Preps Talk

2017 AP preps basketball rankings: Week 1

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2017 AP preps basketball rankings: Week 1

Here are the latest rankings of Illinois high school basketball teams in each class, according to an Associated Press panel of sportswriters:

Class 4A

Others receiving votes: Romeoville 15. Bolingbrook 14. Naperville North 13. New Trier 2. Larkin 2. Rock Island 1

Class 3A

Others receiving votes: Richwoods 12, Springfield Southeast 10. Champaign Central 10. Carmel 4. Rich East 4. Bogan 3. Galesburg 2. Rock Falls 2. Washington 2. Lincoln 1

Class 2A

Others receiving votes:  Quincy Notre Dame 15. Deer Creek-Mackinaw  9. Leo 7. Mt. Carmel 4. Monmouth-Roseville 4. Effingham St. Anthony 3. Tremont 2. Pittsfield 2. Harrisburg  2. Greenville 2. Pleasant Plains 1

Class 1A

Others receiving votes: Sterling Newman 16. Milledgeville 16. North Greene 13. Brimfield 12. Brown County  11. Milford 10. Springfield Calvary 6. Quest Academy 6. Madison 6. Heyworth 5. Mt. Pulaski 4. Freeport (Aquin) 4. Payson Seymour 4. Patoka 3. Concord Triopia  3. Raymond Lincolnwood 3

Viewers' Choice: Vote for High School Lites game coverage

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Viewers' Choice: Vote for High School Lites game coverage

Who wants it more?

We are putting High School Lites, Chicagoland's top prep sports show, in the hands of area basketball fans in our "Viewers' Choice Game of the Week." Fans will get the chance to pick one game that the NBC Sports Chicago (@NBCSPreps) crew will cover on Friday night. We will send our cameras to the game that gets the most votes; highlights and postgame reaction of that game will appear on that night's "High School Lites" broadcast at 11 p.m. The show also live streams at NBCSportsChicago.com/watchlive. High School Lites will also have broadcast replays at 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. the following Saturday. This week, we're profiling teams who are jostling for position near the top of their respective conference. Speaking of battling, did we mention three of the team mascots in this week's poll are named "Warriors?" Which game should we attend Friday night?

Bloom at Rich Central, 6:30 p.m.

Crystal Lake South at McHenry, 7:00 p.m.

Maine West at Deerfield, 7:30 p.m.

Poll opens Monday at 12:00 p.m. and closes Thursday at 4 p.m. Here is what fans need to do to vote:

— Follow @NBCSPreps on Twitter.
— Note the "pinned Tweet" atop the @NBCSPreps feed. Vote for the game you want us to cover.
— Spread the word! 

We will make an announcement on @NBCSPreps just after 4 p.m. Thursday with the official results of which game will be covered. And as a reminder, be sure to follow @NBCSPreps for updates on the "Viewers' Choice Game of the week," along with other high school sports news, scores and highlights this season.

1-on-1 with East St. Louis safety Antonio Johnson

1-on-1 with East St. Louis safety Antonio Johnson

While many top Chicagoland underclassmen took part in the third annual EDGYTIM MLK Underclassmen Showcase powered by EFT Football Academy last week, several others from outside the area participated and made waves of their own. Athletes from Central and Southern Illinois made statements, while others from a dozen states and Canada turned heads as well. 

East St. Louis sophomore safety Antonio Johnson (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) was one of several Flyers who made a very positive impression and made the most of his experience. 

Johnson, who started at wide receiver and safety for the Flyers (10-2 in 2017), is already appearing on several college radar screens. Johnson remains one of several underclassmen to watch for head coach Darren Sunkett over the next few years. 

I caught up with East St. Louis sophomore safety prospect Antonio AJ Johnson at the showcase and discussed his winter plans, his recruiting and why he made the nearly-300 mile trek in the dead of winter to compete at this event.