Always keep your eye on the bouncing ball …

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News you can use about high school basketball in this corner of the state … or maybe not.

North Chicago and Waukegan will play each other at 5 p.m. on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in the Grant holiday tournament.

Lake Zurich, Grant, and two Chicago Public League teams — North Lawndale and Urban Prep West — complete the six-team field.

Every team will play each other in the event tourney.

The bad news is that this would appear to be the only year that North Chicago will play in this event along with Waukegan. The Warhawks, in total rebuilding mode this year, look to be strong again in 2015-2016 and it’s believed they will play in a Thanksgiving week tourney downstate next year.

Waukegan’s girls basketball team has struggled mightily of late, but the Bulldogs should get off to a 3-0 start and earn some hardware for the school’s trophy case during Thanksgiving week when they host a four-team tournament.

The opposition includes Lincoln Park from Chicago, Providence-St. Mel, and Cristo Rey St. Martin from Waukegan.

St. Martin is the private school on MLK Avenue on the southeast side of the city.

Stevenson is the area’s best hope to win a state title this year, and the Patriots have left the Buffalo Grove tournament during Thanksgiving week for a 10-team tournament hosted by Lyons of LaGrange, Hinsdale Central and the Glenbards.

Stevenson’s first two games in that tournament will be against Argo and Lyons, two teams that were very ordinary last season.

Stevenson’s third game will be against either Hinsdale Central, Hinsdale South, or Sandburg. Of those three teams, only Hinsdale Central won a regional title last year. The Patriots’ final game will be against one of the Glenbards — North, South, East or West. Last year, Glenbard North won regional and sectional titles, then lost by three points to Benet in the Round of 8 supersectional.

■ Some who’ve watched Lake Forest High play basketball say that the gap between Stevenson and the Scouts has gotten appreciably smaller since the end of last season.

The gap between Lake Forest and the area’s third-best team, Highland Park, is growing, but not by a lot. The Giants, who took out Lake Forest in the regional finals last year, can play.

Zion-Benton’s new coach, Bobby Worthington, will take his team to Johnsburg for its Thanksgiving week tournament, which should make for a pillowy-soft debut for the Zee-Bees.

In pool play, Zion will face Johnsburg, Grayslake North and Grant.

In the other pool, Richmond’s team features 6-9, 250-pound sophomore Joey St. Pierre, who already is being heavily recruited by NCAA Division 1 programs.

In theory, Zion and Richmond could meet in the tournament finals.

Several people have said the Class 4A sectional next March will be at Waukegan’s Dog Pound gym, and that means the locals will get a chance to see senior stars Jalen Brunson and Connor Cashaw of Stevens, and Evan Boudreaux of Lake Forest.

Lake Forest will start its season in a Thanksgiving week tourney at New Trier and Loyola Academy.

The Scouts will play Chicago Prosser, Glenbrook South, and St. Ignatius in pool play.

■ North Chicago coach King Coleman decided to have his players compete this fall in a league in Chicago rather than have them face quality competition in the Let’s Play Hoops Sunday Fall League at the Libertyville Sports Complex.

You can draw two conclusions from that.

1) Though King has all new players, his team is loaded and he doesn’t want the local squads to see how good the Warhawks are going to be until the season actually starts for real in late November.

2) King knows his team is going to fall back several notches, likely will be passed this winter by Vernon Hills and/or Lakes in the North Suburban Conference Prairie Division standings, and doesn’t want the competition to get comfortable with and used to beating his team.

C.J. Duff, a 6-1 junior point guard, has yet to play his first basketball for Waukegan High School, but he’s already made a verbal committment to play his college basketball at Western Illinois University.

Duff earned his prep spur as a key member of Carmel High’s boys basketball team, which reaches the Round of 16 in each of the last two Class 3A tournaments. He also plays with Dickie Simpkins’ travel basketball program called Next Level Performance.

Duff transferred to Waukegan this summer and will be a key player for the Bulldogs for the next two seasons.

The last local hoopster to play at WIU was Warren High grad Ceola Clark — also a point guard — who developed into such a good player that he’s now playing pro basketball overseas.

Also in transfer mode is junior Chris Harris, who calls Antioch his home but spent his freshman and sophmore years of high school at Loyola Academy in Wilmette.

Last year, the wing player was a key contributor on Loyola’s senior-dominated team that won 25 games.

This season, he’ll be playing for Lake Forest Academy, which is not part of the IHSA and doesn’t compete in March Madness.

Harris’ older brother, Charles, graduated from LFA and is now in his third year at Western Michigan University where he has yet to earn prime-time minutes.

Chris will team up at LFA with 6-10 tower of power Diago Quinn. The Caxys will be playing in the Mundelein Thanksgiving week tournament and playing against Lakes, Warren and Mundelein.

Quinn has committed to play his call ball at Monmouth University if New York.

Lake Forest High senior star Evan Boudreaux spent last weekend visiting Dartmouth College which plays in the Ivy League.

The 6-8 Boudreaux recently tweeted he’s not going to visit Iowa.

Every Ivy League school is after Boudreaux, who has the smarts to make it academically at that level and the hoops skills to be a prime-time player for four years.

On website verbalcommits.com, Boudreaux is listed as being targeted by Princeton, Penn State, Brown, Yale, Boston College, Northwestern, Bucknell, Iowa State, Saint Louis, and DePaul.

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