Preps Talk

Curie #1, but major changes throughout NBC Sports Chicago Power Rankings

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NBC Sports Chicago

Curie #1, but major changes throughout NBC Sports Chicago Power Rankings

Some major shakeups in the latest NBC Sports Chicago Preps Power Rankings.

A busy Martin Luther King holiday weekend saw tournaments and shootouts all over the area that included many losses to top-25 teams. It means a lot of reshuffling in the rankings this week, along with three new teams entering the picture.

Conference play and another strong shootout at Glenbard East on Saturday highlights another busy week of basketball as we hit the home stretch of the regular season.

1. Curie (17-1, 7-0) (1) -- The Condors earned three double-digit wins as they made easy work of local competition. Curie will have some enticing matchups to follow this week when they travel to Corliss and also battle Missouri power Hazelwood Central. 

2. Evanston (18-0, 5-0) (2) -- Evanston won a test against Hillcrest as they're still undefeated on the season. This week will be the Wildkits' biggest test though as they play No. 3 Bloom at Glenbard East in a major top-three showdown.

3. Bloom (18-4, 7-1) (3) -- Two double-digit wins for Bloom in conference play as the Blazing Trojans remain in the Southland mix. This week sees the Blazing Trojans face No. 2 Evanston at Glenbard East. 

4. Whitney Young (12-6, 7-0) (4) -- Whitney Young is starting to round into form with multiple wins during the week. The win at HoopHall also opened the eyes of national scouts as D.J. Steward and Tyler Beard played well in a major showcase win.

5. Bogan (18-2, 7-1) (5) -- Surviving a scare from Kenwood, Bogan went through the week without a loss. The Bengals close out the Public League schedule with a road matchup at Hyde Park this week.

6. Notre Dame (20-2, 4-0) (7) -- The Dons made a strong impression once again with a takedown of Morgan Park at Fenwick. Notre Dame gets another big Public League test this week when they play Simeon at Glenbard East. 

7. Thornton (18-0, 7-0) (8) -- Monster home win for the Wildcats as they get past Homewood-Flossmoor for another signature win. Playing its biggest road game of the season to date this week at Kankakee, this Southland showdown will have major conference title implications. 

8. Lincoln Park (16-3, 6-1) (10) -- Impressive win over Joliet West for the Lions as they are quietly remaining in the top-10 picture. The Lions have three matchups this week as they make a push towards 20 wins.

9. Homewood-Flossmoor (15-2, 1-0) (9) -- A busy week for Homewood-Flossmoor as they lost on the road to unbeaten Thornton but also gave Loyola its first Illinois loss of the season. A key conference matchup on the road at Lincoln-Way East this week as Southwest Suburban Blue action continues. 

10. DePaul Prep (17-2, 8-0) (11) -- The Rams took down two conference opponents this week-- St. Francis de Sales and Montini. They remain in the chase for the Catholic League Blue title. The Rams have a conference matchup at St. Laurence on Friday.

11. Loyola (19-2, 8-0) (6) -- Loyola finally lost to an Illinois opponent with a tight loss to No. 9 Homewood-Flossmoor. The Ramblers are still in the midst of a crowded Catholic League Blue race as they travel to St. Joe's this week. 

12. Stevenson (15-3, 6-0) (15) -- The Patriots are rolling since the holidays as they picked up wins over Libertyville, Waukegan and West Aurora. Stevenson still is trying to hold off Mundelein in the North Suburban as the Patriots play Warren this week.

13. Marian Catholic (14-5, 3-1) (12) -- Marian Catholic suffered a setback against Bolingbrook as their brutal schedule continues. The difficult schedule continues with two games at Quincy this week against out-of-state competition.

14. Morgan Park (12-7, 5-1) (13) -- Falling to Notre Dame at Fenwick, the Mustangs continue their up-and-down season. Morgan Park still has the talent to beat anyone in the state but they lack a cohesiveness that other elite teams have at this point in the season.

