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  • Writer's pictureBig Tim

Big Tim's Top 25 Preseason Poll for Chicago Area!!!!!!

This should be a wide open year for a lot of contenders for state titles from 1A to 4A in the Chicago Area. Some early season openers for traditional Chicago Public League Teams next Monday. Number one was a close call and those teams will go at each other at the Chicago Elite Classic in early December. Look forward to some great Thanksgiving week games. Here we go:

1) Simeon Career Academy (Chicago): Legendary Coach Robert Smith's last season. He has 6 State Titles including 4 in a row with Jabari Parker and Kendrick Nunn. This should be one of his best and most experienced teams. It's also a revenge tour as they went into the Class 3A State Finals the favorite, but lost to Metamora in an upset, and St Ignatius College Prep (Chicago) in third place game. Start with 4 year varsity player 5'9" senior point guard Jalen Griffith. He'll make the team go with his leadership, offense and defensive pressure. Transfer seniors 6'1" guard Kaiden Space from St Rita (Chicago) (Stony Brook commit), and 6'6" wing Sam Lewis from Oak Park River Forest (Toledo commit) man the wing positions. You have the Rubin twins 6'9" Wes (Loyola Chicago commit), and Miles (Northern Iowa commit) manning the interior. More size in 6'9" senior Steve Turner. Backcourt help comes in 6'0" senior guard Michael Ratliff and 6'1" sophomore point guard Lorenzo Shields Jr. Junior guard RJ McKinnie does a little bit of everything. Looking for Chicago Public League title with a national schedule.

2) St Rita (Chicago): Close call but this team is junior laden with a few players who are three year varsity performers. Juniors 6'9" forward Morez Johnson Jr, (Illinois commit), 6'9" forward James Brown and Lemont transfer 6'5" wing Nojus Industraitis. They are the top three juniors in the state of Illinois, and nationally ranked players. Another key junior is 6'0" point guard Jezzy White a transfer from Indiana. Key seniors are 6'0" guard Jordan Chandler, Homewood Flossmoor transfer 6'3" Nashawn Holmes. Talented sophomores are 6'5" Melvin Bell coming back from a Spring injury, 5'8" point guards Amari Edwards and Mikai Harris. Early season battle with #1 Simeon Career Academy (Chicago) is on the horizon along with a national schedule. Contender for Class 4A State Title and looking for Chicago Catholic League Title.

3) Whitney Young (Chicago): City Champ and Class 4A State Runners-Up will be looking to take that next step to another State Title. Senior 6'0" point guard Dalen Davis (Princeton commit), 6'4" guard Marcus Pigram (The Citadel commit), and 6'7" senior wing Daniel Johnson are returnees. 6'6" sophomore wing Antonio Munoz is a jumping jack athlete that received a lot of time off the bench last year, but will have to step into the starting lineup. Senior guard Ian Boyd and 5'9" sophomore guard Damarjay Richardson give backcourt depth. 6'0" junior wing Sean Brown will have to help on the glass. Heavy guard laden team may still have to find a way to get 6'2" freshman point guard Marquis Clark onto the court. Look for the Dolphins to play fast with a national schedule.

4) Kenwood Academy (Chicago): Made Class 4A Supersectional last season will look to get to Champaign and the State Finals this time around. They will have to do it with a talented and young team. The veteran is 6'2" senior point guard Darrin Ames (Kansas State commit) leading the way. 6'6" junior forward Chris Riddle transferred back from Arizona. Another veteran is 6'7" forward Solomon Mosley will handle things in the paint. Leo Catholic transfer 6'0"senior guard Tyler Smith is a two way presence in the backcourt. Hillcrest transfer 6'0" junior guard Isaiah Green gives them wing shooting. They have a rim protector in 6'11" junior Jaden Smith, but another junior 6'5" Calvin Robins Jr is a jumping jack who will need more playing time as he's a glass eater. More talent in 6'1" junior point guard Edwon Duling adds more depth as will 5'9" freshman point guard Noah Mister. Can't forget possibly their best prospect 6'9" sophomore wing Aleks Alston who can fill it up from long range. Looking for a City Title with a national schedule.

