Toledo Continues To Reel In Chicago Area Recruits/Negron Opts For Missouri Valley

By Roy & Harv Schmidt

October 18, 2016

7:00 P.M. CST

Once again, let the record show--no other head coach of any mid-major basketball program in the country has recruited the Chicago area as well as Tod Kowalczyk at Toledo.  Simply put, the proof is in the pudding and the bottom line is that the list of Windy City recruits who have pledged to the Rockets continues to grow.

Toledo's latest commitment comes from 6'4 2017 2-guard Dwayne Rose of Crete-Monee High School in University Park, IL.  Rose announced his decision earlier this evening via Twitter and chose the Rockets over offers from UIC, IUPUI, Buffalo, Ball State and Western Illinois.

Rose comes from outstanding blood lines,as he is Derrick Rose's nephew.  And while Dwayne doesn't possess anywhere near Derrick's overall level of ability, there are some similarities in terms of style.  The biggest factor behind him opting for Toledo was that he felt it is the best fit for him in terms of being able to continue to develop in addition to being surrounded by players and a staff with which he is most comfortable.

The best way to describe Rose is that he is a player with "untapped" potential.  He has shown that he has scoring ability and that he can handle the ball reasonably well.  Rose now must work on improving his overall decision-making, including exercising better shot selection, avoiding foul trouble and playing with a greater level of intensity.   

In addition to Kowalczyk, assistant coaches Jason Kalsow and Jeff Massey were both instrumental in Rose's recruitment.  Both developed a strong relationship with Rose and his family throughout the process and let it be known that he was a top priority.

Rose becomes the third commitment in the 2017 class for Kowalczyk and the Rockets, joining 6'0 point guard Marreon Jackson from Cleveland and 6'7 wing forward Logan Hill from Massillon, OH.  He is also the fifth Chicago area recruit to commit to Toledo in the last three years.  The current Rockets roster includes 6'8 senior forward Steve Taylor from Simeon Career Academy in Chicago, 6'9 forward Taylor Adway from Hillcrest High School in Country Club Hills, IL and 6'7 sophomore forward Nate Navigato from Geneva High School in Geneva, IL.

Meanwhile, 6'6 2017 wing forward Christian Negron of Elgin Larkin High School in Elgin, IL ended his recruitment tonight by committing to Loyola-Chicago and head coach Porter Moser.  Negron ended up choosing the Ramblers over offers from DePaul, Bradley, Oregon State and UAB.

The timing of Negron's decision comes as somewhat of a surprise considering the fact that he recently suffered a torn ACL that will force him to miss the entire upcoming high school season.  The injury happened just before he had been scheduled to take an official visit to DePaul and more than a few people thought Negron might decide to wait things out with respect to his recruitment.

But the fact of the matter is that while others backed off, Loyola stood by Negron's side and stuck with him through thick and thin.  Negron took an official visit to the Loyola campus the same weekend as the Ramblers' other commitment in their 2017 class--6'9 power forward Cameron Krutwig from Jacobs High School in Algonquin, IL. That proved to be a vital factor in his decision, as did the strong relationship that he built with Moser throughout the process.

Besides his scoring and defensive prowess, Negron is a tremendous finisher and strong rebounder.  He also handles the ball well and can consistently put the ball on the floor and blow by defenders en route to the cup.  Perhaps the only element of Negron's game that is still lacking is his jumper, although it has gotten better.

With the commitments from Negron and Krutwig, Loyola has a 2017 recruiting class that is capable of ranking near the top of the Missouri Valley Conference.  And while there is currently no guarantee that Negron will be ready to suit up for the Ramblers by the start of the 2017-18 season, there is no question that he can ultimately prove to be an impact recruit for them.

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