DJ Steward transfers to Young

Simeon's Xavier Pinson (3) makes his way past Fenwick's DJ Steward. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.
Simeon's Xavier Pinson (3) makes his way past Fenwick's DJ Steward. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

After spending the past two years leading Fenwick to 50 wins and two Catholic League titles, including a state runner-up finish in Class 3A as a freshman, DJ Steward will spend his final two years at Young.

Steward, a 6-3 junior guard who is ranked among the top 75 players in the country in the Class of 2020, has transferred to the public league powerhouse.

After registering at Young on Tuesday, Steward pointed out that leaving Fenwick has been on his mind for quite some time. Steward indicated he wanted to leave Fenwick following his freshman year.

“My family and I decided to stick it out at Fenwick one more year,” Steward said of remaining at the private school. “But by the middle of the year of my sophomore year there were just some unsettling things that were going on, and I wasn’t enjoying myself.”

Fenwick's DJ Steward (21) goes to the basket against Proviso East. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

Fenwick’s DJ Steward (21) goes to the basket against Proviso East. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

In the middle of last school year, Steward again sat down with his family to discuss leaving Fenwick. They decided he would leave at the conclusion of his sophomore campaign.

Steward and his family moved to Chicago and his family looked at several options for his remaining two years of high school. They talked with several of the nation’s prominent prep schools, including La Lumiere in Indiana and Montverde in Florida. Steward said the family discussed him living in Dayton with his aunt and attending high school there.

“My mom actually wanted me to go to a prep school, but I wanted to stay home,” said Steward. “Fenwick is a great school academically, so we wanted to make sure we found a school with great academics.”

Steward believes the academic, cultural, social and diverse aspects of Young fit well.

“I’m not going to be doing any other interviews or talking about this, because I just want to concentrate on school going forward,” said Steward.

The powerhouse Dolphins will have two of the top three prospects in Illinois in the Class of 2020, Steward and guard Tyler Beard. Senior Myles Baker is also back, he was one of the area’s most consistently productive players last season. Young be among the top-ranked teams in the state this winter.

Last season Steward averaged 18.4 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals a game for the Friars. In just two seasons, Steward has already scored 932 career points in two seasons.

As a freshman two seasons ago, Steward led Fenwick in scoring and pumped in 26 points in a state championship game loss to Morgan Park.

Follow Joe Henricksen and the City/Suburban Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport

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  • cclalum89

    if it was for academics that a flat lie because fenwick is not bad it was straight basketball have fun being just another d1 player on the team dj

  • RealityCheck

    What an absolute travesty. The IHSA is the laughing stock of the country.

  • reason

    The head guy at WY is a crook . He goes all over to get players. question ??? What school would win a state title if they ONLY had players within there boundaries. Not WY Morgan Park or any usual suspects.Maybe more catholic schools that would not be a bad thing.

  • O.Dusty

    If no one saw this coming go back and watch the state championship game vs morgan park his freshman year… They blew that game and it wasnt becasue of him. It was how he was being coached that day….Im surprised he came back for his sophomore year.

    • george chiropolos

      The gentleman who coached Mr. Steward is Rick Malnati. He is a great coach and I follow him religiously. He played against some of the great ones Aguirre, Bird and Xavier McDaniel. I am his brother in law and proud of it. New Trier, Loyola University and Fenwick benefited because of his coaching. Thank you Coach Malnati.

      • Coach Mike

        He is a very good coach. I am not related, but I follow HS basketball in IL, and I know he has a nice resume.

  • Gov

    Basketball has become a BIG Laugh in the city of Chicago. Example if you live on the North side of Chicago you can play on the Southside. AAU runs HS basketball in the State of Illinois. When will the IHSA stand up and say “Enough is Enough”. When does it end?????

    • O.Dusty

      Agreed…AAU has taken over but this is because alot of the coaches werent looking out for players and playing favoritism… IT SUCKS but thats the way it is now….

