Simeon takes down No. 1 Young

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Simeon takes down No. 1 Young

By Michael O'Brien
Season Pass

Duke has Simeon senior Jabari Parker in the fold and is hot on the trail of Young big man Jahlil Okafor. The two national superstars are so good that ESPNU was in town to broadcast the game Saturday at Chicago State.

Parker finished with seven points and Okafor had eight. It wasn't exactly the preview of two future pros that the network counted on.

Instead, it was a pair of future Illini that sparkled: Simeon seniors Jaylon Tate and Kendrick Nunn. Tates coast-to-coast drive and basket was the key play in the Wolverines 44-41 win over Young.

Tate led Simeon (18-2) with 12 points. Nunn provided several highlight plays, finishing with 10 points, six rebounds and four assists.

Thats what I do, play off Jabari, Nunn said. If he has a bad game I pick him up.

After Tates coast-to-coast basket put Simeon ahead by three, Parker missed a dunk that could have sealed the win. That gave Young one last chance to tie it, but Paul White missed a heavily-contested three.

The Wolverines led by 13 early in the third quarter. Youngs two transfer starters, LJ Peak and Ausar Madison, seemed out of sync in the first half.

That changed quickly as Peak scored 14 in the third quarter to ignite the Dolphins comeback. His baseline drive and basket tied the game at 32 after three quarters.

I think our guards just put a lot of pressure on them the whole game, Nunn said. They handled it better in the second half after they got more used to it.

Peak finished with 20 points, and White added eight points and six rebounds for Young (18-2).

Peak and Madison definitely got more into the game after the break, Parker said. It was our guard play though, thats what killed them.

Okafor shot 3-for-9 from the field and had six rebounds and five blocks. Some foul trouble and Simeons zone defense bottled him up in the first half, in the second it was Simeons 6-7 center Russell Woods that did the job.

Parker shot 3-for-11 and had five rebounds. White, a 6-9 junior, defended Parker most of the night.

Its tough when youre playing against a lot of people your own size, Parker said. Okafor is going to be really good though. He has another year of high school left.

Simeon out-rebounded Young 32-24. The Wolverines are 3-0 without coach Robert Smith on the sideline and seem to have responded well to the challenge.

Young entered the game ranked No. 2 in the country by USA Today, Simeon was No. 10. The teams can possible play twice more this season, in the Public League and the state playoffs.

We shot 43 percent from the field. We havent shot 43 percent all year, Young coach Tyrone Slaughter said. LJ Peak stepped up for us but unfortunately other people didnt. Its just one bump in the road. Well get going again tomorrow.

Illinois Mr. Basketball Charlie Moore down to eight schools

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Illinois Mr. Basketball Charlie Moore down to eight schools

After opening up his recruitment earlier in April, Morgan Park senior point guard and Illinois Mr. Basketball Charlie Moore is down to eight schools, he announced on Twitter.

The 5-foot-11 Moore is down to Cal, Illinois, Georgia Tech, LSU, Miami, SMU, UNLV and Western Kentucky. Moore opened up his previous commitment from Memphis after head coach Josh Pastner left to take the same position at Georgia Tech. It's worth noting that the Yellow Jackets is on Moore's final list.

A two-time state champion at Morgan Park, Moore averaged 28 points, seven assists and five steals per game as a senior.

Regarded as the No. 57 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016, according to Rivals, Moore is the best available senior point guard left in the country. 

 

Phillips DB Dexter Warren pledges to NIU

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Phillips DB Dexter Warren pledges to NIU

Phillips junior defensive back recruit Dexter Warren (6-foot-1, 170 pounds) already drew a handful of MAC offers and more recruiting looks this spring, yet it didn't take long for Warren to make his verbal commitment. Warren gave NIU head coach Rod Carey his verbal commitment while visiting the school last weekend for the Huskies spring game.

"NIU just feels like the right place for me," according to Warren. "I just like everything they have to offer and I was ready so I committed."

Warren, who can play either cornerback or safety at the college level, didn't choose NIU just because of its proximity to his hometown.

"I really didn't consider staying closer to home too much at first," Warren said. "I just liked everything that NIU has to offer. The school being closer to home is just another positive but it wasn't a big factor in my decision. My family and friends can come see me play, which is good."

Warren is now the second known in-state commitment for the Huskies and joins DeKalb WR Cole Tucker in the NIU Class of 2017. 

Nazareth Academy DT Devonte Dunn is done with his recruitment

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Nazareth Academy DT Devonte Dunn is done with his recruitment

Nazareth Academy junior defensive tackle Devonte Dunn (6-foot-1, 261 pounds) didn't want to make his verbal commitment over the phone or on social media, so Dunn and his family drove out to Toledo, Ohio last Saturday and gave the Rockets his decision in person. And with a handshake.

"I just didn't want to commit over the phone or on social media," Dunn said. "I wanted to give the Toledo coaches my decision in person. I wanted to look them in the eye, shake their hands and let them know how serious I am about my decision."

Dunn discussed why he decided to end his recruiting process and give the Rockets his verbal commitment.

"I just love the school and the coaches at Toledo," according to Dunn. "The coaches at Toledo really care about the players on the off the field. I like how the coaches make sure that everyone is focused on school and education along with football. I just developed a great bond at Toledo from very early on and I'm just excited to be a part of the program. 

Dunn, who has been an impact starter on the Road Runners back to back state title runs also wanted to make an early decision with his 2016 senior season and a shot at a third straight state title in mind.

"My plan all along was to make an early decision," Dunn added. "I want to be able to put 100 percent of my focus on my team and my senior year without recruiting being a distraction."