High-SchoolIllinois: Basketball

POWERADE hoops rankings: Final

March, 20, 2012
3/20/12
5:07
PM ET
The question at the beginning of the season was simple. Everyone knew Simeon would start out at No. 1 in the POWERADE state rankings, but could the Wolverines hold off every challenger and finish the year on top? Against such a deep, talented field? With every team gunning for them?

The answer is yes. Simeon closed out a dominant season by beating Proviso East in the Class 4A state championship game to earn a third consecutive IHSA title. It wasn't the Wolverine's most dominant performance, as they had to overcome a fourth-quarter deficit, but there's no denying that this team was special. Simeon's only loss came to out-of-state Findlay Prep, the No. 2 team in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Proviso East suffered just one loss on the season, to Simeon in the finals, and so the Pirates slide in at No. 2. Peoria, which survived a loaded bracket to win the Class 3A title, ends the year at No. 3.

Looking forward to next year, you can go ahead and mark Simeon down for the top spot. With superstar forward Jabari Parker and guard Kendrick Nunn returning for their senior years, the Wolverines may even be stronger in 2012-13.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (33-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (32-1) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Peoria (25-3) — Last week: NR
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 14

March, 13, 2012
3/13/12
4:24
PM ET
In the second-to-last edition of the POWERADE state rankings, Simeon remains where it has for the first 13 weeks of the season: at No. 1. With a super-sectional matchup with Evanston looming, followed by a semifinal contest against the winner of Edwardsville/Bloom, the Wolverines are well-positioned to march into the state championship game this weekend.

No. 2 Proviso East is on the other side of the bracket, two wins away from a potential meeting with Simeon in the state finals. At 30-0, Proviso East is the last undefeated team in 4A.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (30-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (30-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Warren (26-3) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 13

March, 6, 2012
3/06/12
1:23
PM ET
With Curie being upset at the hands of Marist last week, Simeon's path to another Class 4A state championship may have gotten a little easier. Curie played the Wolverines tough earlier in the season, so removing that potential roadblock can only help -- not that Simeon needs the help. At 28-1 and with no in-state losses, the Wolverines are still locked in at No. 1 in this week's POWERADE state rankings.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (26-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (26-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Warren (24-3) — Last week: No. 4
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 12

February, 28, 2012
2/28/12
4:38
PM ET
With the state playoffs beginning this week, the picture remains as clear as it has been all year. Simeon is locked in at No. 1, and the rest of the state is chasing the Wolverines. Junior forward Jabari Parker is pretty much a lock to win Gatorade State Player of the Year honors, and he makes Simeon the heavy favorite to remain atop the rankings through the end of the playoffs.

No. 2 Proviso East closed out an impressive undefeated regular season by handling Oak Park-River Forest and Marquette (Milwaukee, Wisc.), and No. 3 Curie is waiting to get another crack at Simeon after losing the regular-season meeting.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (26-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (26-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Curie (24-2) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala)

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 11

February, 21, 2012
2/21/12
2:11
PM ET
Simeon continues to prove it has no peers in the state of Illinois, as the No. 1 Wolverines claimed the Public League tournament championship with a win over No. 3 Curie (Simeon's second win over Curie).

Proviso East remains at No. 2 after beating Warren in the City-Suburban Showdown. Because their losses came against such quality opponents, Curie and Warren remain at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (26-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (24-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Curie (24-2) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 10

February, 14, 2012
2/14/12
3:42
PM ET
The Illinois POWERADE state rankings remain unchanged from last week, due to the fact that all the teams in the top 10 won their matchups over the past seven days.

There were some scares, however. No. 4 Warren had to overcome a fourth-quarter deficit to beat Glenbrook North, while No. 5 Orr had to scrap for a 62-60 overtime win over Foreman. Lanphier also had to hold its breath before earning a 57-55 win over Glenwood.

There promises to be much more movement in next week's rankings, as a number of top 10 teams are set to face off in playoff matchups.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (23-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (21-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Curie (23-1) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter.

