From A to Z, Quincy Shootout promises to be wonderland for basketball junkies
QUINCY — The sixth Quincy Shootout is arguably the most talented collection of athletes and teams Gem City basketball fans have seen.
Players who have committed to, signed with or received offers from three of the top four teams in the Associated Press college basketball top 25 will be playing in Quincy this weekend. In fact, 12 teams in the top 25 have expressed interest or made offers to players coming to the Shootout.
Nearly every team participating in the Shootout has at least one NCAA Division I prospect on its roster. That’s what should make this weekend’s 18 games entertaining.
Here’s a look, from A to Z, at what to watch for in this year’s Shootout:
A is for Aaron
That is Father Tolton junior point guard Aaron Rowe. After spending last year at Link Academy, Rowe returned to Father Tolton and became eligible at the start of the second semester. He will have played in just three games before coming to the Shootout. The 6-foot Rowe, who is the No. 1-ranked player in Missouri in the Class of 2025 according to ESPN, has verbally committed to the University of Missouri.
B is for Bradley
That is Quincy High School junior point guard Bradley Longcor III, one of the more underrated players on the national level but a top recruit in the Class of 2025 on a regional level. Longcor hit a career milestone during the Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic when he reached 1,000 career points, becoming the 23rd player in program history to do so.
C is for Central Illinois Sports
The official streaming service of the Shootout, CIS is operated by the Hull family from Pittsfield and will stream all 17 games played in Quincy during the Shootout on its YouTube Channel. A subscription costing $9.95 is required to watch the Shootout games. Find the CIS page by clicking here.
D is for the Devil
That would be the Blue Devil, who will make his appearance before each of Quincy’s games during one of the most appreciated and anticipated pre-game ceremonies. The mascot, complete with blue horns, a flaming pitchfork and cape, has been a part of the basketball festivities for more than 50 years.
E is for ESPN
The worldwide leader in sports has six players who will be participating in the Shootout ranked in its ESPN 100 recruits for the Class of 2024. Five others are ranked in the ESPN 60 for the Class of 2025. Huntington Prep junior guard Darryn Peterson is the highest-ranked recruit in the field, sitting at No. 3.
F is for Friends
The Shootout has developed into a reunion for former high school teammates and a destination for groups of friends, who spend the majority of Saturday — if not the entire day — at Blue Devil Gym. The Shootout will be missing one of its most ardent supporters and a true friend of the event in Eric Whipps, who passed away late last year.
G is for Gym
Blue Devil Gym is one of the most iconic prep basketball facilities in Illinois. The gym, which officially holds 3,979 fans, opened in 1957 and has been the home to a school-record 72-game win streak and nine teams that won state trophies. The Blue Devils are undefeated in the venerable facility this season, although they are 6-3 in the Shootout all-time.
H is for Huntington Prep
The Kings bring one of the nation’s most sought-after players to the Shootout in junior guard Darryn Peterson, who is ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Class of 2025 by 247Sports.com and ESPN. Peterson holds offers from Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, etc., and more offers continue to come.
I is for Imhotep Charter
The Philadelphia school is one of the City of Brotherly Love’s most accomplished teams since launching the Panthers’ athletic program two decades ago. Under the guidance of Andre Noble, who recently had Imhotep’s gymnasium named in his honor, the Panthers have won 472 games, 11 Philadelphia Public League championships and nine state championships.
J is for Jahidi and Jamison
Chaminade’s twin sophomore forwards — Jahidi Jr. and Jamison White — are the sons of Jahidi White Sr., who starred at Cardinal Ritter in St. Louis and Georgetown before a seven-year NBA career. The 6-foot-8 Jahidi Jr. is averaging 9.4 points and 6.4 rebounds, while 6-foot-7 Jamison is averaging 7.0 points and 4.9 rebounds.
K is for Knights
That’s the mascot for Peoria Richwoods, a state-ranked squad featuring Lathan Sommerville, a top 100 recruit in the Class of 2024 who has signed with Rutgers. The 6-foot-9 forward is the son of former Peoria Central all-stater and Bradley standout Marcellus Sommerville, who played in Blue Devil Gym in 2000 when Peoria Central beat Quincy 46-44. Lathan Sommerville reached 1,000 career points during a game in December.
L is for Link Academy
The Lions won the 2023 GEICO Nationals tournament last spring and were named the No. 1 team in the nation in the final SBLive/Sports Illustrated rankings. They come into the Quincy Shootout ranked fifth nationally. The Lions feature five players who have already signed with Power 5 schools and another in Jasper Johnson who is fielding offers from Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, etc. Link forward James Brown has committed to North Carolina.
M is for Mosser
That’s Millard North sharpshooter Neal Mosser. The senior guard delivered in a big way during last year’s Shootout, knocking down five 3-pointers in the first half and seven treys overall in the Mustangs’ 64-60 victory over Father Tolton. Mosser recently broke Millard North’s career 3-point shooting record with his 140th made trey.
