Preps Talk

CSN's Top 20 Basketball Rankings

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CSN's Top 20 Basketball Rankings

By Joe Collins and Taylor Bell
CSNChicago.com
1 Simeon (3-0)

Results: Defeated Farragut 50-43 (Fri.)

This Week: Wednesday vs. Carver, Saturday @ Clash Of Cameron Showcase (NC) vs. Word Of God HS

Hoops Talk: Fridays victory marked the 200th win for Simeon head coach Robert Smith.

2 Whitney Young (1-0)

Results: No games played

This Week: Wednesday vs. Orr, Friday vs. Crane

Hoops Talk: Sophomores Jahlil Okafor and Paul White must grow up quickly while Thomas Hamilton Jr. recovers from an injury (torn patella tendon).

3 Proviso East (7-0)

Results: Defeated Addison Trail 88-64 (Fri.)

This Week: Friday @ Hinsdale South

Hoops Talk: The Pirates continue to cruise through the early portion of their schedule. Will they be the team to beat at the Proviso West tourney?

4 Warren (7-1)

Results: Lost to Stevenson 44-43 (Tue.), defeated Mundelein 61-45 (Fri.)

This Week: Friday vs. Lake Forest

Hoops Talk: Tuesdays loss prompted a team meeting. The Blue Devils responded on Friday behind 19 points from 6-9 center Nathan Boothe.

5 Curie (4-0)

Results: Defeated Uplift 73-58 (Thu.), Champaign Centennial 78-54 (Sat.), Decatur McArthur 69-41 (Sun.)

This Week: Tuesday @ Hyde Park, Thursday vs. Hope

Hoops Talk: Busy stretch for the Condors, who are getting excellent production from 6-8 forward Cliff Alexander.

6 Downers Grove South (6-1)

Results: Defeated Morton 62-57 (Fri.)

This Week: Friday vs. Willowbrook

Hoops Talk: Senior guard Jerron Wilbut (20 points) guided Downers South from a 13-point deficit to a key West Suburban Gold victory in Cicero.

7 Bogan (6-0)

Results: Defeated Du Sable 66-42 (Wed.), Rockford Guilford 82-39 (Sat.)

This Week: Wednesday vs. Vocational

Hoops Talk: DeVaughn Johnson, Devonta Smith and Kendall Wesley are all contributing for this Bengals squad.

8 De La Salle (6-1)

Results: Defeated Farragut 62-50 (Tue.), St. Joseph 62-52 (Fri.)

This Week: Friday vs. Hales

Hoops Talk: Two wins against solid opponents. They could do damage at York High Schools Jack Tosh Classic later this month.

9 New Trier (7-1)

Results: Defeated Niles West 58-47 (Tue.), Glenbrook South 71-47 (Thu.)

This Week: Friday @ Waukegan, Saturday vs. Prosser

Hoops Talk: Guards Austin Angel, Reid Berman and David Braigel and Dartmouth-bound forward Connor Boehm are on a roll.

10 Andrew (5-0)

Results: Defeated Stagg 81-51 (Fri.)

This Week: Friday at Bradley-Bourbonnais

Hoops Talk: Thunderbolts look like the real deal as Mike Bobek, Tyler Hook and the Adekoya brothers have people talking outside Tinley Park.

11 Bloom (7-0)

Results: Defeated Thornwood 49-38 (Tue.), Rich Central 52-39 (Fri.)

This Week: Saturday vs. Leo

Hoops Talk: Guard Donald Moore and the Blazing Trojans add to their list of an already-impressive resume of wins so far this season.

12 Plainfield East (6-0)

Results: Defeated Plainfield Central 58-39

This Week: Friday @ Minooka

Hoops Talk: Keep an eye on senior guard Dee Brown for the Bengals. He continues to make noise in the Southwest Prairie conference.

13 Seton (10-0)

Results: Defeated Crane 73-66 (Tue.), Mount Carmel 79-64 (Fri.), Hamilton (WI) 62-59 OT (Sat.)

This Week: Friday vs. St. Francis de Sales

Hoops Talk: Defenses take notethe Sting are averaging 78.8 points per game this season.

14 Crane (2-2)

Results: Lost to Seton 73-66 (Tue.), lost to Peoria 55-43 (Sat.), defeated Homewood-Flossmoor 61-57 (Sun.)

