Monday, December 25, 2017


December 28th, 2017

1st Round Pairings
West Aurora vs Warren 9:00am
3 Curie vs Niles West 10:30am
5 Oak-Park vs Lockport 1:00pm
5 Bloomington vs Joliet West 2:30pm
Benet vs Peoria Manual 4:00pm
2 Danville vs Plainfield North 6:00pm
1 Simeon vs Pontiac 7:30pm
St. Charles North vs Bloom 9:00pm

Our view of the field seems slightly down from a year ago, but the Pontiac event represents our state’s top Xmas venue. The Tournament will mark the debut of Pontiac’s first-year Coach Durrell Robinson a Danville native. We seeded our thoughts on the Top 5.

Players to follow: 
Talen Horton-Tucker – Simeon, Messiah Jones – Simeon, Xavier Pinson – Simeon, Ahmad Bynum – Simeon, Zion Young – Simeon, Chris Payton – Bloomington, Chris Pugh – Bloomington, Kendle Moore – Danville, Maurice Commander – Curie, DaJuan Gordon – Curie, Tyree Martin – Curie, Jaden Gasby – Curie, Camron Donatian – West Aurora, Isaiah Fuller – Oak Pk, Dashon Enoch – Oak Pk, Chase Robinson – Oak Pk, Anthony Roberts – Oak Pk, Kyle King – St. Charles North, Brandon Ellis – Warren, Colin Crothers – Benet, Keshawn Williams – Bloom, Donovan Newby – Bloom, Tommy Ferriter – Lockport.

December 27th, 2017

1st Round Pairings
Whitney Young vs Longwood 8:30am
Downer’s Grove North vs St. Joseph 11:00am
Proviso East vs Bogan 5:30pm
Uplift vs Providence St. Mel 9:30am
Fenwick vs Proviso West 12:30pm
New Trier vs Hillcrest 4:00pm
Elgin-Larkin vs Kenwood 2:00pm
Orr vs Morton 7:00pm

Notes: A quality venue, doesn’t have a wealth of individual star attraction the individual star attraction that Pontiac has, but does bolster some very good programs: Young, Orr, Bogan, Fenwick, St. Joseph, Proviso East, Elgin-Larkin, Kenwood; while Uplift has an opportunity to redeem itself from a slow start. Break-out player might be East’s senior guard-Quinlan Bennett. Orr’s Chase Adams will dazzle audiences, while Larkin’s Jalen Shaw will display what his bright future could look like in a few years. Markese Jacobs of Uplift carries the weight of a 6,000-pound elephant. He’s got to get himself into a groove where he can just play and get rid of all the other on-court theatrics. Lately his on-court demeanor does not display the type of leadership this undermanned team needs right now. Fenwick’s D.J. Stewart will garner some close viewing. Chicago Bogan could be a dark horse with their contingent scrappy players. Chicago Orr 

December 27th, 2017 

1st Round Pairings
DePaul Prep vs Crete-Monee 9:30am
Homewood-Flossmoor vs Stevenson 11:00am
St. Rita vs Westinghouse 12:30pm
Maine South vs Richards 2:00pm
Glenbrook North vs Rockford Auburn 3:45pm
Bolingbrook vs Up-Englewood 5:15pm
Hinsdale Central vs St. Charles East 7:00pm
Marian Catholic vs Lincoln Park 8:30pm

Notes: DePaul Prep should not look past Crete-Monee, they’re 1st round opponent. Crete has an exciting left-hander Tyrese Hunt and fellow senior guard Josh Evans, these guys can play. The cream of the crop suppose to be Bolingbrook, but H.F. or Marian Catholic should up-stage last year’s Tournament Champion. Lincoln Park will be the most entertaining team in the field. The Lions bolster an athletic squad that are young and inexperienced, but fun to watch.