POWERADE hoops rankings: Week 9

February, 7, 2012
2/07/12
1:52
PM ET
It was a light week for many of the teams in the POWERADE state rankings, especially City League schools which spent the week gearing up for the playoffs. No. 1 Simeon is obviously the favorite, but No. 3 Curie would love to get a rematch after falling to Simeon on Dec. 30.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (20-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (19-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Curie (20-1) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.
After eight weeks of regular season play, only two undefeated teams remain in the Illinois POWERADE state rankings. No. 2 Proviso East improved to 17-0 last week, while Andrew currently sits at 16-0.

No. 1 Simeon has one loss, coming to out-of-state opponent Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) two weeks ago. Findlay Prep is No. 2 nationally in the POWERADE FAB 50, while Simeon is No. 9 nationally.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (20-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (17-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Curie (20-1) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.
With Manual falling to Peoria 67-63 last week, it opened up a spot in the POWERADE state rankings. Previously No. 7, Manual dropped out and Lanphier now checks in at No. 9. Lanphier senior guard Everett Clemons dropped 20 points in the Lions' 62-54 win over Sacred Heart-Griffin.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (18-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (16-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Curie (17-1) — Last week: No. 5
Click here for complete POWERADE state rankings.
Simeon saw its hopes for a national championship go up in smoke over the weekend at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., as the Wolverines suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of Findlay Prep (Nev.).

The loss dropped Simeon from No. 1 to No. 9 in the national POWERADE FAB 50, while Findlay Prep rose from No. 6 to No. 3. The Illinois rankings aren't impacted, however, as the loss came to an out-of-state team and Simeon has earned the right to be called No. 1 in Illinois until one of its peers proves otherwise.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (15-1) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (14-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Andrew (13-0) — Last week: No. 3
Click for complete POWERADE state rankings.

Disagree with the rankings? Find Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala) and tell him about it.

Hoophall preview: Spotlight on Nunn

January, 13, 2012
1/13/12
4:00
PM ET
ESPNHS writer Ronnie Flores previews this weekend's Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., with Five Burning Questions. Flores' top question concerns the No. 1 team in the country, Simeon.

From Flores' story:
Which team has the most to prove at Hoophall?
That would be POWERADE FAB 50 No. 1 Simeon (Chicago). The Wolverines do have some quality victories so far this season, but they haven't faced a team with the talent level and big-game experience of No. 6 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.). Simeon beat local rival Whitney Young (Chicago), 62-55, on Dec. 22 and No. 34 Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.), 59-56, at the Cancer Research Classic, but it was expected to beat those teams. With Dominic Artis, Nigel Williams-Goss and Amedeo Della Valle, Findlay Prep will put tremendous pressure on Simeon's backcourt when the teams meet on Monday (ESPNU, 3 p.m. ET). Simeon junior guard Kendrick Nunn had 19 points against Miller Grove and we'll put Nunn's magic number at 24 in order for the Wolverines to win this game.

Now I don't know if I agree that Nunn has to score 24 points for Simeon to win — and don't get me wrong, he's definitely capable — but I think Simeon is balanced enough to win this game without any single player going off. Sure, it would be great if junior forward Jabari Parker had a great game, but Simeon isn't a one-man team... or even a two-man team.

My prediction: Simeon gets 16-20 points from both Nunn and Parker, with senior forward Steve Taylor chipping in his usual 12 or so, and the Wolverines win their biggest game so far this season.

To read Flores' complete story, click here.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
It was close, but Simeon was able to defeat Miller Grove (Ga.), 59-56, in the Cancer Research Classic to stay undefeated on the season. Junior forward Jabari Parker and junior guard Kendrick Nunn were instrumental in the victory, combining for 38 points.

Besides Simeon staying perfect, the biggest story in this week's POWERADE state rankings might be the fall of Bloom. The Trojans entered last week 13-0 and at No. 3 in the rankings, but back-to-back losses to Rich South and Bogan dropped Bloom out of the Top 10.

POWERADE State Basketball Rankings
  1. Simeon (13-0) — Last week: No. 1
  2. Proviso East (13-0) — Last week: No. 2
  3. Andrew (10-0) — Last week: No. 4
Click here for complete POWERADE state rankings.
Stock Watch was tuned into the ESPN network on Saturday night, as the Simeon and Whitney Young basketball teams played televised games in the Cancer Research Classic. Both of their opponents were nationally ranked, but a pair of players helped their stock with impressive performances.

