Big Tim's Final Elite 25 teams for the season!!!!!!!!!!
Updated: Mar 30, 2020
I am still not happy about how the season ended just like a lot of other people. The season was cut short by the corona virus. No state title for anyone. Incomplete finish to the season. My first season ranking basketball teams in Chicago Area has gotten a lot of people to talk and have opinions on my poll. This is a good thing keep it up folks. It's been fun. Here we go:
1) Thornton Township(Harvey)(32-1): Great season by the Wildcats. No one expected them to have this kind of season. Best Thornton team in my opinion since 1996-1997 season. Elite 25 player DJ Williams who will be headed to Murray State to play football, was a top notch defender as well as a versatile scorer. Won Decatur Thanksgiving Tournament. Big Dipper Champions, tied for Southland Conference title. Only loss was to Bloom Township(Chicago Heights) whom they also beat. Junior guard Brandon Hall returns. Made Sectional Final.
2) Curie(Chicago)(29-2): Another team who was not supposed to be in this position. Elite 25 player Ramean Hinton was a great leader with his hard nosed play. They lost their Coach Mike Oliver to a suspension at the end of the season and kept rolling for the most part. It's a honor to the leadership of the players, as well as the other coaches. Pontiac Holiday Tournament Champions. Won Chicago Public League Red South/Central Title. Senior Savion Williams was a mid season addition that helped the inside game for the Condors. Point guard Nick Owens and wing Phillip Berryhill returns. Only in state loss was to Simeon in City Semifinals. Made Sectional Final.
3) Bogan(Chicago)(27-3): This is another team who was expected to drop off a bit after finishing second in Class 3A last season. Elite 25 player Antoine Bloxton was an excellent scorer and defender getting a lot of steals. Won Proviso West Holiday Tournament. I think they were headed for a Super Sectional showdown with Morgan Park(Chicago). This would have been their third meeting this season, as they split the first two meetings. Made Sectional Final. Junior guard Darrion Jones who made a huge jump this season returns.
4) Bloom Township(Chicago Heights)(28-6): Lost to crosstown rival Marian Catholic(Chicago Heights) in their own Sectional. Disappointing end to a season with much expectation. They will have 5 players move on to division one schools next year, including Elite 25 players Dante Maddox Jr and Christian Shumate. Shumate transferred in from Plainfield East and gave them some athleticism and toughness in the interior. Won Chicago Heights Thanksgiving Tournament, runner up in Pontiac Holiday Tournament. Tied for Southland Conference Title. No significant players returning.
5) Loyola Academy(Wilmette)(30-4): One of the best seasons in school history for this football school. Low scoring games dominated by their defense and long athletes in their 2-3 zone. They held Maine South(Park Ridge) and Niles North(Skokie) to 25 and 24 points in their last 2 games. They were set to play Evanston Township in the Sectional Final to try and avenge 3 consecutive playoff exits at the hands of the Wildkits. Won Loyola/New Trier Thanksgiving Tournament. Sectional Finalists. Won Catholic League Blue Title. Did not lose to an Illinois team till January. Twins Brett and Jordan Kwiecinski were effective with their 6'8" length in the zone. Guard Vaughn Pemberton is the only significant returnee. Made Sectional Final.
6) Simeon(Chicago)(24-9): Survived a national schedule. Won the Chicago Public League Title. This young team came alive at the right time and seemed ready to make a run. Their youth showed in the Sectional Semifinal loss to Whitney Young(Chicago). Most of this team will be returning in DePaul commit and Elite 25 player Ahamad "Black Cat" Bynum, Avion Morris, and Jaylen Drane. Will be a favorite to repeat as City Champs and huge threat to win Class 4A State Title.
7) Evanston Township(29-4): Some folks in the area did not think this team would be a threat this year. I was not one of them with the experience of junior guards and Elite 25 players Blake Peters and Jaylin Gibson. Isaiah "Itchy" Holden is another guard with a ton of experience. They once again overcame their lack of size to have a very successful season. St Viator Thanksgiving Tournament, and Centralia Christmas Tournament Champs. Won a Central Suburban South(Shared) Title for 6th straight year. Made Sectional Final. They return their top 8 players and will be a huge threat to win the Class 4A State Title next season.
