Boys Basketball: Simeon’s Robert Smith, Young’s Tyrone Slaughter form ‘Elite’ eventJabari Parker dunks for Simeon at the end of the game and smiles in bliss. Patrick Gleason ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 5, 2012 7:23PM
Young coach Tyrone Slaughter and Simeon coach Robert Smith have joined forces to create the Chicago Elite Basketball Winter Classic. Smith and Slaughter have five powerhouse teams from out of state coming in and three Chicago teams (De La Salle, Simeon, Young) selected to match up against them. The event will take place Dec. 1. The venue is still to be determined and there will be two other Chicago teams selected to participate.
“An event like this is long overdue for the city of Chicago,” Slaughter said. “This is a chance for Chicago to not only see our great local talent, but it’s a chance to see Chicago teams up against top-level national talent.”
Both Young and Simeon have evolved as national programs, weighing various out of state options each year. They have traveled to places like California, Hawaii, Florida, New York City and Boston over the years to face national competition. Now they will be able to stay home.
“To play locally, in our back yard, in front of Chicago fans and against a national power is a terrific opportunity,” Smith said. “Plus, it’s Jabari’s [Parker] last year. The more opportunities fans have to see him play at home, the better.”
The field is loaded. It’s a collection of traditional high school powers — not prep schools.
Here’s Joe Henrickson’s look at the five visiting teams:
Mater Dei, CaLIF.
Arguably the most powerful program in the state of California. Went 34-2 last season and claimed a state record ninth CIF State championship. California prep coaching icon Gary McKnight has a gifted sophomore in Stanley Johnson, one of the top players in the Class of 2014, along with 6-3 junior Elijah Brown and Jordan Strawberry. Brown is the son of Lakers head coach Mike Brown, and Strawberry is the son of baseball legend Darryl Strawberry.
A storied high school program that has produced an impressive list of college players and is best known as the program where legendary Morgan Wootten coached. The Stags, who went 30-5 last season, boast a top 15 player nationally in 6-8, 255-pound BeeJay Anya and a top 100 guard in Jairus Lyles.
Coach David Boyd of Milton is a legend in Georgia, where he is closing in on 600 career victories and has five state championships. He’s the only coach in state history to have won state titles at four schools. This past season, Milton went 29-4 and captured another Georgia state championship.
Lone Peak, Utah
Emerged as a national program the past few years, while dominating prep hoops in its own state. Has won back-to-back state titles and four state championships in the last six years. The Knights boast a pair of Division I guards in Nick Emery, a top 75 talent nationally who has committed to BYU, and Connor Toolson.
Went 26-4 last season and returns one of the top 25 players in the country in the Class of 2013 in 6-8 Jonathan Williams, along with Division I talent and classmate Jajuan Johnson.