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Henricksen: Chicago Elite Classic, other top 2016-2017 hoops events announced

While it’s still three months away until practice begins, it’s not too early to look ahead to a few of the trustworthy events that have consistently brought us some of the most anticipated matchups each season.

CHICAGO ELITE CLASSIC

at UIC Pavilion • Dec. 2-3

Arguably the premier event in the Chicago area returns to the UIC Pavilion in early December with a wide range of rivalry games mixed in with high-profile local games and out-of-state teams.

While matchups will officially be announced at a later date, here are the 18 participating teams.

Illinois teams

Curie

Evanston

East St. Louis

Fenwick

Hyde Park

Joliet West

Kenwood

Morgan Park

Niles Notre Dame

Loyola Academy

Oak Park-River Forest

Orr

Simeon

University High (Chicago)

Young

➤There will be two days of strong individual talent, led by the state’s top junior prospect, Morgan Park’s Ayo Dosunmu. In addition, Evanston’s Nojel Eastern, one of the elite seniors in the state, and the Simeon junior tandem of Kezo Brown and Talen Horton-Tucker, will also be playing.

From a team perspective, the blend of Public League, Catholic League and suburban schools is an attraction. Among this group of teams we can expect as many as eight or nine that will be ranked in the preseason top 25.

Out-of-state teams

Chaminade (St. Louis, Mo.)

Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)

Gray Collegiate (West Columbia, S.C.)

Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.)

Sunrise Christian (Wichita, Kan.)

➤The out-of-state contingent is led by Gonzaga College out of Washington, D.C., which is led by the backcourt of Chris Lykes and Prentiss Hubb. Lykes, a 5-6 senior point guard, has committed to Miami-Fla., while the 6-2 Hubb is one of the top 40 prospects nationally in the Class of 2018.

Gray Collegiate features one of the country’s best sophomores in Juwan Gary, a 6-5 wing who is a top 20 player nationally.

Chaminade won the big school state championship in Missouri last year, while Miller Grove captured a 5A title in Georgia and

WHEN SIDES COLLIDE

at Glenbard East • Jan. 21

Hillcrest vs. Jacobs

Both teams won regional championships and 23 games a year ago with a young nucleus. And both will be highly ranked when the season tips off. Led by Loyola recruit Cameron Krutwig, Jacobs will get a shot at one of the premier programs in the Chicago area.

Young vs. Joliet West

Virtually everyone returns for two teams expected to be ranked among the top 10 when the season begins next November, including Division I prospects Teyvion Kirk and Trevian Bell for Joliet West and Lucas Williamson and Xavier Castaneda for Young.

Evanston vs. Naperville North

Nojel Eastern is back for one more year to lead an Evanston team with big expectations this season. Naperville North finished 23-5 and won the DuPage Valley Conference title and returns six of its top seven players.

Glenbard East vs. Willowbrook

A neighborhood rivalry game featuring two schools that sit just 2.5 miles apart.

TEAM ROSE CLASSIC

at Moraine Valley • Dec. 11

St. Rita vs. U-High

Farragut vs. Homewood-Flossmoor

Oak Park-River Forest vs. Crete-Monee

Hillcrest vs. Riverside-Brookfield

Orr vs. Marian Catholic

Curie vs. St. Joseph

➤A busy early-season day with a surplus of games on tap in this always strong event that boasts intriguing matchups.

The highlight of the day comes in the final two games, where a still young but talented St. Joseph team faces defending state champ Curie and Elijah Joiner. Marian Catholic’s guard tandem of Brandon Hurt and Chase Adams, along with big man TeeAaron Powell, squares off with athletic Raekwon Drake and Orr.

Hillcrest, a likely top 10 team with senior Marcus Garrett and sophomore Isaac Stanback, faces Riverside-Brookfield and talented guard Jalen Clanton.

HOOPS SHOWDOWN

at Robert Morris University • Jan. 21

Kenwood vs. Downers Grove South

Marian Catholic vs. Fenwick

A nice doubleheader featuring four teams who could all be ranked among the top 25 when the season begins.

Senior big man Manny Patterson leads what will be a deep and balanced Kenwood team, while Downers Grove South features sweet-shooting Denis Alibegovic and Western Michigan commit T.J. Clifford.

Then the Chicago Catholic League meets the East Suburban Catholic League, where there will be plenty of talented guards on display, led by Fenwick’s Jacob Keller and Marian’s Brandon Hurt.

CITY-SUBURBAN SHOWDOWN

at Robert Morris University in Arlington Heights • Feb. 18

• Stevenson vs. Morgan Park

• Simeon vs. Evanston

An event that will bring together a talent-filled Simon team and three of the elite prospects in the state in Morgan Park’s Ayo Dosunmu, the top junior prospect in Illinois, Evanston’s Nojel Eastern and Stevenson’s Justin Smith.

Follow Joe Henricksen and the Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport