Rising talents Smith, Quinn looking forward to an important season

Local Sports

WCIA — Tevin Smith got the news from Oregon he was hoping to hear. The Danville senior is currently out west, playing with the United States Basketball Academy as part of the Grind Session. He made the move to try and play games and get exposure, all while taking his high school classes at Danville online, with the uncertainty of the IHSA season hanging in the balance. After Wednesday’s news that the IHSA is moving forward with playing a season, Smith says he plans to return to Danville.

“It’s encouraging,” Smith said on a Zoom call, shortly after the news was announced. “Like you know you have a season for sure now. Literally 10 minutes ago, we were just hoping we would have a season. And now it’s finalized so I’m really happy.”

It will give Smith an opportunity to raise his recruiting stock. He has several offers including Oregon, DePaul, Bradley and Miami (OH), among others.

Meanwhile, Tuscola junior guard Jalen Quinn has offers from Loyola, SIUC, UIC and SEMO. He has leaned on coaches and family to help get him through all the uncertainty during the pandemic.

“They kind of just told me, ‘Try to control what you can control and just be blessed with what you have,'” says Quinn. “That’s kind of what I’m going to try to do over this time.”

Neither player suited up in AAU games over the summer. Quinn was supposed to play with the Illinois Wolves on the Under Armour circuit, Smith with Meanstreets on the EYBL circuit. Both teams would have provided a stage for the young stars to show their talent and further their exposure with college coaches.

“Junior summer, that’s big,” says Smith. “College coaches everywhere. And we didn’t even get to have a season.”

“At the end of the day there wasn’t any college coaches that could come watch you,” says Quinn. “There’s no point in trying to risk anybody’s health for something like that, just to go play a tournament.”

Quinn still has two seasons left, while Smith is going into his final one, looking to bounce back from a torn ACL.

“I can really show my ability and skill,” says Smith. “And show people that I’m back.”

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