The field of teams and matchups for the annual “When Sides Collide” Shootout, presented by the City/Suburban Hoops Report, has been set.
The event has featured several high-profile games over the years, including the Jalen Brunson-Tyler Ulis showdown in 2014 when Stevenson knocked off Marian Catholic.
Last year Naperville North stunned Evanston and Nojel Eastern, using the win as a springboard to its March run that ended in the super-sectional, while Young beat Joliet West and big man and current Loyola freshman Cameron Krutwig put on a show in leading Jacobs to a win over Hillcrest.
The games this year will be played Jan. 20 at Glenbard East in Lombard.
■ Morgan Park vs. Fenwick
A rematch of last year’s Class 3A state championship and a game loaded with individual talent. Morgan Park’s Ayo Dosunmu is the state’s No. 1 ranked senior in Illinois and big man Tamell Pearson is among the top 10.
It’s also a showcase for the top two prospects in the Class of 2020: Morgan Park’s Adam Miller, who has transferred in from Peoria Manual, and Fenwick’s D.J. Steward. Both Miller and Steward are ranked among the top 30 prospects nationally in their class.
■ Young vs. Bloomington
The defending Class 4A state champs will be a top five team again with the return of Xavier Castaneda and Javon Freeman. Bloomington won 27 games and reached Peoria last March, finishing third in Class 3A. The Purple Raiders will welcome back a strong nucleus from that team, including 6-6 junior Chris Payton, who has already committed to Illinois State.
■ West Aurora vs. Romeoville
These two will have a ton of talent and experience returning and are likely preseason Top 25 teams and favorites in their respective conferences.
West Aurora returns a host of players, including four-year varsity player Camron Donatlan. The Blackhawks will also welcome back double-figure scorer Jared Crutcher (10 ppg), Damian Virgan (7.7 ppg), shooter Ben Young and East Aurora transfer Traevon Brown, who averaged 12.4 points and 4.5 assists a game last season.
Romeoville is ready to take the next step with the return of the talented trio of guard DeAndre Heckard, a top 20 prospect in the senior class, 6-6 Dontia Johnson and guard Michael Salter. But the addition of Joliet West standout transfer Eddie Creal will elevate the Spartans.
■ Evanston vs. DePaul Prep
A pair of the top two juniors in the Class of 2019 –– DePaul Prep’s Perry Cowan and Evanston’s Lance Jones –– will meet. DePaul Prep won a regional title last year in Class 2A, while Evanston won regional and sectional championships in Class 4A before falling to Whitney Young in the super-sectional.
■ Glenbard East vs. Downers Grove North
The host school looks to bounce back this season with the return of sophomore guard Alijah Nelson, who averaged 12 points a game as a freshman a year ago. Downers Grove North features the junior tandem of Semaj Henderson, who has picked up offers from Western Illinois and Northern Illinois, and Eddie Boston and senior Keenan Davis.
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