The annual Chicago Elite Classic will once again be one of the premier events played this high school basketball season.
Chicago Elite Classic, which will be played at the UIC Pavilion Dec. 1-2, has released its list of competing teams with matchups to be announced at a later date.
This will be one of the top teams in the state with Division I senior shooter Colton Sandage (Texas-Arlington commit) and 6-6 junior Chris Payton, an Illinois State commit, returning from a team that won 27 games and finished third in Class 3A.
■ Champaign Central
With the return of 6-6 Tim Finke, a top 10 prospect in the senior class, and senior guard Bailey Dee, the Maroons will be one of better Class 3A teams in Illinois.
The Class 3A state runner-up last March welcomes back a strong nucleus, including Billy Bruce, A.J. Nixon and Demari Nixon. But 6-3 sophomore D.J. Steward, a top 50 prospect nationally in the Class of 2020, is the headliner.
There may not be any big names but there are players ready to emerge –– junior point guard Artese Stapleton and 6-4 senior R.J. McGee –– and keep Kenwood among the city’s better teams.
■ Lyons Twp.
The Lions hope to bounce back with the return of guards Tyrese Shines (10 ppg) and Nolan Niego (7 ppg).
■ Morgan Park
The Class 3A favorites will again be loaded, led by the state’s top-ranked senior, 6-5 point guard Ayo Dosunmu, UAB-bound big man Tamell Pearson and the arrival of heralded sophomore guard Adam Miller.
■ Oak Park-River Forest
The Huskies are fresh off a 24-win season that included conference and regional championships. The backcourt of junior Dashon Enoch and senior Isaiah Fuller is a good one.
Longtime assistant Mike Reingruber takes over as head coach and will build around returning sharpshooter Ryan Cicenas (12 ppg), who shot 39 percent from beyond the arc as a junior.
Talen Horton-Tucker is a high-major prospect and is surrounded by Division I talent in seniors Messiah Jones (Drake commit), Xavier Pinson, Zion Young and junior Kejuan Clements.
■ St. Rita
The Mustangs will be a Catholic League contender with the return of senior guard Jordan Matthews, big man Cameron Bartmann, emerging Jeremiah Oden and sophomore guards Joel Watts and Alec Millender.
The defending Class 4A champs have the 1-2 punch of Xavier Castaneda (South Florida) and Javon Freeman (Valpo) returning, along with a host of talented young players in the program.
■ Chaminade (St. Louis)
The team that brought Jayson Tatum to the Chicago Elite Classic two years ago and went on to win a state championship in Missouri returns. This year’s team is led by Jericole Hellems, a talented 6-6 senior who has interest and offers from Arkansas, Florida, Georgia Tech, Missouri, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and North Carolina State.
■ Gray Collegiate Academy (South Carolina)
Juwan Gary, a 6-5 top 75 prospect in the Class of 2019 who has multiple high-major offers already, is the headliner.
■ La Lumiere School (Indiana)
The national prep school power from Indiana is led by point guard Tyger Campbell, which Scout.com has ranked as the No. 60 prospect in the country in the senior class. Big man Isaiah Stewart and 6-5 Charles Smith are a pair of top 50 prospects in the Class of 2019.
■ Sunrise Christian Academy (Kansas)
There will be a boatload of individual talent on display for Sunrise Christian. There are a number of top 100 players in multiple classes. Malik Hall, who started his prep career at Metea Valley in the western suburbs, is among the top 100 prospects in the country in the Class of 2019. N’faly Dante is a 6-11, 230-pound center and among the top 20 prospects in the Class of 2020.
■ Vashon (St. Louis)
This Missouri power has won four straight state championships, finishing 27-3 a year ago, and has a total of 10 state titles. This year’s team is led by 6-2 guard Mario McKinney, who ranks among the top 100 juniors in the country.
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