Preps Talk

High School Lites Preview: Chicago Elite Classic

High School Lites Preview: Chicago Elite Classic

CSN Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school basketball games across Chicagoland on the first basketball edition of High School Lites.

It's the debut show for basketball on High School Lites this week as we transition to the hardwood for the rest of the season.

The first basketball edition of High School Lites has plenty of intriguing matchups, including the Chicago Elite Classic, which brings three great games to the UIC Pavilion.

This week also includes some conference and non-conference clashes and we get to know Curie shooting guard Elijah Joiner, as the defending 4A champion Condors face East St. Louis and Illinois commit Jeremiah Tilmon on Friday.

We'll have highlights of that one and plenty more on this week's show.

Niles North at No. 3 Evanston, 7:00 p.m. -- The top two teams in the Central Suburban South meet early in the season as Niles North (3-1) faces No. 3 Evanston (5-0). The Vikings fell to DePaul Prep but own three double-digit wins in their other games. Evanston is coming off of a big win at St. Viator as they beat No. 14 Conant handily. Wildkit senior Nojel Eastern is committed to Purdue and he's joined by a talented cast of teammates.

Lincoln-Way Central at No. 6 Bolingbrook, 7:00 p.m. -- This one could be intriguing in the SouthWest Suburban as Lincoln-Way Central (1-3) travels to No. 6 Bolingbrook. The Raiders are coming off of an impressive stretch in Decatur and senior Nana Akenten, a Nebraska commit, is playing very well to start the season. One of the state's deepest teams, Bolingbrook can go 10 or 11 deep. Lincoln-Way Central is off to a 1-3 start with two, two-point losses, including one to No. 6 Joliet West.

No. 18 St. Charles East at West Aurora, 7:00 p.m. -- Not many teams had a better opening week than No. 18 St. Charles East (4-0) as they knocked off St. Joe's and rival St. Charles North by one point each. Junior Justin Hardy is off to a great start and his buzzer-beater over St. Charles North was epic. West Aurora (3-1) will counter with high-scoring junior Cameron Donatlan.

No. 14 Conant at Schaumburg, 7:30 p.m. -- The Mid-Suburban West gets going early as No. 14 Conant (4-1) travels to Schaumburg (2-2). Senior guard Jimmy Sotos is off to a very good start for the Cougars as the Bucknell commit has some solid big men in 6-foot-8 junior Ryan Davis and 6-foot-7 senior Michael Downing. Schaumburg picked up a few wins at the St. Charles East event, but fell by double-digits to the two ranked teams they faced.

Chicago Hope Academy at Holy Trinity, 7:30 p.m. -- The Chicago Prep Red opens play as well as Hope Academy (3-2) heads to Holy Trinity (0-4). Hope Academy proved to be tough at Fenwick the first week as they had close losses to the Friars and Westinghouse as well as a win over Morton. Holy Trinity tries to improve from a winless start at West Chicago.

Chicago Elite Classic at UIC Pavilion

Loyola vs. No. 14 Notre Dame, 6:00 p.m. -- The Chicago Elite Classic opens with two quality programs as Loyola (2-2) faces No. 14 Notre Dame (4-0). The Ramblers have a quality senior guard in Ramar Evans as they've lost to New Trier and Benet to start the season. Notre Dame won the Battle of the Bridge as forward Jeameril Wilson and guard Matt Stritzel both played very well.

No. 1 Curie vs. East St. Louis, 7:30 p.m. -- The area's No. 1 team gets its first major test as Curie (2-0) faces Mr. Basketball candidate and Illinois commit Jeremiah Tilmon and East St. Louis. The 6-foot-9 Tilmon should be a daunting opponent for the Condors as they counter with talented seniors like Elijah Joiner, Allante Pickens and Terry Smith. Juniors Traevon and Tyree Martin will also be tested in this one.

No. 11 Fenwick vs. No. 24 Oak Park-River Forest, 9:00 p.m. -- The Oak Park crosstown rivalry should be fun this year as both teams enter this one unbeaten on the season. The No. 11 Friars are led by senior Jamal Nixon and senior Jacob Keller. They'll have to get past the pressure defense of the Huskies as they've won all four of their games by double digits. Jared Scott and Cameron Gross are off to good starts while sophomore Dashown Enoch is one to watch.

