While Jordan Goodwin will miss the rest of the Althoff basketball season after undergoing shoulder surgery last Friday, that doesn’t mean his teammates are slowing down.
If anything, Goodwin’s loss may give the Crusaders inspiration to find different roles and new ways to attack teams.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that can play and don’t let us forget that,” said Althoff coach Greg Leib, whose team takes on Chicago area power Evanston in the 8:45 p.m. game Saturday at the third annual Bank of O’Fallon Shootout. “Edwyn Brown is coming on, starting to get healthy. He could do a lot of different things in a lot of different situations.
“I’m seeing more of that from C.J. (Coldon) and Marvin (Bateman) and Dante (Ray) while Bryson Strong brings a level of toughness. Our guys are going to compete.”
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Now in its third season, the Bank of O’Fallon Shootout continues to provide metro-east fans a great mix of top talent and top teams. Host O’Fallon plays Vianney in the opener at 10:30 a.m.
The shootout picked up another major Division I recruit Friday when Webster Groves (Mo.) junior guard Courtney Ramey (20.4 points per game) made a verbal commitment to Louisville. Ramey’s teammate, 6-foot-8 Carte’Are Gordon, is considered one of the nation’s top juniors and he committed to Saint Louis University, not long after Goodwin.
Gordon averaged 21.2 points and 5.5 rebounds in his first two games since becoming eligible. He had to sit out an entire calendar year after transferring from Vianney in January 2016.
“Not too many people have seen him this year and he’s the 18th-ranked player in the country right now,” O’Fallon Assistant Athletic Director Cory Patton said. “He’s big-time.”
So is Whitfield’s 6-4 junior guard Torrence Watson, who already has offers from SLU, West Virginia, Missouri, Kansas State and Creighton. Averaging 28.5 points, Watson has three games with 40 or more points including a 45-point outing Jan. 6 against Westminster. He’s scored 30 or more eight times.
Webster Groves (14-2) will battle the top-ranked Class 3A team in Illinois, Morgan Park, at 7:15 p.m.
Morgan Park is led by 6-4 junior guard Ayo Dosunmu, whose six Division I offers are led by Illinois, UNLV, Northwestern and Texas A&M. Cam Irvin, nephew of head coach Nick Irvin, is another Division I prospect while freshman guard Nijari Burnett is already turning heads.
Althoff, ranked 16th in Class 4A, will be taking on 4A ninth-ranked Evanston (18-3).
Evanston’s strength is in 6-6 senior and Purdue recruit Nojel Eastern along with Elyjah Williams, Malcom Townsel and Christian Hamil.
Belleville East and Illinois recruit Javon Pickett (25.9 ppg) has a shot at the top-ranked 4A team in Illinois, unbeaten state title contender Bolingbrook (18-0 before Friday).
“It’s a fun game for the kids in this atmosphere,” Belleville East coach Abel Schrader said. “That’s why we got in it, for our kids. Bolingbrook is maybe the best team in the entire field. They like to play fast (and) they’ve got great size.
“They’re much bigger than us at most positions. We’re just going to have to do the best we can to compete and see what we can do.”
Bolingbrook’s marquee player is 6-6 Nebraska recruit Nana Akenten, but 6-6 Malik Binns is also a major threat along with guards Joseph Yesufu and Kaleb Thornton.
“They’ve got five guys scoring in double figures,” Schrader said. “They’re going to be bigger and stronger than us at every position. We’ll see where we’re at and how we stack up.”
Other players to watch:
▪ Bloomington: senior guard Dazon Farris (19.7 ppg), 6-6 sophomore Chris Payton (13.2 points, 8.4 rebounds per game with an Illinois State scholarship offer); junior guard Colton Sandage (14.4 ppg, 41 3-pointers).
▪ Peoria Manual: The Rams have been rocked by injuries, including the loss of Illini recruit Da’Monte Williams and Romon Douglas-Watkins to ACL injuries. AJ Youngman recently returned after a back injury while freshman Adam Miller (Illini and Bradley scholarship offers) and senior Neshawn Brooks are battle-tested.
▪ Champaign Central: 6-6 junior Tim Finke, the son of Central head coach and former Illini player Jeff Finke, has more than a dozen Division I offers including Illinois, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Oregon, Vanderbilt, SLU, Boston College, Vaderbilt and Creighton.
At a glance
This is the schedule for the Feb. 4 Bank of O’Fallon Shootout:
- O’Fallon vs. Vianney, 10:30 a.m.
- Bloomington vs. Chicago Marian Catholic, noon
- Whitfield School vs. Peoria Manual, 1:30 p.m.
- Champaign Central vs. Elgin Larkin, 4:15 p.m.
- Belleville East vs. Bolingbrook, 5:45 p.m.
- Webster Groves (Mo.) vs. Morgan Park, 7:15 p.m.
- Althoff vs. Evanston, 8:45 p.m.