Basketball talent in the area continues to rise

By Matt Nestor
Prep Sports Reporter

Rockford Boylan’s Brock Stull is dominating this summer and is lining up Division I college looks on an almost weekly basis.

Antoine Pittman and Laytwan Porter are playing great on the AAU circuit and have been ranked among the top players in the 2015 class in the entire state.

This mentions nothing of NIC-10 MVP Joe Beyers, his teammate Maurice Jackson, Rockford Lutheran star Thomas Kopelman, Bryant Nolan and Tony Evans of East, or any other number of talented players in the area.

What is really happening is Rockford is establishing itself as a basketball hotbed for college recruiters.

In the mid-to-late 1990s, the Rock River Valley area was sending several basketball players off to college each season. A lot of that was from highly successful Boylan teams, but players like Frank Richards and Aaron Robinson, among others, moved on from the Rockford schools.

After that group in the early 2000s, there seemed to be a lull for quite some time as far as volume of players going off to college. There would be some each year, but only a small handful rather than a glut of players.

What we have seen since then is a rush of players. A lot of that attention is centered around Fred Van Vleet and Marcus Posely and the recruiters they attracted.

That group did help other players get discovered, as did guys like Tre Wagner, Armani Flannigan and Anthony Strickland at the smaller school levels.

Many of the players listed above, grades permitting, will go off to college to play basketball, and many others in the area will be joining them.

What should transpire out of this grouping of talent is one of the most exciting conference MVP races we have seen in this area in quite some time.

Beyers, Stull, Pittman and Porter will each have great opportunities to win the award, with Evans having a great chance if he can improve his ability to stay out of foul trouble.

Even more exciting, Beyers, Stull and Pittman, who would be considered the co-favorites, will be going head-to-head when they play one another, giving both a chance to establish dominance over the other.

As the summer league winds to a finish and the AAU season carries on, there is a great basketball season to look forward to with a lot of talented teams with an even more talented go-to-guy with the game on the line, which could lead to a lot of entertaining finishes.

From the July 3-9, 2013, issue

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