December 28-30th, 2017

1st Round Matchups
This will be a hot North-Suburban destination, we are anticipating a really good vibe after the 1st set of games. Expect large crowds with an elegant flair. Quite a few notable players with a considerable amount of buzz will fill this event. Look for some really good match-ups in the quarters and semifinals.  This is the place to be later in the week. Top players to follow: Damaria Franklin – Niles North, Drew Peterson – Libertyville, Jerry Hernandez – St. Viator, Trey Calvin – St. Viator, Peter Lambesis – St. Viator, Bryant Brown – Waukegan, Anthony Sayles – Notre Dame, Troy D’Amico – Notre Dame, Dusan Mahorcic – Notre Dame. 

Niles North vs Vernon Hills 9:00am
Buffalo Grove vs Dundee-Crown 10:30am
Prospect vs Maine West 12:15pm
Geneva vs Niles Notre Dame 2:00pm
St. Viator vs Glenbrook South 3:45pm
Waukegan vs Deerfield 5:30pm
Wheeling vs Fremd 7:15pm
Grayslake Central vs Libertyville 8:45pm

December 26th, 2017

1st Round Pairings
Schaumburg vs St. Ignatius 9:00am
Wheaton North vs Downers Grove South 10:30am
Metea Valley vs Glenbard East Noon
Hinsdale South vs Rolling Meadows 1:30pm
McHenry vs Conant 3:30pm
Riverside-Brookfield vs St. Patrick 5:00pm
Stagg vs Minooka 6:30pm
T.F. South vs York 8:00pm
Oswego vs St. Laurence 8:30am
Lyons vs Palatine 10:00am
Andrew vs Lake Forest 11:30am
Waubonsie Valley vs Brother Rice 1:00pm
Nazareth vs Batavia 3:00pm
Highland Pk vs Carl Sandburg 4:30pm
Providence Catholic vs Timothy Christian 6:00pm
Elk Grove vs Naperville North 7:30pm

North: A cluster-frick of teams, Schaumburg’s frosh Chris Hodges will be on-hand, Brother Rice sleeper Junior Marquise Kennedy will draw a wave of viewers.

December 27th, 2017
In Bloomington-Illinois Wesleyan Shark Center
Wheaton-Warrenville South vs Plainfield South 9:30am
Thornwood vs Mahomet-Seymour 8:00pm
Rock-Island vs Rockford Lutheran 5:00pm
Normal vs Springfield High 6:30pm
North-Lawndale vs Zion Benton 1:30pm
Chatham Glenwood vs Metamora 10:30am
Joliet Central vs Normal U-High Noon
North Chicago vs Rockton-Hononegah 3:00pm

Notes: A Tournament that seems to be sagging this time around. Zion-Benton, Metamora, and Joliet Central Should provide some excitement. Freshman Amar Augillard (Zion) has been impressive thus far. North-Lawndale could surprise!

December 28-30th, 2017

1st Round Matchups
Mundelein vs Mount Vernon 8:30am
Germantown, TN vs Alton 10:00am
Confluence vs Cahokia 12:30pm
Belleville West vs Collierville, TN 2:00pm
Champaign Central vs Lausanne 3:30pm
Evanston vs O’Fallon 6:15pm
Centralia vs Salem 7:45pm
Marist vs Arlington, TN 9:15pm

Notable players area to see: Tim Finke – Central, E.J. Liddle – West, Amir Spann – Mt. Vernon, Morgan Taylor – Marist, Khaillied Terry – Central, Lance Jones – Evanston, Jahiem Holden – Evanston, Matthew Hall – Evanston, Connor Enright – Mundelein, Malachi Smith – Belleville West, Kevin Caldwell – Alton. 

