Boys Basketball: Niles North’s Malachi Nix, Lorenzo Dillard hope to attract recruiters’ eyes

Story Image Niles North's Malachi Nix (2) is defended by Maine West's Cody Zimmerman (left) during a basketball game in Skokie, Friday, February 3, 2012 I David Banks~for Sun-Times Media

Updated: June 25, 2012 6:02PM



Next month is a big one for aspiring college basketball players.

July introduces another evaluation period and, once again, Malachi Nix will be out to show people his 5-foot-6 frame doesn’t define him.

The incoming senior is looking to play ball in college following graduation from Niles North. He’s already earned tremendous respect in the CSL, and Niles North coach Glenn Olson doesn’t see why Nix can’t do the same on the next level.

Nix led the Vikings to their second consecutive sectional final this winter. He averaged 19.5 points and 3.2 assists as a junior.

“There’s no doubt in my mind he’s a Division I player,” Olson said of the point guard. “He’s proved it in high school by playing great on great teams in big games. He can break down his man off the dribble, he can pass, he can defend. Whether a Division I team is the best fit for him remains to be seen. We will sit down soon and talk about it.

“But he has Division I ability.”

Lorenzo Dillard also is a Division I prospect. The 6-2 guard attended Cal-Irvine’s camp last weekend to raise his profile.

“Both of them are poised to have really good Julys,” Olson said. “That’s when their recruiting will take off.”

This is the final week of summer leagues and shootouts for the Vikings before players join their AAU clubs. Niles North played at Loyola and Niles West this summer, as well as several weekend tournaments.

“It’s been a really good summer for us,” said Olson, who’s guided Niles North to two regional titles and back-to-back 20-win seasons. “We had a lot of questions, but we’re finding out who’s going to play hard and who’s going to play where.”

B.J. Beckford is one player who’s improved his game in the offseason. As a junior, the 6-1 guard mostly was a spot-up shooter, but he’s developed a more all-around game this summer.

“He’s become a capable third scorer for us,” Olson said. “His game has improved by leaps and bounds. He can take the ball to the basket and finish, he can score in transition and he’s still hitting the three.”

Billy Voitik is another player who’s role will increase this winter. At 6-4, the senior gives the Vikings a veteran with some size.

“He continues to get better,” Olson said. “We are excited about the opportunity we have, but we have a long way to go.”

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