Undefeated Ohio champs among early Summer Showcase registrations

ROCKFORD – Ohio’s mighty Moeller High School, with three of that state’s top recruits, is among the early registrations for the Chicagoland Summer Showcases presented by Rockford Public Schools in the final two weeks of June.

The Fighting Crusaders went 29-0 in 2018-2019, winning the OHSAA state title 52-44 over LeBron James’ alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary. Moeller will roll into Rockford with Max Land, Logan Duncomb and Will McCracken. According to OHHoops.org, Land is the No. 30 player in Ohio for the Class of 2020 and Duncomb and McCracken are the No. 4 and No. 12 players for the class of 2021.

The Chicagoland Summer Showcases I and II will take place in Rockford and Belvidere June 21-23 and June 28-30. The games will be played at Auburn, East, Guilford and Jefferson high schools, Rock Valley College and Belvidere North High School.

The Showcases are part of a new effort to lessen the role of shoe companies when it comes to college recruiting. At the end of June, NCAA Division 1 coaches can only evaluate high school players at events run by scholastic organizations featuring school-based teams.

A number of Midwestern cities are holding tournaments, but Rockford is the only one holding tournaments over both weekends and the only one with multi-state certification. That fact is drawing talent from far and wide.

Since being announced at the start of April, schools from five states, not including Illinois, have registered for either the first or the second weekend. The schools already coming to Rockford feature some top talent.

  • Centerville, Ohio, has Mo Njie, a 6-7 forward who already has scholarship offers from Dayton, Xavier, Providence and Virginia Commonwealth. The Elks, who went 23-6 last season, are playing in Rockford June 21-23.
  • Omaha Benson Magnet is signed up for June 21-23. The Mighty Bunnies’ top talent is Denim Johnson, one of Nebraska’s top 25 players for the class of 2021.
  • Omaha Central is signed up for the June 28-30 event. The Eagles, who went 22-6 last season, feature Faisaun Germany, also one of Nebraska’s top 25 players for the class of 2021.

The big story of the second weekend so far would have been the return of Donovan Williams. The Rockford native now plays for Lincoln North Star High School in Nebraska and cracked the ESPN Top 100 rankings for the country for the 2020. Unfortunately, Williams, who signed with the University of Nebraska, injured his knee and will miss his senior season in high school.

There’s still talent on the North Star roster. According to the Omaha World-Herald, teammate Kwat Abdelkarim will be the next big North Star recruit.

Among the Illinois schools already committed are Alton, Aurora Waubonsie Valley, Belleville Althoff Catholic, Galesburg, Huntley, Chicago Perspectives, Crystal Lake South, Dixon, Limestone, Lincoln Community, O’Fallon, Oswego East, Plainfield Central, Rock Island, Romeoville, Lake Zurich, Chicago Prosser, Chicago Crane and Providence St. Mel.

The out-of-town talent will be matching up with a strong group of Rockford players. Nine of the top 18 scorers in the NIC-10 will be back in 2019-2020 and all of them will be playing in at least one of the two tournaments.

  • East’s Sincere Parker led the NIC-10 in scoring at 18.8 points per game, powering the E-Rabs to fourth place in the IHSA Class 4A tournament. The 6-4 shooting guard already has scholarship offers from UW-Green Bay, Long Beach State, Illinois-Chicago and New Mexico. He was recently featured by the Chicago Sun-Times as one of eight players who soon will be getting a lot more recognition.
  • Auburn’s Josh Ausler averaged 15.6 points per game as a sophomore and is on pace to possibly break Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet’s all-time scoring record for Rockford Public Schools.
  • Boylan Catholic’s Johnny Close was sixth in the NIC-10 at 14.4 points per game and fourth in 3-pointers made. Close has drawn interest from Loyola Marymount, Lehigh and Northern Illinois, among others.
  • Jefferson’s backcourt of Latrell Graham and George Williams averaged 25 points per game between them. Graham, a sophomore, averaged 14, and Williams, the junior point guard who also is the school’s starting quarterback in football and top baseball player, averaged 11.
  • Belvidere North has its top two scorers back, John Carlson (11.9 points per game) and Anthony Espensen (10.0 points per game).
  • Guilford had its first winning season since 2007 and the Vikings’ top two players, Tyler Knuth (11.1 points per game) and Jack Holmstrom (10.9 points per game), who just signed with Monmouth University, will be back for their senior years.

The two events could draw more than 350 teams to Rockford. More information on the tournaments and how to register is found here: www.chicagolandsummershowcase.com.


Posted on 05.01.19