The state tournament starts up next week so we wanted to dive into the brackets to look at storylines, top prospects, predictions, and more about each field. Here we examine the 4A bracket in 4A Tournament Preview! Who Are the…
The state tournament starts up next week so we wanted to dive into the brackets to look at storylines, top prospects, predictions, and more about each field. Here we examine the 4A bracket in 4A Tournament Preview!
Who Are the Favorites?
Where to start? From the CPS Kenwood and Whitney Young will have to go through each other to get to the final four, but either could win the whole thing as they are loaded with prospects. Don’t count out Curie either. Benet from the Chicago suburbs has only lost one game all season to 3A favorite Simeon at Pontiac. They have what it takes to win the last game of the year. Another two suburban teams to watch are Joliet West and Rolling Meadows. They feature the top two seniors in the state and the best sophomore as well. Moline and Quincy from central Illinois are the two that have legit shots to make a run at a title. Moline has a pair of top 10 seniors and Iowa commits that have all the pieces to win in March. The ultimate sleeper/most talented team in this field is St. Rita. They have the talent, but haven’t put it all together. Its now or next year.
Which High Seeds Have Difficult Paths?
The St. Rita path is crazy hard for a team that came in as the preseason #2 team in the state. Try Homewood Flossmoor, Brother Rice, Kenwood, and Whitney Young just to get to Champaign. You could say the same for Kenwood in that sectional having to go through potentially Rich Township (at Rich) for regional, Marist/Bloom, Brother Rice/St. Rita (at St. Rita), and Whitney Young to make it to state.
What are the Top Storylines?
Which St. Rita team will show up? The Mustangs are the most talented team in the field, but have failed to win big games. With three high-major juniors and the #2 sophomore they had their eyes set on Champaign in November. Now it’s time to prove everyone who has doubted them throughout the year wrong.
Which one of the CPS power trio of Kenwood, Whitney Young, and Curie will advance out of the super sectional to reach state? All could conceivably do it and if they do win the big trophy.
Moline and Quincy seem destined to meet up in March. The two best 4A teams in central Illinois. It seems like it is Moline’s time now and Quincy’s to reign the next two years over central Illinois. Can Quincy crash the party early?
How about the big men battle in the lower half of the Moline sectional? Top 10 big men Jason Jakstys Jason Jakstys 6'10" | C Yorkville | 2024 State #149 Nation IL (Yorkville) could face Jaheem Webber Jaheem Webber 6'10" | C Normal Community | 2024 State #156 Nation IL (Normal Community) in the regional final. On the other side top senior post Owen Freeman Owen Freeman 6'10" | C Moline | 2023 State #179 Nation IL could very well play his old school Bradley Bourbonnais at their house going against one of the best sophomore big men Nick Allen Nick Allen 6'9" | C Bradley Bourbonnais | 2025 State IL .
Potential Mr. Basketball Jeremy Fears Jeremy Fears 6'1" | PG Joliet West | 2023 State #31 Nation IL came back for this. Run at a state title with his younger brother Jeremiah Fears Jeremiah Fears 6'2" | PG Joliet West | 2025 State IL at Joliet West. It is going to be a familiar path in the sectional against rivals Romeoville and Bolingbrook who each have D1 guards. Then potentially a super against state title contenders Moline or Quincy to advance to Champaign.
Which Sleeper Team Can Pull Off an Upset?
There are a few sectionals that we can see some upsets happening. Naperville North is a team we like with their guard play which wins in the tournament. Rockford East impressed us this season when we saw them with their veteran lineup. Watch out for them.
Where is the Toughest Sectional?
The toughest sectional comes down to the St. Rita and Hinsdale Central Sectionals. In the St. Rita sectional you have Kenwood, Marist, Bloom, Brother Rice, and St. Rita. Only one of those teams will make it to the elite 8. Same can be said at the Hinsdale Central with a loaded field of Whitney Young, Downers Grove North, Proviso East, Hinsdale Central, Riverside Brookfield, Lane Tech, Curie, and Lyons. Oh yea then the winners of those two play in the super. Think about that. Only one of those 13 teams are getting to Champaign.
