Farragut is ranked No. 1 in the Chicago area--at least until the Admirals prove themselves in the Board of Education Holiday Shootout on Wednesday through Saturday--and boasts arguably the best college/NBA prospect in the state in 6-10 Michael Dunigan.
The Oregon-bound Dunigan has elevated himself to being one of the elite players in the nation. A year ago, coach William Nelson admitted Dunigan was "so-so, lukewarm, had potential but hadn't arrived."
Now Nelson has another opinion. "He has more polish and is more aggressive. He belongs in a class with the best big players we have produced--Kevin Garnett, Elliot Poole, Michael Wright, Curtis Ganes," Nelson said.
But after observing Whitney Young, Homewood-Flossmoor and Marshall at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament, I give an edge to H-F as the favorite to win the Class 4A championship in March. Farragut must prove it has a backcourt that can handle pressure and deliver the ball to Dunigan.
H-F, Young and Marshall have no such problems. They have strong backcourts, which is a requirement of any team hoping to contend for a state title.
H-F point guard Kevin Dillard is Dunigan's biggest rival for Player of the Year recognition. And Supo Sanni, who is committed to play football at Illinois, has lifted his game to another level. The Vikings are quick, athletic and physical. They need more help from Russell Ellington, another football player who is headed to Illinois.
Young's A.J. Rompza demonstrated while leading his team to the Proviso West title that he might be the best point guard in the state, next to Dillard. Coach Tyrone Slaughter appears to be settling on a starting lineup and an eight-man rotation with Marcus Jordan, Chris Colvin and Julian Kenner coming off the bench to provide a spark.
Marshall can't be overlooked. First-year coach Courtney Hargrays still is getting comfortable in his new job and point guard Darius Smith and Ryan Hare are looking for more help from their friends.