At Rich South
December 26-30th, 2017

This event will draw some of the hippest fashionable south suburban dudes you can find. They haven’t wondered in the gym all season, but they will come at you with a lot of hip yada yada so you have to have your social cues sharp. The speakers will be booming with tracks from migos-travis scott-hustle gang..
Clark/Johnson winner vs Gary Bowman 8:30am
Chicago Leo vs Michigan City, IN 10:00am
Rich Central vs Hammond High 1:00pm
Rich East vs Farragut 2:30pm
Rich South vs Marshall 4:00pm
Romeoville vs Chicago Ag. Science 5:30pm
Morgan Park vs Butler Charter 7:00pm
Thornton vs Hope Academy 8:30pm

At Collinsville H.S.
December 28-30th, 2017

1st Round Matchups
Same vibe! The East boogie cats will come over in full force supporting their flyers. Junior standout 6-6 Terrence Hargrove and Old Dominion recruit, Joe Reece will have fans on the edge of their seats with their high wire act. We’ve always enjoyed this venue, now the twins from MacArthur-Armon & Amir Brummett will have spectators scratching their heads at some of their antics, they are talented pair. 
Springfield Southeast vs Granite City 9:00am
Decatur Eisenhower vs Oakville, MO 10:30am
Lincoln vs Hazelwood East 1:00pm
Quincy vs Belleville East 2:30pm
East St. Louis vs Urbana 4:00pm
Collinsville vs Riverview Gardens 6:30pm
Edwardsville vs Althoff 8:00pm
Decatur MacArthur vs Rockford East 9:30pm


“After making our rounds the first month of the season, I have a distinct viewing on who the top teams in the area are. Every couple of weeks we will create a short capsule on them.”

1. Simeon – our consensus; they have multiple weapons lead by Mr. Basketball candidate Horton-Tucker. The Wolverines have already popped St. Louis Chaminade, Morgan Pk, and Bogan. They have since dropped a couple of games in Florida finishing 4th. The Pontiac crowd awaits where the Wolverines are a consistent draw.

2. Whitney Young – play-off/big game seasoned cast. The trio of Javon Freeman, Xavier Castenada, and Myles Baker can slice n dice with anyone, they’re short-handed up-front this go around, but still a well-coached group. Dropped a tough road game in double ovt versus exciting athletic Lincoln Park squad.

3. Curie – redeemed themselves well with a victory at home versus Morgan Pk after ragged win over St. Rita at the Rose shoot-out. They have talent, it just hasn’t jelled yet. The condors could be dangerous at Pontiac.

4. Niles North – a potent offensive team, they sent-out four dudes that can score. Senior swingman Damaria Franklin spearheads the attack, along with point man Dravon Clayborn. Lanky sophomore guard Aquan Smart is the real-deal. Freshman forward Jalen Butler is a wiry defender, he can cover multiple slots at six foot six. Clayborn has to clean-up his miscues if they are going to be taking seriously. At Wheeling they will be tested immediately.

5. St. Viator – “yep, I’m rolling with them”; they are a dark-horse candidate, even though Lake Forest tripped them up on the road a few weeks ago. Juniors, Jerry Hernandez and Trey Calvin give them one of the best back-courts in the area. Senior Peter Lambesis provides solid leadership. Viewers can follow them at the Wheeling Classic over the break. We love soph Connor Kochera. Don’t be surprised if they win the title there.

6. Oak-Park – “Matt’s gang is for real.” Isaiah Fuller plays at Eisenhower Expressway Pace and resembles a stout defender. Junior tandem Dashon Enoch and Chase Robinson can score. The unsung sleeper is Anthony Roberts. This squad should be un-defeated going into Pontiac.

7. Morgan Pk – this clan tends to rise to un-chartered challenges. The mustangs off to a slow start, mainly because the schedule early on fashioned with a inexperience core and the eye injury to U.A.B. recruit 6-8 Tamell Pearson has hurt them. “I’m rolling with them late season. I would be surprised if they did not win the McDipper holiday deal.”


