When we last checked up on Barret Benson, Rapolas Ivanauskas and Isiah Brown, Benson just finished dominating a holiday tournament, Ivanauskas was on an impressive stretch of near double-double games and Brown became the all-time scoring leader in his school's history.
In the last three weeks or so, not much has changed. Benson is still leading his Hinsdale South team as an absolute force down low. Ivanauskas continues to contribute points and rebounds on a loaded Brewster Academy team. As for Brown, well, you'll have to read on to see what he just accomplished.
Benson continues to rack up points and boards despite almost constant double- and sometimes triple-teaming by opponents. He put in 19 and 11 against Willowbrook on Jan. 30 in a 72-69 loss. Against an impressive Proviso East team just a week and a half later (Feb. 9), he put up 28 points to lead his team to a comeback 59-50 victory.
The 6-foot-9 center continues to be a monster on the court and a standout teammate off it, as George Wilcox of the Chicago Tribune mentioned in his feature on Hinsdale South newcomer Diamond Anderson.
Anderson said Benson has been his biggest mentor, although they play different positions.
"Barret has helped me a lot," Anderson said. "He always asks me, 'Are you all right? You all right?' If I keep my head down, he says, 'Don't, because that's what the team will (start) looking like.'"
The Barrington, Ill. native has continued to impress at his prep school in New Hampshire. Since we last checked in, Ivanauskas has had several strong games: 13 points and 8 rebounds in a Jan. 24 win over Northfield Mount Hermon (Aaron Falzon's alma mater), 12 points in a Jan. 27 win over Bridgton Academy and 13 points in a Valentine's Day win over Lee Academy at the Frank Monahan Basketball Showcase.
In addition to his strong play for the talented Bobcats team, Ivanauskas is rooming with one of the top unsigned high schoolers in the nation: Taurean Thompson. Thompson currently holds offers from a long list of schools that includes Syracuse (the favorite), Georgetown, Providence, Xavier, Pittsburgh and Oklahoma. Getting to live and compete with — and against (in practice) — such a talent is certainly something that can only help the future Northwestern wing.
He broke the record with a 29-point effort on Feb. 9 in a 62-41 win over Ingraham. Brown's incredible high school career came to an end on Feb. 13th in a heartbreaking double-overtime loss against Seattle Prep in which he scored 45 points. The Metro League — widely regarded as the state's top conference — has had several current and former NBA players pass through, including Aaron Brooks, Doug Christie, Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson, Brandon Roy and Jason Terry. Brown scored more career points than any of them and anyone else who has ever played in the Metro League.