15. Bolingbrook (15-4, 1-0) (NR) -- Bolingbrook rockets back into the Power Rankings behind three massive wins (Marian Catholic, Romeoville and Lincoln-Way East). Over the past month, Bolingbrook has played one of the toughest schedules in the area. 

16. York (20-2, 5-0) (17) -- Since falling to Bolingbrook in the Jack Tosh title game, York has run off eight straight wins. Winning the WW South MLK event was notable as the Dukes have been very strong in tournament play this season.

17. Kankakee (14-1, 5-1) (18) -- The Kays haven't lost since Dec. 3 but that could be tested when they host undefeated Thornton during the week. Kankakee has some major tests coming up with additional games against Bloom and the Wildcats later in the season.

18. Cary-Grove (18-2, 8-0) (NR) -- Returning to the Power Rankings for the first time since the preseason is Cary-Grove. The Trojans won the event at Lake Zurich, including a notable title-game win over No. 23 Glenbrook South. Their only losses this season have come to ranked teams (York and Waubonsie Valley).

19. Glenbrook South (17-3, 5-0) (19) -- The Titans dropped the title game at Lake Zurich to Cary-Grove. A win over Mundelein, however, was very impressive as Dom Martinelli and company continue to pile up quality wins.

20. Mundelein (16-3, 4-1) (16) -- Up and down week for the Mustangs. They stayed with Stevenson in the North Suburban race with a solid win over Libertyville. But Mundelein fell short of expectations at Lake Zurich by falling to Glenbrook South in the semifinals. 

21. Niles North (17-3, 5-0) (21) -- The Vikings cruised to some easy wins hosting their own event during the weekend. Niles North has two more winnable home games before playing Clark at the Orr Shootout this weekend. 

22. Oak Forest (17-1, 8-0) (23) -- Oak Forest continues to quietly pile up wins. The leaders of the South Suburban Blue head to the road for two winnable games during the week (Bremen, Southland). 

23. Waubonsie Valley (19-2, 3-1) (14) -- The Warriors drop after a surprising upset loss to Lyons in the Burlington Central MLK event. Waubonsie Valley has a chance to climb back up the Power Rankings with a winnable schedule until mid-February.

24. Joliet West (17-3, 10-0) (20) -- Losing a close game to Lincoln Park, the Tigers drop a few spots. The Southwest Prairie's best team goes on the road for two games this week as they should be able to beat Lockport and West Aurora.  

25. Hinsdale South (17-2, 6-0) (NR) -- Perhaps no team in the area had a better week than Hinsdale South. With six wins over the past week -- including two that included a buzzer-beater to either win or force overtime -- and the Hornets had a memorable week. Hinsdale South capped it off by winning the MLK event at Sterling with four double-digit wins. 

Chicago native Will Bynum to return to the BIG3 league

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USA TODAY

Chicago native Will Bynum to return to the BIG3 league

Chicago native Will Bynum is making a return to the Big 3 basketball league. Last year the 6-foot guard served as a co-captain for the team "Bivouac," and instantly became a fan-favorite as one of the most exciting players in the three-on-three league, where he set the single-game scoring record.

His BIG3 squad — coached by 1978 Bulls No. 9 overall pick Reggie Theus — went 4-4 last season and missed a playoff spot due to point differential. Bynum, who averaged 15.9 points per 36 minutes over an eight-year NBA career, showcased perhaps the best handles of anyone in the BIG3 and certainly broke out the best "Shammgod," hesitation dribble in the league's brief history. During his time in the BIG3, Bynum has shown off the same type of flashy playmaking and scoring prowess that made him a local legend at Crane High School.

Bynum's Bivouac squad is comprised of himself, 13-year NBA veteran Josh Smith and 10-year NBA veteran Marreese Speights. Smith was on the team last season, while Speights will be making his BIG3 debut. The 2020 BIG3 season kicks off on June 2020 in Memphis, Tenn. and they make their first stop in Chicago at the United Center on Aug. 15. 