N is for NBA
Four former Shootout participants are currently playing the NBA — Julian Strawther with the Denver Nuggets, Julian Phillips with the Chicago Bulls, Jordan Walsh with the Boston Celtics and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl with the New Orleans Pelicans. Another was drafted by San Antonio Spurs and played 29 games with them his rookie season, but former Iowa star Joe Wieskamp is currently playing in the NBA G League. Webster Groves product Courtney Ramey is playing professionally in Lithuania.
O is for Onwuchekwa
That is Oak Cliff Faith Family center Doryan Onwuchekwa, who at 6-foot-10 will be one of the tallest players in the Shootout field. Ranked in the top 50 in the Class of 2024 by 247Sports.com, Onwuchekwa has signed with Colorado. Onwuchekwa is one of seven players in the Shootout field listed at 6-foot-9 or 6-foot-10.
P is for Principia
Panthers coach Jay Blossom is back and with him comes one of Missouri’s top-10 teams in Class 4. Blossom coached in the Shootout in 2018 with Webster Groves, leading the Statesmen to a victory over Quincy and ultimately back-to-back Class 5 state championships. The Hall of Fame coach is in his second season at Principia, which took second at the Missouri Class 2 state tournament last season and returns a talented sophomore class.
Q is for Quincy
With a population base of 40,000, this Mississippi River town will be on one of the smallest and most off-the-beaten-path locations many of the nationally acclaimed programs will play this season. Yet, they come because of the hospitality, intimacy and passion for the game this community provides. This event is a huge win for Quincy in every regard.
R is for Rankings
Of the 14 teams in the Shootout eligible for their respective state polls, 12 find themselves ranked. Chicago Curie is the No. 1 team in the Illinois Class 4A poll, while Vashon tops the Missouri Class 4 rankings. Imhotep Charter is the other No. 1-ranked squad, topping the Class 5A poll in Pennsylvania. Five Missouri schools are ranked, along with four Illinois squads. Millard North is No. 2 in its class in Nebraska, while Oak Cliff Faith Family is No. 2 in its class in Texas.
S is for Simeon
Chicago Simeon was the winningest high school program in Illinois during the 2010s, winning 277 games and six state trophies, including four consecutive Class 4A state championships to open the decade. Overall, Simeon has won seven state championships in program history, six under the direction of Robert Smith. In his 18 years at the helm, Simeon has seven 30-win seasons and 11 state trophies. The Wolverines were the state runner-up in Class 4A in 2023.
T is for Tickets
Although the lower bowl in Blue Devil Gym is nearly sold out for Saturday, tickets remain on sale. An all-session pass for the lower bowl costs $15, while the all-session pass for the upper level is $12. Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here.
U is for Unmatched
That would be the amount of work Eric Stratman puts into organizing the event. No shootout or single-day event in this region can match the number of blue-chip prospects and high-level teams Stratman has assembled and does each and every year. A former QHS player and coach, Stratman has created a network of contacts that leads to an abundance of teams wanting to take part in future Shootouts.
V is for Vashon
The most celebrated and decorated boys basketball program in Missouri history is chasing another title. The three-time defending Class 4 state champion is ranked No. 1 in the state once again, and the Wolverines have already won 14 state championships and 24 state trophies in program history. Junior guard Trey Williams holds offers from Mizzou and SLU, while junior forward Nicholas Randall has offers from Mizzou, Kansas State and Louisville.
W is for Wasatch
A nationally acclaimed program that ranks in the top 20 of the SBLIve/Sports Illustrated Super 25 poll, Wasatch Academy returns to Quincy with another loaded lineup. The Tigers feature three players ranked in the top 25 nationally in their respective graduating class, including junior guard Isiah Harwell, who is ranked No. 7 by 247Sports.com and holds offers from Gonzaga, Kansas, etc. Senior guard John Mobley Jr. has signed with Ohio State, while junior forward Chris Nwuli holds offers from Big Ten and Pac-12 schools.
X is for Experience
Outside of Xavier, there aren’t many — if any — words that begin with “x” that connect with basketball. So we took the liberty of using a word with an “x” in it to fill this spot. The reason teams have come to the Shootout and why so many want to come back is the experience. They play high-caliber teams in a great environment in front of adoring fans.
Y is for Youth
Part of the joy of covering an event like this is watching young basketball players engage with guys they may see playing on television someday soon. The high school players are gracious in signing autographs, taking pictures and developing relationships with the community, and the youth respond by giving these players their undivided attention and appreciation.
Z is for Zack
That is Winchester West Central senior forward Zack Evans, an honorable mention all-stater as a junior. Evans recently led the Cougars to the championship of their own tournament, averaging 20.5 points in the Winchester Invitational. That included a 32-point effort as the Cougars improved to 20-2.
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