Preps Talk

NBC Sports Chicago Boys Basketball Preps Power Rankings

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NBC Sports Chicago

NBC Sports Chicago Boys Basketball Preps Power Rankings

After a busy opening week of Thanksgiving hoops we have an updated edition of the latest boys basketball Preps Power Rankings. There were three new teams to enter the mix this week. We also see some teams rising and falling within the top 25 after some strong opening-week matchups.

Be sure to catch High School Lites this Friday at 11 p.m. as we mark the season debut for boys basketball on the show. We'll have highlights and postgame reaction from the Chicago Elite Classic and much more. 

1. Morgan Park (2-0) (1) -- The Mustangs stay at No. 1 after the win over Whitney Young and Gary West Side. Junior Brandon Weston is making an immediate impact.

2. Bloom (4-0) (3) -- The Blazing Trojans slide into the No. 2 spot with notable wins over No. 9 Marian Catholic and No. 20 Hillcrest. Christian Shumate has been a force to open the season.

3. Whitney Young (0-1) (2) -- Even though the Dolphins fell to Morgan Park, there's a lot to like about this squad. D.J. Steward will have plenty of help this season.

4. Curie (1-0) (4) -- The Condors cruised past Longwood before Public League play begins this week. I'm anxious to see how Ramean Hinton and company look during a big week for them.

5. Stevenson (4-0) (5) -- Quietly capturing the title at Palatine, the Patriots took care of business by winning the title. Interesting upcoming game against Westinghouse for Stevenson this week. 

6. Bogan (5-0) (6) -- The area's only team with five wins, it was quite an opening week for the Bengals. The showdown Tuesday with Morgan Park should be fun. 

7. Simeon (0-0) (7) -- After taking the opening week off, Simeon starts its season with the Public League Red-South/Central. The Chicago Elite Classic will be a big test for the Wolverines this weekend.

8. Notre Dame (4-0) (9) -- The Dons showed a potentially high ceiling in winning the Battle of the Bridge event over No. 16 DePaul Prep. Junior Louis Lesmond is already making a big difference.

9. Marian Catholic (3-1) (8) -- Even though the Spartans fell to No. 2 Bloom, they still earned a win over No. 17 Homewood-Flossmoor during the week. Strong start for senior point guard Ahron Ulis.

10. Loyola (4-0) (12) -- A solid showing from the Ramblers in week one with wins over New Trier and St. Ignatius to capture their own tournament title. A road game at Leo on Wednesday is a good test.

11. Lincoln Park (3-1) (13) -- Falling to an out-of-state opponent downstate, Lincoln Park had three blowout wins in its other games. Senior big man Romelle Howard could be the difference for this team's ceiling.

12. Lake Park (4-0) (14) -- The Lancers claimed four wins at Wheaton Academy to earn the title there. A home DuKane matchup against Batavia should be fun to watch this week. 

13. Evanston (4-0) (19) -- The Wildkits had some tough tests at St. Viator and came away with the title. The junior class for Evanston is the real deal. 

14. Thornton (3-0) (NR) -- Thornton proved they were for real with a big win over Bolingbrook to earn the championship in Decatur. Brandon Hall could be blossoming into a must-see player. 

15. Benet (3-0) (NR) -- The most impressive effort opening week has to go to Benet. The Redwings knocked off Westinghouse and Fenwick despite playing without all-conference big man Colin Crothers.

16. DePaul Prep (3-1) (15) -- Losing to No. 8 Notre Dame in the Battle of the Bridge title game, DePaul Prep showed promise during the first week. Junior guard Ty Johnson is developing into a more consistent weapon.

17. Homewood-Flossmoor (3-1) (17) -- The first week saw the Vikings pick up a quality win over Hillcrest and losing a tight game to Marian Catholic. Josiah Palmer is a player to monitor going forward.

18. Orr (0-0) (18) -- The three-time defending Class 2A champions begin play this week with three notable contests. Public League Red-South/Central play will be a major test. 

19. Bolingbrook (2-1) (10) -- Bolingbrook fell to Thornton in the title game at Decatur. The good news is that Darius Burford and Kai Evans both had strong individual efforts during the week.

20. Hillcrest (2-2) (11) -- The Hawks dropped two games to top-20 opponents (H-F and Bloom) as they try to bounce back this week. The road game at Oak Lawn is one of Friday's must-see matchups.  

21. Glenbrook South (4-0) (22) -- Dom Martinelli was one of the first week's major storylines with a 50-point game and helping the Titans win at Buffalo Grove. Big week for Glenbrook South with road games at Hersey and New Trier.

22. Mundelein (4-0) (23) -- The Mustangs won the title at its own Thanksgiving event by knocking off North Lawndale in the title game. The junior class continues to look like one of the area's strongest.

23. Oak Forest (4-0) (24) -- Winning the title at Ottawa with four double-figure victories, the Bengals are off to a solid start. A road game at Rich East could be the toughest test Oak Forest has faced to this point.

