Preps Talk

CSN Preps Power Rankings: Week 15

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CSN Preps Power Rankings: Week 15

The boys basketball season is winding down as the Class 3A and Class 4A state semifinals are this weekend after supersectional play on Tuesday.

The season is over for most basketball teams in the state and many of the teams in the latest @CSNPreps Power Rankings are done, but we still have plenty of important games to go before the final rankings next weekend. 

Here's a look at the Top 25 heading into the final week of the season.

1. Simeon (1) (28-3) — The Wolverines took down Marian Catholic and Thornton to advance to supersectional play in Class 4A. Simeon plays United Township at Illinois State on Tuesday.

2. Morgan Park (3) (26-3) — Morgan Park is heading back to supersectionals, where they'll face Lincoln-Way West at Joliet Central. The Mustangs beat rival Bogan for another sectional title at St. Laurence during the week.

3. Curie (5) (23-5) — The Condors beat rival Kenwood to win a sectional title on a thrilling buzzer-beater as they move on to face Notre Dame at Northwestern in Class 4A. 

4. St. Joseph (6) (24-8) — St. Joseph deserves a ton of credit for making another supersectional in Class 3A with a win over Fenwick as the team got a balanced effort. The Chargers play Ridgewood at the Sears Centre on Tuesday.

5. Benet (8) (29-3) — Benet advanced to the DeKalb Supersectional with a win over York as their tremendous season continues. The Redwings will face Joliet West at Northern Illinois on Tuesday night.

6. Notre Dame (21) (25-6) — Notre Dame rolled through a tough Glenbrook South Sectional with wins over Evanston and Deerfield as they get to face Curie in the Class 4A Evanston Supersectional at Northwestern. 

7. Fenwick (2) (28-3) — After a great season, it's all over for Fenwick, who lost to St. Joseph in the Class 3A Westinghouse Sectional. The Friars have an All-Area point guard in Mike Smith and some solid juniors like Jacob Keller and Jamal Nixon returning.

8. Kenwood (4) (22-5) — Also eliminated is Kenwood as they were bounced by rival Curie  finishing the season series at 2-2. The Broncos had great play from its seniors this season and are an emerging city presence. 

9. Joliet West (NR) (21-9) — Joliet West was able to take down Joliet Central for the Class 4A Lockport Sectional as this team filled with juniors and sophomores is a year ahead of schedule. Now the Tigers get a shot at Benet in the DeKalb Supersectional.

10. Conant (NR) (23-6) — Conant is having a tremendous season as they've moved on to the Hoffman Estates Supersectional at Sears Centre with a win over Lake Zurich in Class 4A. Now the Cougars get Rockford Auburn on Thursday. 

11. Lincoln-Way West (NR) (20-9) — Lincoln-Way West is a sectional champion in Class 3A as they came back to beat Hillcrest. In the Class 3A supersectional, Lincoln-Way West will get Morgan Park. 

12. Thornton (14) (25-4) — It was a very successful season for first-year coach Tai Streets and his team as Thornton fell to Simeon for a sectional title. Sam Taylor and Patrick Rucker had great senior seasons.

13. Deerfield (15) (28-4) — Deerfield's dream season has come to an end as they went down to Notre Dame. This was a fun group to watch as senior Jordan Baum and company made a lot of big shots and beat some great teams.

14. North Lawndale (9) (22-8) — North Lawndale went down to St. Joseph in the Westinghouse Sectional as it was a great season for Lewis Thorpe's team. The Phoenix were one of the breakout teams of the season.

15. Marian Catholic (10) (23-6) — The young Spartans played mostly juniors and sophomores and played some very good ball at the end of the season before losing to Simeon in the Bloom sectional semifinals. With a backcourt of Chase Adams and Brandon Hurt returning, the Spartans will be back next season.

16. Whitney Young (11) (19-9) — Talented but likely a year away, Whitney Young lost to Curie in the Class 4A Riverside-Brookfield sectional. The Dolphins still won a regional and have a lot of talent returning next season.

17. Vocational (13) (21-9) — Good season for Vocational, as they lost to Bogan in the Class 3A St. Laurence sectional. The Cavaliers had to play through a tough conference but handled it pretty well to make a postseason run.

18. Evanston (16) (23-6) — The Wildkits were one of the stronger teams in the area in the middle of the season before dropping a couple of games late and falling to Notre Dame in the Glenbrook South sectional semifinals. 

19. Stevenson (18) (24-7) — Stevenson surged towards the end of the regular season and ultimately came up short of repeating by falling to Deerfield in the Glenbrook South sectional semifinal. Junior Justin Smith could be a monster next season.

20. York (NR) (20-13) — York exceeded expectations by winning their own Jack Tosh Holiday Tournament and then making the sectional championship in Class 4A at East Aurora.

21. Glenbard West (21) (25-4) — Great season for Glenbard West, as they captured their first conference title in decades and had a special senior in Justin Pierce. The Hilltoppers also won a regional title and beat a lot of solid teams.

