Five players to watch during holiday tournament hoops

Five players to watch during holiday tournament hoops
December 26, 2013, 11:15 am
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Scott Phillips

With holiday tournaments now in full swing, high school basketball action is going on all over Illinois as teams prepare for conference season the stretch run to March Madness. A month into the season we've seen a couple of players off to hot starts and here are five guys to keep track of during holiday tournament week.

Aaron Jordan, Plainfield East - One of the state's best juniors, the 6-foot-4 guard already has multiple scholarship offers from Big Ten schools -- and other high-major programs -- and he's off to a hot start, averaging better than 20 points per game during the Bengals' 6-2 start. As arguably the best scorer in the Pekin Holiday Tournament, Jordan has a chance to make a major impact for Plainfield East.

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Mike Smith, Fenwick - The sophomore point guard is playing tremendous ball during Fenwick's five-game winning streak and Smith is looking like one of the best young floor leaders in the state. Smith had a game-high 19 points during Fenwick's win over Oak Park-River Forest in front of a packed house, so at Proviso West, he should feel minimal pressure in the later-round games if the Friars were to advance. Once Fenwick gets Northwestern commit and senior wing Scott Lindsey back, Smith will be even more dangerous.

Trevor Stumpe, Plainfield North - Jordan isn't the only junior from Plainfield scoring at a high level. Plainfield North is off to a solid 7-2 start and the much-improved 6-foot-4 wing is a big reason why. Stumpe is averaging 25.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and three assists a game this season and Plainfield North could be a darkhorse at Pontiac if he heats up from beyond the arc.]

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Donte Thomas, Thornwood - The Thunderbirds (7-2) are off to a solid start and the 6-foot-5 senior forward is a big reason why. Thomas, a Bradley commit, might be the most under-appreciated senior in the area and he's put up some monster games against decent competition early in the season. Thomas had 18 points and 17 rebounds in a win over Thornton and nearly matched that with 18 points and 15 rebounds in a win over Bloom. Thomas is a potential double-double any time he plays and he'll be one to watch this week at the State Farm Holiday Classic.

Milik Yarbrough, Zion-Benton - The Hinkle Holiday Classic at Jacobs is already underway, but the unsigned 6-foot-6 senior wing is closing in on former Deerfield guard Ryan Hogan's Lake County record for points. Yarbrough sits just 224 points shy of Hogan's record (2,407) entering Zion-Benton's Thursday contest with Marian Central as the No. 15 Zee-Bees are off to a 9-1 start. Zion-Benton is on a collision course with No. 13 Larkin in the semifinals at Jacobs on Friday.