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

New Trier's Noah Osher (2) celebrates after dropping in a three pointer, Friday 01-11-19. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.
New Trier's Noah Osher (2) celebrates after dropping in a three pointer, Friday 01-11-19. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.
Jan. 20 4:58 p.m.

The switch to a super conference format has definitely impacted the amount of Public League teams in the Super 25. The city is clearly significantly stronger than the suburbs this season, but the non-elite teams just keep beating up on one another.

It’s likely that Farragut (11-6), Uplift (10-7), Lane (13-7), North Lawndale (11-8), Corliss (9-5) and Kenwood (11-9) would all have much better records in the old four-division format. Those five teams are a combined 43-17 against non-super conference opponents and 22-28 against super conference teams.

The Admirals are 7-0 against non-super conference teams and have had a very impressive January with wins against Thornwood, Marshall, Uplift and Prosser. William Nelson’s team has even played well in its two losses this month, a three-point defeat to Bogan on Jan. 12 a four-point loss to Lincoln Park on Friday.

The Public League regular season wraps up this week and the city tournament is expected to start on Feb. 6

Super 25 additions

Notre Dame: The Dons had several good excuses for the early season struggles. Their star players are very young and the quick switch from football impacted key players. They’ve knocked off St. Viator and Loyola in January. Monday’s game at Waukegan will prove if the rebound is for real.

West Aurora: Brian Johnson’s squad has been consistently good all season but still lacks a big win. All three losses are to quality teams (Oswego East, Bloom, Oak Park). The Blackhawks have a strong backcourt with Marquise Walker and Traevon Brown and have won nine consecutive games.

Lindblom: It isn’t easy to crack the Super 25 when you play in the White Division, but the Eagles have won 15 consecutive games. Their last loss was at Marian Catholic, 63-56 on Nov. 30. They’ve won at Kankakee and Dunbar.

Dropping out

Simeon: Robert Smith still isn’t back coaching and sophomore Ahamad Bynum is out with an injury again. The Wolverines stuck in the rankings for two months despite a lousy record but Thursday’s loss at Corliss has knocked them out.

Loyola: It was a brief stay for the Ramblers, who lost to Notre Dame and St. Viator last week.

Aurora Christian: Everyone is still raving about Will Wolfe, but the Eagles fall after losing to St. Francis.

The week ahead

-Morgan Park has a busy week. The Mustangs play Bolingbrook at Fenwick on Monday in what should be a fantastic, fast-paced game. Then they host Harlan on Tuesday and travel to Simeon for the Battle of Vincennes on Thursday. That isn’t all. Morgan Park will wrap up its regular season against a feisty young Zion-Benton squad at Orr on Saturday.

-There are three excellent shootouts on Saturday. The When Sides Collide event at Glenbard East features five games, headlined by a Simeon vs. Bolingbrook showdown. The Batavia Night of Hoops has four good games and Orr will host a massive 11-game event with some of the best teams from the city and suburbs.

Michael O’Brien’s Super 25 basketball rankings
With record and last week’s ranking

1. Curie (21-1) 1
Balanced, consistent

2. Bogan (19-2) 2
Beat Kenwood

3. Bloom (18-1) 3
At Kankakee Friday

4. Morgan Park (18-3) 4
Battle of Vincennes Thursday

5. Young (17-6) 5
Survived at Uplift

6. Bolingbrook (14-3) 11
Faces Morgan Park Monday

7. Evanston (18-4) 6
Lost to Bolingbrook

8. Marian Catholic (18-3) 7
Ahron Ulis is clutch

9. Homewood-Flossmoor (13-5) 9
Lost to Bolingbrook

10. New Trier (18-3) 14
Beat DePaul Prep

11. Benet (16-3) 12
Handled Lake park

12. Lincoln Park (14-6) 13
Survived at Farragut

13. St. Laurence (19-3) 24
Won at DePaul Prep

14. Orr (15-7) 16
Putting on a show

15. DePaul Prep (13-6) 10
Rough week

16. Geneva (18-1) 17
Recovered nicely

17. York (18-2) 18
Three-win week

18. Leo (14-5) 19
Righted the ship

19. Stevenson (14-3) 21
Beat Warren

20. Waukegan (16-4) 23
Survived at Zion-Benton

21. Providence-St. Mel (16-5) 15
Lost to Mount Carmel

22. Notre Dame (13-7) NR
Rounding into shape

23. Oak Park (12-7) 22
Lost to Hillcrest

24. West Aurora (18-3) NR
Nine consecutive wins

25. Lindblom (18-2) NR
Fifteen consecutive wins

49 comments

  • Shogun29ppg

    it is what it is, the quality of play at the high school level has dipped tremendously, no one or no team to really get excited about. Also, quit wining about people putting down high school kids. I see nothing wrong with it, it comes with the territory. If you don’t want to be criticized don’t play, simple as that.

