Preps Talk

CSN Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 13 Downers Grove South

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CSN Preps Basketball Power Rankings: No. 13 Downers Grove South

School: Downers Grove South

2015-16 record: 21-10, 10-2 in the West Suburban Gold

Postseason results: Lost to Hinsdale South, 74-55, in the Class 4A Glenbard East Regional finals

Players to watch: Senior forward T.J. Clifford is an athletic double-double threat as he's signed to Western Michigan. Senior guard Denis Alibegovic is one of the area's best shooters and also an intriguing unsigned prospect. Guard Tyree Spencer is another big weapon on the perimeter.

[RELATED: CSN Preps Basketball Power Rankings - No. 14 North Lawndale]

Why they're in the Power Rankings: A top-25 team for much of last season, Downers South returns three major pieces and they'll be able to compete with anyone in the area next season. 

Did you know?: Downers South improved by 16 wins during the 2015-16 season as they went from five wins to 21 in the span of a year. 

13 Days to Kickoff: Phillips

13 Days to Kickoff: Phillips

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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Phillips

Head coach: Troy McAllister

How they fared in 2018: 9-3 (5-0 CPL Illini Land of Lincoln Conference). Phillips made the Class 6A state playoff field and defeated Lake Forest and Prairie Ridge. They advanced for the quarterfinal round and lost to Cary-Grove.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 31 @ Cass Tech (MI)
Sept. 7 vs St. Mary (MO) at East St. Louis
Sept. 13 vs Taft
Sept. 20 vs Raby
Sept. 27 @ Morgan Park (Gately Stadium)
Oct. 5 @ Simeon (Gately Stadium)
Oct. 11 vs Lane Tech
Oct. 19 @ Westinghouse
Oct. 25 @ Lincoln Park (at Lane Tech)

Biggest storyline: Phillips has gone from a Public League also-ran to a program with annual state title aspirations. Can the two-time state champion Wildcats get back into the 6A playoff field and make a deeper run this November?

Names to watch this season: S Robert Pledger (Sr., Western Michigan) OL/DL Demerick Morris (Sr., Temple)

Biggest holes to fill: The Wildcats will bring back an experienced team this season after playing a ton of underclassmen in 2018. The biggest hole is more from a leadership standpoint with the graduation losses of WR/DB Fabian McCray (NIU) and DB Joseph Thompson (Illinois), both of whom were long time varsity starters. 

EDGY's Early Take: Phillips (4A-sized enrollment) and head coach Troy McAllister volunteered to "move up" to Class 6A level last season and also this season. The Wildcats will bring back big group of returning starters who saw significant playing time last season.

While they came up short last season with a 6A quarterfinals loss to Cary-Grove, look for the Wildcats to again challenge everyone who comes their way in the Chicago Public League. They’ll have to be road warriors the first two weeks, as they take on marquee competition from out of state. The Oct. 5 date vs. Simeon is a must-see. The 6A playoff field will have to be wary of Phillips.

14 Days to Kickoff: Montini Catholic

14 Days to Kickoff: Montini Catholic

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 Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Montini Catholic

Head coach: Mike Bukovsky

Assistant coaches: Brian Casey, Mark Placey, Kyle Petros, Joe DiCanio, Thomas McLaurin, Ted Fleckles, Larry Sheppard, Roosevelt Holiday, Joe Consalvo and Jack Bruscianelli

How they fared in 2018: 12-2 (3-1 CCL Blue Conference). Montini made the Class 5A state playoff field and defeated Woodstock North, Sycamore, Evergreen Park and Sterling. They advanced to the state title game where they lost to Joliet Catholic.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 31 @ Hudson (WI)
Sept. 6 vs Collins
Sept. 13 @ Mount Carmel
Sept. 20 vs St. Rita
Sept. 27 vs St. Viator
Oct. 4 @ (Niles) Notre Dame
Oct. 11 @ St. Joseph
Oct. 18 vs De La Salle
Oct. 25 vs Providence Catholic

Biggest storyline: Finishing. Can the Broncos get to DeKalb for the 5A state title game and walk away with a championship trophy?

Names to watch this season: WR/TE Nate Muersch (Sr., Miami OH), OL Jeremiah Banks Wall (Sr.), QB Deontay Bell (Sr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Broncos welcome back 12 starters (five offense, seven defense) from last season's squad but they will have new faces at receiver, running back and defensive back. 

EDGY's Early Take: Montini Catholic has been chomping at the bit to get back on the field. They had a great run last season and fell short in Champaign against JCA. Several key names return this season, including quarterback Deontay Bell and a sure-handed, tall receiver in Nate Muersch. The offensive line brings back three starters as well.

The Broncos defense has speed and experience on the line and at linebacker. Senior defensive back CJ Bufkin is a name to watch this fall. The newly-realigned CCL/ESCC schedule is strong but the Broncos should be well prepared after playing in the old CCL Blue the past few seasons.