Young’s AJ Casey was the city’s lightning rod over the last several years. Being Chicago’s premier high school basketball talent is a difficult load for a kid to handle.
Through all the ups and downs, Casey was an exemplary person. Those that know him best were thrilled to watch him overcome all the drama and lead the Dolphins to the city title.
“He’s dealt with it like few people could have,” Young coach Tyrone Slaughter said. “Everyone in the school loves him because he is not consumed with himself. He’s a team-first guy.”
Casey started high school at Simeon, then went to Tinley Park and spent his final two years at Young. For whatever reason, transferring always works up some fans.
“He’s a phenomenal young man and some of the negatives heaped upon him are not fair,” Slaughter said. “Families make decisions about where they want their kids to go to school.”
The Miami recruit is a basketball fan. Casey was spotted watching games all over the area this season, often at events Young wasn’t even going to play in. Sometimes he’s watching friends and sometimes he just wants to check out certain teams.
All of that accumulated knowledge will come in handy during the state playoffs. Casey’s goal is to win the city and state championships. Quentin Richardson’s 1998 team was the only one from Young to pull that off.
“We had some bumps in the road but we always come out and get the job done,” Casey said during the city playoffs. “People can say what they want to say, but we’ve remained focused on our goals.”
Casey leads the All-City first team, where he is joined by teammate Xavier Amos, a NIU recruit.
The Class of 2022 is generally considered the weakest in Public League basketball. The overall talent level is significantly lower than an average year and several of the city’s best players are currently in the Catholic League.
That showed on the All-City selections. The Catholic League is clearly closing the gap on the Public League. Aside from Amos and Casey, the only Public League senior signed with a Division I school is Kenwood’s Trey Pettigrew. And he transferred into the Public League for this season.
Check out all of the players nominated for the All-City team, along with their season statistical averages, right here:
Players on teams in the Chicago city limits are eligible for All-City. The All-Area team, comprised of players in the Sun-Times’ entire coverage area, will be released next week.
2022 Chicago Sun-Times All-City Team
Darrin Ames, Kenwood, G, 6-2, Jr.
Xavier Amos, Young, 6-8, Sr.
AJ Casey, Young, 6-8, Sr.
DeAndre Craig, Mount Carmel, 6-1, Jr.
Ahmad Henderson, Brother Rice, 5-10, Jr.
JaKeem Cole, Leo, 6-0, Jr.
Jaylen Drane, Simeon, 6-3, Sr.
Davontae Hall, Hyde Park, 6-1, Sr.
Jeremy Harrington, Curie,6-5, Jr.
Trey Pettigrew, Kenwood, 6-4, Sr.
Dylan Arnett, DePaul Prep, 6-9, Sr.
Richard Barron, St. Ignatius, 6-5, Jr.
Cam Cleveland, Leo, 6-3, Sr.
Morez Johnson, St. Rita, 6-9, So.
Lidell Miller, Morgan Park, 6-7, Sr.
Mikell Jones, Clark, 6-4, Sr.
Terrance Jones, Longwood, 6-2, Sr.
Cam Lawin, Orr, 6-2, Sr.
Aviyon Morris, Simeon, 5-7, Sr.
DJ Bates, De La Salle, 6-1, Sr.
James Brown, St. Rita
Timaris Brown, St. Patrick
Phoenix Bullock, Curie
Dalen Davis, Young
Jalen Griffith, Simeon
Chris Hammonds, Lincoln Park
Caleb Hannah, Orr
Carlos Harris, Curie
Malik Jenkins, Hyde Park
Donovan Jones, Solorio
Davius Loury, Kenwood
Vincent Mayes, North Lawndale
Chikere Nwosu, Lincoln Park
Chikasi Ofoma, Curie
JaQwon Payton, Perspectives-Lead
LaShawn Pollard, Vocational
AJ Redd, St. Ignatius
Miles Rubin, Simeon
Wes Rubin, Simeon
Lonell Strickland, Fenger
Josh West, Westinghouse