  • jgm

    It’s called parody boys. There are many good teams capable of knocking off anyone on any given night. Yes, some teams play in weak conferences and load up on wins. Others in competitive conferences and trade wins and losses. That is why we have the state tournament. As usual, south/south suburbs brutal sectional whereas most others pretty weak. The cream will rise. Take care

  • Coach Mike

    Rockford East beats Benet and York today to win WWS MLK. The 20-2 E-RABS, sport loses to Springfield SouthEast, and a top ranked IA team. Path to NIU looks promising, with Geneva or a rematch vs. Benet looming there.

    • Illinois high school hoop fan

      There are some potential darkhorses in that Bartlett sectional….Downers Grove South, Glenbard West, Wheaton Warrenville South to name a few. Lots of basketball season left before the tournament as well.

      • Coach Mike

        I will be pulling for those “dark horses”, as I like the E-RABS chances against those Dark Horses. Step one, get out of the Rockford East Regional.

  • George Chiropolos

    Saw Simeon tonight. They can play. Hurts to see Fenwick get beat but considering they were down 22 3 they played well the rest of the way. First game was schoolyard basketball could have gone either way. Hats off to Morgan Park and a shout to Bolingbrook. Tomorrow the season starts over again for everyone. Thank you

  • wscfantoo

    Here’s a fun trip down memory lane:
    https://www.basketball-reference.com/awards/mcdonalds.html

    Search using “(space), IL” and you should find 65 IL McD A-A players.

    Would like to know how many of these players are coming from basketball ‘prep’ schools

  • Brandt McCutcheon

    God bless Michael O’Brien for even bothering to respond to these comments. I couldn’t do it. That said, WHY IS YORK RATED BELOW BENET THEY BEAT BENET IT’S POLITICAL. YOU HATE THE IDEA OF DUKES. Just kidding.

  • chris

    Winning a conference is the most demanding and most difficult. Your team has to show up for every conference game. Teams the are leading the most competitive Chicago area conferences should definitely be recognized in the top 25.
    The Catholic White and Catholic Blue conferences are two of the top ones in Chicago.
    St. Rita with record of 15-6 overall and Catholic-White record of 8-1 which i better than Leo and PSM deserves to be in top 25 at this time.

    Oswego East also gets in top 25 14-4 and 4-0

    If West Aurora keeps winning they will keep rising in top 25.

    Special shout out and recognition to small 2A school Chicago Latin with overall record of 14-1 and 6-0 in the Independent School league. Although not a top 25 team, Chicago Latin having an excellent year and are wining ISL by 2 game lead.

  • Greg

    Rankings strictly sports politics don’t sweat it we no it’s biased always had been let’s just wait for March Hyde Park play Bogan tomorrowone of their former bigs is a star there it’s a wrap

  • Leegs1

    Again, West Aurora beat Danville, who has only two losses. I guess, since it was a consolation game, it doesn’t count as a quality win. Sorry Norm: it’s simple. If you don’t like the comments, don’t read them. And Norm: don’t take it to heart. I think many value your comments.

  • Just the facts

    Why do people get mad about people commenting on rankings when the very article has a comment section? The rankings are here to draw interest and discussion.

    That said, I looked at the schedules of some of those CPS schools MOB is apologizing for and they’re just not impressive. Those schools would have average records no matter where they played. I mean North Lawndale lost to Rock Island and Carmel. Simeon lost to a bunch of schools, went to OT with Lockport, and beat St. Charles N by 4. Kenwood got blown out by Riverside-Brookfield, lost to Waukegan, lost to Rock Island, lost to Kankakee, barely beat Wheaton North. Corliss lost to Effingham.

