The Chicago Elite Classic has become an important event in the city's high school basketball scene. It brings in national teams, highly-ranked players and national media and scouts to see a lot of Illinois talent early in the high school season.
The fourth iteration of the event at the UIC Pavilion this Friday and Saturday is as solid as ever.
There are highly-ranked potential McDonald's All-Americans like Duke commit Jayson Tatum (Chaminade), Washington commit Markelle Fultz (DeMatha) and his teammate junior five-star D.J. Harvey.
But the local matchups will drive the attention of fans, specifically two intriguing games on Saturday night.
No. 8 Evanston gets a chance to grasp the local spotlight when they face No. 1 Morgan Park in a game that features the area's best senior and junior guards playing against each other.
Mustangs senior guard Charlie Moore is the favorite for Player of the Year are a 55-point performance to start the season against Bowen. Evanston junior guard Nojel Eastern is a consensus Top 100 prospect and is returning from a spring and summer missed due to injury.
In the other highly-talked about matchup, No. 10 Whitney Young and No. 2 Simeon play each other in their season opener.
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Both teams face question marks with a lot of uncertainty in big-game settings. Simeon can count on senior guard and Gonzaga commit Zach Norvell, junior Evan Gilyard and senior Josh Thomas but outside of that, the most of the team hasn't been counted on in this type of atmosphere.
The same can be said for a young and talented Dolphins team. Sophomore point guard Xavier Castenada is drawing a lot of praise, but he along with junior teammates Lucas Williamson and Craig Beudoin haven't been in a lot of games like this one.
It'll be interesting to see if the Dolphins can handle the pressure of playing a more experienced Simeon team that might be the deepest in the area.
Oak Park-River Forest vs. No. 4 Fenwick, 6:00 p.m. - The Friars are 4-0 and are looking like a potential state title contender. They'll face nearby rival Oak Park-River Forest (2-2).
Mater Dei (CA) vs. No. 15 Marian Catholic, 7:30 p.m. - Marian Catholic's young and talented team gets a test from a California power here. Mater Dei is led by 6-foot-9 Oregon commit M.J. Cage, the son of former NBA center Michael Cage.
Maine South vs. Loyola Academy, 9:00 p.m. - Two of the most well-coached teams in the area do battle to end the opening night.
Larkin vs. East St. Louis, 12:00 p.m. - Larkin and junior forward Christian Negron provide a bolt of energy against East St. Louis.
Gonzaga Prep (Washington D.C.) vs. No. 6 Riverside-Brookside, 2:30 p.m. - Riverside-Brookfield gets a nice out-of-state challenge against one of Washington D.C.'s best programs.
St. Vincent-St. Mary (OH) vs. DeMatha Catholic (MD), 4:00 p.m. - DeMatha features potential McDonald's All-American guard Markelle Fultz and talented five-star junior wing D.J. Harvey.
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No. 1 Morgan Park vs. No. 8 Evanston, 5:30 p.m. - The Moore vs. Eastern battle will grab the spotlight, but there are plenty of other talented guards to watch in this one.
Chaminade (MO) vs. Miller Grove (GA), 7:00 p.m. - Duke commit Jayson Tatum and Iowa commit Tyler Cook lead Chaminade against UConn commit Alterique Gilbert, an electric guard who can get in the paint whenever he wants. Tatum will likely only be at Duke for one year before moving on to the NBA.
No. 10 Whitney Young vs. No. 2 Simeon, 8:00 p.m. - Two storied programs do battle to end the Chicago Elite Classic and the season debut for both programs will be fascinating. Simeon is probably more balanced, but the Dolphins have enough talent to compete with anyone in the area.