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.
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.]
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.