PEP Fall Classic Recap

Some of the best in Illinois AAU Basketball were present at the 2005 PEP Fall Classic tournament at Riverside-Brookfield High School over the Labor Day Weekend. was in the house to bring you a summary of the event.

The Team Illinois Hawks led by Coach Chris Head came away with the tournament championship trophy with their victory over Mac Irvin's Illinois Fire in the final game. The Hawks brought in 6'9" Josh Crittle and guard Patrick Beverly from the Meanstreets program to help them out. Crittle is just a sophomore at Timothy Christian High in Elmhurst and was a key contributor off the bench for the Hawks. Beverly is a 6'0" senior at Marshall High in Chicago. Beverly's teammate from Marshall – 6'7" senior forward Darius Gaters led the team to the championship. Gaters is a silky smooth slasher who dominated much of the competition.

The Fire featured a pair of 6'3" guards in Osiris Eldridge and Jonathan Peoples. Eldridge is currently a senior at Phillips High in Chicago. Osiris is very athletic and plays smothering defense. He is attracting scholarship offers from Missouri Valley schools – Bradley, Creighton, and Illinois State. Peoples will be a senior at St. Joseph's High in Westchester where he plays for legendary coach Gene Pingatore.

Other standouts included 6'7" shooting guard Jeff Ryan on the Illinois Warriors. Ryan is a senior at Glenbrook South High and has decided to play for Northwestern Wildcats coach Bill Carmody next year. The Class of 2007 in Chicago is very deep with point guards. One outstanding point guard on the Warriors who doesn't get the recognition that he deserves is 5'11" Jacob Pullen from Proviso East. Look for Pullen to create some great scoring opportunities for Illinois bound center Brian Carlwell at Proviso East this winter.

The Old Gold program featured 6'8" forward Isaiah Martin. Martin plays his high school ball at Morgan Park. He is very raw, but shows the potential to develop into quite a player.

Team Illinois was led by a pair of 6'3" junior guards from Bloomington, IL in Brandon Dunson and Justin Bocot. Bocot is a very streaky shooter who showed some decent range.

The 17-U Illinois Wolves played without their starting backcourt duo of Devan Bawinkel and Will Walker. Walker was on an official visit to DePaul over the Labor Day weekend. With a depleted roster, the Wolves ended up in the consolation bracket where they lost to the Rising Stars 17-U team on in the consolation championship game on Sunday.

The 16-U Rising Stars team is led by 6'0" guard Jeffery Jordan from Loyola Academy. In a consolation bracket game early on Sunday morning, Jordan went down with an ankle sprain and had to leave for the hospital.

A young team to watch out for in the future is the 16-U Chicago Demons squad. You may not have heard of any of the players on this team, but they play an exciting athletic brand of basketball. Darius Fields, a 6'4 junior from Von Steuben High, and Byron Pickens, a 6'7" forward from Senn both stood out for the Demons.

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