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

Curie's Ramean Hinton (23) pushes off Simeon's Jaylen Granger (24), Saturday 12-29-18. Worsom Robinson/For Sun-Times
Ramean Hinton, Curie

There was a historic lack of movement after the holidays. This is usually a wild week with plenty of new teams added a lot of teams dumped. That was not the case. Geneva and York made big jumps but just one new team played its way into the Super 25.

New addition
Fremd: The Vikings had a terrific run at Wheeling this week. They knocked off Waukegan and Glenbrook South before losing a very close one to Geneva in the title game.

Dropping out
Ottawa: The Pirates lost to Peoria Notre Dame in the title game at Plano and fall out. That was Ottawa’s first loss of the season, so it could be back at some point.

The week ahead
-The holiday tournaments are not quite over. The Jack Tosh Holiday Tournament finishes up on Monday at York. The host Dukes face Downers Grove South, which has ripped off eight consecutive wins, in the title game at 3 p.m.

-A lot of the city’s top teams are out traveling this week. Curie plays in Kentucky, Young and Simeon are in Memphis. Uplift, Orr and Bogan in Detroit.

-The best local game this weekend is at Leo’s tiny gym. The Lions host Fenwick, which had a nice run at Proviso West. Everyone is talking about the Friars’ star sophomore Bryce Hopkins.

With record and last week’s ranking

1. Curie (14-0) 1
Dominated at Pontiac

2. Bogan (14-1) 3
Proviso West champs

3. Bloom (14-1) 2
Fell short vs. Curie

4. Marian Catholic (13-1) 9
Hinsdale Central champs

5. Morgan Park (10-3) 6
Big Dipper champs

6. Young (12-5) 4
Lost to Bogan

7. Evanston (15-3) 5
Lost to Alton

8. Geneva (13-0) 23
Won Wheeling

9. Simeon (6-7) 12
Jaylen Drane is fun

10. St. Viator (13-2) 7
Lost to Geneva

11. Homewood-Flossmoor (8-4) 13
Second at Hinsdale Central

12. DePaul Prep (11-3) 10
Lost to Marian Catholic

13. Leo (12-3) 11
Out-rebounded by Rashaun Agee

14. Bolingbrook (8-3) 15
Won and lost in Florida

15. York (13-1) 20
Playing for title Monday

16. Benet (12-3) 8
Up and down Pontiac

17. Oswego East (11-2) 14
Couldn’t handle H-F

18. Fremd (11-3) NR
Second at Wheeling

19. Uplift (8-4) 16
Lost to Leo

20. Lincoln Park (10-6) 18
Dangerous but inconsistent

21. St. Laurence (14-2) 17
Lost to York

22. New Trier (14-2) 19
Dominated by Curie

23. Providence-St. Mel (10-4) 21
Solid trip to Bloomington

24. Waukegan (12-3) 22
Lost to Fremd

25. Kenwood (11-4) 25
Second at Bloomington



  • reason

    Clyde lets get to brass tacks. CPS stands for Chicago Public Schools so Leo doesn’t count they are in the Catholic League they can recruit per say but have to pay tuition but thats OK Take Orr out of the equation and there has been a lack of state champions in 2A and when they don’t win they cry and take their ball and go home ie; Seton they would not even get there 2 nd place trophy which might still be in the basement at Carver arena. Again how far would 2A teams get if they only played there kids that live in the boundary not many . By the way how did Corliss do down south they are a CPS team got beat early its tough to win without a 7footer and a D-1 guard they need to recruit better.

    • 50year alum

      Its not just 2A schools the same can be said for 3&4A teams let’s see what kind of teams Simeon Morgan Park and Whitney Young have if they have to only recruit from their areas CPS stands for Corrupt Political System!

  • words of wisdom

    Pantherball…it appears you missed the main point, which is “don’t let the outcome define you, but be defined by what you put into the game.” Now marinate on that, while lyao!!!!