LINCOLN PARK 96 WHITNEY YOUNG 91 2 OVTsAt L.P – Friday, December 22nd

About an estimated three hundred spectators packed the tiny Lincoln Pk gymnasium up-on Armitage to witness a double over-time thriller. This was probably one of the more entertaining games I’ve saw around these parts in years. This was extra special because it was two of the Chicago Public Leagues finer academic schools colliding head on, which once was a customary match up before the conference re-alignment occurred about 10 years or so ago. The two Programs were intertwined through the former competitive Red-West Conference. I recall some memorable match-ups between the schools when Lincoln Pk was a perennial conference challenger for a period of 4-6 years under Mike Thompson, the Montgomery brothers, Jonathan Henley, and Courtney Bell era. The cracker box gym was the place to be with it’s up-close intimate viewing which held such top-notch ball games regularly. Returning to the present, this ball-game was played at a frenzy pace, both teams went after one another with avenges, it took a 43-point effort by Lincoln Park’s junior guard Chris Roberts “the rubber band man”, to hold off the top ranked Dolphins. Roberts was un-believable with an array of acrobatic off-balance spin moves that left the standing room only crowd in a climatic rush. Meanwhile, the Lions stand out, 6-6 senior Terrence Shannon was saddled with foul trouble, he eventually fouled out in the 1st over-time with 14 points. Junior, Bill Flowers registered 10 markers for the Lions. Young’s Javon Freeman was splendid, the Valpo recruit was sleek & surgical recording a cool 22 points, Matt Lottich’s Program at Valpo nabbed a jewel of a prospect. Junior big guard Myles Baker “once again” displayed to on-lookers that he is a legitimate mid-major plus recruit, finishing the night with 22; after the Proviso West Xmas Tournament, he likely could see his stock soar. Forgotten senior Justin Boyd was real good, he had 22 points, South Florida recruit, Xavier Castenada went for 10. He wasn’t himself, he seemed discombobulated most of the night, which anyway belong to the Roberts & Co.. Long-time Public-League followers would have enjoyed this affair filled with drama (from the scorer’s table to fatigued game officials). “You can bet players from both teams will harness this game as a memorable outing.”

EVANSTON VS ZION-BENTONTuesday, December 19th

This match-up had the makings of some traditional old-school battles, both squads filled a roster with some of the area’s top under-classmen. Unfortunately, the Zee Bees wandered out as if they were mentally shut-off for the Xmas break. Hopefully Coach Bobby Worthington will re-group his troops before they head to the State Farm Classic in Bloomington. You can easily get tattooed early at that venue if you come-out un-inspired. Evanston’s young contingent was careless with the ball at times, but still managed a 20-point victory. Their freshman trio of 6-3 Jaylin Gibson, Isaiah Holden, and sharp shooter Blake Peters, continue to contribute significant minutes as first year youngsters; top-flight juniors Lance Jones and back-court mate Jaheim Holden form a terrific duo. We would love to see them get tangled up in a North suburban rumble with St. Viator’s junior backcourt tandem of Jerry Hernandez and Trey Calvin, that’s front-seat viewing. Evanston’s Jones, regarded as a Top 5 or 6 prospects in the 2019 Class has to improve his outside shooting! For some viewers like myself, I was bummed out that Zion’s exciting 6-5 sophomore Damontae Taylor did not dress, due to a school related incident. He along with freshman stand-out Amar Augillard have promising futures on the hardwood. Augillard suffered through a off-night offensively. His game must grow into more of just hoisting-up shots.

A couple of weeks ago the 10th Annual Team Rose shoot-out was good; the two-day affair gave teams the perfect platform to showcase where their profile stood at this juncture in the season. Unfortunately, majority of the teams failed to elevate their play/status at this entertaining venue. Most of the squads’ struggles were symptomatic of young & inexperience or just hadn’t found a groove yet in early December. But several games drew the attention of many who attended the 2-day event such as Brother Rice-Kenwood tilt; Hillcrest-Romeoville (marred by bad officiating); Danville-Chicago Orr had a down to the wire finish; Providence St. Mel-Hope Academy was a close one. All in all, Tournament directors did a really good job.

Friday, December 8, 2017


“It’s some bad dudes in this class”

Ahmad Bynum 6-1 PG Simeon – “Already pushing for quality clock time, No. 1 prospect in the class. Will Bynum’s nephew.”

Ismail Habib 5-10 PG Lincoln Park – “Slick & composed; handling himself well under duress.”

Khaillieo Terry 6-4 F Champaign Central – “Mega athleticism, put-on a light weight dunk-fest versus Morgan Pk at Chicagoland Classic.”

