Michael O’Brien’s final Chicago-area Super 25 basketball rankings

Orr guard Emanuel O'Neal, center, cheers after the team defeated Winnebago 76-49 for the IHSA boys' Class 2A title basketball title Saturday, March 10, 2018, in Peoria, Ill. (Fred Zwicky/Journal Star via AP) ORG XMIT: ILPEO321

With record and preseason ranking

1. Orr (30-4) 1
2. Young (28-8) 4
3. Simeon (29-4) 2
4. Morgan Park (25-9) 3
5. Curie (26-5) 5
6. Evanston (27-6) 19
7. West Aurora (25-5) 14
8. Marist (27-5) NR
9. Larkin (24-10) 10
10. Marian Catholic (26-6) NR
11. New Trier (25-6) NR
12. Niles North (26-5) 6
13. Benet (27-5) NR
14. Bolingbrook (22-7) 12
15. Joliet Central (23-6) NR
16. Lincoln Park (19-10) NR
17. Uplift (18-10) 20
18. Bogan (21-9) 11
19. Willowbrook (26-6) 23
20. Lincoln-Way East (23-6) 24
21. Naperville North (26-3) NR
22. Loyola (24-7) NR
23. North Chicago (22-10) NR
24. Homewood-Flossmoor (21-7) NR
25. Lake Zurich (26-8) NR

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48 comments

  • fjhjefhseg

    Waukegan #2

  • Fan

    Just will not put the right teams or the right kids in the write ups.You had school that made it downstate and almost made it you still put other schools that’s bad.

  • hoops hardcore

    Gentlemen…..c’mon here!!
    Let’s do the simple math:

    1 journalist
    a few hundred schools to cover
    a few thousand fans that follow
    a few thousand miles driven by the 1 journalist
    about 18 weeks of quality reporting by the 1 journalist
    infinite shots taken at the one journalist
    crazy!!!

  • JWC

    Yeah, but what about Oswego….they beat Quincy!!!!!!

    • mikenike

      at Quincy! The Quincy seniors lost only 3 home games in the last 4 years and one was to 4 win Oswego. One of the amazing bits of trivia for the year.

  • Curtis Dean Levy

    Orr what a great year again way to go ¿¿¿

  • Mike "Hot for Teacher / Human Aneurysm" Healy

    Yes, at Wheaton South we put the ass in class!

    Only a few months till we put our Tiger tail between our legs and flee the big bad DVC for the safety of the mighty DuKane. As mom always said, if you can’t beat the Naperville schools it’s best to run and hide.

    After perusing (I have the best words) our 2018 football schedule we’ll be fortunate to get 2 wins. I’m thinking we start 2-0 and then fold like a house of cards for the next 7. As for hoops, after seeing our Jr class and Soph team in action, the 2018-2019 hoops season will not be a thing of beauty.

    Healy out!

    • Mike M

      well maybe but what about Glenbard North, Wheaton North and Lake Park? Does South really have that much influence? Sounds like these 4 schools were on a par with the Naperville schools all along. Anyway you will get your chance come playoff time in the sectionals.

  • TG

    Mike, your hard work is second to none, great job reporting all year – Thanks!
    In my opinion….DePaul College Prep should definitely be recognized as one of the top 25 teams in the Chicago area in this final ranking. They beat Benet at Benet, Loyola at Loyola, Leo at Leo and Evanston at a neutral site – just naming a few quality wins. You had them ranked EVERY WEEK this season because of their impressive record against a very tough schedule. Losing a close Sectional Championship game against North Chicago AT North Chicago should not get them kicked off this list. Coach Kleinschmidt chose to compete against the best teams via tourney’s/non conference play (in addition to a tough Catholic League regular season schedule). And they won most those games. Six of their seven losses were against ranked teams and those losses were very tight contests with the exception of maybe one or two games. Conservatively, they are better than 5 teams on this list based on those facts.

    • Michael O'Brien

      The final rankings are largely based on the playoffs. DePaul didn’t make it because of the loss to North Chicago.

  • RB

    Great job of covering the high school hoops all season long. You were off a few times when it came down to predictions, but hey, we’re all entitled to our own opinions. I guess it’s good because it give the kids motivation here and there and is entertaining.