  • Clyde the Glide

    Lets get down to brass tacks and facts: I was being nice, but let me be straight: The CPS teams are the best, period. Wherever they go they make the tournament great. Small towns except Pontiac resent bringing them in and cry that Ohh, they don’t bring fans. Ohhh, they recruit. Well, its the same way at the state tournament. Regardless of fan base, CPS has the best teams. Just look at recent state championship history. If they come to your tournament they will win. If they don’t come, your tournament doesn’t have the competition to prepare them for state. ie; York and H.C. These are the teams (CPS) you will see at sectionals. Say what you will for whatever reason but CPS has the best teams, of which there are 5. Can a slow down type team like York upset someone? Maybe, but not likely. Can a Marian Catholic get downstate? Maybe but not likely. Can the 2A teams beat Leo? Maybe but not likely.

  • Truth

    Mike this theory that 3rd place games don’t matter need to change….( 1) the 3rd place game is usually pretty good between 2 pretty good teams. ( 2) Neither team wants to take 2 losses in a row… player, coach and school. These kids play hard to win that game and coaches give the same energy. Teams don’t care about 3rd in AAU tournaments but in H.S. that win or loss matters!

  • Just the facts

    I don’t necessarily have an issue with the rankings I have an issue with the rationale of the rankings. Using the exact same reasoning to keep Simeon in MOB should also have Lockport and St. Charles N in and high. Using the same exact rationale for Simeon being ranked over H-F Mike should have Glenbrook S over Evanston.

    Just seems he has his opinion then looks to support it with anything possible even if it contradicts why he does something else elsewhere. We’re always going to disagree on rankings, that’s why they’re published, but the explanation should be consistent.

    Simeon has the schedule to be ranked high, but not the results at this time.

  • Rick Cademartori

    @Michael O’Brien— I hope they pay you well—- You will have people disagreeing with you forever!

  • Rick Cademartori

    York has won all games except Stevenson—- They are good! Are they a top 10 team? Probably not—- They depend on 4 scores–Koesch—Walsh—Shockey—and Cohn…. it is a long season and they might wear down—until then – give them their due!

  • Metal Bleachers are Best

    Two observations:

    1. Oswego East has potential. Better rank them.
    2. Third place games are irrelevant. As MO states: Loser bracket games don’t matter. And that simply is what s third place game represents.

  • words of wisdom

    This list (aka ranking) is simply problematic due to the inconsistencies in the arguments made by it’s creator. Clearly, the jury is still in deliberation (York hasn’t won it’s own tourney yet, which is loaded with quality refs they selected). The fact that DGS is in the finals concerns me about the quality of that tournament, given the previous list provided.

    Mike, you mentioned consolation bracket games doesn’t matter…an argument can be made that the consolation final at Pontiac would have been the championship bracket at the Tosh.

    Who beat Benet in Pontiac (are any of those teams ranked)?, but York beat them (Benet). SOS (strength of schedule) is a laughable algorithm for you (I emphasize you) to use, because if you can’t beat a good team…that may indicate you’re really not a good team and one would have to argue: if the good teams you’ve played closely, actually played poorly when you played them then…hmmm.

    I have seen 90% of the teams in this current list of teams playing in the Chicagoland area and about 10 teams not listed. From my objective perspective, no one on this list has earned their ranking…it has been given. Hopefully, once the meal is finally done…the cream will have risen. However, (keep in mind) just like these Holiday tournaments (meals)…not all meals will be made using the same ingredients.

    A word from the wise to those teams on and off this list, play the teams on your schedule, give it your all and either you will score more or fewer points than your opponents. If your opponent scores more…it does not necessarily mean they’re better than you (they simply scored more points than you on that particular day, in that particular setting, with those particular refs, with those particular players, and I can exhaust the list of particulars if necessary), but I respect your mind to believe you get the point.

    Keep grinding young hard working men!!!! Disregard any and all biased evaluations of your attributes; and perform your own self-assessments, ask objective and knowledgeable observers for their perspectives, and then make the necessary changes which will enable you and your team to succeed at doing your best work on and off the court.

    • Norm

      I would say the top 3 teams for sure and probably a few others have earned their ranking. Many others were definitely given. When everyone else is basically equal, as teams 4 -25 are, those spots tend to be given

      • words of wisdom

        Norm, I agree the top 3 teams look like they’ve earned their spots on the list given their win-loss records. Mathematically, they’ve scored more points than their opponents.