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Edgy Tim's Recruiting News and Notes

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NBC Sports Chicago

Edgy Tim's Recruiting News and Notes

Bolingbrook has been a must stop for years for college coaches and recruiters, and the Raiders and head coach John Ivlow continue to develop high level talent in high demand. 

Bolingbrook already has seen Class of 20121 safety Justin Walters commit to Notre Dame earlier this month, and the Raiders also have more names emerging this winter. 

Bolingbrook (Ill.) junior three-star ranked outside linebacker recruit Tyler McLaurin (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) has continued to add more scholarship offers despite being in the middle of a recruiting dead period. 

"I've been able to add some recent scholarship offers," McLaurin said. "My latest offers come from Boston College, Missouri, Texas Tech and Virginia."

McLaurin is also starting to look harder at his upcoming spring visit plans but is also hoping to delay his visits because of basketball.

"I know that I'm going to visit Iowa State and also Nebraska this spring. I also want to get out to visit more schools, but it all depends on my basketball schedule. We are having a great season so far (26-5) and we are aiming for a deep state playoff run. I'm sure I'll try to fit a few more visits later this spring but again it all depends on my schedule and the state playoffs."

Does McLaurin have a time frame just yet for making a college decision?

"I'm hoping to make some official visits towards the end of May or early June. Ideally I would be making a college decision by the end of July, but that's still a ways away. Hopefully the timing will all work out but I also don't want to rush anything just to make a decision near a set date."

Tyler McLaurin is currently holding 14 FBS level scholarship offers this winter. 

Bolingbrook junior DB Malik Rainey (5-foot-11, 175 pounds) was able to add his first ACC offer earlier this week when the University of Virginia extended him a scholarship offer.

"The offer from Virginia was sort of a surprise," Rainey said. "My head coach (John Ivlow) shared my video with one of the coaches at Virginia. I was then asked to call back the coaches at Virginia and that's when they offered me."

Rainey, who is playing 7on7 this winter and spring for Boom Midwest has also been drawing increased recruiting attention this winter.

"I have offers now from Virginia and Kent State. I've also been in contact with the coaches from Texas Tech, Kansas State, Nebraska, Miami of Ohio along with several other MAC schools."

Does Rainey have any upcoming spring visit plans?

"I have three visits I'm looking to make this spring. I want to get out to visit Kansas State, Virginia and also Kent State. When I visit a school I'm looking to just get to know the coaches better and I'm also looking for a school; where I feel comfortable and at home."

Chicago (Ill.) Simeon three-star ranked offensive tackle Cameron James (6-foot-8, 280 pounds) has continued to draw plenty of scholarship offers and recruiting attention this winter. James checks in and lays out his upcoming spring college visit plans and more here.
"My latest offer is from Michigan State," James said. "It's a big offer for sure. They are always strong upfront and they always have a great defense. I also like the Michigan State offense as well."
James also filled us in on his upcoming spring unofficial visit plans.

"I'm going to make some visits next month (March). I'm going to go back to Purdue for a spring practice. I'm also looking at visiting both Minnesota and Missouri in March. Those are the only visits I have planned for now."

James has 17 FBS level scholarship offers so far this winter. 

Oak Park (Ill.) Fenwick sophomore dual quarterback prospect Kaden Cobb (6-foot-3, 180 pounds) is getting ready for what he hopes is a big 2020 junior season. Cobb is also planning on having a very busy upcoming spring recruiting period and recaps his latest recruiting news and more here.

"I've been in touch with several college coaches this winter and a lot of them want me to come out and make a spring visit. I'm already set to go back to Iowa on March 1st. l'm also set to visit Indiana on March 7th and then visit Michigan State on March 8th. I'm also going to visit Michigan sometime in either late March or early April. Missouri has also been in touch and I'm hoping to visit them sometime this spring."

Cobb is excited about the growing list of college coaches expected to visit his school this spring.

"It seems like a lot of the college coaches will be in school this spring and they all want to see me throw. I know that so far we are expecting coaches from Notre Dame, Michigan, Purdue, Indiana, Minnesota and Northwestern."