There are still two months to dissect and break down the rosters of potential top 25 teams. And you better believe it will continue to be dissected and broken down over the next seven or eight weeks. But we’re getting close.
Last year is history. And June hoops? There is only so much stock you can take from summer shootouts and elite camps.
And with the recent barrage of transfers, which the City/Suburban Hoops Report recently highlighted, the landscape continues to shift.
But to get the dialogue and the fun started, why not churn out a “not so official” and still way-too-early rankings of the top 15 teams?
1. Curie. The defending champs lost a key piece or two, but that young talent from a year ago is a year older and better, starting with senior guard Elijah Joiner. With the number of players the returning state champs have in place, coach Mike Oliver’s Condors get the early bulls-eye.
2. Morgan Park. The state’s best junior, 6-3 point guard Ayo Dosunmu, is the catalyst and, you better believe, will make a big push for Player of the Year. He will get a big boost of support from transfer Aaron Cash, a talented 6-6 wing who has moved in from North Carolina.
3. Young. The Dolphins received a nice addition with Seton transfer Javon Freeman, who joins a group of talented pieces, including senior Lucas Williamson and junior Xavier Castaneda.
4. Simeon. There isn’t a lot of size, but there should be nice balance with Evan Gilyard, Kezo Brown and Talen Horton-Tucker. Some of the young talent must step up.
5. Evanston. The Wildkits have been building towards this season for four years. Now it’s time for Nojel Eastern and Company to take the next step.
6. Joliet West. Virtually an entire team, including Division I seniors Teyvion Kirk and Trevian Bell, return from a sectional championship team. It’s the best Joliet team since …
7. Hillcrest. The trio of senior Marcus Garrett, junior Bobby Harvey and sophomore Isaac Stanback will fuel a loaded Hawks team that has realistic hopes of reaching Peoria in Class 3A.
8. Bolingbrook. Deep and super athletic, the Raiders have Division I talent, starting with 6-5 senior Nana Akenten, who just returned from visiting Nebraska, and sophomore point guard Joseph Yesufu
9. Uplift. This will be a scary, under-the-radar Public League team with the brother combination of Demarius Jacobs and Markese Jacobs, along with a solid supporting cast.
10. North Lawndale. A big offseason as a team and from individual players, along with the addition of a couple of transfers, have ignited the hopes. Expect a big year from senior guard Carlos Hines.
11. Kenwood. A lot of questions need to be answered, but the Broncos have a surplus of talented players to piece together and capable of rising to the occasion.
12. Conant. Senior Jimmy Sotos is poised for a monster senior year, while 6-8 junior big man Ryan Davis will emerge as a difference-maker for a Cougars team with size and role players.
13. Thornton. Last season the wildcats overachieved. This year with Alonzo Verge joining promising 6-7 junior Orlando Allen, the Wildcats will be a marked team.
14. Downers Grove South. The combination of Western Michigan commit T.J. Clifford and shooter Denis Alibegovic (14 ppg, 66 threes), along with seniors Tyree Spencer and Dylan Kaczmarek, return from 21-win team.
15. St. Joseph. Too high? Possibly. But a trio of guards return, including sophomore Marquis Walker, junior Ahmad Muhammad and senior Jason Towers from a fourth-place finisher in Class 3A.
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