5) Bolingbrook: Should be a heavy favorite to get back to the Class 4A State Finals. Lost in semifinals last season but has some veteran talent coming back with a lot of size. Veterans are 6'0" senior point guard Mekhi Cooper (Miami, Ohio commit), 6'9" senior forward Donoven Younger, 6'8" forward Keon Alexander, and junior Josh Aniceto. Big time newcomer is 6'8" senior Aries Hull who gives them another rebounder and rim protector. Guard depth is 6'0" junior KJ Cathey, 6'1" junior James Ty, and 5'11" point guard DJ Strong. Should win the Southwest Suburban Blue.

6) West (Joliet): Profile went higher with nationally ranked 6'2" senior point guard Jeremy Fears Jr transferring back from La Lumiere (IN). He's a Michigan State commit. He joins his talented younger brother 6'0" sophomore guard Jeremiah Fears. There is more as 6'9" forward Matthew Moore transferred in from Hillcrest. Another inside player is 6'8" junior center Drew King. Guard play is deep with underrated 6'2" junior guard Justus McNair and 6'0" freshman Rajan Roberts. They will have some high profile games starting off with #4 Kenwood Academy (Chicago) in Chicago Elite Classic. Should win Southwest Prairie East and may derail the Bolingbrook train to Champaign.

7) Brother Rice (Chicago): Looked forward to this season for a long time then lost their coach Bobby Fraser resigned. They did replace him with veteran Conte Stamos. He has a lot of talent on his hands. Start with veteran 5'10" point guard Ahmad Henderson II (Niagara commit) one of the top guards in the state. He's joined by 6'2" senior guard Nick Niego, 6'3" senior guard Peter McShane, 6'3" senior wing Jimmy Navarette, 6'2" senior guard Ryan Gierhahn and 6'7" forward Khalil Ross. Inside help comes from 6'7" center Ryan Kenney, and 6'6" forward Zavier Fitch who has a lot of potential. Can't forget juniors 6'2" guard Tre Dowdell and 5'8" point guard Cale Cosme who's a spark plug for the team. Challenging schedule to be ready for Chicago Catholic League action and a run in Class 4A.

8) Rolling Meadows: This might end up the best team in school history as this is their chance to get to Champaign in Class 4A. Lots of experience, talent, and size with this team. Starts with 4 year varsity veteran 6'6" point guard Cameron Christie (Minnesota commit). Other veterans are 6'7" senior forward Mark Nikolitch-Wilson, 6'6" forward Foster Ogbonna, 6'7" senior Tsvet Sotirov. Other seniors are 6'1"guard Jaxxon Handy, 6'0" guard Jake Repak. Top sophomores that will contribute are 6'6" wing Ian Militec and 5'11" guard Jack Duffer. Should run through the Mid Suburban East again. Commitment to defense will be key for this team.

9) Curie(Chicago): Very experienced team that is under the radar in the Chicago Public League. 6'2" junior point guard Carlos Harris III will run the show for third straight year. Other veterans are 6'5" senior forward Jeremy Harrington Jr, 6'7" senior Chikasi Ofoma, 6'1" senior Shawn Brown, 6'1" senior Kros Barnett, and 6'5" senior Amurion Hodges. More size in 6'6" junior forward Trevion Collier, Notre Dame College Prep (Niles) transfer 6'7" senior Sherrod Dent Jr. They have some youth in 5'10" sophomore Isiah Pickens, 6'3" sophomore wing Rashard Wilson, and 5'8" freshman point guard Michael Oliver Jr. Will contend for City and Class 4A State titles.

10) Evanston Township: A record 6 transfers into the program all seniors. The question is how quick will they jell together? Start with four year veteran 6'6" forward Prince Adams who will be joined by 6'2" point guard St Viator transfer Hunter Duncan, 6'6" wing Stevenson (Lincolnshire) transfer Josh Thomas, 6'8" forward Libertyville transfer Nic Raic, and 6'4" guard Sullivan (Chicago) transfer Ephraim Chase. Another returnee is 6'0" senior guard Jonah Ross and newcomer 6'5" junior forward Morgan Brown. Will be favored in the Central Suburban South and a contender to get to Champaign in Class 4A. Adams, Thomas, Duncan, Raic, Chase are all very athletic. Look for some exciting action in Beardsley Gym this season.

