||More Sports||Sign up||School Finder|
Jahlil Okafor of Young soars in for a dunk at the UIC Pavilion against Dematha. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media
How talented is the 2013 Sun-Times All-Public League team? Three members of the first team, Simeon’s Kendrick Nunn and Jabari Parker, and Morgan Park’s Billy Garrett Jr. have already had their numbers retired at their respective schools.
Simeon, Morgan Park and Young have claimed seven of the top 10 slots on this year’s squad and amassed 10 selections in all. Simeon leads the way with four, while Morgan Park and Young have three apiece.
Parker has signed with Duke and Nunn is taking his high-flying act to Illinois. The duo has won three state championships and a city title so far.
Simeon teammates Jaylon Tate (second team), also an Illinois recruit, and Dayton recruit Kendall Pollard (third team) are also on the list.
Chicago has never been known as a haven for big men, but that could be changing with Young’s 6-10 Jahlil Okafor and Curie’s 6-9 Cliff Alexander. Scout.com rates Okafor the top player nationally in the Class of 2014 and Alexander fifth.
Young coach Tyrone Slaughter believes Okafor stands for all that is good in the Public League.
“You can’t disregard his 24 points per game and 12 rebounds, but that doesn’t scratch the surface of who he is,” Slaughter said. “He represents the city of Chicago, Whitney Young and the Chicago Public League. He is a great student as well as a player with enormous skills. He is as good as it gets on and off the court, basketball just brings the notoriety.”
Alexander is in the same echelon as Okafor.
“He was just so dominant on the defensive side that he took offense for granted,” Curie coach Mike Oliver said of Alexander. “Now he is a force on both ends with more to come.”
Rounding out the first team is Garret Jr., who is known as “Little Bill,” even though he clocks in at 6-4. Son of DePaul assistant coach Billy Garrett, the Mustangs guard has proven to be as tough as they come; another coach on the floor who can play three positions.
‘[Garrett Jr.] came in at 5-10 and he’s leaving at 6-4,” Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin said. “He is just touching the surface of where he is going to be. I look for big things for him down the road. He is a great kid, fierce competitor and [is] very coachable.”
Leading the second team is Orr’s Jamal McDowell, a rare two-sport All-Public League player, having achieved the accolade as a safety in football. He is leaning toward playing football in college, but is leaving his options open. Morgan Park guard Kyle Davis (second team) is set to bring his skills to Dayton.
Chicago State has made an offer to Power House’s Elliott Cole (fourth team), and may have the last laugh if the high-scoring point guard commits. The lightning-quick Cole leads the Public League in scoring with a 32 points per game average.