Preps Talk

High School Lites Preview: Basketball Week 1

High School Lites Preview: Basketball Week 1

High School Lites transitions to basketball from football this week as we have a full night of action. The annual Chicago Elite Classic tips with some rivalry games while there's also conference action and non-conference play going on in this early part of the season.

Be sure to follow our Preps Twitter @NBCSPreps for the latest scores, highlights and updates from the area's IHSA games. 


No. 6 Curie at No. 16 Orr, 7:00 p.m. -- This is a great non-conference matchup between Public League powerhouses. The Condors (3-0) have defeated some solid out-of-area competition as senior DaJuan Gordon (Kansas State) is looking like an All-Area candidate. Orr (2-1) lost to East St. Louis, but they're still playing as a potential contender in 2A. Seniors Tijuatae Williams and Greg Outlaw provide scoring and athleticism for a tough Spartans team. 


Andrew at No. 7 Bolingbrook, 7:00 p.m. -- Two teams with opposite starters battle in this SouthWest Suburban crossover. The Raiders (4-0) won the Decatur Turkey Tournament and also dispatched East Aurora as they've been without senior guard Tyler Cochran. Senior big man Kameron Leonard is off to a notable start. Andrew (1-4) is trying to build after a tough start at the District 218 Tournament. 

No. 18 Providence-St. Mel at No. 10 DePaul Prep, 7:00 p.m.  -- An intriguing Catholic League crossover in this one. Providence-St. Mel (2-1) is perhaps the Class 1A favorite after knocking off Quincy and Waukegan last week. Tyriel Nelson won MVP at Quincy while Taeyon Neal is a UIC commit on the interior. DePaul Prep (4-0) is led by senior Perry Cowan (Brown) as he's a serious All-Area candidate. Raheem Anthony is another experienced veteran with some strong early showings. 

No. 17 Leo at Loyola, 7:00 p.m. -- The Catholic League crossovers continue in this enticing matchup. Leo (3-1) has a new head coach in Jamal Thompson as they tried to stay focused to remain a Class 2A contender. Senior point guard Fred Cleveland Jr. is off to a big start. Loyola (3-1) had a tight loss to New Trier during an otherwise impressive opening week that saw them win multiple games. The Ramblers will likely find themselves back in the Preps Power Rankings again soon. 

Northside at Lane Tech, 5:00 p.m. -- Another intriguing Public League non-conference matchup in this one. Northside (2-0) is representing the White-North as they just earned a close win over Steinmetz. Lane (3-1) is one of Northside's toughest opponents this season as they had a solid showing in their Thanksgiving event with DePaul Prep. The Indians lost to the Rams in the title game, but defeated Niles North for a good win. 

York at Lyons, 7:30 p.m. -- West Suburban Silver play begins as both of these teams are off to solid starts. York (3-1) captured the title at Palatine after only losing to Stevenson. Senior Erik Cohn has played well so far for the Dukes. Lyons (3-0) went unbeaten at their own Thanksgiving event as they took down Maine South and Hinsdale South as part of a good opening week.

Niles West at Niles North, 7:00 p.m. -- Central Suburban South play starts with this crosstown rivalry. Niles West (3-2) has dropped two straight games after a 3-0 start. Niles North (3-1) lost a tight one to Lane early this season.

Rolling Meadows at Hersey, 7:30 p.m. -- The Mid-Suburban East gets rolling in this one. The Mustangs (3-1) as led by star sophomore Max Christie as he's perhaps the finest college prospect in the state. Hersey (3-1) had a solid showing at Palatine as they only lost to York during the week. They've been particularly good in the fourth quarter of multiple wins this season.


GIRLS: Whitney Young vs. Montverde (FL), 6:00 p.m. -- A girls game begins the day at the Chicago Elite Classic. The Dolphins (1-0) started with a big win over Jones. The game against Montverde is the middle of three straight days of games as this will be a big early-season stretch. Montverde split a pair of games at the Florida Prospects Thanksgiving event.

St. Rita vs. St. Ignatius, 7:30 p.m. -- This Catholic League crossover should be fun. The Mustangs (2-2) lost two early games to ranked opponents as senior Jeremiah Oden and junior guards Joel Watts and Alec Millender are key. St. Ignatius (2-2) dropped two to Lincoln Park and Loyola as they've also played a tough early schedule. Christian Davis and Daniel Flory are both averaging double-figures for the Wolfpack.

Fenwick vs. No. 22 Oak Park-River Forest, 9:00 p.m. -- The Oak Park rivalry resumes at the Chicago Elite Classic once again. This time, Oak Park-River Forest (4-1) is favored after breaking the six-game losing streak in this rivalry last year. The Huskies have a senior-laden team led by Dashon Enoch, Charlie Hoehne, Anthony Roberts and Chase Robinson. Fenwick (2-1) has a new coach in Staunton Peck as sophomore Bryce Hopkins and senior Solomon Oraegbu have been early standouts for the Friars.