STOCK WATCH

UP — Kendrick Nunn, Simeon
Junior forward Jabari Parker may have been the star, but Simeon wouldn't have won without Nunn's contributions. The junior guard gave the Wolverines an infusion of perimeter scoring, posting 19 points and five rebounds in a 59-56 win over Miller Grove (Ga.). Nunn kept Simeon ahead when Parker cooled off in the second half, and he was clutch down the stretch — Nunn calmly drilled a pair of free throws to give Simeon its three-point lead with less than 10 seconds to play.

UP — Jahlil Okafor, Whitney Young
Okafor isn't under the radar by any means — he's currently the No. 3 player in the ESPNU 25. But the sophomore big man showed why he's such a great prospect, posting up and scoring at will against Gonzaga Prep. Though Whitney Young lost the game, 55-44, Okafor finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. Just a sophomore, expect the 6-foot-9 center's stock to continue rising in the coming years.

Have a hot stock tip? Hit me on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala) and tell me about it.

More on Simeon-Miller Grove hoops

January, 6, 2012
1/06/12
2:32
PM ET
ESPNHS basketball editor Jason Jordan checks in with a preview of the Simeon-Miller Grove (Ga.) battle, which is set for 7 p.m. tomorrow night on ESPN2. One of the points Jordan brings up is that while Miller Grove has faltered early on this season, it's still a team that commands respect.

From Jordan's story:
The game was originally billed as the battle for the top spot, but Miller Grove, which began the season ranked No. 2, suffered a four-game skid, including losses to No. 2 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.), No. 24 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) and No. 33 Lake Wales (Lake Wales, Fla.).

That dropped the Wolverines to No. 34 in the current rankings.

“Obviously, we’re not happy with dropping those games, but we’re not dwelling on it at all,” said Miller Grove coach Sharman White. “It’s behind us. We’re 100 percent focused on what we’ve got to do to beat Simeon. We’re hungry to get back on track, and what better way than against the No. 1 team in the country?”

The story also features quotes from Simeon junior Jabari Parker, as well as video clips of White and Miller Grove senior forward Tony Parker discussing the game.

Click here to read the entire story.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twittter (@ESPNHSGrimala).
Simeon is set to play one of its biggest games of the season on Saturday night, when the Wolverines travel to West Virginia to take on Miller Grove (Ga.) in the Cancer Research Classic. Miller Grove is ranked No. 34 in the POWERADE FAB 50, and the team's star player is senior power forward Tony Parker (the No. 31 player in the ESPNU 100).

The game will be televised live at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN2, so you know it's a big deal. To get you inside the game, I talked to Simeon star junior Jabari Parker (the No. 1 player in the ESPNU 60) and played a little game of True or False.

* Parker's responses are in Wolverines' blue.

True or False

1. Miller Grove is the best team Simeon has faced so far this season.
Parker: True — They play on a national level, and the teams we've been playing against so far haven't been tested like that.

2. Tony Parker is the best player Simeon has faced so far this season.
Parker: True — He's a big presence down low. Once he gets it in the paint, there's no stopping him. He's just so huge and agile, there's no one that can match up with him one-on-one.

3. National TV games are a big deal to you.
Parker: True — With this game being on ESPN2, you know everybody will be watching. It's a chance for us to get a lot of looks on a national level.

4. A Simeon player will do something in this game to make the SportsCenter Top 10.
Parker: True — It can be anybody, though. We've got a lot of guys that can make the highlight reel.

5. Simeon will still be No. 1 in the FAB 50 after this game.
Parker: True — I just have that much confidence in this team. If we play our best game, I don't know if anyone in the country can match that. We get everyone's "A-game," but in the fourth quarter we're usually the tougher team.

Be sure to tune in to ESPN2 at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday to see if Jabari is right.

Whitney Young is also set to take on Gonzaga Prep (Washington, D.C.) in the Cancer Research Classic, with that game tipping off at 9 p.m. Saturday. For the complete schedule of ESPN-televised high school basketball games this season, click here.

Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

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