This Week: Wednesday vs. North Lawndale, Friday at Whitney Young

Hoops Talk: Veteran head coach Chris Head has the Cougars back on the prowl after a nice win over H-F at the Team Rose Classic.
15 Homewood-Flossmoor (6-2)

Results: Defeated Lockport 49-43 OT (Fri.), lost to Crane 61-57 (Sun.)

This Week: Friday vs. Lincoln-Way East

Hoops Talk: Devlon Rencher came up big to save the Vikings Friday. He had a game-high 26 points, including the tying three-pointer in regulation.

16 West Aurora (5-1)

Results: Defeated Naperville Central

This Week: Friday @ Glenbard North, Saturday vs. East Aurora (at NIU)

Hoops Talk: The Blackhawks shot 65 from the field Friday night against Central. Juwan Starks and guard Jontrel Walker each had 18 points.

17 Elgin (6-1)

Results: Defeated South Elgin 47-25 (Tue.), St. Charles North 53-41 (Sat.)

This Week: Tuesday at Burlington Central, Friday at St. Charles East

Hoops Talk: Arie Williams, Kory Brown, Cortez Scott and Dennis Moore have paced the Maroons so far this season.

18 Notre Dame (8-2)

Results: Defeated Marist 75-59 (Fri.), Crete-Monee 67-50 (Sat.)

This Week: Tuesday @ Niles West

Hoops Talk: The Dons raise some eyebrows with a 17-point thumping of previously ranked Crete-Monee and another blowout over a solid Marist squad.

19 North Chicago (5-1)

Results: Defeated Antioch 96-36 (Tue.), Vernon Hills 77-65 (Fri.)

This Week: Friday @ Lakes

Hoops Talk: Illinois State-bound Aaron Simpson had 33 points in the victory over Vernon Hills, 27 more in Tuesdays rout against Antioch.

20 Metea Valley (8-0)

Results: Defeated Bartlett 68-58 (Fri.), South Elgin 55-43 (Sat.)

This Week: Friday @ Neuqua Valley

Hoops Talk: The new kid on the block (school opened in 2009) has game, especially on the defensive end.
Looming and Lurking: St. Rita, Morton, Morgan Park, T.F. South, Farragut, Crete-Monee, St. Joseph, Glenbrook North

63 Days to Kickoff: Shepard

63 Days to Kickoff: Shepard

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Shepard

Head coach: John Rone

Assistant coaches: Andrew Porter, Ron Rivera, Chris Lewis, Ryan McGuire and Clint Connelly

How they fared in 2017: 8-2 (5-1 South Suburban Red Conference). Shepard made the Class 6A state football playoff field. The Astros lost to Marmion Academy in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Leyden

Sept. 1 @ Stagg

Sept 7 vs Hillcrest

Sept. 14 vs Eisenhower

Sept. 21 @ Richards

Sept. 28 @ Oak Lawn

Oct. 5 vs Reavis

Oct. 12 vs Evergreen Park

Oct. 19 @ Argo

Biggest storyline: First-year head coach John Rone. Can the Astros challenge once again for the South Suburban Red conference title under a new head coach?

Names to watch this season: RB/LB Chris Harrison and TE/DE Kevin Graham

Biggest holes to fill: The Astros bring back 10 returning starters (five offense, five defense). Overall depth could also be a concern.  

EDGY's Early Take: Shepard will be led by former Eisenhower assistant Rone, who was able to retain an experienced staff at Shepard. It will help ease the transition from former head coach Dominic Passolano this summer. If the Astros can get off to a good early start they have the overall talent to again make a state playoff appearance in 2018. Can they challenge conference power Richards in the South Suburban Red race?

Boise State coach Leon Rice believes Chandler Hutchison, Bulls are a 'match made in heaven'

Boise State coach Leon Rice believes Chandler Hutchison, Bulls are a 'match made in heaven'

The Bulls ended long-standing speculation and drafted Boise State senior wing Chandler Hutchinson with the No. 22 overall pick in the first round of Thursday's 2018 NBA Draft.

The 6-foot-7 Hutchison has been linked to Chicago since opting out of the 2018 NBA Draft Combine in May as he gives the Bulls a versatile and experienced wing on the perimeter.

A late-bloomer both during high school career in Mission Viejo, California and during his four years at Boise State, Hutchison has always been willing to put in the work to reach the next levels of basketball. Hutchison elevated from a mid-major recruit into a top-100 national prospect by the end of high school. And similar to his prep career, Hutchison blossomed into a first-round pick after a slow start to his career at Boise State.

