Chicago Elite Classic Recap

CHICAGO - The Chicago Elite Classic featured some of the top prospects in the state of Illinois go against some of the best from across the country. In the end one player made the biggest statement and that was Jahlil Okafor.

Elijah Brown, SG, Mater Dei – Brown has never been shy on the offensive end, and that remains the case. The athletic guard will get shots up in short order, but in this game he was very effective. Brown attacked the rim and launched from deep making a good number and pacing Mater Dei to a win. He still can use some work on decision making, but showed a lot of toughness and a great desire to win, and helped his team to that victory.

Eric Mika, C, Lone Peak – It was an absolute destruction by Lone Peak over Proviso East, and Mika was the biggest reason why. He scored 18 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in the blowout win. Mika runs the floor great, has excellent hands, and is as tough as they come on the low block. Mika scored in all sorts of ways, and his presence really was the biggest difference between the two teams.

Nick Emery, SG, Lone Peak – The only thing that kept Lone Peak from completely blowing out Proviso East in the first half was the fact that Emery wasn't making shots. That changed in the second half as he caught fire. Emery was hitting step back jumpers, crossing people over into shots, and also getting to the rim. There might not be a more competitive and tough kid in the country than Emery, and once his shot got going it was a complete blowout for Lone Peak.

Alvin Ellis, SF, De La Salle – In a morning game Ellis showed why the Minnesota Golden Gophers worked so hard to get his commitment. He is one of the better athletes in the Midwest, and has improved his ability to shoot the basketball. Also now he is handling the ball better, and paced his team to an important early season win.

Jaylon Tate, PG, Simeon – The future Illinois point guard had a very strong showing in a big win. Not much of a scorer, Tate didn't do much in terms of making shots but he was very productive overall. Tate notched double figure assists and controlled the pace of the game with how he played. A great passer, Tate just made the right decision at the right time and was very important to what Simeon wanted to do all game long.

Kendrick Nunn, SG, Simeon – It isn't always pretty with Nunn, but he is just really effective and impacts a game in a multitude of different ways. Nunn managed several steals or deflections on the defensive end, finished above the rim with athleticism, and knocked in a few jumpers. While he isn't a pure scorer or shooter, Nunn finds a way to impact the game on both ends of the floor and plays with an extremely high motor.

Jairus Lyles, SG, DeMatha – Despite the fact that the Stags took a loss, Lyles was their best and most consistent performer. He was able to get into the Whitney Young defense and make plays mostly shooting, but a few times passing. Not an ideal size for an off guard, Lyles is tough and knows how to make things happen. He was getting to the foul line quite a bit, and overall just found a way to do enough things to keep DeMatha within striking distance in the second half.

Jahlil Okafor, C, Whitney Young – He is one of the clear top three members of the 2014 class, and Okafor made a statement that he should be No. 1 with his performance on Saturday. He dominated DeMatha's BeeJay Anya, and simply controlled the game with 34 points. Okafor is a true center who plays big and has an excellent touch. From the field he was virtually unstoppable, and had he been making his free throws early he would have easily topped the 40 point barrier. Okafor's footwork is impressive and he plays with a good motor. Overall there isn't much negative you can possibly think of with his game.

Paul White, PF/SF, Whitney Young – There is virtually nothing on a basketball court that White isn't capable of doing. For about a five minute stretch he proved that by hitting a jumper, getting into the lane, making a nice pass, blocking a shot, and handling the ball on offense. However for the rest of the game he virtually disappeared. White can do it all, he just has to do it more often.

Stanley Johnson, SF, Mater Dei – Overall he had good numbers and made things happen, but it was kind of an odd game for Johnson. Usually he attacks like crazy on the offensive end, but in this one he kind of settled for jumpers and looked passive. Still he did have moments where he put the team on his back and made plays. A big time competitor when the game gets close he is at his best. Johnson is one of the toughest wings in the class and despite not having a great day found a way to be very impactful.

T.J. Haws, SG, Lone Peak – From a sheer numbers perspective Haws was the best player for Lone Peak. On defense he used his length to deflect passes and cause havoc at the top of a 1-3-1 zone, and then on offense he shot the ball at an unreal level. Haws was absolutely on fire, especially in transition, and helped Lone Peak get out to a big lead in the first half.

Jalen Hudson, SG, St. Vincent-St. Mary – A bit of a surprise, Hudson moved to Ohio from Virginia during the summer, and now he put on a star performance in the first game with his new team. A high level athlete, Hudson can rebound very well for a guard and is very fast. Also he was absolutely unconscious from beyond the three point line. Hudson hit at least four triples in the second half and kept his team in the lead. He is more of a wing than a point guard for sure, but the versatility and size he has makes him very intriguing as a prospect.

Keita Bates-Diop, SF, University High School – Bates-Diop got into foul trouble some during the first half that knocked him out of a rhythm, but in the second he got going. He is a good athlete with long arms and good size, and the future Ohio State Buckeye is now knocking in shots at a consistent clip. Bates-Diop hit several threes, and his shot looks much improved. Part of that shot improving led to him hanging out behind the three point line too much and not being aggressive using all of his physical gifts by going to the rim. Still Bates-Diop is showing great improvements every time out on the floor.

D.J. Williams, SF, Simeon – He is overshadowed by his older and more seasoned teammates, but Williams is definitely one to watch. The Simeon sophomore has the size and athleticism to be a star at the school. He shoots it great in the mid-range, and is starting to extend that to the three point line. Also he has done a lot of work to get better off the dribble. Just a puppy on the varsity level, Williams showed he can make a big impact for this team and will be the subject of a big time recruiting battle.

Three class of 2016 stars also really emerged in this one. Ohio product V.J. King played excellent and was able to match Bates-Diop virtually basket for basket in a game. King is one of the most athletic and physically gifted freshmen you will ever see. He can make shots but is at his best going to the basket. The sky is absolutely the limit for him.

Also DeMatha products Alani Moore and Joe Hampton were very good. Moore is a small point guard, but he has an unreal feel for the game and is already one of the best passers in high school basketball. He kept DeMatha in the game in the first half by making plays. Then Hampton is a combo forward who can shoot out to three and then is capable of scoring inside at 6-foot-7. Look for big things from both of them going forward.

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