    I’m trying to figure out how Lincoln-East were ranked lower in the previous weeks and moved up in the rankings, above Corliss? If I recall, Corliss had a great year. They had a tough schedule and beat quite a few ranked/notable teams such Whitfield (St. Louis, MO – Gatorade POY), Lincoln-Way East (Best team in school history according to you), Minneapolis North, North Lawndale (Who you picked to win and play against Simeon), Momence (Who you raved about). Corliss was 4 points away from going down to Peoria, and finished undefeated in their conference. How did they slipped out of the rankings and LWE move up?

    • Michael O'Brien

      Corliss played in the White and in Class 2A, they would probably have had to make it to state to wind up in the rankings. And likely would have had to win a game in Peoria too. Leo and Aurora Christian aren’t here for the same reason.

  • SKILLS

    Morgan Park took the easy route had they played 4a they would have lost to Curie,WHITNEY young and SIMEON FOR SURE!

    • Red South Alumnus

      Seems like you couldn’t get into MP. The Mustangs were only full strength the first game of the year. I don’t consider them full strength in Peoria because the big fella was still rusty just coming back. Shoulda woulda coulda. You play who you play. MP isn’t breaking any rules playing where IHSA says they do.

  • Juswatchin

    Bolingbrook beat state champ bellville west in June, Iowa State champ Cedar falls in December, and state champ Morgan Park in January…..Returning 3 starters Cochran, Grant, and Yesufu…Gonna be pretty tough to stop!

  • Tim Toohey

    Mike,
    Thanks for a great year. Now tell everyone how the Public League recruits. Seems your top 5 are the schools the kids want to attend. How can a kid who lives on north-side go to Whitney Young or Simeon. Looks like a broken system.

    • March is coming

      Well when you consider Whitney Young is a magnet school and Simeon is vocational and neither have neighborhood boundaries, they can pull from anywhere in the city. Is their recruiting? Probably, but they are well within their right to take kids from any part of the city.

    • tsmith

      You can apply for Selective Enrollment Schools. Register and take the exam. List the top 3 preferences.

  • adam

    People attacking Michael are angry losers. He does a fantastic job covering HS basketball almost entirely by himself in one of the largest prep coverage areas in the country. New rule: If you disagree wjth his rankings, you have to have covered more games than he did this year. ** crickets **
    If you make a weekly habit of insulting his rankings, there is a 100% chance you’re a loser. I love HS basketball and I’m damn grateful to have a guy like Michael, who clearly loves the game, doing what he does.

    • tsmith

      Adam, it is considered feedback to those that do not fear opinions. I wouldn’t necessarily call them losers and guarantee that Mike wouldn’t support your position or he’d likely be out of a job. I’d fire him because he can’t recognize an opportunity to improve his product. Anyone can sit back and receive praise all day. Now that’s a loser.

    • Bloom Alum

      Taking criticism and answering question is part of his job description. Just like these coaches do every day with parents and administrators. He gets to write what he wants, but that doesn’t mean it won’t come without any criticism. He can ignore it or address it- how he chooses to go about it says everything about his abilities. Either way, it’s something that come along with his job. He has had no problem criticizing the coaches, players and schools of his choice (while praising his annual favorites regardless of performance) for the past 5 months. I’m just interested in the mechanics behind how he rank his teams because it seems to be all over the place at times. I appreciate his work, but I sometimes think there is some favoritism that plays in- which I don’t think is fair to some schools.

  • Bloom Alum

    How is LWE ranked so high? Can you explain? I believe HF beat them twice- once by 30 no? Bloom too. Makes zero sense to have them in there that high.

    • Bloom Alum

      Mike can you elaborate? I’m just trying to understand how your ranking system works. If a school beats another school twice in head to head competition, once by a large amount, how could they possibly be considered a better team?

      • RB

        It’s something about Lincoln-Way East he likes or something because Corliss whooped them too, and beat other tough ranked CPS teams and out of state teams, 4 points away from going doing state and we’re not even ranked now, but was last week lol. I just don’t get him.