Broncos head coach Leon Rice offered strong praise for his former star player, as Hutchinson became the go-to player for the Broncos during his junior and senior seasons. Because Hutchison can play multiple spots, rebound, defend and push off the break, he's an intriguing piece for the Bulls' future rotation. Hutchison should be able to play on the wing alongside other rebuilding pieces like Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr.

"I think the Chicago Bulls got a steal," Rice said to NBC Sports Chicago. "You look at the last four years, he's gotten better every year."

"I think it's a great fit. You've got a terrific coach out there for Chandler and the style that he is. It's just the same way. I think it's a really good match."

It wasn't always easy for Hutchinson at Boise State. Rice and former Broncos assistant coach Jeff Linder were both convinced that Hutchison had the ability to develop into a star from the time they started recruiting him. But Hutchison needed time to develop his strength and skill level before he became a standout player.

"Our assistant coach Jeff Linder, who I really think is one of our best evaluators, he went and watched this kid. And he calls me, and it's five minutes into the game, and he's like, 'I've seen enough. He's what we need,'" Rice said. "He's got a feel for the game, he's long. I think people labeled him a little bit because he's from Orange County. In my estimation, he didn't fit that label. He just wasn't developed yet. He was young and he looked young. He just wasn't mature yet, that's the bottom line."

When he arrived on campus, Hutchinson was a touted top-100 prospect -- a rarity for the program and the Mountain West Conference. But the program already had talented and experienced players ahead of Hutchison in the rotation. Earning playing time, and a spot in the starting lineup, wasn't guaranteed to Hutchison.

Junior wing Anthony Drmic was one of the best, and most competitive, players in the league as Hutchison had to earn his stripes by battling a veteran in practice every day as an underclassman. Forward James Webb III was another all-conference piece that was already in place for Hutchison to learn from. 

"By the time he got to Boise, there were a lot of strong guys to compete with. I think that brought him something positive. Things that he didn't have," Rice said. "Anthony Drmic is one of the fiercest competitors I've ever coached. Chandler got to go against him day-in, day-out as a freshman. I don't know if across the country, who had a tougher practice. It shapes who he is today."

When Drmic and Webb departed Boise State, Hutchison was ready to step up into a consistent double-figure scorer and go-to player before his junior season. Already putting in the work to become a more well-rounded wing, Hutchison set out to improve an inconsistent three-pointer that was never above 28 percent during his first two seasons with the Broncos.

The arrival of assistant coach Phil Beckner to Boise State was another huge part of Hutchison's personal development. An experienced coach who spent time developing Damian Lillard as an assistant at Weber State, Beckner also had NBA G-League coaching experience and trained NBA players. Beckner's work with Hutchison took the junior's game, and his jumper, to a new level during his final two seasons in college.

"I think the last two years there was a great jump. He got to work with Phil Beckner, one of our assistants, who has worked with Dame Lillard and a number of players. I think he's one of the best at player development. It was a lot of hours and a lot of time doing it. A lot of dedication," Rice said.

Hutchison saw his three-point percentage jump to 37 percent as a junior as he put up 17.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game, helping lead the Broncos to an NIT appearance. Senior year was even stronger for Hutchison. Elevating to 20.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, Hutchison was named first-team all-conference while being named a top-10 national finalist for the Jerry West Award. 

"He led us in just about every category. And we had a good ballclub, too." Rice said. "He was a do-it-all player and he could do it at every position. He rebounded. He guarded big guys and small guys. Led the break. He's a great decision-maker with his feel."

Rice is also impressed that his star player was always coachable and easy to deal with away from the court. Hutchison earned his degree from Boise State, and even attended graduation in the midst of his pre-draft workouts in Chicago. Hutchison even flew straight back from his graduation and didn't miss his next pre-draft workout.

"He finishes. He got his degree and there's only two or three guys in the first round that got degrees and got it done. I mean, that's impressive," Rice said. "These guys that are elite-level players have so much demands on them with media and with the team and the workouts and all of these extra workouts. To get a degree while dealing with all of that is very impressive."

Hutchison has taken some time to find his footing in every level of basketball. Rice thinks playing around other talented, high-IQ players will help Hutchison's all-around game shine in the NBA. Rice in convinced that Hutchison's work ethic and versatility make him a great fit for the Bulls.

"That's what I love about him. I think he can fill a lot of different positions and a lot of different needs. Depending on what you need, night-in, night-out he can adjust his game and bring those things," Rice said.

"A great organization like the Bulls, he couldn't be more excited. It's a match made in heaven."