Scott Phillips

Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 3 Simeon

Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 3 Simeon

School: Simeon

2016-17 record: 30-4, 8-2 Public League Red-South

Postseason results: Lost to Whitney Young in Class 4A Title Game

Players to watch: Senior Talen Horton-Tucker (Iowa State) is one of the area's premier two-way players. Senior forward Messiah Jones (Drake) is an elite leaper and rebounder. Talented junior guard KeJuan Clements is also back. The Wolverines also added some intriguing transfers in Xavier Pinson (St. Pat's) and Northwest Indiana native Zion Young. Both Pinson and Young have Division I interest and add even more perimeter firepower. 

Why they're in the power rankings: On paper, you could argue that Simeon is the most talented team in the state this season. The Wolverines have proven veterans who have won city titles and Division I transfers at multiple positions. But how will all of the pieces fit together? This is a fascinating group with a high ceiling.

Did you know? Making it back to Peoria last season, Simeon has now made 13 state finals appearances.

Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 4 Orr

Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 4 Orr

2016-17 record: 23-5, 8-2 Public League Red-West

Postseason results: Won Class 2A State Championship.

Players to watch: Seniors Dannie Smith and Raekwon Drake are both major All-Area threats after strong junior seasons. Another senior, Ty Mosley, might actually be the best long-term college prospect of the group as he's pledged to Milwaukee for next season. Sharpshooter Brian Hernandez is another seasoned veteran who has a knack for making big plays.

Why they're in the power rankings: The Spartans return most of last season's Class 2A title team and they also added some key transfers in former Marian Catholic point guard Chase Adams and former Clark wing Demarius Splunge. While the Spartans should be the heavy favorites to repeat in Class 2A, they haven't made as much noise in the Public League Playoffs, which is why they're still behind some of the other schools in the preseason Power Rankings.

Did you know? Orr was absolutely dominant during its Class 2A title run last March as the Spartans won by an average of 21 points. Only one team, Uplift, even played Orr to within single digits and that was still a nine-point margin of victory. 

Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 5 Curie

Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 5 Curie

2016-17 record: 25-4, 10-0 Public League Red-Central

Postseason results: Lost to OPRF in Class 4A sectional semifinals

Players to watch: The frontcourt of twin brothers Treavon and Tyree Martin are both back as the seniors have been varsity mainstays the past few seasons. Curie also added a lot of weapons via transfer as reigning East Suburban Catholic Conference Player of the Year Maurice Commander (UT-Chattanooga) joined the Condors from Marist.

Why they're in the power rankings: The Martin twins should be one of the bigger and better frontcourts in the area this season and Commander should receive plenty of help from UP-Englewood transfer Jayden Gasby and St. Joseph transfer Marquise Walker. The Condors are just a step below the four other Public League powers who are ahead of them in the preseason Power Rankings, but they have a chance to still be a title threat.

Did you know? The new-look Condors looked very impressive at times this summer as they dominated the annual Riverside-Brookfield Shootout in June. Curie earned blowout wins over Simeon and Whitney Young in the final two games to capture the championship.