How good is Chicago basketball right now?
From an individual player’s standpoint, there’s no denying Chicago is the premier hotbed for underclassmen right now. Simeon’s Jabari Parker is the No. 1 junior in the country. Whitney Young sophomore Jahlil Okafor and Curie sophomore Cliff Alexander are two of the most desirable big men in the country.
There are plenty of other high-major prospects in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 classes.
But from a team perspective, how is Chicago matching up with the country? The best way to measure that is when Chicago teams match up against out-of-state opponents.
Simeon is the No. 1 team in the country, and no one has been able to prove otherwise in or out of state. The undefeated Wolverines have played one out-of-state opponent and have a few more upcoming national games.
Outside of Simeon, though, Chicago hasn’t fared well against teams from outside Illinois, and that was especially true during the holidays. Six Chicago teams traveled to different parts of the country for tournaments, and only two of them returned with a winning record.
Whitney Young coach Tyrone Slaughter continued his massive national schedule, taking the Dolphins to the Beach Ball Classic in South Carolina. The Dolphins had the most impressive win of the six teams, defeating nationally-ranked No. 5 Prestonwood Christian from Texas, but finished 2-2 in the tournament. They ended up in sixth place after losing by 33 points to Bishop Gorman, another nationally-ranked team. Their other win was against Lexington from South Carolina and their other loss was against Lone Peak from Utah. Lexington is not ranked nationally or regionally by ESPN, and Lone Peak is ranked No. 5 in the West Region.
St. Rita coach Gary DeCesare took the Mustangs, who were ranked No. 18 in the area last week, to his old New York stomping grounds and went 1-2 against East Coast competition. They lost to New York’s Mount Vernon and Christ the King. Mount Vernon is ranked No. 21 nationally, and Christ the King is No. 13 in the East Region. Their lone win was over Dixie Heights, which is not ranked.
Hyde Park, which was ranked No. 9 in the area last week, went to the Detroit Roundball Classic and finished 1-2. The Thunderbirds lost to Detroit Consortium, which is ranked No. 10 in the Midwest, and Romulus, which is not ranked. They defeated Lansing Eastern, which is also not ranked.
Orr also played in the Detroit Roundball Classic and went 3-0. It defeated Detroit Country Day, Detroit Central Catholic and Ottawa Hills. None of the teams were ranked regionally.
Marshall traveled to Normandy, Mo. for a tournament. Marshall lost in the semifinals to Memphis Ridgeway by 30 points and finished in fourth place with a 2-2 record. Ridgeway is ranked No. 19 in the country. The Commandos defeated Ridgeway Tech and Cardinal Ritter and also lost to Memphis Melrose. None of those teams are regionally ranked.
Foreman also competed at Normandy. The Hornets lost in the quarterfinals to Memphis Melrose, which finished in third place, and went on to take fifth place with a 3-1 record. There three wins were over Missouri teams, none of which are ranked regionally.
Overall, Chicago’s teams played respectably in each out-of-state tournament, but it’s hard to say Chicago deserves numerous nationally-ranked teams right now outside of Simeon and possibly Curie. From the suburbs, Proviso East deserves to be nationally ranked and currently is at No. 47.