Illinois Prep Bulls-Eye's Summer Awards

By Roy & Harv Schmidt

July 27, 2015

6:00 P.M. CST

The time has come to once again open the envelope and unveil the winners of Illinois Prep Bulls-eye's Summer Awards, where we highlight everything of note from the not only the July Evaluation Period but the past couple of months as it pertains to Illinois-based basketball recruits.

We lead off with our Player Of The Summer and will keep adding a new award each day until we have run out of winners.  So therefore without further adieu, we now salute all of the players who enhanced their stock, showed improvement or are simply deserving of extra recognition based on their Summer performance.

Player Of The Summer

  • Charlie Moore          5'11   2016   PG   Chicago (Morgan Park)   Mac Irvin Fire 17-U

The winner of this award was not as obvious as it has been in previous years when you had the likes of Jabari Parker, Jahlil Okafor and Jalen Brunson.  Nevertheless, our choice goes to the player who we believe most consistently performed at the highest level throughout the entire course of the summer.  And when taking that into account, there is no one else who fits the bill more than Moore.

Moore was nothing short of brilliant at every event he participated in on the travel team circuit with the Mac Irvin Fire. Although the Fire team struggled at the prestigious EYBL Finals of the NIKE Peach Jam in North Augusta, SC, Moore was a model of consistency.  He averaged 20 ppg and proved that he could get it done against the best point guards the EYBL had to offer.

Moore then turned it up another notch at the NIKE Global Challenge in Chicago.  He led his USA Midwest Team to the consolation championship including a 25 point outburst in the final game.  But Moore saved his best for last, as he was absolutely spectacular at the Bigfoot Classic in Las Vegas.  He lead the Fire to the championship games in both The 8 Tournament as well as the platinum division of the 17-Under bracket.  Perhaps his greatest individual accomplishment was a 31 point performance in a win over CP3 in the semifinals of The 8 Tournament.

It is actually humorous to see all of the others who have finally begun to jump on Moore's bandwagon seeing as though Illinois Prep Bulls-eye was singing Moore's praises dating as far back as last January (and even before then) when we were the first to call him a high major prospect (http://ilprepbullseye.com/Moore_Disrespect.html).  The bottom line is that Moore does whatever you ask him to do.  If you need him to score, he will score.  If you need him to distribute, he will distribute.  When you need to force a turnover, he will come up with a big defensive play.  And most importantly, Moore wins.  He has great composure on the court and never seems to get rattled.

While it took a while for them to finally come around, several high major recruiters have now seen the light with respect to how good Moore really is.  As a result, he currently sports scholarship offers from high major programs in the Big Ten, ACC and Big East among others.  At the present time we believe the frontrunners are Illinois, Iowa and Georgia Tech but we also believe that his recruitment will continue to play itself out over the next couple of months as he prepares to take some official visits and narrow things down.  There is no question that Moore has continued to ascend the ranks as far as the top prospects in Illinois from the 2016 class go and could ultimately end up being #1 when it is all said and done.

17-U AAU Teams Of The Summer

  • St. Louis Eagles

          Coach: Corey Frazier

It is impossible to argue against the Eagles' resume when it comes to all that they accomplished this Summer.  In week 1 of the July Evaluation Period they reached the championship game at the event which arguably features the best overall competition on the travel team circuit--the EYBL Finals of the NIKE Peach Jam in North Augusta, SC.  Week two gets erased, as the team was without the services of two of their best players--6'7 2016 wing forward and Duke commit Jayson Tatum and 6'10 2017 center Jeremiah Tilmon.  With the Eagles at full strength in week 3 they came roaring back to win the championship of the Jayhawk Classic in Lawrence, KS.

When comparing the three winners of our 17-U Teams Of The Summer, there is no question that the Eagles sport the most talent from top to bottom.  They have as many as 8 D1 caliber recruits on their roster.  It includes Tatum, Tilmon and two of the top prospects in Illinois' talented 2017 class in 6'3 point guard Alonzo Verge Jr. and 6'3 2017 2-guard Jordan Goodwin.  All are being recruited by high major programs.

However, what we believe is most impressive is that the Eagles never had to rely on one player to carry them at any of the events in which they participated.  They got key contributions from virtually everyone at various points in time.  And that is the mark of a true championship team.

