Chicago area basketball fans will be treated to a special day the first Saturday in December. The second annual Chicago Elite Classic, which will be played Dec. 7 at the UIC Pavilion, is bigger and better than the inaugural event a year ago.
Matchups for the event were announced Tuesday night on Comcast's Sports Talk Live, which includes a seven-game lineup with eight teams from Illinois and six out-of-state powers.
"What's really exciting to me is that we do have very, very good teams, nationally-ranked teams," says Whitney Young coach Tyrone Slaughter, the creator of the event. "We could have seven teams ranked among the top 20 nationally. But we also are going to have some fun, entertaining individual matchups within the team matchups."
Here is rundown of the recently released matchups for the Chicago Elite Classic.
• Whitney Young vs. St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.)
The season opener for Jahlil Okafor & Company will be a dandy with true star power. Okafor, the nation's top prospect, along with Georgetown commit Paul White and Saint Louis-bound Miles Reynolds, face a loaded St. John Bosco team, which boasts a pair of superstars in UConn commit Daniel Hamilton, a 6-6 wing ranked among the top 25 prospects in the country, and 6-4 combo guard Tyler Dorsey, who is the No. 5 ranked player in the country, according to Rivals.com.
• Curie vs. Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)
A battle of elite big men as Curie's 6-9 Cliff Alexander leads the Condors against Bishop Gorman's 7-footer Stephen Zimmerman, currently the No. 2 ranked prospect in the country in the Class of 2015. Another talented junior, 6-8 Chase Jeter, has offers from Arizona, Kansas and North Carolina among other high-major programs and returns from last year's 29-3 team.
• Simeon vs. Hamilton (Memphis, Tenn.)
The four-time defending state champs reload with 6-5 senior Donte Ingram and a bevy of young players, including 6-7 junior D.J. Williams, 6-6 junior Ed Morrow and 6-4 sophomore Zach Norvell. Hamilton features the brother tandem of 6-7 senior K.J. Lawson, a Memphis recruit, and 6-7 sophomore Dedric Lawson, who is currently ESPN.com's No. 4 ranked player in the Class of 2016.
• Benet Academy vs. Redondo Union (Redondo Beach, Calif.)
Led by Xavier-bound Sean O'Mara, a veteran 6-9 presence, Benet will face the defending Division II CIF State Basketball champs from a year ago. Redondo Union won 28 games last season and returns a boatload of talent from that team, led by senior point guard Ian Fox, the Southern Section 2A Player of the Year, and talented 6-6 junior Jeremiah Headley, a Division I prospect. Plus, Redondo Union will welcome the addition of transfer Terrell Carter, a 6-8, 270-pound post player who will go head-to-head with O'Mara in an intriguing matchup inside.
• Marian Catholic vs. Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.)
A terrific pairing as two talented point guards both ranked among the top 50 in the nation go head-to-head. Marian Catholic's dynamic Tyler Ulis, who is headed to Kentucky, squares off with Etiwanda's 5-11 Jordan McLaughlin, who committed to USC over offers from Arizona, Connecticut, Gonzaga and Indiana.
• St. Rita vs. Gonzaga College High (Washington, D.C.)
Coach Gary DeCesare's club, led by Northwestern recruit Vic Law and highly-regarded junior Charles Matthews, starts the season out with a bang, playing at Curie Dec. 1 and then meeting up with Gonzaga a week later. Gonzaga won 26 games a year ago and features star junior guard Bryant Crawford, who sports offers from UConn, Georgetown, Indiana and other high-major programs.
• Fenwick vs. Normal U-High
If Northwestern recruit Scott Lindsey makes it back from his injury, this game will feature a pair of Big Ten recruits in the 6-6 Lindsey and U-High's 6-7 Keita Bates-Diop, an Ohio State commitment and one of the top 30 players in the country in the senior class.
For more information on the Chicago Elite Classic, go to www.chicagoeliteclassic.com