Roundtable Questions for Chicago Area High School Basketball 2023-2024 season!!!!
Updated: Nov 16
Here are some burning questions for the season.
GAME OF THE YEAR:
Who really knows lol? A lot to choose from in the area. I would say:
#5 Thornton Township (Harvey) vs #1 Kenwood Academy (Chicago) at Chicago Elite Classic
A hot one to start the season and end week 2. Head Coaches run Nike EYBL
programs on club circuit. Tai Streets of Thornton runs Meanstreets, Mike Irvin runs Mac Irvin Fire. Last time they met was two seasons ago in February at Kenwood Academy. There was a scoring controversy (something had to happen), that should have had Thornton winning in regulation. Alas it went to double overtime and Thornton survived. Yes I was at the game and kept score. Wrote an article about it: https://www.bigtimshsbballrevue.com/post/scoring-controversy-in-thornton-township-at-kenwood-academy-game-and-chicago-area-superlatives.
Prime time paint matchup. Illinois commit Morez Johnson Jr (6'9") of Thornton vs Arizona State commit Jaden Smith (6'11") of Kenwood Academy. I'll write more on preview for Chicago Elite Classic.
MOST UNDERRATED TEAMS:
These teams just missed my Top 25. Curie (Chicago), Niles North (Skokie), Wauconda, Batavia, Glenbrook South (Glenview), Hyde Park Academy (Chicago), Marian Catholic (Chicago Heights). Would not be surprised if all these teams sneak in during the season.
PLAYERS JUST OUTSIDE BIG TIM'S TOP 50 PLAYERS:
Aleks Alston, Kenwood Academy (Chicago) junior
Jakob Blakely, Walter Payton College Prep (Chicago) senior
Miles Boland, Loyola Academy (Wilmette) senior
All have great cases to be on the list and had me in deep thought for the list
TOP FIVE INCOMING FRESHMEN:
This has a chance to be a special class and it's really a Big 4, but I'll put five.
Jaxson Davis, Warren Township (Gurnee)
Devin Cleveland, Kenwood Academy (Chicago)
Davion Thompson, Bolingbrook
Howard Williams, Whitney Young (Chicago)
Markese Peoples, St Laurence (Burbank)
TOP FIVE SOPHOMORES:
Still lots of work but coming into focus:
Rajon Roberts, Kenwood Academy (Chicago)
BJ Powell, Lincoln Way East (Frankfort)
Stephen Brown, Marist (Chicago)
Gabe Sularski, Benet Academy (Lisle)
Jaali Love, Manley (Chicago)
TOP FIVE JUNIORS:
Antonio Munoz, Whitney Young (Chicago)
Bryce Heard, Homewood Flossmoor
Phoenix Gill, St Ignatius College Prep (Chicago)
Brady Sehlhorst, Notre Dame College Prep (Niles)
Al Brooks Jr, Hansberry College Prep (Chicago)
TOP FIVE SENIORS:
Morez Johnson Jr, Thornton Township (Harvey)
Angelo Ciaravino, Mount Carmel (Chicago)
Jack Stanton, North (Downers Grove)
Jason Jakstys, Yorkville
Gianni Cobb, Homewood Flossmoor
TOP FIVE PLAYERS OUTSIDE CHICAGO AREA:
Lathan Sommerville, Richwoods (Peoria)
Cooper Koch, Metamora
Tyler Mason, Metamora
Davis Bynum, East St Louis
Dietrich Richardson, Manual (Peoria) (junior)
CHICAGO AREA WON ONE STATE TITLE OUT OF FOUR LAST YEAR!!!!! WILL IT GET SHUT OUT? OR WILL THEY WIN MULTIPLE TITLES?
DePaul College Prep (Chicago) won the only state title last season from the area. That was in Class 2A. They moved up to Class 3A this season. Simeon Career Academy (Chicago) and Benet Academy (Lisle) made it to title games last year in Class 3A and Class 4A respectively. Manley (Chicago) looks like they have a shot in Class 1A this season but right now I'm predicting a shutout. We'll see how that goes?
BIG TIM'S STATE TITLE PICKS FOR CLASS 1A-4A:
Last year I went 1 for 3 picking Moline correctly. Came close in 3A with Simeon Career Academy (Chicago). Didn't attempt a Class 1A pick (I was chicken lol), but I will this year.
CLASS 1A: Illini Bluffs- This one I'm going by what others are telling me. I have seen Lehigh commit Hank Alvey (6'9" senior) play for his club team Mid Pro Academy. He'll be a load in any class but especially in 1A. If they have decent guards then will be a good pick.
CLASS 2A: Manual (Peoria )- They have dropped down a class and have a lot of talent. It is young talent though. Dietrich Richardson (6'7" junior point guard) and Gerrell Trapps (6'0" senior point guard) will be a dangerous duo. Trapps sat out last part of the season last year after coming back from AZ Compass Prep (AZ). Look for him to make up for lost time.
CLASS 3A: Metamora- This could be a third straight title appearance. The others both went into overtime. They don't make it look easy do they? Big time experience returning in Winona State commit Tyler Mason (6'2" senior point guard), Matt Zobrist (6'5" junior guard), and Luke Hopp (6'8" senior wing). Add in Iowa commit Cooper Koch (6'9" senior wing) and recipe for repeat. Look out for the elephant in the room Richwoods (Peoria) with Sommerville just to get out of Sectional play.
CLASS 4A: Normal Community- They can go 6'5", 6'6", 6'9", 6'9", 6'10" lineup. Guards are not slow they are very athletic and can push the ball in transition. Seniors Braylon Roman and Niko Newsome at the guards. Senior Wright State commit Jaheem Webber in the middle with senior Noah Cleveland and junior Kobi Walker will likely come off the bench. Junior guard Connor Smith transferred in from Urbana. Gigantic matchup with Chicago Area #4 Thornton Township (Harvey) on December 16th.
Should be a fun and wide open season. Happy hunting.