Michael O’Brien’s Super 25 high school basketball rankings for Jan. 23, 2022

Homewood-Flossmoor, Bolingbrook, Benet and Kankakee join the rankings.

SHARE Michael O’Brien’s Super 25 high school basketball rankings for Jan. 23, 2022
Glenbard West’s Braden Huff (34) reacts during the game against Young.

Glenbard West’s Braden Huff (34) reacts during the game against Young.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Two suburban teams are at the top of the rankings. Glenbard West and Glenbrook South are a combined 42-1, and the only loss was the Hilltoppers’ narrow victory against the Titans.

Will the suburbs be able to bring home state championships in March?

Glenbard West is clearly the Class 4A favorite. The Hilltoppers have done a nice job with their schedule this season. They have two games still open. It’s imperative that they find some tough teams to play because Kenwood will be healthier and likely much better in March after playing in the city tournament.

Simeon remains the heavy favorite in Class 3A, although Hillcrest is steadily improving and should be a real challenge in a possible supersectional matchup.

National rankings

National rankings for high school teams are insane and not worth getting worked up about. I watch hundreds of games in the area every winter, and it’s difficult to rank those teams. Ranking the top 25 teams in the country is an impossible task that doesn’t make any sense.

Individual player rankings receive a lot more attention. They are breathlessly discussed all spring and summer at the shoe-company tournaments. Fans subscribe to websites to read about recruits, and colleges spend thousands of dollars a year on recruiting services.

So what is going on with Braden Huff? Glenbard West’s 6-9 senior is now the clear leader in the Player of the Year race and arguably the area’s best prospect since Talen Horton-Tucker (who was also weirdly low in the national rankings).

Huff is not in ESPN’s top 100 rankings. Yorkville Christian’s Jaden Schutt is No. 47, Thornton’s Ty Rodgers is No. 52 and Young’s AJ Casey checks in at 56.

247sports has Rodgers at 54, Schutt at 60 and Casey at 67. All the way down at No. 95 is Huff. That’s laughable. I guess we should throw the national player rankings in the trash, as well.

Huff isn’t stressed about it at all. He has signed with Gonzaga, one of the top programs in the country.

“I’m really excited about where I’m headed and my future,” Huff said. “I do see [the rankings], and I use that as a chip on my shoulder, but at the end of the day, rankings don’t truly matter.”

Worried about Simeon?

Last week I touted Simeon as Glenbard West’s equal or better. My opinion hasn’t changed after the loss to Glenbrook South on Saturday. The Wolverines were without Wes Rubin, their 6-8 center. The junior averages a double-double and would’ve been a major factor in the post against Glenbrook South’s Nick Martinelli. Rubin won the prestigious A.C. Williamson Award at Pontiac, which is rare for a junior.

At this point in the season, the top tier of Glenbard West, Simeon, Kenwood and Glenbrook South is clear. They’ve been the top four teams in the Super 25, in whatever order, since Dec. 12.

Curie, New Trier, Young and Hillcrest make up a solid second tier, and after that, it’s anyone’s guess. Although Wheaton Warrenville South appears nearly unbeatable with its relentless defense.

Super 25 for Jan. 23, 2022
With record and last week’s ranking

1. Glenbard West (22-0) 1
Knocked off Young

2. Glenbrook South (20-1) 4
Beat Simeon

3. Simeon (16-2) 2
Missed Wes Rubin

4. Kenwood (16-5) 3
Handled Hyde Park

5. Curie (19-2) 5
At Simeon Friday

6. Hillcrest (18-2) 7
Young and talented

7. New Trier (20-2) 8
Four big wins last week

8. Young (14-7) 6
Chemistry looks off

9. Wheaton Warrenville South (22-1) 11
Beat Orr, Benet

10. Mount Carmel (19-1) 10
Leo and St. Rita this week

11. Hyde Park (13-6) 9
Lost to Curie, Kenwood

12. Rolling Meadows (20-2) 12
Faces New Trier Saturday

13. Brother Rice (18-2) 13
Survived Marist

14. Larkin (20-2) 15
Takes on Thornton Saturday

15. Oswego East (22-1) 16
Big win at Batavia

16. Lyons (18-3) 20
Beat Proviso East, Burlington Central

17. Leo (12-3) 14
Couldn’t hang with Hillcrest

18. Bolingbrook (17-6) NR
Raiders righted the ship

19. Lemont (17-4) 25
Eight consecutive wins

20. Homewood-Flossmoor (13-5) NR
Difficult to get a handle on

21. Benet (17-5) NR
Beat St. Ignatius

22. Burlington Central (19-3) 21
Lost to Lyons

23. St. Ignatius (12-8) 18
Lost to Benet

24. Bloom (14-4) 24
Hosts Thornton Tuesday

25. Kankakee (14-5) NR
Beat Thornton

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