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Chicago to host tourney vs. nation's best

Chicago-area teams have often traveled elsewhere to play nationally-ranked opponents, but next season that will change.

The inaugural Chicago Elite Basketball Winter Classic, which is the creation of Simeon coach Robert Smith and Whitney Young coach Tyrone Slaughter, will pit five of the Chicago area’s top teams against five of the nation’s top squads on Dec. 1.

The eight teams committed to the event so far are Simeon, Whitney Young and De La Salle from Chicago and Mater Dei (California), DeMatha Catholic (Maryland), Milton (Georgia), Southwind (Tennessee) and Lone Peak (Utah).

Simeon finished No. 6 in the ESPNHS POWERADE FAB 50 rankings and was followed by Milton at No. 7, Mater Dei at No. 9, DeMatha Catholic at No. 13 and Lone Peak at No. 33. Southwind finished No. 19 in the Southeast regional rankings. De La Salle and Whitney Young are expected to be among the state’s top five teams next season.

“We just wanted to make sure we could get some teams inside Chicago to come and play instead of always having to go out,” Smith said on Thursday. “People don’t have to see these teams just on TV. They can see them up close.

“If you want to see some great basketball and great players, this will be the time to come out and watch.”

The event will include six players in ESPNU’s Class of 2013 Super 60 -- Simeon’s Jabari Parker (No. 1), DeMatha Catholic’s BeeJay Anya (No. 15), Southwind’s Johnathan Williams III (No. 23), Whitney Young’s Tommy Hamilton Jr. (No. 42), Lone Park’s Nick Emery (No. 53) and Simeon’s Kendrick Nunn (No. 57) – and three players in the Class of 2014’s Super 25 – Whitney Young’s Jahlil Okafor (No. 2), Whitney Young’s Paul White (No. 19) and Mater Dei’s Stanley Johnson (No. 25).

The event’s venue and two remaining Chicago-area teams will be announced at a future date.