POINT #1 .... The Northern Illinois basketball program and coach Rob Judson received a huge recruiting lift tonight when Von Steuben junior standout Mike Di Nunno gave a verbal commitment to the Huskies. The Hoops Report has long been a big Di Nunno fan, since the time he was performing at a high level for Lake Park when he was just a freshman. Di Nunno is without question one of the top shooters in the state of Illinois, hard-nosed and plays with confidence and passion. What the Hoops Report likes so much about this commitment is the attitude and insight Di Nunno put towards the recruiting process. Di Nunno was not looking at what schools were or weren't recruiting him. He wasn't looking to go to the highest profile school. He was comfortable with the program and the coaching staff. He wanted to find what he perceived to be the best fit and NIU was just that.
As far as what this does for Judson and NIU basketball, it's a huge lift at a time when they could really use it. The recent struggles aside, the Huskies have now tapped into the Chicago area for a talented kid that the Hoops Report really believes can be an impact player in the MAC. And to get this commitment at this stage, before Di Nunno has even completed his junior season, is an added bonus, both in exposure for the program and for getting the ball rolling for their Class of 2008 recruiting. The staff can now put its energy towards other areas. A lot of credit goes to Judson and his staff of Carl Armato, Donald Whiteside and Sean Harrington for locking Di Nunno up at this stage of the recruiting game.
POINT #2 .... The Hoops Report has raved about the future of Whitney Young, both in the near future and into the next couple of years. While it's been mentioned the Dolphins will be a dangerous team by the time February rolls around, it's also about time they begin to put it together. Whitney Young has put itself in position to be better in the end, playing a top-notch schedule that has included dates with H-F and Lincoln Park, a road trip to Rockford Boylan and competing at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament. But suddenly Whitney Young is 5-5 after falling to Englewood in the opening round of the Chicago Public League Holiday Tournament at Chicago State on Thursday. Yes, it's time for this team to take a step forward if it wants to become the threat the Hoops Report thought it would be come Public League playoff and state tournament time.
POINT #3 .... I did make note of this in Issue #3 of the Hoops Report, which goes out to subscribers Friday morning, but I finally have come to the conclusion that there finally is a true No. 1 player in the Class of 2009. Loyola Academy's Marcus Jordan is the top sophomore in the state. Yes, the sophomore class, as I've stated numerous times, is arguably the weakest class talent-wise we've seen in years in Illinois. However, Jordan has come to the forefront due to his mere presence. Jordan's body, strength, athleticism and explosiveness set him apart from the rest of the players in this class. He has a lot of work to do with his perimeter shot, but I believe Jordan will distance himself from the rest of the pack over the next couple of years.
With that in mind, here is a quick look at the top dozen sophomores through December, according to the City/Suburban Hoops Report:
1. Marcus Jordan, 6-3, Loyola Academy
2. Darius Smith, 6-2, Marshall
3. D.J. Richardson, 6-2, Peoria Central
4. Chris Colvin, 6-1, Whitney Young
5. Joseph Bertrand, 6-3, Sterling
6. Michael Haynes, 6-6, Washington
7. Jordan Prosser, 6-7, Eureka
8. D'Mitri Riggs, 6-2, Bloomington
9. Xavier Humphrey, 6-4, Fenwick
10. Kyree Jones, 6-2, Julian
11. Cully Payne, 5-11, Burlington Central
12. Cortney Bell, 6-5, Lincoln Park