        However, what is done with their opponents who takes them to the wire and/or loses to them in overtime and are not even mentioned. This reality should cause a reasonable person to question (just how good is that team on the list) or how good is the team that took them to the wire and/or overtime and then lost to that highly touted team or by 20+ to an unlisted team.

        The outcomes of a game does not lend itself as an exact science, so one must realistically and honestly consider all the data available to provide a supporting argument.

        I don’t think anyone on this site is attempting to devalue Mike O. work. Nevertheless, he needs to be genuine and honest in his assessments in order for his opinion to gain credibility. Up to this point, I find his listings (because I know how to put things into rank order) to carry the same validity of putting all the names in a hat (some names more than others) and then pulling 25 names and placing them in an order from 1-25 (this methodology has too many logic errors to mention outside a dissertation defense).

        Mike, I welcome your defense to my assertion. However, make sure you come with your “A” game, because if you don’t…the playing field will not even come close to leveled. I am confident my “A” game would not be challenged by your less than “A” game.

        Let the record reflect RB annihilated Kenwood with a running clock, Simeon barely beat Lockport despite four extra minutes, Lincoln Park beat Young, Fenwick came to within 8 of beating Young, York beat Benet in overtime; but OPRF beat Benet by 10, RB beat LT by 20 and then lost to them at the Tosh. New Trier barely beat Plainfield North, lost to Curie, and then beat two exhausted teams: SCN (barely lost to Simeon) and OPRF (came close to beating Bloom despite the final score), and I have many more examples to support my argument, but I think those are enough to prove my point.

        Mike, keep in mind these athletes you rank are reading your rankings, if for no other reason be authentic and don’t devalue their efforts. Illinois athletes in all sports are competitive, entertaining, and passionate about what they do and I honor them for that reason!!!!

        • TommyD

          Too many words of wisdom,

          You have an amazing grasp of the obvious.
          You are really full of yourself too…

          • Pantherbball

            words of wisdom,

            “A word from the wise to those teams on and off this list, play the teams on your schedule, give it your all and either you will score more or fewer points than your opponents.”

            Brilliant!!! Thanks so much for this! lmao!

          • words of wisdom

            Tommy D, your comments about me (a person whom I am sure you don’t know) are nevertheless reasonably accurate…I have a grasp on reality, an uncanny ability to analyze information given to me, and a great degree of earned self-confidence. I appreciate you sharing your observations.

  • Brian Shaw

    What about fenwick?

  • JJ

    All three of Waukegan’s losses are against ranked opponents. St Viator-Waukegan should be a great game!

  • Chester Pryszcz

    These are just Mike’s rankings. He is not perfect. He travels throughout the whole area to see teams in person. He is more accurate than Maxpreps when it comes to the rankings. Is he going to miss a thing or two? Of course. But Mike has seen many of these teams in person. We should be thankful there is someone who works hard and covers the Chicago area better than anyone. Come March, the rankings will play themselves out.

    • Leegs1

      Max prep does not rank the Chicagoland area. It ranks the state. It tells you scores of previous games, upcoming games, and records of out of state opponents. Mikey needs a raise, especially this time of season. I always look forward to his basketball reporting. Plus, he’s a Joliet boy!

    • Tim

      Good points Chester.

      Mike does a great job

    • Downstate Nate

      I couldn’t agree more. Mike does a great job and provides tons of information. Getting to all of these games almost everyday and then trying to analyze hundreds of teams across the constantly changing landscape is very tough.

    • Scott

      Exactly, anyone who is complaining about the rankings get a life.


    Yes, NT lost to Curie by 20, but they played horrible. To rank Fremd at 11-3 ahead of a 14-2 NT team is laughable. Fremd has lost to Lake Forest Academy, Mundelein and Geneva. NT lost to #1 Curie and #20 LP by 1 in championship of a TGiving Tourney.

  • Greg

    A 6-7 team in top 25 r u kidding me Mr. O’Briien.

    • Steve Gregor

      Greg, are you just looking at their 6-7 record, or do you pay any attention to strength of schedule? Simeon lost close games to #2 Bogan and #1 Curie (twice) in state, and lost 4 times to top national competition. Key injuries (playing numerous games without Ahmad Bynum, one of the top players in the state) doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of a high ranking! How many teams in the current top 25 have you seen play? Also, did you watch any games at Pontiac? This was the most competitive in state holiday tournament, featuring 5 top 25 teams in the state), and Simeon proved their current ranking with a 3rd place finish. There is no debate if you only care about W/L record and not strength of schedule, so check back in March when it really matters. The Red South-Central is the toughest conference in the state by far, and any team ranked below Simeon currently would be lucky to be above 500 if they played in that conference. I’m with Mike on this one!