Viewer's Choice Game of the Week

No. 19 St. Joseph at De La Salle, 7:00 p.m. -- This week's Viewer's Choice is an intriguing on in the Catholic League North as the Chargers (3-1) go on the road to De La Salle (4-0). St. Joseph dropped a close one to No. 18 St. Charles East last week as they have talented sophomore guard Marquise Walker and senior guard Jason Towers to lead a balanced attack. De La Salle is coming off of a title at the Glenbrook North/St. Patrick tournament as the Meteors took three out of four games by double-figures. This figures to be a much tougher test for head coach Tom White's team in this one.

Edgy's recruiting news and notes: LWE's Dzioban commits to Miami (OH)

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USA TODAY

Edgy's recruiting news and notes: LWE's Dzioban commits to Miami (OH)

Lincoln-Way East junior kicker Dominic Dzioban (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) added a recent scholarship offer from Miami of Ohio and has since given the Redhawks and head coach Chuck Martin his verbal commitment. 

"I just had a great visit on Saturday to Miami of Ohio and I was able to get every question I had about the school and the program answered on Saturday," Dzioban said. "When I was first offered by Miami (Ohio) I had no idea what they had to offer or what they are all about. Miami (Ohio) has a historic campus and they also offer an amazing education. It seems like every facility at Miami (Ohio) is brand new and Oxford is just a great small college town. Miami (Ohio) really offers everything I was looking for in a school and having a chance to go to Miami on a full scholarship is a huge opportunity I couldn't pass by at all."

Lake Forest sophomore linebacker Cal Uihlein (6-foot-1, 205 pounds) was able to add his first offer recently from the Wisconsin Badgers, and Uihlein also made a visit to the University of Wisconsin this past Saturday. 

"I had a great visit to Wisconsin on Saturday," Uihlein said. "It wasn't a usual recruiting type of visit, it was much more low key and I was able to just see everything behind the scenes including seeing the team scrimmage. I was able to get a good feel for the team and the coaches after the scrimmage. I was also able to talk with some of the coaches at Wisconsin including head coach Paul Chryst and linebacker coaches. Everyone at Wisconsin seems very excited about me and it was just good to get to know them a bit better. I was able to just basically see the stadium and I didn't get to see too much of the facilities or the campus. I'll definitely head back again to Wisconsin soon and see more of the school and the facilities and overall it was a great visit."

Warren Township junior three star ranked defensive tackle Willis Singleton Jr. (6-foot-2, 285 pounds) was able to add an offer from the University of Illinois last Saturday while on a visit to watch the Fighting Illini's spring game. 

"I was hoping that an offer (from Illinois) was coming but I still had no idea," Singleton Jr. said. "I know that Illinois is on the rise and have added some really strong players from my recruiting class. My Dad also went to Illinois and just telling him over the phone that Illinois had offered me was an amazing felling and experience."

Singleton Jr. also said that "Illinois is definitely on the top of the spectrum. My recruitment is open, but there are definitely one of the top schools because of how they went about things with me on the visit."

Bolingbrook sophomore safety Justin Walters (6-foot-1, 170 pounds) has also seen more and more schools take notice of him this spring. Walters is currently holding six FBS level offers and growing by the day. 

"I have six scholarship offers now," Walters said. "I have offers from Bowling Green, Western Michigan, Army, Iowa, Iowa State and now Minnesota. Minnesota is my latest offer and they offered me a few weeks ago."

Walters has also been hitting the road and visiting a few schools this spring and plans to see even more soon.

"I've made visits already to Iowa and Iowa St and Wisconsin. I also visited Northwestern awhile ago. I'm also planning to visit Michigan State sometime this spring."

Breaking: Northwestern adds another in-state pledge

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Breaking: Northwestern adds another in-state pledge

It didn't take Wheaton North junior outside linebacker Xander Mueller (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) long to give the Northwestern coaching staff his verbal commitment today. Mueller — whose older brother (junior linebacker Erik Mueller) is already on the Wildcats roster — attended the Wildcats final spring practice today. He picked up a scholarship offer and then gave head coach Pat Fitzgerald his verbal commitment on the spot. 

"I didn't expect it (adding a Northwestern offer) and I was very surprised," Mueller said. "Northwestern is the place for me because of the incredible academics, the location, having my brother already on the team and the amazing coaching staff and football program. I'm super happy."

Mueller is the second in-state name for the Wildcats and the seventh known verbal commitment for the Northwestern Class of 2020. Mueller joins Lake Zurich tight end Hunter Welcing (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) as the Wildcats in state commitments so far in the 2020 class. 

Mueller was also the Wildcats second overall verbal commitment today as Groveport (Ohio) Madison three star ranked offensive guard TeRah Edwards (6-foot-3, 295 pounds) also committed to the Wildcats after today's final spring practice.