It's time to empty the notebook as spring moves into full swing ...
The field for the 49th annual QHS Thanksgiving Tournament is set. The QHS boys basketball team will welcome Chicago Leo, Lutheran North and Waukegan to Blue Devil Gym on Nov. 28-30.
Chicago Leo's appearance means a return to Quincy for Lions coach Jamal Thompson, who played point guard at Quincy University from 2000-04. He piled up 394 assists over his four-year career, while scoring 1,000 career points, becoming one of 40 players in QU history to reach the mark.
Thompson spent two seasons as a graduate assistant coach at QU before moving back to Chicago. He took over the Leo program last December after Lions coach Shawn Frison was fired because of an ethical violation involving physical contact with an assistant coach.
The Lions lost in the Class 2A super-sectionals to Chicago Orr, which won the state championship. Leo finished with a 24-9 record.
Lutheran North went 14-12 last winter and return four of their top five scorers. Jordan Smith and Tahj Peterson, both will be senior guards, averaged 14.3 and 12.9 points per game, respectively, for the Crusaders.
Waukegan returns to the Thanksgiving Tournament after going 2-1 in last year's event. The Bulldogs went 28-6 and reached a Class 4A sectional championship game last winter behind a senior-laden team. The 28 victories were a program record.
The field for the third annual Quincy Shootout is coming together, and some interesting matchups are already in place.
Centralia, the nation's winningest high school program, will play two games in the shootout. Coached by Pittsfield native Lee Bennett, the Orphans will face Quincy Notre Dame on Friday night and will be Quincy High School's foe in the marquee matchup Saturday night.
St. Louis Chaminade brings a local tie to the shootout as well. The Red Devils feature 6-foot-6 forward Luke Kasubke, who is receiving offers from several major NCAA Division I programs. His parents, Bret Kasubke and Michelle Hennen Kasubke, both played basketball at Quincy University.
Chicago Morgan Park is another high-profile addition to the field. The Mustangs have won three Class 3A state championships since 2013 and feature 6-3 guard Adam Miller, who is the top-ranked player in Illinois in the Class of 2020.
One of the nation's leading scorers at the NAIA level plans to challenge himself by transferring to an NCAA Division II school.
Brady Smith, a 6-foot-5 sophomore guard at Hannibal-LaGrange University and a second-team All-American, announced on Twitter he will be transferring to Southwest Baptist University. The Bearcats are joining the Great Lakes Valley Conference as a full member beginning with the 2019-20 school year.
Smith averaged 21.1 points per game in leading the Trojans to a 19-13 record. He shot 47.6 percent from the field and 76.9 percent from the free-throw line, while averaging 8.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. He scored a career-high 45 points last November against Central Baptist.
The Trojans played exhibition games against two GLVC teams last season, and Smith more than held his own. In a four-point overtime loss to Missouri-St. Louis, Smith had 26 points, four rebounds and four assists. In a two-point loss to Quincy University, he had 29 points and 11 rebounds.
Two players with local ties received NAIA Division I men's basketball All-American honors.
Hannibal-LaGrange University senior forward Tyrone Hueitt Jr. and Missouri Valley College senior swingman Larry Plummer both received honorable mention plaudits. Plummer is a John Wood Community College graduate.
Hueitt Jr. averaged 13.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game with 70 blocked shots, which ranked sixth in the nation. Plummer averaged 19.1 points and three assists per game, while shooting 80.1 percent from the free-throw line.