    I know you need these teams to be great to hype up the teams you want to hype up, but they’re just not. Now, Curie, Morgan Park, Young, and Bogan are legitimately really good, but not because they beat those other teams. Sure Simeon may beat a good team every now and then this season, but so did Downers North.

    As for Bolingbrook. I didn’t see the Evanston game, but watched the Homewood game on TV. They’ve definitely improved from what I saw early in the season. Should be a good one on the UToo, I’ve DVR’d it and will watch after work.

    • Michael O'Brien

      To address each point:

      “North Lawndale lost to Rock Island and Carmel” – Yes, they did. Carmel is 15-8 and Rock Island is 13-6. Those are bad losses? The Carmel loss was less than a month after their coach suddenly died, something they have been battling through all season.

      “Simeon lost to a bunch of schools” – I don’t mention Simeon in this part of the story.

      “Kenwood got blown out by R-B, lost to Waukegan, lost to Rock Island, lost to Kankakee, barely beat Wheaton North – R-B has been ranked this season and is 16-4. Waukegan is currently ranked and 16-4. Already mentioned Rock Island. Kankakee is 12-5 and one of the better Class 3A teams. Wheaton North is 12-7, has a pretty great player and took Geneva to OT on the road. The Broncos have piled up the losses for sure, but none of those teams are bad and it doesn’t say anything about the point of the story, which is how these teams would have much better records if they were playing in the old format.

      “Corliss lost to Effingham” -This is the only decent point you’ve made. Although it was at Effingham and Corliss has a lot of losses that aren’t great. They clearly took awhile to come together. Again though, doesn’t have much to do with how Corliss would fare in home conference games against White Division teams, which is the point I’m making.

      • Just the facts

        I included Simeon because you apologized for them in the article with the coaching and injury issues and not just admitting that they’re simply not a great team.

        As for all the other FACTS I mentioned, they may or may not be bad losses, but one thing is for sure they aren’t impressive losses. I could have also explained that there weren’t really impressive wins either. You contrasted those schools against the burbs and I remain unconvinced.

        I could make excuses for every loss in the world for the teams I like, but there’s no need to. Still, I appreciate what you do and the rankings invite criticism and confirmation and discussion.

        • Michael O'Brien

          There isn’t a great team. This isn’t a list of great teams, it is me trying to cobble together a Super 25 and make distinctions between a large group of average teams. As for Public League vs. Suburbs, that isn’t even close and hasn’t been for about a decade or longer. There is a select handful of suburban/Catholic league teams able to compete against the elite Public League teams and that is it.

          • Just the facts

            Simeon is slightly better than St. Charles N. Based on that alone your whole argument falls apart since you thought Simeon was top 10 material.

          • Michael O'Brien

            I don’t think St. Charles North is a bad team. Have you seen them play? I just recorded a podcast where I singled them out as a team to watch over the next month. They are up and down, sure, but who isn’t?

            Do you really think the Public League isn’t a step above everyone else? Go take a look at the state tournament and holiday tournament winners for the last decade. It’s a fact, whether you like it or not.

          • Just the facts

            Yes. I did see St. Charles N and Lockport. They looked like the St.Charles N and Lockport I expected to see. You likely did your podcast with the fact that SCN played Simeon tight still in your mind. The rest of their results (outside of beating Danville who also has some questionable wins) say not a team to look out for. Which of their numerous losses impressed you?

          • Leegs1

            Why the dominance of the public league? I’d like to hear your take on it.

      • Leegs1

        As long as you’re answering questions, I’ll ask one again. Did Morgan Park split at Baltimore? If so, to whom did they lose and the score? I’ll never accept your reasoning on not being concerned with the results of consolation games between two good teams. I believe they play just as hard in those games. Appreciate your effort and your responses to our comments.

        • Michael O'Brien

          Morgan Park did not split in Baltimore. I wrote that the Red-South/Central split. Simeon lost, MP won.

  • Chance The Fapper

    Getting my popcorn ready for that Public Tourney. Time to see who achieves there ‘Hoop Dreams!’

  • Ron

    Mike that Farragut @ Crane game is this week. You should check it out…

  • Bill Arndt

    So many seem to be complaining about your ratings. This is one person’s ratings. He covers a lot of games with many different schools – so, his is an informed opinion. Nonetheless, it’s probably biased someway. Used to be these rankings were based upon opinions of a number of coaches or sportswriters. But no more. It’s just one guy’s opinion. He’s entitled, just like each of you. In the end, does it really mean anything?