Anthony Sayles 6-2 G Niles Notre Dame – “Quite impressive at the DePaul Prep Thanksgiving Classic. Already can score consistently.”

Jalen Butler 6-5 F Niles Notre Dame – “I could not believe the body on this 14-year-old lad. Good defender who can guard multiple positions. Offensive game coming.”

Chris Hodges 6-7 F Schaumburg – “This kid is for real! He can score and plays with a sense of assurity.”

Darrion Jones 6-0 PG Chicago Bogan – “Reliable sources says he has stardom scripted across his chest- a fearless competitor. A varsity starter on a talented team.”


Labeled often as a sagging class over-all, but there are several sleeper- dudes within the group.

1. Drew Peterson 6-8 F MM Libertyville
“This slender versatile performer averages above 25 per outing. Rice, Miami-Ohio, and Elon in the picture. He would be an excellent fit for Rice.”

2. Xavier Pinson 6-3 PG MM Chicago Simeon
“This St. Pat’s transfer comes off-the-bench, most observers know he’d average over 20 markers if he hadn’t departed the North-Side. New Mexico may have some interest soon.”

3. Dannie Smith 6-4 G/F MM Chicago Orr
“Has his game in high-gear now, opposing coaches, as well as his own gloat over his abilities to make shots & play tough D. Good student, will see him at Mt. Carmel.”

4. Quinlan Bennett 6-3 G MM Proviso East
“History of the East Program is on his side. This slithery talent with a smooth mid-range game is just returning from an injury he played with all summer. He has sparkled his last outing. We are quite high on him.”

5. Jalen Shaw 6-10 C MM Elgin-Larkin
“This kid’s fast start has made my thoughts become a reality. Academically, Jalen has some work to do, he likely could end up in prep-school if he doesn’t make grades late. By 2019 we could find his development taking on a journey to success. Remember Richaun Holmes a 76ers 2nd year player and a Lockport Alum who was a late bloomer.”

6. DeAndre Heckard 6-2 PG MM Romeoville
“Has the hooper look to go with some promising game. Central Michigan’s Kevin Gamble has watchful eye on him.”

7. Raekwon Drake 6-5 PF LM+ Orr
“Terrific hops, under-size with limited offensive skills, he could be effective in the right setting though. We will view him Sunday at Mt. Carmel.”

8. Eddie Creal 6-3 G LM+ Romeoville
“All signs indicate he could blow-up by mid-season, especially if his academics are in order. He makes plays at both ends, mid-range game potent. We like his potential. We’ll see him Sunday.”

9. Ryan Davis 6-8 PF LM+ Conant
“The burly fella seems to need a light lid under him at times, but he does show flashes of a skilled four-man. Mac, Horizon, Summit, and Patriot Leagues have shown interest.”

10. Cardell McGee 6-2 PG LM+ Springfield Lanphier
“Playing with a wealthy of confidence & leadership. Has academic work to complete. We’ll see him in the next week or so.”

11. Zion Young 6-2 G LM+ Chicago Simeon
“This leaper will have to demonstrate early on what kind of talent he has with off-the-bench minutes. He could blossom into a really good 2-way threat at the next level.”

12. Terrence Shannon 6-6 G/F LM+ Lincoln Park
“If this kid doesn’t opt for football, his hardwood potential could be enormous. The lefty can play multiple positions, including PG. He’s very composed and has an un-flappable demeanor as well as a high I.Q.; Scores from long distance or mid-range. Has mid-major offers in football.”

13. Demaria Franklin 6-3 G/F LM Niles North
“Has some offensive punch, shoots-it deep, athletic around the rim, needs polish & better understanding of how to play. Does have talent! All tournament at DePaul Prep Thanksgiving Classic.”

14. Isaiah Fuller 6-1 G LM Oak-Park
“Off to a rousing start. He sparkled at the Chicagoland Classic, his speed and quickness as well as his defense opened some eyes.”

