Four of the area’s top prep basketball players have given verbal commitments to the schools of their choice.
Pattonville High standout Kellen Thames has committed to Saint Louis University. The 6’6” Thames is former Jennings High and University of Missouri standout Kelly Thames’ son. As a junior in 2021, Thames averaged 19.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.5 steals in leading the Pirates to a 22-2 record and a Class 6 district championship.
Joining Thames at Saint Louis U. will be fellow guard Nick Kramer. He will be a senior at St. Louis University High. The 6’4” Kramer is a top player in the powerful Metro Catholic Conference. As a junior, Kramer averaged 19.2 points and 6.7 rebounds while shooting a sizzling 52 percent from 3-point range.
East St. Louis Senior High guard Christian Jones committed to the University of Missouri. A 6’4” point guard, Jones averaged 11.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.1 steals while shooting 48 percent from the field.
Fort Zumwalt North standout Connor Turnbull is headed to Butler University of the Big East Conference. The 6’10” Turnbull helped lead the Panthers to their first state tournament Final Four appearance. As a junior, he averaged 14.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and five blocks, which led the St. Louis metro area as the Panthers finished fourth in the Class 6 state tournament.
The four players are also teammates on the Brad Beal Elite 17U team, which is in Augusta, Georgia this week to compete in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League.
Napheesa Collier an All-Star
It has been a great month for former Incarnate Word Academy basketball star Napheesa Collier. She was recently named to the U.S. Olympic team, the favorite to win the gold medal in Tokyo.
Collier also was selected to play in the WNBA All-Star Game, which was held on Wednesday night in Las Vegas and featured the Olympic team against a team of WNBA All-Stars.
In her third season with the Minnesota Lynx, Collier is averaging a career best 17.3 points a game. She is also averaging 6.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.4 blocks while shooting 48 percent from the field. She was the WNBA Rookie of the Year in 2019 and a WNBA All-Second Team selection in 2020.
Christian Little appears in CWS
Former CBC standout baseball player Christian Little became the youngest player to perform on college baseball’s biggest stage during his freshman year at Vanderbilt University.
After becoming the SEC’s youngest player the moment he took the mound for Vanderbilt last season, the 17-year-old Little then became the youngest player to play in the College World Series.
The 6’4” 210-pound top-flight pitching prospect throws a fastball in the high 90’s. He graduated from CBC a year early and enrolled in Vanderbilt in January to play for the powerful Commodores’ program.
Little was the starting pitcher for Vandy in an elimination game against Stanford in the Nashville Super Regional. He then started Game 2 of the College World Series against fellow SEC member Mississippi State. In 11 starts, Little had a 3-2 record with 49 strike outs and 22 walks.
Kalkbrenner brings home gold
Former Trinity Catholic basketball standout Ryan Kalkbrenner was a member of the USA U19 basketball team that won a gold medal at the FIBA World Cup in Riga, Latvia. The 7’0 sophomore at Creighton University was a valuable reserve that posted 10 points, XX rebounds and two blocks in a semifinal against Canada.
Jaden Ivey, a sophomore at Purdue, was a teammate and was named to the five-member All-Tournament Team. Ivey is the son of former Cor Jesu and Notre Dame basketball star Niele Ivey, who is head coach of the Fighting Irish women’s team. Ryan’s mother, Lynn (nee’ Frank) Kalkbrenner was a star at Aquinas High and played at Saint Louis U.