11) Mount Camel (Chicago): Another veteran team in the Chicago Catholic League. Veteran performer 6'2" point guard DeAndre Craig (Denver commit), 6'0" guard Anthony Ciaravino, 5'9" point guard Jack McGuire, 6'2" forward Richard Zoller, 6'3" forward Asher Tomazewski, 6'0" guard Sal Tado all seniors. A big time prospect is 6'6" junior Angelo Ciaravino look for a big jump from him this year. 6'5" junior Darrion Gulliam will give the Caravan some size inside. Class 4A contender.

12) Perspectives Leadership (Chicago): Won the Chicago Public League White South. Moves up to play with the big boys in the Red South/ Central. They might be equipped to do it with some nice returnees and big time transfers. Veterans are 6'2" junior guard Tim Handy, 6'5" senior jumping jack JK Woods, 5'5" senior point guard Demarco Hawkins, and 6'2" senior forward Kenneth McGraw. Newcomers transfers from Bloom Township (Chicago Heights) 6'1" senior guard Kamarion Cobb , 5'11' point guard Gianni Cobb, 6'1" senior JaKeem Cole transferred from Leo Catholic (Chicago), Chicago Catholic Player of The Year, 6'6" senior Jarrod Gee from Leo Catholic, 6'7" junior Kenric Mosby Jr from Simeon Career Academy (Chicago), and 6'5" freshman Isaiah Coleman. Could be best team in Class 2A, question is will they contend for the City Title?

13) St Ignatius College Prep (Chicago): Made first state finals appearance last season in Class 3A. Finished third will they make it back to back? Had a slow start last season and came on late in the year. Lots of veterans back starting with 6'5" senior wing Richard Barron III (George Mason commit), 6'9" forward Jackson Kotecki (Miami Ohio commit), 6'0" point guard Emmet O'Shaughnessy, 6'6" forward Sean Clavadetscher, 6'0" guard John Kemp, and 6'1" guard Owen Kyhl. Look out for jumps from 6'3" junior Reggie Ray and 6'2" sophomore Phoenix Gill. Another Chicago Catholic League contender.

14) North (Downers Grove): A team that has a chance to win the West Suburban Silver. Start with a couple of juniors 6'7" Jake Reimer a double/double machine, 5'11" wing shooter Jack Stanton, 5'8" point guard Owen Thulin. Seniors that will be huge are 6'0" guard Maxwell Haack, 5'11"guard Ethan Thulin, 6'3" wing Finn Kramper, and 6'5" wing Jacob Bozeman. Class 4A. Note: 6'7" seniorr George Wolkow did not play the entire summer as he's a big time baseball prospect as a pitcher but is listed on the roster. Reclassed up for baseball. Takes them to another level.

15) Glenbrook North (Northbrook): Just about everyone returns for a run in the Central Suburban South and Class 4A. Senior sharpshooter 6'3" Ryan Cohen is the loading scorer. The floor general is 5'9" junior point guard Josh Fridman who will be helped by 5'10" junior Owen Giannoulias. Other seniors are 6'1" guard Dylan Goldin, 6'3" wing Aaron Mages, 6'2' senior guard Colin Roche, 6'2" wing Gavin Schooley. Size will be provided by 6'7" junior Patrick Schaller and 6'3" junior Landon Lauter. They will spread the floor and shoot a lot of threes.

16) Benet Acdemy (Lisle): Coach Gene Heidkamp always has a contending team and this year is no different. Underrated wing 6'5" senior Niko Abusara is sneaky athletic and can slash to the basket. Other seniors are 6'3" wing Brady Kunka, 5'10" point guard Brayden Fagbemi (Johns Hopkins commit), 6'2" guard Luke Bremner, 6'3" forward Matt Moran, 6'2" guard Sam Driscoll, and 6'4" wing Andy Nash. Size is provided by 6'6" junior wing Parker Sulaver. Another team that will spread the floor and will be favored in the East Suburban Catholic. Class 4A contender.

17) Marian Catholic (Chicago Heights): This team will have something to say about the East Suburban Catholic race. They may have the most underrated player in the state in 6'5" senior guard Quentin Jones (Cal Poly commit) along with fellow seniors 5'10" point guard Tre Davis, and 6'2" point guard Donovan Juzang. They have some size inside with juniors 6'5" forward Marcus Everhart, 6'7" forward James Bullock. Guard depth from 6'1" junior Jonah Weathers and 6'1" sophomore point guard Zack Sharkey. Class 3A.