15. Morgan Taylor 6-2 G LM Marist
“Very good player, the leader for an un-assuming cast. He can get you buckets in a flurry.”


“This is how we would face them off”

Northwestern vs Loyola-Chicago
At Gentile Arena
“This game would be billed for supremacy with neighboring bragging rights at stake up on the far North-Side. Loyola looks to be a headed for a special season – off to a 9-1 start. While forward Aundre Jackson could be a NBA pick in June, he’s surrounded by a contingent of versatile players who trust their system. C.C.’s cardiac crew and their celebratory ways are now seeking to rekindle the magical path towards another NCAA berth. This would be one heck of a game to see.”

DePaul vs Southern Illinois
at Wintrust Arena in Chicago
“The SIU Alums would come out in droves for this affair, it would be a sea of maroon looming the arena. The 5-3 Salukis against an early battle-tested 4-4 surging DePaul squad now playing well after an early tough schedule. Eli Cain and Tre McCallum starting to hit a groove. SIU has three or four talented players so this match-up would be interesting rumble.”

Illinois vs Bradley
in Peoria, IL
“The Illini faithful would pack the place. Standing room only an hour before game would be anticipated. Brad Underwood has created a culture of tenaciousness, his group competes at a high level. LaRon Black and Kipper Nichols are for real. Bradley bolstering a 7-2 mark, likely a year away from being a perennial power again in the Missouri Valley. This game would bring out the “who’s who” in Central Illinois and with emotions running high on the court and in the stands, this would be a nail-biter.”

Illinois State vs Northern Illinois
in Dekalb, IL
“Red bird fans travel in full force, that might be an added incentive to drive the Huskies student-body away from their social binges. ISU plagued by some injuries have a 4-4 record. The 5-4 Huskies have one of our state’s more entertaining players to watch with guard- Eugene German. NIU has allowed several games to slip away late, which seems anxiety heightens and decision- making becomes sketchy during the 2nd half of games for Monty’s crew.”

Eastern Illinois vs UIC
At Pavilion in Chicago
“This would be a re-cap of last season’s Sunday matinee, in which wintery weather conditions, contributed to a low turn-out in attendance. Eastern popped the flames by 15. UIC has a number of guys shelved by injuries, but has managed to forge a 3-5 mark presently. Dikembe Dixson, a pro prospect, is staring to hit his stride after an injury cut-short his sophomore campaign. EIU senior point-guard Cornel Johnston is worth the price of admission. This would be exciting up & down affair.”

Western Illinois vs Chicago State
at Western Hall in Macomb, IL
“Billy Wright has his leathernecks roaring to a 6-2 start, this arena would be rockn’ with Chicago State invading Macomb. Let’s do a visual of a Saturday night tilt that would foster a drove of miscellaneous students who claim to be from the Chi. The D.J. would have tracks blasting from the speakers such as: Jay-Z (the story of O.J.), We don’t luv em (Hoodrich-Pablo Juan), Pick-it-up (Famous Dex), Shinnit. The fans would spend most of the game in a frenzy watching this down-hill track-meet.    All in fun, let’s get back to the present!”


A happening place to be this upcoming weekend

(Saturday, December 9th, 2017)
12:15 Farragut vs Joliet West
1:30 Uplift vs Evanston
3:00 Kenwood vs Brother Rice
4:30 Hillcrest vs Romeoville
6:00 Mount Carmel vs Von Steuben

(Sunday, December 10th, 2017)
11:00am Walter Payton vs Crete-Monee
12:15 Hope Academy vs Providence St. Mel
1:30 Westinghouse vs Longwood
3:00 Chicago Orr vs Danville
4:30 Chicago Curie vs St. Rita

Being one of our state’s reliable gate keepers of College and High School hoops, my unshakable faith often buoys optimism when it comes to area programs. Lately, my thoughts have had me mindful of how the ultimate hoop junkie with a profound interest in our state schools would love to digest a week-end of match-ups in late November featuring respective schools going toe to toe in a one game slate. “Too bad my thoughts can’t create a reality this time, especially in an era driven by revenue conscious institutions.