      • brad

        You can’t talk strength of schedule without acknowledging that Simeon barely beat two unranked teams- Lockport and St. Charles North- who are both really just average. And you can’t evaluate a team based on injured players. Who’s to say those injured players will return, and if they do will be at their best? I agree Simeon is a top 25 team. But disagree that they earned a bump into the top 10.

        • Michael O'Brien

          Simeon hasn’t lost to any team ranked below them (or anyone else in the state), has beaten H-F and has close loses to the No. 1 team and the No. 2 team (on the road).

          • West sub fan

            They also pool from the entire city.
            Transfers etc
            Let’s not pretend the playing field is level!

          • Leegs1

            Has Bolingbrook been beaten by anyone in the state? Has anyone beaten Springfield Southeast? Was anyone dropped twelve spots for losing two game in the Xmas tourneys? Oh, I forgot. Consolation games don’t count. Your effort is appreciated. So is the student athlete’s effort in a “meaningless” consolation game.

      • JB

        They barely beat St. Charles North. They are not a top 10 in the state as of today.

        • Michael O'Brien

          Bloom “barely beat” Thornwood. Should they not be top ten? Simeon is clearly a top ten team, probably top five.

          • Flick

            I always thought that rankings were based on results NOT potential. Simeon may be the greatest high school basketball team of all time but they’ve lost 7 of 13 games. They ARE a very young team but loses are loses. My only complaint with your ranking system is how far a team drops or rises based on one game (except for Simeon). Seems a little over zealous.

  • The Watchman

    You’ve got teams ranked below other teams they’ve beaten. This list makes no sense

  • Leegs1

    Rockford East is 14-1, losing only to Springfield Southeast, who has one loss, to Bolingbrook. Are they too far from Chicago to be ranked; 86 miles v. 83 for Ottawa? Thanks for your effort.

    • Michael O'Brien

      Distance is not how the Sun-Times’ coverage area is determined. It is newspaper circulation area. Ottawa is in, Rockford is out. These decisions were made long before I was around. I think everything is up for discussion with the internet these days though.

  • CCL Fan

    Rita beat LP pretty solidly.

    • Michael O'Brien

      That was a losers bracket game, which I don’t really care about.

      • NTFAN

        Losers bracket games matter… sorry, this is High School basketball, every game matters. A team playing at the Pontiac tournament sure as heck thinks a losers bracket game matter. You could play multiple ranked teams in the losers bracket of that tourney.

  • Norm

    Curie, Bogan and Bloom deserve the top 3. After that it’s a toss up. There isn’t much difference between the other 20 teams.

    • Michael O'Brien

      That seems to be true. I was hoping a few teams would establish themselves in a second tier but that just didn’t happen.

  • Truth

    Who has York beaten? Who has Bolingbrook beaten? Didn’t #6 Evanston lose to an unranked team? No one cares that Morgan Park won the worst Holiday Tournament. DePaul beat Leo Oswego East beat DePaul…Based off a teams win/loss resume these rankings don’t make since.

    • Michael O'Brien

      York has beaten Benet, St. Laurence, Willowbrook, Downers North and Lyons. Bolingbrook has beaten Springfield Southeast…I’m not going to bother addressing your other concerns since you don’t seem to be paying much attention. Other than the fact that OE beating DePaul in a losers bracket game doesn’t matter to me.

  • Truth

    Oswego east beat DePaul prep…DePaul prep beat Leo….Why isn’t Oswego east ranked ahead of Both? Also how could York jump ahead of them when they haven’t played a team worth mentioning?

  • Juswatchin

    Mike these rankings are bogus…..2 loss week and you should drop…DePaul prep lost to Marian Catholic and Oswego East. How could they be ranked higher?

    • HC observer

      Lost to MC on last second play and lost to OE in double OT without one of best players and starting 3 sophs. Maybe OE isn’t as good as people think.

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