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Simeon's Jabari Parker slides past Curie's Cliff Alexander to roll-in a shot. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media
This week’s Argo Sectional has the potential to be remembered for years. Simeon senior Jabari Parker, Young junior Jahlil Okafor and Curie junior Cliff Alexander are the state’s three elite NBA prospects.
Okafor and Alexander will face off on Wednesday and the winner could face Parker and Simeon, provided the Wolverines (23-5) can handle upstart DuSable on Tuesday.
“Cliff and I are pretty close,” Okafor said. “People are always comparing us to each other, but that’s not something we really get involved with.”
The comparisons are inevitable and aren’t about to stop. Okafor is the top-ranked player in the national class of 2014 and Alexander is No. 5.
Young’s supporting cast is extremely well known. Paul White and L.J. Peak are experienced future Division I players and shooting guard Miles Reynolds has come into his own as a clutch scorer this season.
Curie’s backcourt of Demarcus Richardson and Marcellis Davis has improved throughout the year. Richardson is a capable playmaker and Davis is a dangerous shooter.
Brothers Josh and Joseph Stamps are both capable of scoring in bunches and the Condors (19-7) will need every bit of their firepower against the Dolphins (26-3).
“When the season first started we didn’t have [Joseph] Stamps and now we have him and he came up big for us [in the regional final against Bogan],” Alexander said. “[The matchup against Okafor] is going to have to be a team thing.”
Alexander had Okafor on his mind right after the win over Bogan Friday.
“I’m looking forward to it, I can’t wait,” Alexander said.
Stagg knocked off Sandburg on Friday to win its first regional in 17 years. Max Strus, Kevin White and Sean Dwyer are all playing well, but it’s hard to see the Chargers (20-8) being able to handle the speed and depth of Bloom (25-3).
Marian Catholic junior Tyler Ulis has done just about everything this year and he’s already led the Spartans over Joliet West and Bloom. Can he do it again? Marian Catholic (27-3) beat Joliet West (19-7) by five in early December and beat Bloom by three in late December.
Benet is one of four East Suburban Catholic teams to advance to Class 4A sectional semifinals. The Redwings (26-5) are favored to knock off Neuqua Valley (28-2) in the semifinals and match up against the winner of West Aurora (22-6) and Oswego (28-2) in the final. Either team would provide a stiff challenge. Blackhawks forward Josh McAuley is one of the area’s top shot blockers and could give Benet big man Sean O’Mara some trouble. Oswego’s guard tandem of Elliott McGaughy and Miles Simelton is a load for any team to handle, they have proven to be as talented as Simeon’s Jaylon Tate and Kendrick Nunn and Morgan Park’s Billy Garrett Jr. and Kyle Davis.
At Glenbrook North
Maine South and Niles North went to double-overtime just two weeks ago in the Central Suburban League title game. The Hawks (28-3) had the home court advantage in that one and came away with the win. If Malachi Nix has another hot game, the Vikings (26-4) could easily gain some revenge in the semifinal.
Matt Mooney scored 25 on Friday to power Notre Dame past Foreman. He’s going to have to put up a big number if the Dons (24-5) are going to get past New Trier (26-5). The Trevians have been improving all season and Princeton-commit Steven Cook is one of the area’s underrated stars.
Proviso East is the heavy favorite here. The Pirates (26-3) face Glenbard East (20-6) in the semifinals. The Rams have flown under the radar for most of the season, but do own two wins over West Aurora. York (22-7) and Oak Park-River Forest (19-9) meet in the other semi. The teams split a pair of games in the regular season.
Stevenson’s Jalen Brunson is only a sophomore, but the talented, heady point guard just may be the second best guard in the state. Only Ulis has had a better season. That makes the Patriots (25-4) the favorite here, but just getting by Mundelein in the semi will be difficult. The Mustangs (18-13) are more talented than their record indicates, with a group of strong athletes led by SIU-commit Sean O’Brien.
Zion-Benton junior Milik Yarbrough will need to have another big game for the Zee-Bees (25-5) to get by St. Viator (20-8) in the other semi. The Lions are probably a year away from a very deep playoff run, but coach Mike Howland has a few more scorers at his disposal than Zion-Benton coach Don Kloth.
Contributing: Mike Fitzgerald
Tag(s): Featured Top News Niles North Maine South New Trier Glenbard East Benet Academy Notre Dame St. Viator Stevenson Zion-Benton Oswego Bolingbrook Joliet West Stagg Neuqua Valley Proviso East Oak Park-River Forest West Aurora Marian Catholic Mundelein Simeon Whitney Young Curie DuSable Bloom Featured Top News