2017 Chicago Sun-Times All-Area basketball team

Curie's Elijah Joiner (2) shifts the ball to his left hand to bank a shot off the glass as Thornton's Christian Simmons (5) defends, January 14, 2017. Allen Cunningham / for Chicago Sun-Times
Michael O'Brien
mobrien@suntimes.com | @michaelsobrien
March 9 10:28 a.m.

NANA AKENTEN
Senior F, 6-6, Bolingbrook

Bolingbrook's Nana Akenten (25) gets his second dunk of the game against Lockport. Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

Nebraska recruit. Athletic wing with a terrific three-point shot. Started hot to help ignite the Raiders’ season-opening 20-game win streak. Averaged 16 points, six rebounds and shot 55 percent from the field. Hinsdale Central Holiday Tournament MVP.

AYO DOSUNMU
Junior G, 6-3, Morgan Park

Morgan Park's Ayo Dosunmu (11) drives to the hoop against Simeon's Madison Lowery (11) during their 59-57 loss in Chicago, Thursday December 15, 2016. | Kevin Tanaka/For the Sun-Times

First team All-City selection. Team leader, able to get to the basket and distribute the ball. Nationally ranked point guard led Mustangs to coach Nick Irvin’s first Red-South title. Averaged 22 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and two steals. Dozens of Division I scholarship offers.

RAEKWON DRAKE
Junior F, 6-5, Orr

Raekwon Drake (25) dunks on Uplift's Chris Trimuel (1). Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

Two-time All-Area selection. Second team All-City selection. Dynamic athlete, one of the area’s best dunkers and most effective shot blockers. Averaged 17 points, seven rebounds and four blocks. Key part of a talented group of juniors that led the Spartans to Class 2A state finals.

DILLON DURRETT
Senior F, 6-3, Wheaton-Warrenville South

Wheaton-Warrenville South's Dillion Durrett (10) gets a finger roll to the basket against Napervillie North. Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

Uncommitted. DuPage Valley Conference Player of the Year. Improved immensely to lead Tigers on a magical run into the sectional semifinals. Averaged 17 points and five rebounds. Shot 71 percent from the field and 37 percent from three-point range.

NOJEL EASTERN
Senior G, 6-6, Evanston

Evanston's Nojel Eastern (20) gets past Simeon's Kejuan Clements (0). Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

Purdue recruit. Two-time All-Area selection. One of the top players in school history. Evanston’s all-time leader in wins and assists. Has more than 1,500 career points. Averaged 18 points, nine rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks.

EVAN GILYARD
Senior G, 5-10, Simeon

Simeon's Evan Gilyard (3) drives the baseline against Benet. Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

UTEP recruit. First team All-City selection. A.C. Williamson award winner at Pontiac Holiday Tournament. Four year varsity player. Helped lead Wolverines to back-to-back city championships and this year’s Pontiac title. Averaged 16 points, four assists and four rebounds.

DEMARIUS JACOBS
Senior G, 6-3, Uplift

Uplift's Demarius Jacobs (15) grabs a rebound in front of Orr's Samuel Williams (10). Worsom Robinson/ For Sun-Times

Uncommitted. First team All-City selection. All-Tournament at Proviso West, Washington Invitational MVP. Averaged 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists. Fluid athlete with a knack for coming through in clutch, led Titans to Red-North title and 22-6 record.

ELIJAH JOINER
Senior G, 6-3, Curie

Curie's Elijah Joiner(2) goes up for a dunk against Thornton during a game in the 7th Annual Bob Hambric Shootout, January 14, 2017. Allen Cunningham / For the Chicago Sun-Times

Tulsa recruit. First team All-City selection. Strong, confident leader was a key member of Curie’s run to the Class 4A state title in 2016. All-Tournament at Pontiac, game MVP at prestigious Marshall County Hoopfest. Averaged 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists.

JOHN KERR
Senior C, 6-6, Grant

Grant's John Kerr (24) scans the court for an open player against North Chicago. Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

Uncommitted. Rose from obscurity and developed into one of the area’s truly dominant big men. Averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds and two steals. Posted 17 double-doubles while leading the Bulldogs to a regional championship and Northern Lake County conference title.

