While it’s not quite the real thing just yet, the return of the Riverside-Brookfield Summer Shootout does open the door and the idea of some high school basketball normalcy in the very near future.
Shootout director and Riverside-Brookfield head coach Mike Reingruber released the 56-team field and matchups this week, and it’s about as strong as it could be.
More importantly, it will be the first time college coaches will be able to evaluate high school players in 15 months. So the R-B Shootout the weekend of June 18-20 will take on added significance this year.
There were some changes to the 19th annual shootout that has evolved into the marquee offseason event in Illinois high school basketball.
First, any team outside a 30-mile radius of Riverside-Brookfield was left out due to continued state Covid travel restrictions. That’s too bad because several teams that were expected to compete, including those with high-profile players, were left out.
Yorkville Christian, led by high-major prospect Jaden Schutt, is just outside the 30 miles.
Tuscola and star guard Jalen Quinn were originally set to make the trip north and be part of the high-profile event. The restrictions, however, will prevent the small school from Central Illinois from playing at RB.
In addition to fewer games being played at the same time –– there will be four games played simultaneously rather than the normal six games –– the other change is there will be no tournament format this year. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The shootout will guarantee teams four set games over the course of the weekend. In the past, teams did tend to get worn down on the final day while playing out a tournament bracket.
This schedule will serve the important dual purpose or players being seen by college coaches in an organized fashion while playing against top high school teams from around the Chicago area.
Reingruber isn’t sure if fans will allowed to attend the event yet, that will likely depend on the state’s COVID mitigations in place on June 18.
Here are 15 intriguing matchups and why they excite us even in the summer:
St. Ignatius vs. Homewood-Flossmoor, Friday, 12:55 p.m.
With so much talent and experience returning, this could be a breakout season for an amped up St. Ignatius program. Homewood-Flossmoor boasts size, young talent and is a potential top 25 team in 2021-22.
Evanston vs. Riverside-Brookfield, Friday, 2:05 p.m.
The host school, which will have a shot of cracking the top 25 next year at some point, gets the new-look but still good Evanston team with up-and-coming Prince Adams.
Glenbard West vs. Simeon, Friday, 4:10 p.m.
The old power vs. the new one? Perennial state powerhouse Simeon faces a team in Glenbard West that will undoubtedly be among the preseason top five teams next year.
New Trier vs. St. Rita, Friday, 4:10 p.m.
You want some serious size going at it in a matchup featuring two teams that will surely be highly ranked? The prized St. Rita tandem of 6-9 James Brown and 6-8 Morez Johnson are a year older, while New Trier’s 6-8 Jackson Munro has been a revelation this spring.
Glenbard West vs. St. Rita, Friday, 5:05 p.m
There will be plenty of Division I talent on the floor in this one. Plus, St. Rita’s 6-9 sophomore James Brown and Glenbard West’s 6-9 senior Braden Huff? Sign me up.
Bolingbrook vs. Young, Friday, 6:15 p.m.
The first summer look at next year’s top senior prospect, Young’s 6-8 AJ Casey, and a young but talented Bolingbrook.
Joliet West vs. Young, Friday, 7:10 p.m.
We add this one with the hope that Jeremy Fears Jr. returns to Joliet from a one-year stint from La Lumiere. We can hope. Young has its own talented point guard with high-major offers in the Class of 2023 in Dalen Davis.
Timothy Christian vs. Rolling Meadows, Saturday, 9:25 a.m.
Max Christie has moved on but Rolling Meadows is still a top 25 caliber team with the return of talented Cam Christie. Plus, the red-hot Ben VanderWal of Timothy Christian will finally be seen by college coaches.
The Timothy Christian schedule at R-B is no joke as the Trojans face four teams that could all be preseason top 25 teams in St. Ignatius, Rolling Meadows, Homewood-Flossmoor and sleeper Barrington.
Glenbrook South vs. Oak Forest, Saturday, 10:35 a.m.
A couple of high-profile players with size, who also happen to be club basketball teammates with Meanstreets, meet when Oak Forest’s 6-8 Robbie Avila squares off with Glenbrook South’s 6-7 Nick Martinelli.
Loyola vs. Mount Carmel, Saturday, 12:40 p.m.
Chicago Catholic League action in the summer with a Loyola program that has shown the ability to simply reload and an upstart Mount Carmel program led by exciting guard DeAndre Craig.
Brother Rice vs. Curie, Saturday, 2:45 p.m.
Catholic League vs. Public League as two schools six miles apart meet. Curie is always good and Brother Rice, with a solid junior group featuring guard Ahmad Henderson, is going to be good.
Bloom vs. North Lawndale, Saturday, 4:50 p.m.
Will this be the breakout weekend for North Lawndale and the Class of 2023 guard duo of Ronald Chambers and Damarion Wyatt?
Proviso East vs. Lake Forest, Saturday, 4:50 p.m.
Young, talented perimeter players in Lake Forest’s Asa Thomas and Proviso East’s Jaloni Johnson will be a fun one.
St. Patrick vs. Fenwick, Saturday, 6:55 p.m.
Both teams lose a ton from last year. However, St. Pat’s does welcome back ultra-productive Timaris Brown, who needs to be seen by college coaches. Fenwick will have a strong, veteran senior class. And might Trey Pettigrew return to Fenwick?
Simeon vs. Lyons, Sunday, 11:30 am
Emerging guard Tavari Johnson of Lyons will get a crack at the Simeon backcourt of senior Jaylen Drane and junior Jalen Griffin.