  • bill jeske

    not talking about the kids academics..catch up

  • b real

    The kids Academics are fine!

  • bill jeske

    Gotcha… My fault

  • West sub fan

    Yes Bill
    That’s 100% sarcasm

  • bill jeske

    your not serious are you? You must work for the state

  • West sub fan

    I’m very relieved to hear that it’s about academics
    Fenwick or Oak Park River Forest are well out of Whitney Young’s League in that department.
    That’s why the IHSA allows this every year !!!

    • High School Hoops Fan

      You’re joking right, Whitney Young is one of the top academic schools in the State. Definitely better that OPRF on rating scale, and I’m sure comparable to Fenwick. It usually is one of the highest ranked academic shools in the state along with the other CPS magnet high schools. Not like he transferred to a garbage academic school, and it’s free versus paying tuition. I’m sure Fenwick is a great school, but if he’s not happy there, then leave.

  • bill jeske

    Please top talking about’s not about academics. Just say what it is…it’s IHSA turned it AAU and the state allows it..Fee agent market…Sate doesn’t want law suits so they bow down.

  • yesmaam

    Did he really move to the city or is he still in Oak Park? Just like Okafor living in Rosemont, or back in the day all those Young guys living in the south suburbs….what a joke

    • mikenike

      You mean like when Jacob Kellar played for Fenwick and lived in Aurora? Or who knows where everybody else lives who plays on their teams and all the other Catholic League powerhouses? I agree, what a joke!

      And this doesn’t even take into account that every year people get bent all out of shape about athletes transferring and act like it’s just started. It started back in the 20s or earlier — the IHSA was invented to keep an eye on ringers, kids who weren’t even in school playing for high school teams. So it’s at least gotten better than a hundred years ago.

      • Smarter than Mike

        The private schools aren’t bound by a district, genius.

        • mikenike

          haha Brad Thompson returns.
          “The private schools aren’t bound by a district” — uh, I think that was my point.
          And if you people think it’s unfair for kids to have to sit out a year going from public to private, get the private schools to change their rules. It’s not an IHSA rule.

      • Leegs1

        All private schools and most Chicago schools were not members of the IHSA until 1940. If student athletes are not paying tuition while attending a private school and decide to transfer to a public school, that athlete should sit out a year just as they do if the athlete transfers from a public to a private school.

    • wscfantoo

      Hopefully Beard’s family can pass the CPS residency requirements to Steward so he doesn’t have to sit most of the year for illegal residency like Beard did.

  • Jimmy Jones

    So DJ goes from Fenwick to Young. He will not have to sit out at all this year. That is great for him but if DJ went from Young to Fenwick he would have to sit out. How is this issue not getting fixed by the IHSA?CPS is taking advantage of the rules. Do not tell me CPS is not recruiting players to come play for them. IHSA must fix this issue

    • Bibbs

      Jimmy, IHSA did not make up the rule. Private schools started this rule, because schools started to transfer in public school kids. Public schools don’t care who you transfer in from private schools. They only care about other schools Tampering with kids in their program. Also, public schools don’t care who steps they embrace the competition.

      • Jimmy Jones

        So you are saying Catholic Schools do not embrace competition? Do you really believe what you wrote? Come on Bibbs. Catholic schools are not the reason CPS does not have a transfer rule. The IHSA needs to step in and put a transfer and boundary rule when it comes to CPS.

  • Sammy

    Great move for Steward. one of the top academic schools in the state. Also, Playing tougher competition in the city night in and night out will make his game better. Whitney Young is always a state championship threat. Would’ve beaten Bellville in the state title game in March if a certain official didn’t make a terrible call, and a second official didn’t swallow his whistle.

  • James

    How is it basketball players get into WY and only about 10% of other public school kids that apply get in? Are the basketball players better students?

    • T

      the principal is allowed a certain number of discretionary allowances to admit kids who maybe wouldnt have made it in purely on academics but are high performers in other areas, whether its basketball or singing or whatever

  • cclalum89


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