Youth Is Served In The Windy City

We got a chance to check out the Illinois X-Citement X-Plosion X-Posure event held just outside Chicago in Calumet City, IL. The event was put on by Illinois X-Citement Director & Founder Xaver Walton.

Lets get into SOME of the GEMS from the weekend.

2022 - Ava Bardic (Lincolnshire, IL) - Full Package - A crafty guard with amazing patience. She understands how to read defenders and attack from the proper angles. She can shoot it from deep and has excellent vision.

2023 - Jasmine Brown (Joliet, IL) - Illinoise X-citement - This kid has the will, length, speed and athleticism to be a factor at this level. She is active on both ends and has a well rounded offensive game! Her upside is ridiculously high!

2021 - Khaniah Gardner (Chicago, IL) - Baylor Basketball - This 6'0' baller is a monster on the court! She has such strong hands. She attacks missed shots like every rebound belongs to her! She absorbs contact well, is extremely powerful, quick, reads passing lanes well defensively and has a excellent 17 feet and in offensive game. She led her team to the Gold Championship and earned MVP of the event. She is officially on the radar! She is a baller!

2024 - Talia Harris (Noblesville, IN) - Illinois X-citement - A lefty with a patience and in-game maturity well beyond her years. She understands the game well, is very effecient, excellent post-entry passer, and has a unique ability to elevate in the lane and with hands from her dominant hand to her weaker hand to finish. A tremendous two-way player.

2021 - Tiyhona Hill (Kankakee, IL) - Baylor Basketball - This kid plays with a determination and motor that all good teams need. She is short but strong! She has the floater and 3pt range. She made big shots all weekend! She plays with a tenacity on the defensive end that often leads to the opponent turning the ball over.

2022 - Camille Jackson (Chicago, IL) - Illinois X-citement - This is our second look at Camille and trust us she is special! Standing at around 5'9", Camille plays bigger than that. A big lead guard with a nice handle, explosive athleticism (she grabbed the rim post-game in street clothes), amazing body control and a tremendous midrange jumper where she uses her off the charts bounce to just elevate over defenders. She plays with a high motor, has toughness and defends like crazy. Her blocks are becoming legendary. For my money she is definitely Top-3 in the 2022 class and has a case for the #1 spot. When her 3pt shot becomes more consistent, then she becomes unguardable.

2021 - Niyah Jackson (Bolingbrook, IL) - Bolingbrook Panthers - Some players just find a way to be impactful. Niyah is always around the ball making some kind of positive play. She is physical and attacks the basket early and often with lots of success!

2021 - Autumn Jones (C.C. Hills, IL) - Lady Meanstreets - A 6'0" bruiser who is a little raw offensively, but she has size, a ferocious rebounder, played well out of the pick & roll sets, possesses decent hands. Upside!

2021 Elena Knebel (Lockport, IL) - Lady Huskies - Elena has soft hands, stands around 6'1", she possesses a very solid face up game, above average footwork, keeps the ball high, and rebounds well. Excellent High-Low player.

2023 Micah Lear (Crete, IL) - Lady Meanstreets - A slim guard with good athleticism, a nice touch around the basket, very creative with her finishes over bigger players, and a excellent defender.

2024 - Lanyra McGill (Lockport, IL) - Illinois X-citement - 6'3" post, solid hands, finished inside with both hands, coachable and transitions up and down the court well. Her future is bright.

2021 - Lindsay Novak (Romeoville, IL) - Lady Huskies - This kid is such a solid player. She plays at her own speed & pace. She keeps defenders off balance with a good hesitation dribble, finishes with either hand, has a nice floater as well as a effective Euro-Step, combined with deep range, all of ths added up to her having one of the better weekends.

2022 - Lindsay Oldendorf (Romeoville, IL) - Lady Huskies - This 6'2" kid has a nice frame, nice moves inside, a good passer from the high post and has tremendous timing defensively. Her presence inside was huge. She block shots all weekend! At times she can be passive, but she is young and will continue to progress. Note: mom is over 6'3" and Dad is 7'0", FYI.

2021 - Kennedi Perkins - (Willowbrook, IL) - Baylor Basketball - This kid is the Andrew Toney of girls basketball: powerful, quick, strong, compact, and can flat out score. Her handle mixed with her athleticism allows her to get to the paint and finish well and make plays for others.

2021 - De'Ahna Richardson - (Bolingbrook, IL) - Bolingbrook Panthers - We fell in love with this kids current game and her potential. A 5'10" slashing guard with a high IQ, versatile on the defensive end, has 3pt range, a high motor and one of the best decision makers over the weekend. Her upside is extremely high!

2022 - Simone Sawger - (Lake Geneva, IL) - Full Package -  A high flyer, outstanding motor, explosive finisher at the rim, and a terror on defense.

2024 - Joirdyn Smith - (Fishers, IN) - Illinois X-citement - A high-level tenacious on-ball defender! The handle is there, nice floater, good IQ, shot the ball off the bounce from distance and midrange. She was the best player in her class at the event. Kid has the potential to be special.

2021 - Jalysa Stokes - (Bolingbrook Panthers) - Bolingbrook Panthers - A prototypical point guard who is the ideal point guard that every team wants. She limits her turnovers, runs the team well, excellent passer, a tremendous decision maker, and a very good overall perimeter game. She is a lefty who is a good game manager.

2023 - Lisa Thompson - (Shorewood, IL) - Illinois X-citement - A wiry player with style and flare off the bounce. Her quickness and slick handle helps her to create space to shoot the jumper or get by defenders. She has range on her shot and is creative enough to get to the paint and make acrobatic finishes.

2021 - Lovely Tua-Link (Joliet, IL) - Joliet Loyalty - Lovely is a force at the guard spot! She plays with aggression, speed and a uncanny ability to see plays develop early. She was a problem offensively as she lived in the paint where she made plays for herself and others.

2023 - Taniya Walker (Country Club Hills, IL) - Lady Meanstreets - This player is a blur. She is both fast & quick. She uses the change of pace dribble well, sees the floor well, good range and a true leader.

2024 - Xamiya Walton (Chicago, IL) Illinois X-citement - Xamiya is a born leader! She is loud, vocal, fundamental, plays several levels up, a solid handle, is tough and competes at a high level.

2021 - Leah Yarbrough (Hammond, IN) - Baylor Basketball - This kid is very active, athletic, fast, a tremendous factor defensively with her 6'1" frame, long arms and good timing allowing her to alter & block shots, and rebounding in and out of her area at a high level.