Preps Talk

NBC Sports Chicago Boys Basketball Preps Power Rankings

adam_miller_thumb.jpg
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.

Max Christie selects Michigan State over Duke, several Big Ten schools

Max Christie selects Michigan State over Duke, several Big Ten schools

Sparty Nation got another reason to flex. And it may have Coach K seeing green.

Max Christie, a five-star shooting guard (Rivals) and the top Illinois player in the Class of 2021, is headed to play for Michigan State and legendary head coach Tom Izzo. The Rolling Meadows High School product made his decision Tuesday in an interview with Fox’s Andy Katz.

“It just felt like it was a place that I was needed and a place I wanted to go to,” Christie said. “I think Coach Izzo and his staff and all my teammates there can push me to be the person I want to be, not just on, but off the court.”

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Bulls news and analysis.

Christie selected Michigan State —his only official visit— over, namely, Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Duke. Also on his list of potential choices were Villanova, Virginia, Purdue, Ohio State, Northwestern, Illinois and several others. While Christie is excited for Izzo to help improve his game, he also prides himself on his versatility and making an immediate impact.

“I think I can be a great facilitator and a great scorer,” Christie said. “I feel like I can do anything that Coach Izzo or the players need be to do if that means rebounding, pushing the ball, setting up an offense or coming off screens, I feel like I am versatile enough of anything that is asked of me.”

The 6-foot-6 Christie may get another boost on the court a few years down the line, as Class of 2022 phenom Emoni Bates, the top player in the current junior class, committed to play for MSU on June 30. All of this assumes Bates keeps his commitment to East Lansing and doesn’t hop the NBA. Christie remains steadfast in his committed to Michigan State and is not exploring any G-League options at the moment.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE BULLS TALK PODCAST FOR FREE.

Christie has grabbed headlines in Chicagoland since his freshman year. He has tallied a 50-point game and a triple double and had several clutch moments during his junior season. He is coming off the first 20-win campaign at ‘Meadows in nearly 30 years.

And there’s more Christie magic in the pipeline. Cameron, his younger brother, is one of the quickly-rising sophomores in the area.

Illinois high school boys basketball state finals return to Champaign

generic_preps_basketball_slide.png
USA Today

Illinois high school boys basketball state finals return to Champaign

It’s time to party like it’s 1995 —especially if you’re a high school basketball fan who likes watching the game in the Champaign-Urbana area.

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) board of directors voted Monday to move the host venue for the boys state basketball finals from Peoria to Champaign’s renovated State Farm Center for the next three seasons.

“We see this as the passing of the torch from Peoria to Champaign-Urbana,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a statement. “It is bittersweet because there is incredible passion from high school basketball within these two communities, and both have done so much to elevate the state final experience as hosts. The State Farm Center is one of the best arenas in the country, and we are excited to crown state champions there once again. The timing simply felt right to make a change as the tournament format shifts in 2021."

The boys tournament will run on March 11-13, 2021, March 10-12, 2022 and March 9-11, 2023.

“We are thrilled with today’s news that the Illinois high school boys basketball state finals will return home to the campus of the University of Illinois, Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman said in a statement. “We are grateful to the IHSA and its leadership for choosing State Farm Center and Champaign-Urbana to host the state finals.

The boys tournament, which had been located in Champaign for 77 years, moved to Peoria’s Civic Center (Carver Arena) starting in 1996. The girls tournament was also in Champaign until 1992 before moving to Redbird Arena. The girls tournament will remain in Normal.

The Champaign area was steeped in prep basketball glory for generations. The first televised championship came in 1952 when Hebron, a school of 98 students defeated a Quincy school boasting an enrollment over 1,000. Six years later, the first Chicago school —Marshall— won state. In 1972, the tournament was split into Class A (small schools) and AA (large schools). The late Ben Wilson helped Simeon win in a title in Champaign in 1984 while future NBA stars (Kevin Garnett, Melvin Ely) and NFL receivers (Antwaan Randle El and Tai Streets) graced the floor at Assembly Hall during the 1995 tournament.

[MORE: Derrick Rose Week podcast]

The next year was a perfect one for the city of Peoria to grab the reins for the boys tournament. Hometown Manual High School won their third and fourth consecutive state titles in 1996 and 1997. Later, Derrick Rose guided Simeon to back-to-back state titles in 2006 and 2007. A four-class system was instituted for the 2007-08 season. Simeon dominated again from 2010-13 with Jabari Parker in the spotlight.

This year’s basketball tournaments were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.