Roundtable Questions for Chicago Area High School Basketball!!!!!
Updated: Nov 17
Here are some burning questions for the season.
GAME OF THE YEAR:
Lots of candidates, Chicago Public League Title Game, When Sides Collide, Steve Pappas Shootout, Highland Shootout, but the game of the year is coming early. It is #1 Simeon Career Academy (Chicago) vs #2 St Rita (Chicago). Experienced team that has been to state finals vs team loaded with potential that hasn't done anything yet. Game is at Chicago Elite Classic on December 3rd. Early treat for local fans as these teams are in different classifications and will not meet in state playoffs.
MOST UNDERRATED TEAMS:
Bloom Towmship (Chicago Heights), Metea Valley (Aurora), Romeoville, Lincoln Way East (Frankfort), Glenbrook South (Glenview), Aurora (West), Lake Forest. They barely missed my Top 25 for the area. Look for them in the poll at some point this season.
PLAYER THAT JUST MISSED BIG TIM'S TOP 50 PLAYERS:
Troy Cicero, Romeoville. Loyola Maryland commit the 6'0" point guard can run a team and is explosive off the ground. Chicago Area is deep in talent just could not fit him in.
TOP FIVE (PLUS ONE) INCOMING FRESHMEN:
This list is likely to change as these young men are so early in their development. We'll see if these fresh faces will keep working on their weaknesses in the gym? I added an extra player to the list.
Marquis Clark, Whitney Young (Chicago)
Stephen Brown, Marist (Chicago)
Zyheir Gardner, Simeon Career Academy (Chicago)
BJ Powell, Lincoln Way East (Frankfort)
Jamson Coulter Jr, Rich Township (Richton Park)
Amir Danforth, Auburn (Rockford)
TOP FIVE SOPHOMORES:
These young men are a little further along but still some development to do:
Antonio Munoz, Whitney Young (Chicago)
Aleks Alston, Kenwood Academy (Chicago)
Melvin Bell, St Rita (Chicago)
Phoenix Gill, St Ignatius College Prep (Chicago)
Jeremiah Fears, West (Joliet)
TOP FIVE JUNIORS:
One team has the top three players in a class. That is unprecedented in Illinois High School annals.
Morez Johnson Jr, St Rita (Chicago)
James Brown, St Rita (Chicago)
Nojus Industraitis, St Rita (Chicago)
Chris Riddle, Kenwood Academy (Chicago)
Mike Jones, Chi Prep (Chicago)
TOP FIVE SENIORS:
All will be Big Tim's player of the year candidates.
Cameron Christie, Rolling Meadows
Jeremy Fears Jr, West (Joliet)
Darrin Ames, Kenwood Academy (Chicago)
Asa Thomas, Lake Forest
Darrion Baker, Hillcrest (Country Club Hills)
HAVE THE SUBURBS CAUGHT UP WITH TOP CHICAGO PUBLIC LEAGUE RED DIVISION TEAMS??
Chicago Public League has a hierarchy. Top teams are the the Red Division. Then it's white, then green. This is my opinion. For years the Chicago Public League has had a psychological advantage over the suburban schools, Be it more talent, more grit, toughness than the suburban schools. Suburban schools have been considered soft and will fold when pressure is put on them, or when the oven is turned up on the court. Suburban schools for the most part have the best equipment, example: lot of suburban schools have multiple gyms. A lot of public league schools have one gym to share with other sports and other teams. Scheduling a time to practice can be very taxing but they still have gotten the job done over the years. Multiple state titles in multiple classes. Last year for the first time since 2005, the Chicago Public League did not collect any state titles. Suburban schools were blowing out top level Chicago Public League teams. Some have said Covid-19 really did a number on sports programs in the city. So far in the preseason Chicago Public League teams look like this could be a one year aberration. This season will tell if the suburban schools have found new confidence to compete and beat these top red division teams on a regular basis. Jury is out and will make this coming season very interesting, not just for now but for the future. You also have the open enrollment in the city, where the suburbs have a disadvantage being boundary schools. That's a discussion for another day as are the private school boundaries.
BIG TIM'S STATE TITLE PICKS FOR CLASS 2A-4A:
I don't think an area team will take Class 1A so......
CLASS 2A- Perspectives Leadership (Chicago)- new powerhouse has enough talent and experience to get it done.
CLASS 3A- Simeon Career Academy (Chicago)- Coach Robert Smith wins his 7th and final title. He will get up the energy to drive them to the brass ring and ride off into the sunset.
CLASS 4A- Moline- Iowa commits Owen Freeman and Brock Harding have enough supporting cast and three point shooting to bring first state title to the Quad Cities since Rock Island led by future Stanford Cardinal Mr Basketball Chasson Randle won Class 3A in 2011.
This means I feel Chicago Public League will get their mojo back.
Have fun this season folks.