  • Mac Irvin Fire

          Coach: Mike Irvin

We have to admit that heading into the final week of the evaluation period it did not look as though the Fire would even be in contention for this award.  They only won one game at the EYBL Finals of the NIKE Peach Jam and like the Eagles, there roster was depleted in week 2 with their top two players--5'11 2016 point guard Charlie Moore and 6'5 2-guard Zach Norvell away at the NIKE Global Challenge in Chicago.

As it turns out, all of that goes out the window, as the Fire saved their best efforts for last.  That is because once they took the court for action in Las Vegas during week 3 it truly became as their coach Mike Irvin likes to say, "show time."  And that is what the Fire did--put on a show.  Yes, adding 6'6 wing forward and top five 2016 prospect Miles Bridges to their roster greatly helped their cause, but you still can't take away from what the Fire accomplished.  They reached the championship games in both The 8 Tournament and the 17-Under Platinum division of the Bigfoot Classic.  Their most impressive victory was a 94-73 win over CP3 in the semifinals, a game which featured a 53 point effort from Norvell.

While Moore and Norvell are undoubtedly the headliners other Fire players such as 6'0 2016 combo guard Jarrin Randall and 5'11 point guard Bryce Barnes came to the forefront during key stretches and in doing so greatly bolstered their recruiting stock.  Above all else, everyone connected with this team deserves credit for hanging tough during some adverse situations and not fizzling out.

  • Quad City Elite Orange

          Coach: Logan Wynn

We have repeatedly said that the most successful travel team programs do not necessarily need to have the highest rated players as long as they play together and play hard.  There is not another team in Illinois who exemplifies that more than the Quad City Elite Orange 17-Under squad.  For proof, all anyone has to do is look at their results throughout the month of July.

QC Elite Orange handled all comers at the Next Level Invitational presented by NY2LA Sports.  The following week, they reached the quarterfinals at NY2LA's Summer Jam, which featured virtually all of the top Illinois-based travel teams in the 17-Under division.

While there is not a high major recruit on their roster, everyone contributed and was instrumental in the team's success. Three players in particular who turned in key performances were 6'4 2016 wing forward Donovan Oliver, 6'8 2016 power forward Noah McCarty and 6'3 2016 2-guard Michael Pollack.  All of them have added scholarship offers since then as a result.  5'10 2016 point guard Jason Jones, 6'2 2016 combo guard Ethan Meeker and 6'4 2-guard Isaac Gassman also performed well in various stretches.  Head coach Logan Wynn undoubtedly deserves kudos on a job well-done and for instilling a team first concept where everyone has bought in from day one.  This team personifies old school basketball at its finest and being the basketball purists that we are, they have been a pleasure to watch.

Best Individual Performance Of The Summer

  • Zach Norvell          6'5   2016   2G   Chicago (Simeon)   Mac Irvin Fire 17-U

-53 points vs Castle Knights at Bigfoot Classic in Las Vegas

OK--we admit we were not in the building to see it when it happened.  But in this case you didn't have to be.  That is because it was a prolific performance that every basketball junkie became aware of instantly.  We are talking about the effort turned in by Zach Norvell in the Mac Irvin Fire 17-Under squad's second round win over the Castle Knights in the platinum division championship bracket of the Bigfoot Classic in Las Vegas.

Norvell simply turned in a game for the ages in that contest.  He set a tournament scoring record by netting 53 points including 14 3-point field goals.  One of his trifectas came from NBA range, as it was from behind the court's volleyball line, to which Norvell drew an outstanding ovation.  Needless to say, the Rancho High School gym was rocking throughout.

Norvell was also a strong contender for our Player Of The Summer honors and here's the thing--his outing in Vegas should come as no surprise to those who have watched him on a consistent basis.  After all, Norvell has become a completely different player this Spring and Summer in comparison with a year ago.  Above all else, he has been more aggressive at both ends of the floor and has demonstrated far better shot selection and decision-making.  

As a result, Norvell has gone from a player who at one time we regarded as a mid-major prospect to one who can undoubtedly play at the high major level.  This is reflected in Norvell's recruitment, as he currently holds scholarship offers from Illinois, Purdue, Oklahoma, Memphis, DePaul, Florida State, Georgetown and Oregon among others.  His performance in Vegas will remain memorable for quite some time and is simply one that summers are made of. 

Tomorrow's Award: #1 2017 Prospect In Illinois

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