8) West(Joliet)(29-4): This junior laden team took a step forward this year with an outstanding season. Toledo commit Jamere Hill came out of nowhere to have an outstanding season. Won Joliet West Thanksgiving Tournament. Made semifinals at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament. Won Southwest Prairie East Title. They return most of their top players including Jaiden Lee, and Jeremy Fears Jr. Will be a serious threat win Class 4A State Title next season. Made Sectional Final.
9) Notre Dame College Prep(Niles)(29-5): Outstanding season by this junior laden team. Elite 25 player Troy D'Amico, point guard Anthony Sayles, and Louis Lesmond made the jump to contenders this year. Won Battle of the Bridge Thanksgiving Tournament, Wheeling Hardwood Classic, and tied for East Suburban Catholic Title. They return 5 of their top 7 players. Will be a serious threat to win the Class 3A State Title(if they stay in that class). I've also heard they may be getting a big time transfer into the program, a elite 25 player. Stay tuned. Made Sectional Final.
10) Morgan Park(Chicago)(22-9): Did not have the season they were expected to have, but had a chance to change things with a Class 3A Title. They won't have that chance. Elite 25 players Adam Miller and Brandon Weston had good seasons. I think they were headed to a rubber match with their rival Bogan(Chicago) at Super Sectional for right to go downstate. Made Sectional Final. I have heard some rumblings Nick Irvin is leaving the Mustangs. If this happens the program will take a dramatic downturn and their younger players in the program will transfer. This could involve a South Suburban program(hint hint). Stay tuned.
11) Whitney Young(Chicago)(21-9): Ended their season very well knocking off City Champ Simeon(Chicago) in the Sectional Semifinal. McDonald's All-American and Elite 25 player DJ Steward, a Duke recruit had a nice and dominating exit from high school basketball. Georgetown recruit Tyler Beard had a nice second half of the season. Chicago Public League Red North/West Conference Champs. They have some pieces returning(maybe) with Jaehshon Thomas, Dalen Davis. I have heard rumblings they are getting a significant transfer, another guard(why?). Stay tuned. Made Sectional Final.
12) Homewood Flossmoor(25-5): This team had an outstanding season but could not beat Thornton Township(a lot of teams can say that). College of Charleston recruit and Elite 25 player RJ Ogom was a great leader for this team. Won Hinsdale Central Holiday Tournament. Tied for South West Suburban Blue Title. Chad Readey and Kenton Pryor are top returnees.
13) Stevenson(Lincolnshire)(28-4): They came into the season with a lot of expectations and lived up to them. They were not able to finish the job though. Senior guard Matt Ambrose had a great season and this team seemed very connected most of the year. Won Ed Molitor Thanksgiving Tournament. Won North Suburban Title. I was looking forward to the third meeting with Mundelein in Sectional Final. They've beaten them twice already. Evan Ambrose is the only significant returner.
14) Kankakee(27-4): They had one of the best seasons in their school history. They only lost to two teams #1 Thornton Township(Harvey) and Bloom Township(Chicago Heights). Lost to both teams twice. Won All City Thanksgiving Tournament. They was about to play Morgan Park(Chicago) in a Sectional Final Showdown. They only graduate four seniors. They will be another threat for Class 3A State Title.
15) DePaul College Prep(Chicago)(26-6): Disappointing finish to a great season but not so terrible losing to a team in Sectional Semifinal on their home court. Elite 25 player junior point guard Ty Johnson had an outstanding season. This team came back from losing a ton of seniors from a team that finished 3rd in Class 3A last season. Finished 2nd at Battle of The Bridge Thanksgiving Tournament and Hinsdale Central Holiday Tournament. Most of the team is returning including Johnson. Another big time threat for Class 3A State Title.