TEYVION KIRK
Senior G, 6-3, Joliet West

Henricksen: Joliet West's Teyvion Kirk commits to Drake

Uncommitted. One of the season’s breakout stars, the point guard averaged 19 points, four rebounds and three assists. Teamed with Trevian Bell to lead Tigers to 25-3 record and Southwest Prairie title. Has more than a dozen Division I scholarship offers. All-Tournament at Pontiac.

CAMERON KRUTWIG
Senior C, 6-9, Jacobs

Jacobs center Cameron Krutwig (24) backs down Bartlett's Jason Hasenberg (24). Worsom Robinson/ For Sun-Times

Loyola recruit. The area’s dominant big man. Almost automatic in the post and an incredible passer. Averaged 15 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks and three assists. Shot 65 percent from the field. School’s all-time leading rebounder and shot blocker.

JOSH NIEGO
Senior G, 6-4, Brother Rice

Brother Rice's Josh Niego (24) hauls in a rebound against Marist. Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

Uncommitted. All-Tournament at York, Catholic League South Player of the Year. Excellent shooter, led Crusaders to 25-5 season and first place in Catholic League South. Averaged 18 points, six rebounds and shot 35 percent from three-point range.

JACK NOLAN
Senior G, 6-1, Benet

Benet's Jack Nolan (21) tries to shake off Curie's Allante Pickens (3). Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

Uncommitted. All-Tournament at Pontiac, MVP at Loyola-New Trier Thanksgiving Tournament, East Suburban Catholic all-conference. An unstoppable scorer against some of the area’s top teams. Averaged 18 points, three rebounds, two assists. Made 80 three-pointers, averaging 40 percent.

COREYOUN RUSHIN
Senior F, 6-6, Westinghouse

Westinghouse's Coreyoun Rushin (23) dunks over Farragut's Reggie Strong (3). Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

Uncommitted. Second team All-City selection. One of the area’s few athletic bigs. Improved throughout his career, became the city’s best rebounder, helped lead the Warriors back to the Red Division. Averaged 17 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

KYLE SLIWA
Senior G, 6-0, Fremd

Fremd's Kyle Sliwa (4) gets a lay-up against Prospect. Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

Uncommitted. Mid-Suburban League Player of the Year. Two-time all-conference selection. Leader and driving force for unbeaten, conference champion Vikings. Averaged 17 points. Shot 53 percent from the field, 45 percent from three-point range and 78 percent from the line.

JUSTIN SMITH
Senior F, 6-7, Stevenson

Henricksen: Stevenson star Justin Smith will be a Hoosier

Indiana recruit. All-Tournament at Hinsdale Central. Key member of 2014 Class 4A state championship team. Eye-popping athlete averaged 22 points, 10 rebounds. Shot 56 percent from the field. Led Patriots to 22-6 record, North Suburban title.

JIMMY SOTOS
Senior G, 6-3, Conant

Jimmy Sotos (4) of Conant shakes Fremd's defender. Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

Bucknell recruit. MVP at York, three-time Mid-Suburban League All-Conference selection. Heady point guard averaged 17 points, five assists, four rebounds. Scored more than 1,000 career points. Shot 46 percent from the field and 84 percent from the free throw line.

ALONZO VERGE
Senior G, 6-3, Thornton

Thornton's Alonzo Verge (4) moves past a Marian Catholic defender, January 15, 2017 Allen Cunningham / For the Chicago Sun-Times.

Uncommitted. Sun-Times Player of the Year. Big Dipper MVP, All-Tournament at Decatur. The area’s most dynamic talent, averaged 26 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, three steals. Led Wildcats to 22-5 season, Southwest Suburban Red title and Big Dipper championship.

KAWANISE WILKINS
Senior G, 6-5, Farragut

Farragut's Kawanise Wilkins (0) is fired up after taking down Uplift in the second round of the Public League playoffs. Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

Uncommitted. Second Team All-City selection. Strong, smart guard took over games to lead an extremely young Admirals squad. Averaged 21 points, nine rebounds. Shot 58 percent from the field, 42 percent from three-point range and 79 percent from the free throw line.

LUCAS WILLIAMSON
Senior F, 6-4, Young

Young's Lucas Williamson (24) shoots a three against North Lawndale. Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

Uncommitted. First Team All-City selection. MVP at Proviso West. Four-year varsity player on for of the state’s elite programs. Evolved from a post to a perimeter player this season, averaged 19 points, five rebounds and two steals. Shot 80 percent from the free-throw line.

