The powerhouse lineup of prep teams and talent, both locally and nationally, is complete. The inaugural Chicago Elite Classic, a joint venture between Whitney Young and Simeon high schools, is set for Dec. 1 at the UIC Pavilion.
Chicago Elite Classic organizers have announced its official six-game lineup. A collection of top prep programs from around the country will square off against Chicago area and state powers, which includes three-time defending state champion Simeon.
“I’m proud of the fact that two Chicago Public League coaches and programs are able to get on board with one another, work together and put on an event of this magnitude,” says Whitney Young coach Tyrone Slaughter. “It’s also great to see elite, national programs take a chance with us. I think the ability to put together a field of teams like this speaks volumes of the respect there is for Chicago high school basketball.”
The Lineup (order of games with times still to be set)
➤ De La Salle vs. Phillips
➤ Normal U-High vs. St. Vincent – St. Mary (Akron, Ohio)
➤ Proviso East vs. Lone Peak (West Highland, Utah)
➤ St. Joseph vs. Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
➤ Whitney Young vs. DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.)
➤ Simeon vs. Milton (Milton, Ga.)
When the high school basketball season tips off in Illinois, the Chicago Elite Classic could very well boast the top three teams in the preseason: Simeon, Whitney Young and Proviso East. In addition, St. Joseph is a likely top 10 team in the preseason, while Normal U-High was a state runner-up in Class 2A a year ago and returns a ton of talent. Even with defections, including three starters that transferred, De La Salle could find its way into the preseason top 25.
De La Salle, which will be led by Minnesota commit Alvin Ellis, and a building Phillips program, led by senior Lawrence Briggs, Jr., will open up the event with a city feel and flavor in a Chicago Catholic League-Chicago Public League matchup.
“This event will bring in top, nationally-recognized high school programs,” Slaughter adds. “These are complete basketball teams. There will be a litany of Division I talent, including high-level talent that fans will be watching in this event who they will see playing on Saturday afternoons in years to come in college.”
And how about this group of national powers:
• St. Vincent-St. Mary
While the school is best known for producing the best current basketball player on the planet, Lebron James, the basketball program is one of Ohio’s elite. Coach Dru Joyce led St. Vincent-St. Mary to a state title in 2011, the program’s sixth state championships, which ties the state record for most state titles by a single school. SVSM has a young star in V.J. King, one of the top freshmen in the country.
• Lone Peak
The defending state champs in Utah have captured four of the last six state titles. This team, which could start the season ranked among the top 25 teams in the country, may be its best. There is a trio of players ranked in the top 100 nationally in their respective class — seniors Nick Emery and Eric Mika and junior T.J. Haws, all of whom are committed to BYU.
• Mater Dei
The basketball giant out of California is led by one of the top 20 juniors in the country, 6-5 Stanley Johnson. All Mater Dei has done in the last 30 years under coach Gary McKnight is compile an astounding 926-83 record. McKnight is the winningest coach in California state history.
• DeMatha Catholic
Arguably the most famed high school basketball program in the country, which legendary coach Morgan Wootten built and led to five mythical national championships. While Wootten, the coach with the most wins in basketball history with 1,274, retired in 2002, the program just keeps churning out wins and talent under coach Mike Jones. The Stags won 29 games a year ago.
The defending state champions in Georgia, who also captured a state title in 2010, will get a crack at the top team in Illinois. In recent years this program has churned out high-major players and more are on the way. The junior class, led by top 150 guard Jaylin Patterson, is loaded at Milton, including the junior tandem of 6-10 Isaiah Manderson and 6-8 Shawn O’Connell.
While the Chicago Elite Classic will showcase several nationally-ranked teams, the individual talent on display will include over 35-plus Division I prospects among the 12 participating teams, including 12 juniors and seniors who are currently among the top 100 players nationally in their respective class.
Here is a list of the juniors and seniors who will be playing in the Chicago Elite Classic who are ranked among the top 100 players in the country:
• Jabari Parker, 6-8, Sr., Simeon
The No. 1 ranked player in the country by ESPN.com and the reigning Mr. Basketball winner in Illinois has been a part of three straight state championship teams.
• Kendrick Nunn, 6-1, Sr., Simeon
The Illinois commit is ranked No. 57 by ESPN.com and No. 42 by Rivals.com.
• Jahlil Okafor, 6-11, Jr., Whitney Young
The state’s top prospect in the junior class and ESPN.com’s No. 3 prospect and Rivals.com’s No. 2 prospect nationally in the Class of 2014.
• L.J. Peak, 6-5, Jr., Whitney Young
The transfer from South Carolina is the No. 67 ranked player in the junior class by Rivals.com and No. 54 by ESPN.com.
• Paul White, 6-9, Jr., Whitney Young
He’s been on the national radar since he entered high school. Currently ranked No. 58 nationally by Rivals.com and No. 56 by ESPN.com.
• Keita Bates-Diop, Jr., U-High
A consensus top 25 prospect in the country in the Class of 2014 led U-High to a state runner-up finish in Class 2A last season.
• Sterling Brown, 6-5, Sr., Proviso East
Led Proviso East to a 32-1 record as a junior and is the Hoops Report’s No. 4 ranked prospect in Illinois in the Class of 2013. Nationally, he’s ranked No. 76 by Scout.com.
• BeeJay Anya, 6-9, Sr., DeMatha Catholic
One of the top uncommitted prospects in the country is ranked No. 30 in the Class of 2013 by ESPN.com and No. 46 by Rivals.com, with N.C. State, Pitt, Louisville, Ohio State and Indiana all in the mix.
• Nick Emery, 6-2, Sr., Lone Peak
The BYU commit checks in at No. 79 in the country by Scout.com and No. 59 by ESPN.com.
• Eric Mika, 6-8, Sr., Lone Peak
Another top 100 recruit headed to BYU. Mika checks in at No. 69 by Rivals.com and No. 70 by Scout.com.
• T.J. Haws, 6-2, Jr., Lone Peak
The third player for Lone Peak among the top 100 in their respective class. The No. 88 ranked junior by Rivals.com has also committed to BYU.
• Stanley Johnson, 6-6, Jr., Mater Dei
A big-time national talent. The No. 17 player in the country has offers from Arizona, Kentucky, N.C. State, UCLA and Missouri among others, according to Rivals.com.
For more information on the Chicago Elite Classic go to www.chicagoeliteclassic.com.
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