    • Michael O'Brien

      Final rankings are largely based on how far a team advances in the playoffs. 4A is the most difficult class, by far, and the Griffins advanced to the sectional semis in one of the state’s better sectionals.

      • Bloom Alum

        So did HF- won their regional and played in a sectional semi. And they won their conference. And they beat LWE TWICE head to head. I don’t care about Hf or lwe to be honest…I just think this is a perfect example of how you play favorites with ranking and all area versus using actual numbers, wins, losses, strength of schedule, etc. Please explain further if you can.

        • Bloom Alum

          Reading your praise for Marist. I agree they were a very good team. And that is who HF lost to so took a really good team to put them out. So now that we see hf beat lwe twice, played a harder schedule from why I see on max preps, won their regional and lost in the same round of the 4a playoffs to a team as good or better than west aurora- how does that ranking equation making sense?

        • Michael O'Brien

          You know, I would respond, but all this talk about playing favorites just exhausts me. You clearly have some really misguided ideas in your head about my coverage so I’m not going to waste my time. Yes, I’m a huge Lincoln-Way guy, always have been. You’ve figured me out.

          • Bloom Alum

            No. Youre just incorrect and can’t refute the actual facts in this one so your taking your ball and going home. This one is glaring. You messed up and you have no leg to stand on here. Thank you for making my point about playing favorites from time to time. I Thought both Teams real good this year not taking away from either- Just can’t seem to make sense of some of the things you do sometimes. It’s fine let it go if you can’t take the heat.

          • Michael O'Brien

            You’ll notice I’ve responded to everyone that asked a question and didn’t make an attack. You might want to follow their lead next time.

      • Lll

        Just curious mike i know that Chicago Hope Acadamy didn’t make the top 25 but they did go down state in 1a move up to 2a and still went to super sectional to lose a team that win it all my ? If Orr had went up to 3a do they hope Acadamy go down state

    • Bloom Alum

      Ok…where’s the answer then?

  • HighSchoolBBallFan

    Mike hopefully you can answer my question. Benet beat Marist at Marist and wiped Marian Catholic off their home floor late in the season. They had an 18 game win streak, won their sectional and lost in a close game to Larkin. How are they ranked 13, with two teams they beat ahead of them at 10 and 8. Hoping for a response. Thanks for all the great work this season

    • Michael O'Brien

      Final rankings are based largely on the playoffs. Marist’s game against Simeon is why it is where it is. They were fantastic, nearly taking down the most talented team in the state.

      Marian Catholic finished third in Class 3A. If a team gets to Peoria and wins a game they are going to wind up ranked pretty high.

  • john fitzgerald

    Benet wins a sectional, beats Marist at Marist and is ranked behind them? HOW?

    • Michael O'Brien

      Watch the Marist-Simeon sectional final game and most of your questions will be answered. I actually went back and watched it online, Marist deserves its ranking. Marist, Evanston and Belleville West were the only teams that really significantly challenged the Public League powers in March. That speaks to their quality.

  • West sub fan

    What ! No Fenwick??
    OMG 😮 Guess we can overrate them next year

    • Wscfantoo

      Maybe Fenwick can retreat to 3a and be relevant next year. Imagine if Morgan park grew a proverbial pair and played up to 4a.

  • Michael Altman

    Great Year Evanston Wildkits……Big year next year!!!!

  • Leegs1

    Mikey: thanks to you and Joe for your efforts and entertainment. It will soon be Beth’s turn in the barrel. Hope you all get a raise!

  • Otis John

    Simeon should still be number 1.. Simeon beat Orr, Simeon beat Young and Young beat Simeon. (The only lost to a State team) Simeon battled the nations best.. Simeon should still be one, despite losing in the super sectional. They won the city championship. We all know Simeon is the better team. They PG just stop being a PG

  • Norm

    Orr should only be #1 if they beat Simeon in the city finals. That said, Mike have a great off-season, thanks for your work and I look forward to next season!

  • Educated basketball fan

    Mike, it’s been one heck of a season. I’ll stop commenting on these trash lists, but I have to leave one note. Wheaton Warrenville South will take on any team in the state and give them a game. Those kids made a name for themselves the past two years. NN is still trash and WN is just plain awful. Love you Mikey

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