Willowbrook at Addison Trail, 7:30 p.m. -- The top two teams in the West Suburban Gold is our Viewers' Choice Game of the Week. Willowbrook (3-1) fell to St. Charles East on the road during an otherwise good start to the season. Addison Trail (5-0) is unbeaten, including a win over Lane on Wednesday as this will be their toughest test of the season.


High School Lites Preview: Week 13


High School Lites Preview: Week 13

High School Lites has a lot of playoff action and the final week of the boys basketball regular season on this week's show. The girls basketball Class 1A and 2A state semifinals will be aired on NBC Sports Chicago and NBC Sports Chicago + during Friday as we'll have highlights on the show.

The girls basketball Class 4A sectional finals will be represented as well, and we'll also have plenty of boys basketball coverage. We'll feature multiple Class 2A regional finals while also hitting some regular season games to close out the season.

Girls Basketball Class 1A and 2A State Semifinals

1A: Eastland vs. Shiloh Coop, 11 a.m., NBC Sports Chicago -- A pair of strong teams matchup here in the opening semifinal. Eastland (30-4) has won 16 straight as junior guard Erin Henze is their playmaker. Shiloh Coop (29-4) has a sophomore to watch in Tayler Berry as they've won 12 straight in this one. 

1A: Lewistown vs. Danville Schlarman, 12:45 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago -- Defending Class 1A champion Schlarman takes the floor against another 30-win opponent in the second semifinal. Schlarman (31-2) is led by Notre Dame commit and senior Anaya Peoples as she's averaging 20.1 points per game. Lewistown (31-1) is making its second appearance at state as junior Anna Heffren leads the charge.   

2A: Marshall vs. Hillsboro, 5:30 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago + -- Defending Class 2A champion Marshall defends its title in the first Class 2A semifinal. The Commandos (25-8) are making their third straight trip to state under legendary head coach Dorothy Gaters as senior Brandi Hudson is having a strong season. Hillsboro (29-5) is making a second state appearance (2006) as senior and prolific scorer Sammi Matoush was the leading vote-getter for the Class 2A all-state team.  

2A: St. Joseph-Ogden vs. Teutopolis, 7:15 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago + -- Two more strong teams play in this one. Teutopolis (32-4) is back at state for the second straight year after falling to Marshall in double overtime last season. The Lady Shoes are a balanced team led in scoring by sophomore guard Lexie Niebrugge. St. Joseph-Ogden (28-4) counters with senior guard Bree Trimble as they've won 15 in a row.

Girls Basketball Class 3A and 4A Sectional Finals

4A Sectional: Maine West at Evanston, 7:00 p.m. -- Unbeaten Maine West tries to advance past a tough No. 3 seed. The Warriors (31-0) have been one of the state's best teams this season as junior Angela Dugalic just passed the 1,000-point mark. Evanston (24-7) knocked off No. 2 seed Loyola earlier in the week as they've won six straight games. These two teams met during Thanksgiving time with Maine West winning 58-34. 

4A Sectional: Mother McAuley vs. Homewood-Flossmoor (Thurs) -- Can upset-minded Homewood-Flossmoor keep its great run alive against top-seeded Mother McAuley? The Vikings (21-8) were the No. 6 seed as they've upset No. 3 seed Marist and No. 2 seed Thornwood along the way. Mother McAuley (32-2) has a 14-game winning streak, as they dismantled No. 5 seed Lincoln-Way West in the previous round.

Boys Basketball Regular Season

Eisenhower at Shepard, 7:00 p.m. -- Two South Suburban Red teams face in this game. Eisenhower (17-10, 6-6) has played back-to-back overtime games against Oak Lawn and Schurz -- splitting a loss and a win, respectively. Shepard (20-7, 7-5) has won 10 of their last 11 as they've been one of the hotter teams in the area recently. 

Payton at St. Joseph, 7:00 p.m. -- A non-conference clash as both teams prepare for the playoffs. Payton (16-10) tied for the best mark in the White-North as the Grizzlies have played a tough schedule. St. Joseph (12-18) has been playing well down the stretch with wins over Boylan, Fenwick and De La Salle in the last few weeks.

Granite City at Belleville West, 7:30 p.m. -- We get a glimpse of a St. Louis-metro area power and the defending Class 4A champions in this one. Belleville West (26-4) is coming off of a close loss to Alton as senior E.J. Liddell is an Ohio State commit and the reigning Mr. Basketball in Illinois. Granite City (14-14) has dropped two straight entering this one as they try to hang with one of the state's best.

Boys Basketball Class 2A Regional Finals

Chicago Christian Regional: Harlan vs. Corliss -- A matchup of Public League Red-South/Central foes for a regional title in this one. Harlan (8-20) went 0-9 in league play before knocking off Julian and stunning 20-win Chicago Christian in the regional semifinals. Corliss (16-8) knocked off Harlan during conference play with a double-digit win on Jan. 10 as the Trojans are a sleeper to make a run.  

