Questions for the season in the Chicago Area for High School Basketball!!!!
Here are what I think are some pertinent questions for the season. Here we go:
State Tournament returns to Champaign: It's been in Peoria for a number of years but now it's back at the University of Illinois. Let's see how everyone likes the change back to the old location?
Who's the #1 player in the state?
I know Ty Rodgers of Thornton(Harvey) is nationally ranked but I still say it's Braden Huff of Glenbard West(Glen Ellyn). The 6'11" forward is a multi talented unicorn who can do just about anything on the basketball court. Gonzaga commit is hard to deal with on both ends of the court.
Most impactful transfer?
Coming in would be Ty Rodgers of Thornton(Harvey). The Illinois commit came in from Grand Blanc, MI and a 6'6" young man who plays hard on both ends of the court and can jump out of the gym. Fans in that historic basketball town will have a lot of exciting moments this season.
Leaving would be JJ Taylor leaving Kenwood Academy(Chicago) to Donda Academy in California. An impactful loss to the state, the Chicago Public League and the city. It's hard to get over losing a top talent in the Class of 2023. One of the best prospect in the state in years.
Top 5 seniors in the Area?
Rodgers, Huff, Andre Casey Jr(Whitney Young,Chicago), Jaden Schutt(Yorkville Christian), Nick Martinelli(Glenbrook South,Glenview)
Top 5 juniors in the Area?
Owen Freeman(Bradley Bourbonnais), Asa Thomas(Lake Forest), Darrin "Dai Dai" Ames(Kenwood Academy,Chicago), Cameron Christie(Rollng Meadows), Davis Loury(Kenwood Academy,Chicago)
Top 5 sophomores in the Area?
Morez Johnson Jr(St Rita,Chicago), James Brown(St Rita,Chicago), Jaden Smith(Kenwood Academy,Chicago), Nojus Industraitis(Lemont), Isaiah Green(Hillcrest,Country Club Hills)
Top 5 freshman in the Area? Bryce Heard(Kenwood Academy,Chicago), Melvin Bell(St Rita,Chicago), Antonio Munoz(Whitney Young,Chicago), Jeremiah Fears(Joliet West), Ian Militec(Rolling Meadows), Damion Porter Jr(Fenwick, Oak Park). Yes that's 6 I cheated a little.
Biggest sleeper in the Chicago Public League?
Tre Jones(Longwood)- 6'2" senior combo guard all have his chance to put his name on the map playing a Chicago Public League Red South/Central schedule against the likes of Simeon, Hyde Park, Kenwood, Bogan amongst others. He is getting division one interest.
Top 5 players outside the Chicago Area?
Jalen Quinn, Tuscola
NJ Benson, Mount Vernon
Ethan Kizer, Metamora(junior)
Ty Pence, St Joseph Ogden(junior)
Dekwon Brown, Bartonville Limestone(sophomore)
Will Orr(Chicago) win a 4TH(*) straight Class 2A Title? Technically it would not be since their run at a 4th straight in 2020 was stopped by covid, but 2A is the strongest I've ever seen. Leo(Chicago), DePaul College Prep(Chicago), Michelle Clark(Chicago), North Lawndale(Chicago) will make it the toughest it has ever been for them to get out of Chicago to Champaign.
Class 3A IS TOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WOW!!!!! Loaded teams starting with Simeon(Chicago), St Ignatius(Chicago), Hillcrest(Country Club Hills), Thornton(Harvey), Lake Forest amongst others in the Chicago Area. Downstate power East St Louis adds to the intrigue.
Will Yorkville Christian run away with Class 1A?
You have a Duke commit in Class 1A!!!!!!!! Jaden Schutt will be tough to stop and he has a lot of experienced teammates back to help them win their first state title. Watch out for junior Braden Long.
Favorite in Class 4A?
Glenbard West(Glen Ellyn) is the favorite but look out for Whitney Young(Chicago) to have a big say in what happens. They will be helped by their national schedule.
Game of the year?
January 22nd, 2022 GET YOUR POPCORN READY!!!!!!! #1 vs #2 teams. #1 player(Huff) vs #2 player(Casey Jr). Top two contenders in Class 4A. Yes Glenbard West(Glen Ellyn) vs Whitney Young(Chicago). Must see television for sure. Get your tickets early for When Sides Collide at Benet Academy(Lisle). Thing is they may play it again in Champaign. If the IHA puts them on opposite sides of the bracket could have a big time second meeting for the Big Trophy. The Class 4A State Title.
Homeboy coming home for one game:
Chicago native Amari Bailey of Sierra Canyon(CA), who's Big Tim's #2 player nationally in the Class of 2022 will be playing Simeon(Chicago) on February 5th. Oh did I forget to mention Lebron James Jr aka Bronny a 6'3" junior will be coming with Sierra Canyon(CA) too? Kenwood Academy(Chicago) will be playing Centennial(CA) and Top player Dior Johnson in the other game scheduled. Site is to be determined. Great tuneup for the Chicago Public League powers as that should be the last game before the Chicago Public League Playoffs.
Evanston Township was robbed!!!!!!
COVID also robbed Orr of a 4th straight title but Evanston I feel would have won Class 4A in 2021. Had 4 year players Blake Peters, Elijah Bull, and Isaiah Holden and I do not feel Jaylin Gibson would have left for Texas without COVID. Lots of experience, highly decorated and well connected as a team. This group had been to the State Finals twice, finishing 3rd their freshman year and 2nd their sophomore year. Junior year was in the Sectional Final vs Loyola. Good possibility it would have been 4 straight trips to the State Finals for this group.
Will Cameron Christie of Rolling Meadows start his move up the national rankings?
He came into high school in the shadow of his McDonald's All-American brother Max Christie. Was 6 foot his freshman year of high school. He has grown to 6'6" and has point guard skills as well as being able to get to any spot on the floor he wants. Look for a big time explosion for him this season.
Biggest sleeper in the suburbs?
Orlando Thomas of Rolling Meadows was a 6 foot sophomore who sat in the corner and shot threes and that was it. Now he's a 6'4" senior that can run point and shoot from any spot on the floor. Division One coaches are missing out on a big time player. Buy stock in this young man and quick!!!!!
Also look out for point guard Akron commit Tavari Johnson of Lyons Township(LaGrange)
Teams that can make historic runs for their team and school.
Glenbard West(Glen Ellyn) looking for 1st state title
St Ignatius College Prep(Chicago) looking for their 1st state title
Glenbrook South(Glenview) looking for their first state title
Yorkville Christian looking for their first state title
Kenwood Academy(Chicago) looking for their 1st state title and first Chicago Public League Title
Chicago Public League Red South/Central
Kenwood, Simeon, Bogan, Hyde Park, Curie. Enough said.
Teams that came close to getting into my Elite 25?
St Charles North, Notre Dame College Prep, Orr(Chicago), Timothy Christian(Elmhurst), and Downers Grove North
Underrated matchup: New Trier(Winnetka) vs Glenbrook South(Glenview) will likely be for the Central Suburban South title. Should break Evanston Township's 7 year stranglehold on the title. Regular season matchups are December 9th, 2021 and January 28th, 2022. Could be a third matchup in the Sectional playoffs.
Big Tim's pick to win the Chicago Public League(City) Title?
Whitney Young Dolphins will bring more joy to the pool.
Have a great winter and enjoy the season as it's been almost two years since the players are really playing for something.