For the past 4 years, Whitney Young Head Basketball Coach, Ty Slaughter, and Simeon Head Coach, Robert Smith, have partnered to produce the Chicago Elite Classic. The Classic is a 2-day shootout that brings some of the best in-state and national high school prep stars and teams to Chicago to show off their skills. Current NBA ballers Jhalil Okafor (Philadelphia 76ers), Stanley Johnson (Detroit Pistons), and Jabari Parker (Milwaukee Bucks) all have laced up their Nikes and showcased their talent in the event. The tradition continued this year as 18 teams from all over the country, along with their fans, filled the UIC Pavilion with for the high profiled classic.
Among those taking the floor was, St. Louis’ Chaminade Prep star & Duke commit Jayson Tatum, who is widely regarded as the top player in his Senior class. Also on hand was GA’s Alterique Gilbert of Miller Grove, and Markelle Fultz of DeMatha Catholic in Maryland, all looking to show and prove.
Chicago wasn’t short on talent, as Zach Norvell of Simeon, Morgan Park’s Charlie Moore, and Xavier Castaneda from Whitney Young, all ranking amongst the top prospects in their respective classes, came ready to compete.
Coach Smith spoke extremely high of the teams in this year’s Classic saying, “this is the best field of teams we’ve had since the first year [of the event.]”
I watched every second of all 9 games, and here’s the names you’ll likely being hearing a lot about this season and in the future.
2015 All Classic Team
Chris Lykes – Gonzaga – A junior guard from Washington, DC who has an amazing handle on the ball and ability to find open teammates for the easy score. At just 5’8”, 155lbs, Lykes is a bit undersized, but uses his lightning quickness to get around defenders and can score with the best of them around the rim. He shoots the long ball really well, finishing with 18 points & 4 assists, to go with 2 steals and a block in a 14-point win over Riverside-Brookfield. A 4-star recruit ranked among the top 100 in his class, according to ESPN.com, that has received D1 offers from UMiami, George Washington, George Mason, and Richmond but has yet to make a verbal.
Christian Negron – Larkin – A 6’6 forward in the class of 2017, Christian is an all around player that can finish at the basket, as well as, step out and knock down the midrange jumper with ease, who also is an excellent defender. His 5 blocks and 3 steals, to go along with his 20 points and 13 boards helped Larkin come away with the W over East St. Louis, Saturday, in easily one of the best games of the Classic. Negron is regarded as a 4-star recruit who is exploring offers from Iowa, DePaul, Virginia Tech & Illinois.
Markelle Fultz – DeMatha Catholic – Fultz is a newly transitioned PG for the Stags, and is headed to Washington in the fall to play for Coach Romar. At 6’5”, 185lbs, he towers over the opposing guards and uses it to his advantage every opportunity he gets. Fultz is an extremely efficient player that plays under control and loves setting up his teammates for easy baskets. His 23 points on 7-10 shooting, to go with 6 assists and 2 steals, propelled DeMatha to a 65-57 win over high profiled St. Vincent-St. Mary that has won 2 of the last 6 Ohio state championships and is most known for current NBA Superstar LeBron James.
Alterique Gilbert – Miller Grove – Coming in as an ESPN Top 25 prospect in the class of 2016, Alterique showcased a little of everything, finishing with 32 points, 5 assists and 3 steals, against #2 class of 2016 prospect, Jayson Tatum, and Missouri’s Chaminade Prep. He defends the ball well, and has an explosive first step that makes it tough for defenders to stay in front of him. His quick release off the dribble allows him to get his shot off whenever he wants it, and he’s light on his feet which helps him sky over the opposition to finish at the rim and snatch rebounds. His outside shooting could use some work, but he’s headed to UConn next year that has produced shooters Ray Allen, Kemba Walker & Ben Gordon, so Coach Ollie will be sure to help get that together.
Jayson Tatum – Chaminade Prep – Had there been a most valuable player awarded at this year’s classic, Tatum would be the unanimous, undisputed pick. The 6’9” G/F is headed to Duke to play for Coach K next season, and rightfully so. After a slow start in the first half against Miller Grove, shooting just 2-7 from the floor, Tatum owned the second half, scoring 29 points, and snatching 7 boards to finish with 40 on 12-18 shooting, and 11 rebounds in the OT win. He has a nice touch shooting the ball from all over, and also displayed exceptional court vision, picking up 7 assists in the win. He was the primary ball handler for Chaminade, but will need to control the ball better going forward if he plans to thrive in that position at the next level.
Sleepers – Players who didn’t come in with a high profile, but stood out and increased their stock going forward.
Prentiss Hubb – Gonzaga HS (Washington, DC)
Jalen Clanton – Gonzaga HS (Washington, DC)
Jacob Keller – Fenwick HS (Chicago, IL)
Henry Baddley – St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, OH)
Reggie Crawford – Chaminade Prep (St. Louis, MO)
Nojel Eastern – Evanston Township (Chicago, IL)
DJ Harvey – DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, MD)
Colin Young – Miller Grove (Lithonia, GA)
Zach Norvell – Simeon (Chicago, IL)
Jamal Burton – Morgan Park (Chicago, IL)