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55 comments

  • Deecoug25

    How’s many kids that are left off the list that avg. 20/10, penalize kids for where they live!!!! That’s exactly why you can’t have guys that never played vote… redundant!!!! ☺️☺️ Everyone just keep working…

  • J

    Where is Marcus Garrett of Hillcrest on this list??? Why are people continuing to overlook the kid?

  • Emmett lynch

    Congrats to my man Ayo! Next years player of the year!

  • Will

    Congrats to all the young men that made the All Area List. I just find it hard to believe that only one player from the south suburbs was worthy of the list. I think there are a few that were worthy of the honor, especially Austin Richie from Bloom. His stats are better than more than a few on the list. Once again congrats to all that made the list and much success to all at the seniors at the next level of your careers.

  • Julian Kaye

    Nina, you know you are biased. Kezo is your son or nephew. He still has room for growth. Good player, though.

  • Seen it All

    Club teams have taken over HS ball. Hell, its worth it for these coaches. A few years back HF girls coach cheats, and still coaching today. Grow some IHSA, great lessons you are teaching. Should of been banned for ten years from coaching. Picks are good, everyone cant be on list. Players deserving that did not make, fuel for fire if still playing. Hate to face Simeon tonight!

  • bterence

    Unfortunately, everyone has not had the opportunity to see every player , every game; therefore, the sampling size to make such selections are diminished, making it difficult to be completely accurate. there are a lot of deserving young men who are worthy of being selected- Unfortunately, there are only so many slots available. This list does not diminish the accomplishments of the young men who made the list, did not make the list, or were selected at a certain slot, and fortunately, it is not etched in stone what they shall be in the future; that decision is up to them. This is one or two persons “OPINION,” and in no way is the final word or authority on what these young men will or won’t become as relates to basketball players. hopefully the inclusion or exclusion will be an impetus to fuel them to become better than they are now. With that said, Blaise Meredith of Neuqua Valley in Naperville is the best kept secret in the Chicago area and is deserving of the top 20.

  • KJPJ

    What about senior guard, Malik Parker from Chicago Christian?

  • jd

    What about 6’4 -Junior Jack Ellison-Mr. Do it all from Chicago Christian?

  • Anonymous

    Aiqujuan Bates , Frederick Wilson , Jarquis Medley And Shawn Marlow From Hubbard Should Be Up Here

  • Anonymous

    Jamari Johnson**

  • Panther

    Congrats to all who made the team…
    However, who leaving their High School with 3 Basketball Records including All Time Leading Scorer and heading to a D1 School in the Horizon League… Who put up 13 ppg, 20 ppg and 22 ppg as a Senior in 2 1/2 years… PJ Pipes (Lemont)

    • Juswatchin

      Probably should’ve moved out of Lemont 2 yrs ago….more talented team,less shot opportunities. Would PJ still avg 20? No shade he nice…but his resume need some leadership trophies and I’m not sure if they ever got past regionals during his time….not sure… if so let me know!

      • Panther

        No they didn’t but mission accomplished. Will be playing D1 and leaving a HOF career with a great education behind… PS… His accolades or scoring didn’t change against competition either. Check his AAU resume too.

        • Justwatchin

          Congrats and much respect to PJ. I’ve always liked him…He’s a good kid..good luck to him and the rest of his career!

      • Ballah55

        Hard to make the team when you only play half the Year.

  • HouseBABY

    Congratulations to all that made it

  • HouseBABY

    Way to recognize the talents of Coreyoun Rushin, kid has big time potential

  • Frank

    This list is incomplete without Tai Bibbs on it, plain and simple. How you failed to include him makes no sense!

  • Sally

    There are some kids who were definitely left off this list and some who definitely shouldn’t be on it. Politics plain and simple. It’s ridiculous to use a team’s record – it’s easy to be good when you have good players around you.

    Hats off to those athletes who were on weak teams yet still have amazing stats and year!

    Congrats to those who truly deserved it and congrats to those who worked hard and should have been on this list. Keep working hard.

  • Juswatchin

    Kezo, and THT are both juniors… There are only 2 juniors on the list out of 20.. Those 2 are the bona-fide leaders of their teams…. No team has more than 1 on list but Simeon people want 3… Get Real, Greedy.!! Like no one else kid or nephew worked hard!

