The inaugural Chicago Elite Classic brought some of the nation’s top talent and teams to Chicago last December. The 2013 version looks to be even bigger and better, and the Benet boys basketball team will be there.
Highlighting the event, which will be played Dec. 7 at the UIC Pavilion, is the special tandem of Whitney Young’s Jahlil Okafor and Curie’s Cliff Alexander.
Also, six Chicago-area teams — Young, Curie, Simeon, Marian Catholic, St. Rita and Benet — all figure to be among the top teams in the state this season. Normal U-High, a Class 3A threat, returns to the event as well.
Including Okafor and Alexander, arguably the top two prospects in the country in the Class of 2014, the event will showcase seven of the top 10 senior prospects in Illinois in Marian Catholic’s Tyler Ulis, Normal U-High’s Keita Bates-Diop, Whitney Young’s Paul White, St. Rita’s Vic Law and Benet’s Sean O’Mara.
Plus, the 2015 class will be well represented with the state’s top two prospects: St. Rita’s Charles Matthews and Simeon’s D.J. Williams.
“The contrast between last year and this year is this state’s talent level in the senior class,” said Young coach Tyrone Slaughter, the driving force behind the Chicago Elite Classic. “This group is pretty special, and we’ve been able to monopolize that individual talent by bringing in the very best.”
The mix of Illinois powers will be joined by elite national programs, including Bishop Gorman out of Las Vegas, California powers St. John Bosco and Etiwanda, Gonzaga in Washington, D.C., and Hamilton from Memphis.
Here is a brief rundown of the out-of-state powers headed to Chicago:
Stephen Zimmerman, a 7-foot junior ranked among the top five players in the country in the Class of 2015, returns for a Bishop Gorman team that finished 29-3 a year ago. Chase Jeter, a 6-9 forward and one of the top 40 prospects nationally in 2015, also returns.
Etiwanda in California finished 28-4 last season and boasts one of the premier point guards in the country in Jordan McLaughlin, who has Connecticut, Gonzaga, UCLA, Indiana and Kansas high on his list.
National power St. John Bosco in Bellflower, Calif., won 24 games last season and returns a pair of stars in senior Daniel Hamilton, a UConn commit, and junior combo guard Tyler Dorsey. The 6-6 Hamilton is one of the top 20 players nationally in the Class of 2014, while Dorsey already has offers from Duke, Louisville, Arizona and UCLA among others.
Gonzaga, a Washington, D.C. power, finished 26-5 last season and features high-major junior point guard prospect Bryant Crawford.
A pair of highly regarded brothers, 6-6 junior K.J. Lawson and 6-7 sophomore Dedric Lawson, lead Hamilton in Memphis. K.J. Lawson is among the top 30 players nationally in 2015, while Dedric Lawson is one of the elite sophomores in the country.