BLOOMINGTON - Travis Rosenkranz was close to committing to Illinois Wesleyan. Still, the Macon Meridian High School point guard wondered how close Sean Johnson was to doing the same.
So one night this spring, he asked him.
"He said, '95 percent,' " Rosenkranz said. "That really meant a lot to me, to know he was that close. I had that stuck in the back of my mind. I was like, 'Hey, we could work well together.' "
Shortly thereafter, Rosenkranz and Washington's Johnson committed to the Titans. So far, Rosenkranz's hunch has been confirmed in pickup games at Shirk Center, site of today's Illinois Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Games.
"From the first open gym, we were playing well together," said Rosenkranz, who will play for the Class A South in today's 5 p.m. game. "He was the 2 guard, I was the 1 guard and we clicked right off the bat. I think we're so similar in style and personality, it's going to work well."
Rosenkranz is 6-foot and Johnson 6-1. That slight difference appears to be one of the few between them.
"He can create and score, and so can I," said Johnson, a member of the Class AA South in today's 7 p.m. game. "We can alternate quite a bit. It will be nice to play together."
Rosenkranz and Johnson will be roommates at IWU. They are part of a highly touted recruiting class which also includes 6-4 Lincoln forward Matt Schick of the Class AA South and 6-7 Lockport center Doug Sexauer of the Class AA North.
Other IWU recruits are 6-8 Duncan Lawson of Glenbard West, 6-7 Edmond O'Callaghan of Chicago St. Patrick, 6-5 Josh Sutton of Lincoln, 6-5 Dan Schouten of Downers Grove South and 6-2 Chris Stamas of Glenbrook North.
"Everybody's been saying how great it (the class) is," Johnson said. "Talent wise, it's there. As long as we all work hard and work together, we'll be pretty good I hope."
Rosenkranz, Johnson, Schick and Sutton have been playing in open gyms on Tuesdays and Thursdays along with some of the returning Titans.
Next week, they will help with Coach Ron Rose's camp during the day and play pickup games at night. First, Rosenkranz hopes to get a win today at Shirk Center, where he played for Macon Meridian in the State Farm Holiday Classic in December.
"It's kind of like a homecourt advantage," he said. "It's nice to know the backgrounds and know the arena. It's like a second home."
On his way
Southern Illinois recruit Justin Bocot of Bloomington will head to Carbondale on Sunday to begin a summer academic and workout program with the Salukis.
The 6-3 Bocot is eager to get on the court for the Class AA South.
"I haven't been out there for awhile, so it will be fun," Bocot said. "This will get me ready (for the summer program), get me in the mode."
The Class A North has four former Pantagraph area stars in 5-10 guard Jim Kuban of Tremont, 6-1 guard Andy Leppard of CPCI, 6-1 guard Jake Martin of Fieldcrest and 6-4 guard/forward Alex Tanney of Lexington.
Leppard will play at Eureka College, Tanney is headed to Monmouth for football and basketball, and Martin will play football at Wabash.
Guard Brandon Farmer of Lincoln is on the Class AA South. He will continue his career at Lincoln College.
IWU plays host to the 35-school Titan Shootout for high school teams today and Sunday at Shirk Center in conjunction with the IBCA games.
Pool play will be from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. Teams will be bracketed for tournament action on Sunday, with the play beginning at 9 a.m. and the title game at 4 p.m.