    • Im a Simeon Auntie

      Watch it sucka! 😂😂😂 Dont do that. If the whole damn team desires it then oh well. thats the problem with society giving everyone a chance bc “oh lord we cant hv 3 Wolverines on the team it would be a catastrophe”! #clown

      • Juswatchin

        Elizabeth I’m coming home!! Desire or deserve…lol… messing with u don’t snap auntie.. There are other players out there, leaders and seniors who deserve this prestige just as well…. jacob keller, jamal nixon, josh niego,malik binns etc….that’s what happens when your on a super talented team.. your#’s don’t make the grade and there juniors… we know those boys, we love them but fall back…

    • Just the Facts

      I agree Justwatchin, if Simeon deserves 3 then Evanston deserves like 6 since they beat the breaks off the Wolverines. Made them look like old man Logan.

      • Im a simeon Auntie

        You still mad no one cared or exaggerated that win. Oh yall thought yall won a Championship! blaaaah! Its ok yall may get another crack at it!

      • Im a simeon Auntie

        I’ll wait……….
        I bet you probably say, “but we beat Simeon”! #maybenextyear #congratsonagreatseason

  • Just the Facts

    Great list. The only people missing are Bibbs and Binns.

  • Maurice King

    Jamal Nixon from Fenwick high school should have been on that list.

  • JR

    Genuinely surprised Jacob Keller didn’t make this list. One of the best guards in the city.

  • nina johnson

    half of these seniors not even committed to any DI colleges wow this is some BS , KEZO and TALEN both have D1 and mid major offers, come on now wtf is really going on so confused ..

  • nina johnson

    Kezo brown is the best Guard out there point blank period .. NO one can say otherwise , 2nd team now this wow some BS if you ask me, Talen Tucker 4th team now this some more BS , its ok they got another year to go and I bet when they off to college they want be sitting on anyone bench , Natural Talent

  • Nate

    So The East Suburban Catholic Player Of The Year Didn’t Make It? Maurice Commander? Wow

    • Coach B

      No Tai Bibbs? No Kezo Brown? No Maurice Commander (ESCC POY) but you have another ESCC guard on the first team list….Hmm. I could’ve done without those oversights but to each his own.

  • Tais dad

    First off congrats to all that made the team…but to not have tai bibbs no where on this list is a travesty…Obrien should be ashamed of himself

  • Tee Tee

    I’m generally really quiet in regards to these stats, however when you see your nephew work day and night to improve his game, yet he still gets no recognition for it. Is it because he’s the youngest dominant player out there? Congrats to the young men that made the team . Talen Horton -Tucker and Kezo Brown will continue to BRUSH the haters off

  • Coach Davis

    I Agree with you Coach LB.. Where is Tai Bibbs???

  • Juswatchin

    Congrats to all !! Chicago is full of talent… someone makes the cut… someone just as good doesn’t…. nothing political…. just the luck of the draw…. Remember if we all move to Iowa,Wyoming,Idaho etc all the Chicago boys win player of the year!!!! This is Chicago and we’re talent loaded… Congrats again to the lucky few!!

  • Weezy

    Where is Tai Bibbs???

  • Marcus Alderson

    I think it is a bad choice of words to say that here’s the best 20 players in the area and Kezo Brown and Talen Horton-Tucker is no where to be found. Say that these are the best players in the area that don’t have to share the ball with anyone.

    • Juswatchin

      Totally not true…… Nana Akenton has the lowest avg pts of the group because he has good players around him!!

    • Im a Simeon Auntie

      I totally agree. How, first THT on 4th team. Kezo is definitely one of the best in the area. Oh I guess to be the best in chicago you hv to take all the shots, 20 to 25 a game to average 23 pts per game. Horrible, grow some MOB. #beastmode #shouldbescarednow #statebound

  • Stan

    What about Tai Bibbs?

    • Coach LB

      Tai Bibbs should have been on the all area team. He one of the best complete guards I have seen in a long time. He has a great feel for the game and know how to play the point guard position. To me he has a more skill set to led a tea then KIRK,TEYVION that not taking anything away from Kirk but if I was going to start a team I would have Tai Bibbs leading my team.

  • Kenneth Johnson

    Congrats to Raekwon Drake and Coach Lou Adams of Ord Academy. Great job. Go Orr

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