16) Glenbrook South(Glenview)(29-5): Best season in school history. Most wins in school history. Big Tim's Player of The Year Dominic Martinelli was dominant all year. Won Bison Holiday Tournament(Buffalo Grove), tied for Central Suburban South Title and won the Crossover Showcase. Lost to Evanston Township in Sectional Semifinal. Went 1-2 against them in tight games. This team will not go away as they return Cooper Noard and Nick Martinelli.
17) Marian Catholic(Chicago Heights)(25-8): Finished the season on a high note beating crosstown rival #4 Bloom Township(Chicago Heights) in Sectional Semifinal on their home court. Their next opponent would have been #1 Thornton Township(Harvey) in Sectional Final. Iowa recruit Elite 25 player Ahron Ulis and senior guard Joe Green made up a great back court this year. Tied for East Suburban Catholic Title. Not much returning for next season.
18) Fenwick(Oak Park)(27-7): Had a good season though with some questionable and puzzling losses. This happens to young teams though. Elite 25 player junior Bryce Hopkins had a few 40 point games and double digit rebounding games. Sophomore guard Trey Pettigrew was great support for Hopkins. This team should have about everybody returning, but once again I've heard some players are transferring, one possibly out of state. Stay tuned. Made Sectional Final.
19) Mundelein(30-4): Best season in school history and probably more to come from this team. Junior guards Connor Enright, Trey Baker Jr, and junior forward Scotty Ebube were consistently solid all year long.Enright and Ebube was a great inside/out combination. Won the Mundelein Thanksgiving Tournament. Lost to Stevenson(Lincolnsire) twice and was ready to play them in Sectional Final. Could the third time have been a charm for them? We will never know but they return their whole team for the most part. Another big time threat for Class 4A State Title.
20) Cary Grove(31-3): Great season for this football school. They made basketball a big priority at the school. Best season in school history. Lewis commt Elite 25 player senior guard Beau Frericks was consistently good all season. He teamed with Belmont commit senior forward Frank Jakubicek to have a great inside/out combination. Won Fox Valley Conference. Not much returning for Cary Grove. Made Sectional Final.
21) Orr(Chicago)(22-7): Beat Corliss(Chicago) to win Class 2A Joliet Central Supersectional. Made it to State Finals in Peoria for 4th straight year. The cancellation of the State Tournament I think hurt this team the most. They had a chance to make history by winning 4 straight Class 2A state titles. Alas their history making achievement goes by the boards. Senior Shaun Harris in particular had a chance to go in the books as a 4 time champion. I feel bad for him a little more than the others who transferred in from other schools. Orr losses a lot of players but will probably reload again with transfers. I am hearing already a couple of guys might be coming there. Class 2A State Final Four.
22) Oak Forest(28-4): Best season in school history as they won a Regional for the first time in 33 years. Senior guard Jayson Kent was very underrated as he barely missed my Elite 25 list. Division One schools needed to be on him like yesterday. Senior Juan Avila had a good year. Won Ottawa Dean Riley Shootout. Won Maine East Holiday Tournament. Tied for South Suburban Blue Title. Not much returning but can build around Big Man Robbie Avila.
23) Hinsdale South(Darien)(30-3): The best season in school history. Lewis commit senior guard Billy Durkin was outstanding all year as was senior post player Aaron Tims. Won Ridgewood/Leyden Thanksgiving Tournament. Won West Suburban Gold Title. Bobby Durkin returns.
24) North(St Charles)(23-8): Made Sectional Final with a good inside/out duo of guard Luke Scheffers and Bradley commit post Connor Linke. Tied for Dukane Conference title. Not a lot left in returnees for this team. Made Sectional Final.
25) Bolingbrook(27-6): Back in the poll though they were upset in Regional. Elite 25 player and Elon commit Darius Burford had a fantastic season. Won Jack Tosh Holiday Tournament(York). Tied for Southwest Suburban Blue Title. They will not go away as Kai Evans, Kyonte Thomas, Donoven Younger, and Mekhi Cooper all return.