  • chris

    with 7 losses for Notre Dame and Oak Park, How is that top 25 caliber at this time. Both teams are on the verge.
    Waubonsie Valley with record of 17-2 deserves to be in top 25 at this time ahead of these 2 teams and also St. Viator at 16-4 and St. Rita at 15-6 and 8-1 in Catholic White conference. Oswego East at 14-4 also ahead of these 2 teams. Thornwood on the verge at 12-6 , 5-0 ….. lots of great teams all over the Chicago area and they all have not reached their full potential yet. We are all works in process! Keep playing , its only January.

    Mt Carmel on the verge at 14-6 , Glenbrook South on the verge at 15-5, Corliss on the verge at 9-5 with big win over Simeon (they will be back), Hillcrest coming up at 13-7 , 8-0,

    • Smokey joe

      ST RITA SHOULD BE
      IN TOP 20 LOST
      TOUGH GAMES AT
      HINSDALE SHOULD
      OF WON COULD OF
      BEEN 17_4
      DUDE YOU RATE
      THESE TEAMS LOOK
      AT THE SCHEDULING
      NOT POLITICS
      ST RITA HAS A FORMER COLLEGE
      COACH

  • Bob

    Again don’t understand what your problem with St. Rita is but a 15-6 record beating some good teams (Lincoln Park, who is ranked 12???) blows my mind that you give them any respect.

    • Paul

      Rita? You mean the team St Laurence defeated by double digits. Nice players but a lousy coach.

    • Michael O'Brien

      St. Rita was ranked in the preseason and at least once or twice since. The notion that I don’t give them “respect” is ludicrous. You could argue I gave them too much respect in the preseason. The win against Lincoln Park was in a consolation game, which I don’t care about. The Mustangs needed OT to beat Marist and DLS this week. They need to string together some good wins to get back in the rankings.

  • Marcus Thigpen

    Oak park lost a game they were up 20 in 2nd half to hilcrest yesterday. I think that kind of choke deserves a drop.

    • fan of the game

      Marcus…you’re correct, OPRF was ahead of Hillcrest by 20+. What I will add is…if the refs continued officiating the game correctly (no thanks to the head coach of OPRF for ranting at the refs and his own players throughout the entire game, although they were leading almost the entire game) OPRF probably would have won by 30+.

      It was clear along with the technical the official eventually called against the coach, the entire officiating team decided to punish his players, as well. Some obvious examples were: 1) a 10 second call was made by one of the refs although the game clock reflected 5 ticks off the clock, 2) almost every contested and even some uncontested shots were called fouls for Hillcrest and the same game was not called at the other end of the court, and 3) it appeared the defensive holds by HIllcrest as OPRF was bringing the ball up were simply good defense, for which I’m okay with if that’s the way the refs are going to call the game for both teams.

      IMO the refs took their anger and frustration with the OPRF coach out on his players. I guess that was the equivalence of going home from work and taking your frustration out on the dog …Huskies in this case). The end of the game somewhat solidifies the entire point…10 seconds left after a basket by OPRF and Hillcrest kicked the ball around in the outbound and refused to throw it in and the refs simply trotted off the court with whistles in their hand.

      With all that said, I thought the refs tolerated the OPRF coach’s ranting much longer than most normal refs would’ve…but punishing the players is not a plausible solution. If anyone choked in that game it would be the officials and the OPRF head coach.

      Congrats to Hillcrest Hawks for eyeing and capitalizing on the benefits they were granted by the zebras.

      • wscfantoo

        OPRF coach is awful. No one does less with more. You can tell when he’s given up because he stops ripping the refs and starts to rip his players. If refs would T him up earlier maybe he’d change his style. The coach he replaced must have been hurting puppies or something to still be employed.

  • Hollywood

    What about st Rita .I’m just saying !!!

    • The Real Norm

      Rita beat joes by 15 last week according to maxpreps. According to Suntimes- HF beat joes by 33 last night. According to Norm, HF is lousy. So I guess that makes Rita something worse than lousy. Hey Norm, when you complete your first season coaching hs basketball at one of these schools that coaches the kids that show up and don’t recruit, and get your first win let us know. Then we’ll talk. Until then, just enjoy the games and stop trying to bully the kids on this page.

