15-feet, including a nice jump shot. Giddens is the type of athletic post that college coaches love recruiting.

A.J. Harris, 5’-10”, point guard (Cincinnati Knights)
Harris was the best point guard at the camp. He is a floor general who sees the floor and finds open teammates. His passing ability and vision is very good at his age.
Harris stands out with his trademark goggles, but his game is what really jumps off the floor. He can also look to score the ball when needed and has a good pull-up jump shot. On one play, he grabbed a tough board, drove the ball hard at the defense and pulled up for a mid-range jump shot.

All this said, Harris really stands out on defense. He is a great on-ball defender and creates turnovers for his team to get out in transition. Harris is one of the early favorites for top point guard in his class.

Jesse Pistokache, 6’-3”, shooting guard (Texas Titans)
This shooting guard really impressed me with his ability to score. He has smooth handles and gets to the hoop with ease. He has the potential to be a big-time scorer in high school and beyond.

Alanzo Trier, 6’-1”, shooting guard (Athletes First)
Trier is a solid player who knows how to score. His ball handling is solid, and he is a nice passer. The young man’s highlight of the week was hitting a game-winning shot to give his team its first win of the week.

Perry Dozier, 6’-1”, shooting guard (Colombia Slammers)
Dozier has a sweet looking perimeter jumper. The thin guard’s best attribute is his passing ability. His feel for the game is great, and his vision is remarkable.

DeAndre Nathaniel, 6’-2”, shooting guard (Colombia Slammers) Nathaniel was all over the court in the games I watched him play. He is active on both ends of the floor, especially on defense where he comes up with steals.

His perimeter shot was on, and he is a good ball handler. He’s a great glue guy who could develop into more. One of my favorite guys to watch.

V.J. King, 6’-5”, small forward (Charlotte Royals)
King was one of only two rising 8th graders invited to the camp. He is legit for sure! He is a small forward who attacks the hoop hard and is an electric passer. His jump shot is feathery. He was one of the top players at the event regardless of class.

Trae Magwood, 6’-4”, small forward
Magwood has great size and length for the small forward position. His perimeter shooting ability is what stands out. He has a good release and consistently knocks down shots. Magwood runs the floor hard and is an athletic finisher. On the defensive end, he can block shots every now and then. He is someone to watch down the road.

Noah Dickerson, 6’-6”, power forward (Georgia Press)
Dickerson has a thick and physical body. He has nice footwork and gets to the line. The big man is very active around the hoop and rebounds well in his area. Dickerson runs the floor and loves finishing at the other end. If he continues to grow, he could be a big-time prospect.

Zac Baxter, 6’-2”, shooting guard (Central KY Tigers)
Baxter makes shots from all over the court. He is most effective in catch-and-shoot situations from three point land. He can also score off the bounce and finish with mid-range jumpers. He has a good level of athleticism and is a sick ball handler in tight spaces. Baxter has a nice feel for the game and is a good passer.
Will Jackson, 6’-3”, shooting guard (WorldWide) Jackson is a big-time athlete who is smooth with the ball in his hands. His best attribute is his perimeter shooting. I am a fan of Jackson’s upside.

Chandler White, 6’-1”, shooting guard (Indiana Elite)
White consistently did the little things well throughout the weekend. He is a smooth ball handler and good getting in the lane. He reminded me a little of 2011 Marquette commit Juan Anderson. He is the type of player every team needs.

Sedrick Barefield, 5’-11”, shooting guard (Dream Vision)
Barefield showed throughout the weekend he could score the ball with his quickness off the bounce, as well as a nice pull-up jumper. His shot has solid mechanics. He has the ability to find open teammates as well. I really like what he brings to the table.

Taron Oliver, 6’-8”, power forward (Team Takeover)
Hogg has great size, and he can really shoot the ball from the perimeter. His length helps him deflect passes, and he has all the tools to be a great defender.

Andrew Dotson, 6’-0”, shooting guard (Dallas Showtyme) Dotson is a fundamentally sound player who showed good leadership throughout the week. He can stroke it from deep and at times can score off the bounce. His feel for the game is good, and he passes well.

Taron Oliver, 6’-8”, power forward (Team Takeover)
Oliver is a big and physical power forward who is effective scoring on the block. He uses his body well and is not afraid of contact. He had several and-1’s throughout the week.

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