Who are the Top Seniors?
It is a who’s who of the best 2023’s in the state with six of the top seven seniors in Jeremy Fears Jeremy Fears 6'1" | PG Joliet West | 2023 State #31 Nation IL (Joliet West), Cameron Christie Cameron Christie 6'4" | SG Rolling Meadows | 2023 State #76 Nation IL (Rolling Meadows), Darrin Ames Darrin Ames 6'1" | PG Kenwood | 2023 State #99 Nation IL (Kenwood), Owen Freeman Owen Freeman 6'10" | C Moline | 2023 State #179 Nation IL (Moline), Brock Harding Brock Harding 6'0" | PG Moline | 2023 State #222 Nation IL (Moline), and Dalen Davis Dalen Davis 6'0" | PG Whitney Young | 2023 State #167 Nation IL (Whitney Young). Other top 25 prospects include Daniel Johnson Daniel Johnson 6'6" | SF Whitney Young | 2023 State #231 Nation IL (Whitney Young), Mekhi Lowery Mekhi Lowery 6'5" | SF Oswego East | 2023 State IL (Oswego East), Nik Polonowski Nik Polonowski 6'6" | SF Lyons | 2023 State IL (Lyons), Ahmad Henderson Ahmad Henderson 5'10" | PG Brother Rice | 2023 State #291 Nation IL (Brother Rice), Jake Fiegen Jake Fiegen 6'3" | SG New Trier | 2023 State IL (New Trier), Mekhi Cooper Mekhi Cooper 6'1" | PG Bolingbrook | 2023 State IL (Bolingbrook), and Nikola Abusara Nikola Abusara 6'5" | SF Benet | 2023 State IL (Benet).
Any Breakout Juniors to Watch?
Gotta start with the St. Rita high-major trio of Morez Johnson Morez Johnson 6'9" | PF Thornton | 2024 State #35 Nation IL , James Brown James Brown 6'9" | C St. Rita | 2024 #21 Nation MO , and Nojus Indrusaitis Nojus Indrusaitis 6'4" | SF St. Laurence | 2024 State #57 Nation IL . All are big time prospects. More top 25 2024s include Jason Jakstys Jason Jakstys 6'10" | C Yorkville | 2024 State #149 Nation IL (Yorkville), Jaheem Webber Jaheem Webber 6'10" | C Normal Community | 2024 State #156 Nation IL (Normal Community), Chris Riddle Chris Riddle 6'5" | SF Kenwood | 2024 State #163 Nation IL (Kenwood), Josh Pickett Josh Pickett 6'5" | SG St. Laurence | 2024 State #228 Nation IL (West Aurora), Carlos Harris Carlos Harris 6'1" | SG Curie | 2024 State #234 Nation IL (Curie), Connor May Connor May 6'5" | SF Palatine | 2024 State IL (Palatine), Calvin Robins Jr Calvin Robins Jr 6'5" | PF Kenwood | 2024 State IL . (Kenwood), Shaheed Solebo Shaheed Solebo 6'4" | SF Lane Tech | 2024 State IL (Lane Tech), Will Gonzalez Will Gonzalez 6'4" | SF Riverside Brookfield | 2024 State IL (Riverside Brookfield), Jaden Smith Jaden Smith 6'9" | C Kenwood | 2024 State #249 Nation IL (Kenwood), Isaiah Green Isaiah Green 6'0" | PG Kenwood | 2024 State IL (Kenwood), Stefan Cicic Stefan Cicic 6'10" | C Riverside Brookfield | 2024 State IL (Riverside Brookfield), Jakob Blakley Jakob Blakley 6'0" | PG Larkin | 2024 State IL (Larkin), Camden Brown Camden Brown 6'5" | SF Quincy | 2024 State IL (Quincy), and Justus McNair Justus McNair 6'3" | SG Joliet West | 2024 State IL (Joliet West).
Which Sophomores Could Make Biggest Impact?
