David Chatman is back, Alonzo Verge commits, local stars at USA Basketball and more

David Chatman coaching at Proviso East back in 2007. Sun-Times file photo.

Everything fell into place for David Chatman in August.

The former Proviso East head coach, who led the Pirates to a 159-68 record from 2004-2011, was intrigued by the basketball opening at Rich South.

After itching to get back into the game he loves, Chatman applied and interviewed for the job to replace the retired Scot Ritter.

Chatman was hired as coach and a week later a teaching position opened up at Rich South. So after spending 30-plus years at Proviso East, Chatman is now a teacher and head coach in the south suburbs.

“I missed it so much,” says Chatman of being a head coach. “I missed that opportunity of leading a group of kids.”

Chatman won four regional titles and a pair of sectional championships in his eight years as head coach at Proviso East. And the team he was waiting and aching to coach, a group that included the likes of Keith Carter, Paris Lee, Jevon Carter and Sterling Brown among others, went on to go a combined 62-6 with two trips to Peoria in the two years following Chatman’s removal.

“I’m blessed with this opportunity,” said an excited Chatman of his new job. “I’m really excited how the kids have already welcomed me here. They have been really open with me. I think that will only help when the first job is to get them in buy in.”

Alonzo Verge will be a Sun Devil

Alonzo Verge, who took the state by storm as a sophomore at Willowbrook and finished up his eye-popping career at Thornton, recently committed to Arizona State.

The high-scoring 6-2 guard will finish up his second season of junior college basketball at Moberly Area Community College in Missouri this winter before heading to play for coach Bobby Hurley.

Thornton's Alonzo Verge gets carried off the court after scoring 43 points in the Wilcats' Regional Championship victory over Bloom, March 3, 2017 Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times.

Thornton’s Alonzo Verge gets carried off the court after scoring 43 points in the Wilcats’ Regional Championship victory over Bloom, March 3, 2017 Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times.

After putting up prolific scoring numbers in high school, Verge continued to produce at a high level in junior college. He averaged over 20 points a game as a freshman, including a dazzling December day last year when in two games he went for 36 points and 16 assists in one game and followed it up later in the day with a school record 51 points in game two.

Verge, who averaged 20.8 points, 6.1 assists and 4.1 rebounds a game last season, was named to the NJCAA Division I All-American team.

Illinois prep standouts experience USA Basketball

Illinois was well represented this past weekend at the USA Basketball tryouts in Colorado, where 88 players from four different classes competed to determine the roster for the FIBA World Championships.

Morgan Park junior Adam Miller, Rolling Meadows sophomore Max Christie and the Simeon freshman tandem of A.J. Casey and Jaylen Drane were all extended invitations and part of the recent USA Basketball tryouts.

Young loads up schedule –– again

The always loaded Young schedule will include trips to Nevada, Kentucky, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., this winter. Coach Tyrone Slaughter wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Dolphins were invited to the prestigious HoopHall Classic in Boston in January and will also play in a pair of national tournaments –– the Jerry Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas in December and the ARS Hoopfest in Kentucky in early January.

Locally, Young will play in the Chicago Elite Classic, the Proviso West Holiday Tournament and O’Fallon Shootout while opening the season in the Jordan Brand’s Concord Invitational in Chicago.

The Dolphins will play Fort Bend Elkins out of Texas and face star Donovan Williams, a top 50 player in the country who has committed to Texas, in the Concord Invitational.

In a creative venue choice, the Jordan Brand event will be held this year at the XS Tennis Village on Chicago’s South Side.

Trio of top uncommitted city seniors

With Uplift star Markese Jacobs now off the board with his commitment to DePaul, there are very few top uncommitted players remaining in the senior class.

But a trio of Public League players are near the top, including Simeon’s Antonio Reeves and Young’s Myles Baker.

Reeves, a 6-5 wing who spent his freshman and sophomore years at Kenwood, transferred back to Chicago after spending his junior year at Arizona powerhouse Shadow Mountain. Reeves averaged 14 points a game for a state championship team last season and lists Western Michigan and Wisconsin-Milwaukee as the two schools who have shown the most interest.

Baker, a 6-2 guard and double-figure scorer last year for a Dolphins team that finished second in the state in Class 4A, says he’s in no rush.

“During the summer I wanted to commit and sign before the season started,” says Baker. “But I’ve decided I’m going to wait, take my time and play out my senior year.”

But the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s highest ranked uncommitted prospect remaining in the Chicago area is Orr’s Tujautae Williams. The athletic 6-5 senior has a surplus of offers and interest since shining in July and being named the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s biggest senior stock riser.

DePaul, SIUE, Texas Tech, Northwestern State, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Detroit, Buffalo and Utah State have all expressed either offers or interest, and he’s heard recently from Syracuse, Illinois State and Northern Kentucky.

Williams says he “plans to take an official visit to DePaul before the month is over.”

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

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