Chicago to host top talent; Parker discusses college choices

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Chicago to host top talent; Parker discusses college choices

When it comes to choosing a college, Jabari Parker has a lot of factors to take into consideration.

The Simeon standout has narrowed his options to Michigan State, Stanford, BYU, Duke and Florida, and as the process of committing to a school continues, Parker has a few main keys that will help him make his final decision:

"Relationship with the coach, relationship with the team and the style of play," Parker listed. "Also, how will the team be the following year as far as whether the coach is going to stay or not."

But first and foremost, Parker's main priority is to pick a school that will provide him the best education. Simeon coach Robert Smith has helped Parker and his family every step of the way, and he's even received some advice from Derrick Rose, who suggested he decides based on who can provide the best support on and off the court.

Chicago Elite Classic

As Whitney Young coach Tyrone Slaughter puts it, he and Smith will finally be "having their baby" on Saturday morning.

After just over eight months of planning, the two coaches from Chicago's powerhouse schools will be hosting the Chicago Elite Classic, a tournament that will welcome the nation's top high school basketball programs from California, Maryland, Utah, Ohio and Georgia.

Slaughter, Smith, Parker and Whitney Young junior standout Jahlil Okafor joined Chicago Tribune Live to discuss the upcoming event and what it will be like to face the nation's top talent in their hometown.

"It's a blessing for me," an injured, yet optimistic Parker said. "Growing up, you always see these games on TV, but now I get to see it up close. A lot of the nation's talent and my school playing against one of these teams in our hometown, so that will be very fun for me."

Although Parker won't be able to join his teammates on the court, Okafor is looking forward to representing Whitney Young and providing Chicago "bragging rights" if his team can take down the other competitors.

Of course when you bring together the country's best players, the caliber of talent naturally leads to a high level of competitiveness overall. With the tournament just two days away, the talking has already begun.

"It's a lot of trash talking," Parker said about the general atmosphere. "But I don't pay it any mind because there's only one way I play this game and it's because of the love, not any of the attention.

"We're just friends at the end of the day, the competition already knows what I'm capable of doing, so they don't do too much trash talking to me."

Bulls' Jimmy Butler voted All-Star Game starter

Bulls' Jimmy Butler voted All-Star Game starter

Jimmy Butler is heading to his third straight All-Star Game, and for the first time he'll be in the Eastern Conference's starting lineup.

CSNChicago.com Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill reported that Butler was voted an All-Star starter.

Butler has been sensational this season, averaging a career-best 24.8 points (tied for the 10th-best mark in the league entering Thursday's games), 6.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per contest through 41 games. He's shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 34.5 percent from 3-point range.

Butler previously made Eastern Conference All-Star squads in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, though this is his first time in the starting five.

High School Lites Week 8 basketball capsules

High School Lites Week 8 basketball capsules

CSN Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school basketball games across Chicagoland for another basketball edition of High School Lites. Catch the show live at 11 p.m. Friday on CSN and streaming at CSNChicago.com. This week's show has a lot of action between ranked teams as we have some important conference matchups on High School Lites. I'll be between two games this week with a solid rematch in the Mid-Suburban West between No. 20 Conant and No. 10 Fremd while No. 9 Marist heads to No. 24 Benet for a good game in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. We'll also have highlights from the Red-South, Central Suburban South, SouthWest Suburban Red, South Suburban Blue and Kishwaukee River. Our's Viewer's Choice Game of the Week heads to the Catholic League South as No. 23 Brother Rice heads to Bishop McNamara. And this week's Wintrust Athlete of the Week is Fremd senior Grace Tworek as the Harvard commit is coming off of a career-high 29-point performance last week.

THURSDAY

No. 1 Simeon at Bogan, 5:00 p.m. -- The Wolverines (17-0, 7-0) are already coming off of two wins this week over Fenwick and Harlan as the starters rested over Harlan in that win. The Bengals (12-6, 4-3) remain a dangerous team as they've played better ball since Jerome Bynum became eligible. 

FRIDAY

No. 20 Conant at No. 10 Fremd, 6:00 p.m. -- A big rematch in the Mid-Suburban West that saw Fremd win on the road earlier this season. The Vikings (16-0, 5-0) have one of the best defenses in the area as Ryan Martin did a great job defending Jimmy Sotos from Conant in the last matchup. The Cougars (15-3, 4-1) are trying to bounce back after a loss to Prospect as they're hoping to tie the MSL West race.

No. 9 Marist at No. 24 Benet, 7:30 p.m. -- The East Suburban Catholic Conference remains one of the toughest conferences in the Chicagoland area as this one should be good. Marist (19-1, 3-0) had their unbeaten streak broken on Tuesday against Brother Rice but senior big man Justin Brown had a huge game and should be a factor. Benet (14-5, 2-1) is trying to stay in the ESCC picture as seniors Jack Nolan and Liam Lyman are both playing good ball.

No. 16 Thornton at Thornwood, 6:30 p.m. -- The SouthWest Suburban Blue rivalry game should be a good one. Thornton (12-4, 4-0) is led by senior Alonzo Verge as he's putting together some big performances this season. Thornwood (7-8, 1-2) is trying to stay in the conference race at this point as they're coming off a loss to T.F. North.

Hillcrest at T.F. South, 7:00 p.m. -- Two 7-0 teams clash in the South Suburban Blue in this one. Hillcrest (12-5, 7-0) is looking to climb back into the CSN Preps Power Rankings as they're still a big threat in Class 3A. T.F. South (10-7, 7-0) is the surprise team in the mix in the conference as both teams are tied with T.F. North in the standings.

Marengo at Burlington Central, 7:00 p.m. -- We make a trip to the Kishwaukee River as the top two teams in the conference clash. But this game comes with a twist: Marengo (14-4, 2-0) lost at Burlington Central (16-1, 2-0) on Monday in the championship game of the Rockets' annual event. This time, the game counts in the standings as Burlington Central stopped Marengo's seven-game winning streak earlier this week.

No. 2 Evanston at Niles North, 7:30 p.m. -- The Wildkits (14-2, 4-0) are still unbeaten against Illinois teams as they have one of their tougher Central Suburban South games on the road at Niles North. Senior Nojel Eastern has plenty of weapons around him this season as Evanston continues to look very balanced. The Vikings (12-7, 2-2) are coming off of a 1-1 Monday at the Lake Zurich tournament as they try to stay with the Wildkits in league play.

Viewer's Choice Game of the Week

No. 23 Brother Rice at Bishop McNamara, 7:15 p.m. -- Our Viewer's Choice Game of the Week goes to the Catholic League South as the red-hot Crusaders (16-3, 4-0) head to Bishop McNamara. Brother Rice earned a huge win over previously-unbeaten Marist  on Tuesday as Mike Shepski and Josh Niego continue to have strong seasons. McNamara (13-4, 3-1) is right there with Brother Rice and Leo in the Catholic South race as they try to make a move here.