The top three sophomores in Illinois are looking to make their first big impacts in the state tournament in Jeremiah Fears Jeremiah Fears 6'2" | PG Joliet West | 2025 State IL (Joliet West), Melvin Bell Melvin Bell 6'4" | SG St. Rita | 2025 State IL (St. Rita), and Antonio Munoz Antonio Munoz 6'6" | SF Whitney Young | 2025 State IL (Whitney Young). Despite being a sophomore the go to player for a team with Champaign hopes in Quincy is sophomore Bradley Longcor Bradley Longcor 6'3" | SG Quincy | 2025 State IL who has experience from last year. A few more to track are Nick Allen Nick Allen 6'9" | C Bradley Bourbonnais | 2025 State IL (Bradley Bourbonnais), Keshaun Vaval Keshaun Vaval 6'0" Marist | 2025 IL (Marist), Elijah Lovemore Elijah Lovemore 6'2" | SG Bloom | 2025 State IL (Bloom), Terrence Smith Terrence Smith 6'4" | SF West Aurora | 2025 State IL (West Aurora), and Ian Miletic Ian Miletic 6'6" | SF Rolling Meadows | 2025 State IL (Rolling Meadows).
Best Potential Matchups Before State?
Curie vs Lyons
Joliet West vs Romeoville
O’Fallon vs Belleville East
Normal Community vs Yorkville
Moline vs Bradley Bourbonnais
New Trier vs Evanston
St. Rita vs Brother Rice
Whitney Young vs Downers Grove North
Curie vs Hinsdale Central
Oswego East vs Bolingbrook
Moline vs Normal Community/Yorkville
Rolling Meadows vs New Trier
Kenwood vs St. Rita/Brother Rice
Whitney Young vs Curie/Hinsdale Central
Joliet West vs Oswego East/Bolingbrook
Moline vs Quincy
Kenwood/St. Rita/Brother Rice vs Whitney Young/Curie/Hinsdale Central
Moline/Quincy vs Joliet West/Bolingbrook/Oswego East
What are PHI’s Picks to Click?
Libertyville over Warren
Barrington over Fremd
Stevenson over Lake Zurich
Palatine over Prospect
New Trier over Niles North
Evanston over Glenbrook South
Glenbrook North over Taft
Rolling Meadows over Loyola
Benet over Bartlett
Lake Park over Willowbrook
Naperville North over Wheaton Warrenville South
Glenbard West over Geneva
Rockford East over Huntley
St. Charles East over South Elgin
Dekalb over Larkin
Rockford Guilford over Rockford Auburn
Kenwood over Rich Township
Bloom over Marist
Brother Rice over Andrew
St. Rita over Homewood Flossmoor
Whitney Young over OPRF
Downers Grove North over Proviso East
Hinsdale Central over Riverside Brookfield
Curie over Lyons
Joliet West over Romeoville
Lincoln Way East over Neuqua Valley
Bolingbrook over Waubonsie Valley
Oswego East over Aurora West
O’Fallon over Belleville East
Quincy over Collinsville
Normal Community over Yorkville
Moline over Bradley Bourbonnais
Barrington over Libertyville
Palatine over Stevenson
New Trier over Evanston
Rolling Meadows over Glenbrook North
Benet over Lake Park
Naperville North over Glenbard West
Rockford East over St. Charles East
Dekalb over Rockford Guilford
Kenwood over Bloom
St. Rita over Brother Rice
Whitney Young over Downers Grove North
Curie over Hinsdale Central
Joliet West over Lincoln Way East
Oswego East over Bolingbrook
Quincy over O’Fallon
Moline over Normal Community
Palatine over Barrington
Rolling Meadows over New Trier
Benet over Naperville North
Dekalb over Rockford East
Kenwood over St. Rita
Whitney Young over Curie
Joliet West over Oswego East
Moline over Quincy
Rolling Meadows over Palatine
Benet over Dekalb
Kenwood over Whitney Young
Moline over Joliet West
Benet over Rolling Meadows
Kenwood over Moline
Kenwood over Benet