  • Norm

    After the top 7 teams everything really drops off. If HF can stay 9 after being destroyed at home it tells you how bad this area is. There just aren’t many good teams. An average Loyola killed MC who is at 8. MC has no business at 8 except in an area with no good teams. It’s tough to drop WY but they aren’t that good either. Barely winning games against average teams. Not Mike’s fault in the rankings. Tough to rank lousy teams

    • GSME

      No conflict with you but you don’t rank Teams based on what you don’t have, you rank them based on what you do have. The fault with Mike is his criteria is not the same across the board. If he’s in love with a Team, it takes an act of God to move them out of the Top 25. He can justify whatever h wants because he’s that Guy.

    • Norms Conscience

      Good job norm. Ripping on how bad the kids in this area are at basketball- as always. Maybe you should start following IMG or oak hill. These are neighborhood schools with decent players. Sometimes teams have off nights. Once in a while, things don’t click and a team gets blown out. Bolingbrook played a great game and HF had a rough night from what I saw. Have you even seen Marian Catholic play? You obviously know nothing about how high school basketball works and how hard it is to get young kids to play hard and together every night. I’m so tired of listening to you talk like you’re an expert on everything high school basketball. You’re a fan, and an uninformed one at that. Stick to enjoying the games of your choice and annoying everyone around you in the stands with your stupid commentary. You’re truly what’s killing the game these days and you really should stop making comments on here. It’s embarrassing. A real bully. I feel sorry for your kids if you have any.

      • Norm

        I don’t bully kids. I’m commenting on the quality of play compared to how it used to be. I’ve never mentioned one kids name and never will. Sorry criticism isn’t allowed anymore. Give everyone a participation trophy. And by the way I don’t bully other people’s comments

        • NORM S.

          Calling a team lousy insinuates the players and coaches are bad- which isn’t always the case. I agree with you 100%- everyone does not deserve a trophy and there is way too much of that going on these days. But these kids read this stuff and they aren’t getting paid or nothing they just trying to show up and work hard every day. Coaches too. Give them a break if they have a bad game it doesn’t mean they’re lousy. HF and Marian catholic are long standing honest solid programs that you’re calling lousy. These teams do things correctly every year. They may not be top 10 or 20 every year but they coach the kids they get unlike a lot of other top programs in this state. If you understand high school basketball you appreciate that. But you don’t, so you side with the bolingbrooks and Orr’s of the world. Babe a nice night.

          • Norm

            You are probably correct in your view. I apologize if I truly have hurt any kids. Never meant for that to be the case

          • Sorry Norm

            I guess you’re not a bully maybe a bad assessment on my part. Everyone has lost they mind on high school basketball. People just criticize constantly without any regard for the time and effort these players and coaches put in and the effect all this chatter may have on them personally- regardless of how good or bad they are. The top teams are the top teams bc they have amassed the best talent whether that be through transfer or a great group that has come up through their program. If they do it right- all respect. But it’s about the kid learning life lessons through the experience not what Mike ranks them at as a team. The only ranking that matters is who wins the last game of the season. I don’t like this whole comment forum anyways it’s a trap and a place to come and be selfish.

        • wscfantoo

          How it used to be? The quality of players overall is light years ahead of what it was 30 years ago. Watch a quality school’s freshman team and it’s better than most varsity basketball teams in the 80’s. And don’t come back with the Westinghouse’s, Simeon’s and Proviso’s of the world–overall it’s better today.

          I think the basketball IQ might be lower (overall), we don’t celebrate fundamentals, and certainly so many new high schools (charter or otherwise) really dilutes the tournaments 3A and lower.

          • Norm

            How many McDonalds all-Americans are there in the area? None. How many high major d1’s? Not many. That’s all I’m trying to say. Sorry for offending anyone

          • Michael O'Brien

            Norm, you are totally correct. The area is very, very down. The high-level individual talent doesn’t exist for the most part and even the teams aren’t at the level we are accustomed to. No need to sugar coat it. Next year isn’t looking much better.

  • GSME

    MO you’re out of your mind! You keep in Teams like St. Mel, Oak Park, Leo and DePaul Prep and justify their loses but a Team like St. Viator that was a Top 10 and lost 2 games due to injury of a Top Player fall completely out? And then, they show they needed time to make adjustment and win 2 tough games this week and are still out. Again, out of your mind…

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