22. Leo (NR) (24-9) — Leo lost in the Class 1A state title game to LeRoy but they still had a great run and a solid season. Darias Branch opened a lot of eyes late this season with his play.

23. Hales Franciscan (NR) (20-14) — Very good state tournament run for Hales, who finished in fourth place in Class 2A. The Spartans were able to beat Orr in the supersectional, which was a big accomplishment.

24. Orr (12) (20-4) — Orr wasn't able to make a run to Peoria, but they were still sectional title winners in Class 2A. Sophomore Raekwon Drake is returning and should be a major factor next season.

25. Ridgewood (NR) (18-12) — Ridgewood is the surprise team in the Class 3A supersectional mix as they made a huge shot against St. Patrick to play St. Joseph at the Sears Centre. 

37 Days to Kickoff: Schaumburg

37 Days to Kickoff: Schaumburg

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: Schaumburg

Head coach: Mark Stilling

Assistant coaches: Anthony Belmont, Fran Cassidy, Adam Strauch, Nick Torresso, Nick Anselmo, Juwaan Richard, Leo Clark, Joe Kowalski, Chris Rafah, Jake Hughes, Justin Teschner and John Fidler

How they fared in 2017: 5-5 (2-3 Mid-Suburban West Conference). Schaumburg made the Class 8A state playoff field and lost to Lake Zurich in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ St. Charles North
Sept. 1 @ Wheeling
Sept. 7 @ Niles North
Sept. 14 vs Highland Park
Sept. 21 vs Hoffman Estates
Sept. 28 vs Conant
Oct. 5 @ Palatine
Oct. 12 vs Barrington
Oct. 19 @ Fremd

Biggest storyline: After three seasons of hovering around the .500 mark, are the Saxons ready to make a strong run to win the Mid-Suburban West in 2018?

Names to watch this season: WR/DB Heze Trotter and RB Mike Digiola

Biggest holes to fill: The Saxons will need to replace four starting offensive linemen lost to graduation from last season.

EDGY's Early Take: The Saxons will welcome back several returning starters (especially in the offensive skills department) from last year's state playoff team (five offense, seven defense) and could very well be the conference's most experienced team this fall. If the Saxons can find some answers up front on the offensive line they have a very good shot at getting back to the 8A state playoffs along with challenging for a conference title this season.

Motivated Markese Jacobs seeks national acclaim before senior year at Uplift

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USA TODAY

Motivated Markese Jacobs seeks national acclaim before senior year at Uplift

NORTH AUGUSTA, SC. -- Markese Jacobs doesn't have to impress college coaches during the July live evaluation period since he's already committed to Kansas. But the Uplift rising senior point guard is still motivated to make a strong impression during his final summer on the grassroots circuit.

Playing with a healthy and rejuvenated Mac Irvin Fire roster that includes Morgan Park's Adam Miller and former city players like Terrance Shannon (Lincoln Park) and Kahlil Whitney (Solorio), Jacobs is running an offense with a lot of talent around him the next few weeks. His ultimate goal is to make waves with national talent evaluators to improve his stock and overall ranking.

"We're extra motivated because we didn't get to play with each other fully healthy. We were missing guys some sessions. Some players weren't playing. Now our thing is, now that we're healthy, let's finish strong and accomplish what we want to accomplish," Jacobs said.

"My goal is to at least get top 50. They've got me in the 90s and 100s and I feel disrespected. My whole thing is coming out strong and breaking the top 50."

Since Jacobs doesn't have to worry about collecting scholarship offers since he's been pledged to the Jayhawks for over a year, he is focused instead of making sure that his point guard ability continues to grow. Jacobs also wants to continue to improve his perimeter shooting since defenses will collapse on him regularly next season.

"I have to show that I'm not only an athlete. I can play defense, score the ball and get the ball to my teammates," Jacobs said.

"Over these next couple months, my whole thing is getting off the dribble and hitting open shots. Going into my high school season, pretty much everybody in Chicago is going to be gunning for me. I'm going to get double teamed and stuff like that. So the opportunities that I get, I have to make the best of them."

Jacobs is encouraged by how things are going at Uplift entering next season -- especially now that he is a team leader. In the past, Markese could rely on leadership from his older brother Demarius, or Toraze Dobbs. Now, those guys have graduated and it's his time to shine as a team leader for the Titans.

"It's actually very different. I have to be the one talking now. I can't take a couple plays off like I normally can. So now, it's just, I have to come with it every game," Jacobs said.

Uplift will continue to develop its Class 2A rivalry with conference opponent Orr as both teams always feel like they're on a collision course during the postseason. This season, Jacobs has made it clear that a state title is his goal as he feels as though Class 2A is underrated in Illinois. 

"I'm trying to win state. That's my only goal. City is going to be what city is going to be. But my whole thing is winning state,' Jacobs said.

"Two A is actually pretty tough because it's the same two teams every time: us and Orr. For us, it's about finishing once we get to that game. We do pretty good up until that game, and then we fold. So my thing is just finishing and playing all the way through."