24. Fenwick (2-1) (16) -- Bryce Hopkins proved with an early 40-point outing that he's a Player of the Year contender. I'm interested to see how Fenwick bounces back from the loss to Benet.

25. St. Rita (4-0) (NR) -- The Mustangs earn a spot in the Power Rankings thanks to their title at Riverside-Brookfield. Christian Henry was a standout for a balanced St. Rita offense.

PREVIOUSLY RANKED

Niles North -- Dropping a game to DePaul Prep, the Vikings could earn their way back into the Power Rankings as early as this week with three games -- including a good one against Deerfield.

St. Charles North -- The North Stars will likely be back in the Power Rankings at some point soon. But a 21-point loss to Boylan shows they have a little bit of work to do.

Cary-Grove -- Falling to York wasn't in the cards for the Trojans as they look to bounce back in Fox Valley play.

Top five under the radar teams to watch in 2020

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NBC Sports Chicago

Top five under the radar teams to watch in 2020

There are several teams that finished with losing records this past season; they will undoubtedly be flying under the radar come August.  Who are the top 5 teams who could surprise IHSA football fans next fall?

St. Charles North (4-5): It was a tough 2019 season for the North Stars both on and off the field. The school administration and head coach Ron Pomazak had to deal with the serious brain injury to sophomore RB Aidan Carlson-- an issue which impacted the entire community. St. Charles North still has talent in the program including several starters on the offensive line, namely junior OL/DL Carmine Bastone and junior OT Ian Erickson. They are on the rise along with junior ATH Jordan Nubi, the younger brother of former North Star and current Minnesota Gopher safety Tyler Nubin. 

Naperville Central (4-5): The Redhawks had a ton of hype in the preseason, then the reality of a brutal schedule set in. Naperville Central ended up losing three games to eventual state champions (Lincoln-Way East, Ohio’s Pickerington Central and East St. Louis). They lost another two games to teams with a combined record of 17-4. The 2020 Redhawks will still have one of the state's most dangerous athletes in QB Sam Jackson (Minnesota) along with a deep group of talented young receivers led by junior Keon Green and sophomore Reggie Fluerima.

Stevenson (4-5): The Patriots missed the IHSA state football playoff field for the first time since 1988. Can postseason football come back to Lincolnshire? Stevenson head coach Brent Becker will need to replace a very big senior class; however, this remains one of the top programs year in and year out in Illinois. Don't look for Stevenson to be down for very long.

Lockport (4-5): Easily one of the better stories of 2019. Former longtime Porter assistant coach George Czart was given the reins of this program in the offseason. Czart was also the head coach at Lincoln-Way North and led the Phoenix to a 54-29 record in eight seasons before the district closed the school. The Porters have numbers in the program; Czart’s staff did an outstanding job of getting everyone to buy in and the program became competitive as a result. The overall talent level is still a work in progress but the ingredients are in the building. They have the potential of becoming an eventual monster to watch in the Southwest suburbs.

Oak Park-River Forest (4-5): The Huskies, under head coach John Hoerster, wound up posting a losing record—a rarity for this Western Suburban Silver program. But outside of a 42-0 Week 9 loss to Glenbard West, OPRK was in every game last season. Several of the Huskies top players in 2019 will be back in 2020, led by QB/S Jaden McGill, LB Naahlyee Bryant and junior OL/DL Amarion Jones.

VOTE: Wintrust Viewers' Choice Game of the Week

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NBC Sports Chicago

VOTE: Wintrust Viewers' Choice Game of the Week

Who wants it more?              

NBC Sports Chicago and Wintrust present our “Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week.” We are putting High School Lites, Chicagoland’s top prep sports show, in the hands of passionate high school basketball followers. Fans will get the chance to pick one game that the @NBCSPreps crew will cover on Friday night. We will send our cameras to the game that gets the most votes; highlights and postgame reaction of that game will appear on that night’s “High School Lites” broadcast at 11:00 p.m. The show also live streams at www.nbcsportschicago.com/watchlive and appears in the MyTeams app.  High School Lites will also have broadcast replays at 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. the following Saturday on NBC Sports Chicago. 

This week, we're going to get a taste of the Chicago Public League/White division. Which game should we attend for High School Lites?

Mather at Foreman, 5:00 p.m.

Jones at Wells, 5:00 p.m.

Perspectives-MSA at Raby, 6:30 p.m.

To participate, our fans are encouraged to do the following:

**Follow our NBC Sports Chicago preps Twitter page: @NBCSPreps.

**Note the pinned tweet that is atop the feed.

**Vote for the game you want NBC Sports Chicago to cover Friday night.

**Spread the word!

The poll will start promptly at 12:00 p.m. Monday. We will make an announcement with the official results on @NBCSPreps just after 4 p.m. Thursday. And as a reminder, be sure to follow @NBCSPreps for updates on the “Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week,” along with other high school sports news, scores and highlights, all season long.