18) Hillcrest (Country Club Hills): Lost a lot to transfers but still have some talent. Leader is 5'10" senior point guard Bryce "Diggy" Tillery along with 6'8" wing Akron commit Darrion Baker a versatile do it all player. Other seniors 6'3" wing Quinten Heady, 6'7" forward Tolu Samuels. More size comes from 6'5" junior Nyzir Duncan, 6'6" sophomore Jayley Ingram. Look out for 6'2" sophomore wing Adam Page. Should win South Suburban Blue again and will have something to say in Class 3A.

19) New Trier (Winnetka): Another contender in the rugged Central Suburban South. Lost a lot to graduation but still have some shooters back along with an inside prescience. Best shooter in the state in 6'4" senior Jake Fiegen (Cornell commit). The inside presence is ever improving 6'11" senior center Tyler Van Gorp. The point guard will be senior 6'0" Evan Kanellos (University of Chicago soccer commit), understudy will be 6'2" sophomore Colby Smith. Other contributors will be 6'4" senior guard Ethan Cummings, 6'4" senior guard Simon Rozak, 6'4" wing Charlie Peters, 6'5" senior forward Cooper Munro, and 6'5" junior guard Ian Brown. Class 4A contender.

20) Central (Hinsdale): Will contend for West Suburban Silver title. The top player is 6'5" wing Ben Oosterbaan who can hit threes in bunches. Other contributors are 6'0" senior point guard Evan Phillips, 6'5" senior forward Chase Collingnon, 6'3" senior guard Emerson Eck, 6'4" senior forward Billy Cernugel, 6'5" senior Matas Andrikonis and 6'3" senior wing Patrick Graham. Nice size with more than a few wing shooters. Rebounding will be key for this team contending in Class 4A.

21) DePaul College Prep (Chicago): Made Class 2A State Finals last year. They have enough talent to contend once again. Starts with the junior pair of 6'6" forward Jaylan McElroy and 6'7" wing Payton Kamin who can fill it up from three. Guard play will come from a group of 6'0" sophomore Kenwood Academy (Chicago) transfer Robert Walls, 6'0" senior Maurice Thomas, 6'2" senior William O'Shields, 6'2" senior Myles Stewart, and 6'1" junior PJ Chambers. Inside help comes from 6'6" senior forwards Dane Barkley, and Jack Hoste. Wildcard is sophomore 6'6" wing Jonas Johnson. Chicago Catholic League contender.

22) Lincoln Park (Chicago): Intriguing young team who may be a year away, or could contend for Chicago Public League Red West/North. Seniors are 6'0" guard Myan Whitfield, 6'7" senior forward Morton Cicero transfer Dakari Durham, 6'0" point guard Jalen Calloway. Team is loaded with sophomore talent in 6'9" center Keyshawn Barfield, 5'9" point guard Vincent Kelly, 6'2" wing Chayse Turner, 6'0" point guard Damion Pearson. Class 4A contender.

23) Riverside Brookfield: The player that should make a step up is 6'5" junior guard William Gonzalez. Another player to improve his numbers is 6'3" senior guard Arius Alijosius (Winona State commit). Big time Notre Dame College Prep (Niles) transfer 6'11" junior center Stefan Cicic will score inside and rim protect. Point guard candidates are 6'0" seniors Aiden Hernandez, Hunter Ferguson and juniors 6'0" Steven Brown and 6'1" Landon Rivers. Wing 6'3" senior Marques Turner could be key. Class 4A contender.

24) North Lawndale College Prep (Chicago): Lots of guard talent and could contend in the Chicago Public League Red West/North. Guards 6'3" senior Ronnie Chambers, 5'11" senior Damarion Wyatt, 5'8" senior Jemarje Winfield, 6'0" Damarion Davis. Wings are 6'3"junior Tyshun Moore, 6'5" junior Davarus Spann, 6'3" senior Tyquan Spann. Will live by quickness and will be a Class 3A contender.

25) Proviso East (Maywood): Guard play as usual will be the calling card for the Pirates in the West Suburban Gold and Class 4A. Leader is 6'5" senior guard Jaloni Johnson. Big time transfer from Notre Dame College Prep (Niles) 6'7" senior Bryce Coleman will help on the interior. Other contributors are 5'8" point guard Diamonte Meeks, 6'3" wing Byron Pullen, 5'9" guard Darnell Simmons. Class 4A contender.

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