Orr Regional: Orr vs. Clark -- The back-to-back defending Class 2A champion Spartans host a regional title. Clark (16-10) was one of the Public League White-West's best teams this season as they lost to Orr in the Public League Playoffs. Orr (20-11) appears to be peaking at the right time as they're led by Greg Outlaw and Sharif Kenney. 

Timothy Christian Regional: Timothy Christian vs. St. Edward -- A pair of familiar Metro Suburban Red teams battle here. St. Edward (14-17) split the season series against Timothy Christian as they knocked off IC Catholic earlier this week. Timothy Christian (19-10) has won five of their last six games, including a blowout win over St. Edward on February 12. 

Northridge Prep Regional: Aurora Christian vs. Northridge Prep -- A pair of 20-win teams battle in this one. Aurora Christian (24-7) is led by junior Will Wolfe as he's a Division I prospect who can take over a game. Northridge Prep (21-9) has won six of their last seven as they're entering this game on a bit of a hot streak.

Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week

Dunbar Regional: Dunbar vs. Phoenix -- Two Public League teams face here. Dunbar (19-5) had a strong season in the White-Central as they're coming off a Public League Playoff loss to Bogan recently. Phoenix (18-6) tied for the league's best mark in the Blue-West as they scored a tight win over No. 4 seed Wells in the regional semifinals.

Edgy Tim recruiting news and notes: Rolling Meadows linebacker Nate Pedraza verbally commits to Ball State


Edgy Tim recruiting news and notes: Rolling Meadows linebacker Nate Pedraza verbally commits to Ball State

Rolling Meadows junior outside linebacker/defensive end recruit Nate Pedraza (6-foot-4, 240 pounds) made a Presidents Day visit to Ball State. He later announced that he was giving the Cardinals his verbal commitment. 

"Once I was able to walk onto campus, I knew that Ball State was a pretty special place," Pedraza said. "I had such a great visit on Monday and after talking it over with my coaches and my family I decided to commit to Ball State."

Pedraza filled us in on why he decided to play football in Muncie.

"I just felt at home at Ball State and just fit in so well on my visit. Ball State has a lot to offer. But the main reason for me committing is that I just feel comfortable and at home there. From the coaching staff to the campus, the surrounding area and also from the academics side, everything is just a great fit for me at Ball State."

Homewood-Flossmoor junior offensive guard recruit Marcus Harper II (6-foot-4, 285 pounds) has seen his overall recruiting stock trend upward in February. Harper II was able to add eight FBS-level scholarship offers, four of which came on Friday.

"I had an amazing week and quite the day last Friday," Harper II said. "I was able to add offers last week from Oregon, Illinois, Indiana, Duke, Nebraska, Bowling Green, Boston College and NIU. On Friday alone I added offers from Oregon, Illinois, Indiana and Duke."

Harper II admitted that he was still trying to get his head around adding some many offers in a short amount of time.

"It really hasn't all set in yet to be honest. It just seemed like one offer would come in and then I would have a text or a DM from another school wanting me to call them. Friday was just crazy and I added three of my four offers that day in like a two hour span. Duke was the first school to offer me early on Friday morning and then I started getting text and DM's from the other schools and I would call back those coaches and they all offered."

Marist junior four star-ranked wide receiver Jadon Thompson (6-foot-2, 170 pounds) announced his top six schools back in December (Illinois/Purdue/Michigan/Missouri/Michigan State/Minnesota); however, he stated that he's already "rethinking" that list. 

"I released a top six schools list back in December and at the time that was a solid list for me," Thompson said. "Yet I've also added some really good offers from great schools and I'm definitely revisiting that top schools list these days."

Thompson is also planning to make some on campus unofficial visits soon. 

"I'm planning to get down to LSU sometime in March for a visit. I would also like to visit Penn State, Kansas State and Michigan State this spring but I don't have any other dates set yet. I'm also considering whether I'll take any spring official visits. I might take one in the spring and then take more official visits during the season but I haven't sorted that out yet."

Curie junior three star-ranked offensive tackle recruit Kevo Wesley (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) has also seen his recruiting stock take off so far this winter. Wesley, who finished his first season of organized football last fall, currently holds 16 FBS-level scholarship offers. The two latest ones come from a pair of Big Ten schools in Rutgers and Iowa. Wesley, who played basketball at Curie up until this winter, looked back at his 2018 season and discussed his transition from playing basketball to football.

"It was a big transition at first and the overall speed of the game was the hardest thing to get used to for me," Wesley said. "Once we got to around Week 5-6 the game definitely started to slow down and it started to come easier to me. I'm just working hard on getting back in the weight room and I just want to keep learning and knowing the game better this off season."