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Geneva's Nate Navigato will return next season as one of the Vikings' top players.

Geneva's Nate Navigato will return next season as one of the Vikings' top players. | Sean King/For Sun-Times Media

Geneva enjoyed a dream season a year ago, winning 25 games, a regional championship –– the first in 28 years at Geneva –– and knocking off West Aurora in the sectional semifinal before falling to Benet Academy.

Although some key pieces were lost, most notably in the backcourt with the graduation of Chris Parrilli and Cam Cook, the Vikings do return their top player, Nate Navigato. The 6-6 forward was terrific last season, stretching defenses with his perimeter shooting and getting things done around the basket with his craftiness. Navigato averaged 19.2 points and 6.2 rebounds a game last year.

But what has significantly boosted the fortunes for Geneva this coming season is the arrival of two transfers. Navigato and coach Phil Ralston will have some help in trying to duplicate last season and win 20-plus games for a third straight year with the addition of 6-10 senior Chandler Fuzak and 6-7 junior Bennett Fuzak. 

The Fuzak brothers, who play on the AAU circuit with the Illinois Wolves, are transferring from Wheaton Academy and enrolled at Geneva this week. Both have Division I potential as Chandler Fuzak is a very long, mobile inside presence, while Bennett Fuzak is a face-up shooter with size. 

Geneva’s monstrous frontline will also include burly 6-7, 265-pound junior Loudon Vollbrecht and 6-7 senior Michael Landi. Senior guard Pace Temple also returns for the Vikings after providing a valuable role a year ago.

➤ With the combination of size, talent and stellar academics, Morton’s Weisner Perez is a commodity, especially for high-academic college basketball programs. Virtually the entire Ivy League covets the 6-6 forward. But keep an eye on Harvard in this race as coach Tommy Amaker can offer elite academic status and a red-hot basketball program that in the past three  years has won 73 games and made three straight NCAA Tournaments.

➤ While St. Joseph senior Glynn Watson has held offers and visited the likes of Purdue, Creighton and Nebraska among others, the 5-11 point guard has received added interest of late from both Maryland and California. With a dire need for point guards across the country, Watson will be watched closely throughout July on the AAU circuit while playing with the Illinois Wolves. 

➤ An under-the-radar move this offseason is Marist’s Romelo Burrell transferring to Morgan Park. Burrell, a long, active and talented 6-4 wing, got a taste of varsity basketball last season as a freshman. He’s full of promise and is considered one of the better prospects in the Class of 2017 in Illinois.

➤ Another young player on the move is Malik Binns. The promising 6-5 sophomore-to-be, who was a part of Plainfield East’s Southwest Prairie conference championship team, is headed to Hope Academy in Chicago. 

➤ Scout.com recently released its Class of 2017 national rankings and Illinois had a top five player –– East St. Louis’ Jeremiah Tillman. The 6-9 sophomore checked in as the No. 5 ranked player on Scout.com’s national player rankings.

➤ Simeon junior Zach Norvell, one of the top prospects in the state in the Class of 2016, lists Memphis, Bradley, Oklahoma and Loyola as his four offers to day. Norvell says he’s receiving interest from Kansas, Illinois, Georgetown, Saint Louis, USC, Creighton, Purdue, Iowa and Oregon.

➤ There are now 10 prospects from Illinois in the Class of 2015 committed to college programs: St. Rita’s Charles Matthews (Kentucky), Simeon’s D.J. Williams (Illinois), Plainfield East’s Aaron Jordan (Illinois), Whitney Young’s Joseph Toye (Vanderbilt), Bogan’s Luwane Pipkins (UMass), St. Joseph’s Jordan Ash (Northwestern), De La Salle’s Brandon Hutton (Iowa), West Aurora’s Roland Griffin (Illinois State), Bolingbrooks’s Prentiss Nixon (Colorado State) and Hillcrest’s Taylor Adway (Toledo).

➤ The many high school shootouts for the 2014-2015 season are coming together. Here is a look at a few that are set for this winter:

The City-Suburban Showdown at Niles West, set for Feb. 21, includes what should be the “Game of the Year” in the 2014-2015 season: Simeon vs. Stevenson. The undercard pits Highland Park against Lake Forest. 

The “High School Hoops Showdown” at Hinsdale Central on Jan. 24 will include St. Viator vs. Lyons Twp. and St. Joseph vs. Hinsdale Central.

Glenbard East’s “When Sides Collide” shootout, presented by the City/Suburban Hoops Report, is highlighted by a West Aurora-Whitney Young matchup. Evanston vs. Riverside-Brookfield and Glenbard East vs. Plainfield East round out the triple-header.

➤ The third annual Chicago Elite Classic at UIC on Dec. 6 has not been officially finalized, but word is an out-of-town favorite, Lone Peak out of Utah, could be making a return to Chicago. Lone Peak dazzled in the inaugural Chicago Elite Classic in 2012 by walloping Proviso East en route to a magical 26-1 season, which included finishing as MaxPreps.com’s No. 1 ranked team in the country.

Follow Joe Henricksen and the Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport

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