High School Lites preview: First things first

980205.png

High School Lites preview: First things first

Battles for first place? In early January?

Yes, it might be a little early to start hyping the first place jostling in prep basketball conferences across Chicagoland. But its hard to deny the drama that will unfold on some courts Friday night.

In the Metro Conference, both Ridgewood and Riverside-Brookfield will meet up with undefeated records in league play. And it should be a quite an atmosphere in Norridge, as loads of Bulldogs fans are expected to make the trip north.

RELATED Simeon still the team to beat in Chicago

Over in the Fox Valley Fox, Crystal Lake Central has raced out to a 15-1 record, but theyll have their work cut out for them as Woodstock comes to town. The Blue Streaks, fresh off a 75-57 win over Grayslake Central, will contend with CLCs 1-2 punch of Corban Murphy and Kyle Flack.

And In the Southwest Prairie, Oswego has turned heads all season long, with guards Miles Simelton and Elliot McGaughy dominating the opposition. But Minooka will come in with a 5-0 record in conference play. Keep an eye on Jake Hogen for the Indians.

Here is a snapshot of every basketball game we will profile on Friday's High School Lites at 10:30 p.m. The rankings reflect the latest CSN Top 20:

THURSDAY GAMES:

St. Charles East @ No. 15 Larkin, 7:15 p.m.

Mother McAuley @ Trinity, 7:30 p.m. (GIRLS)

FRIDAY GAMES:

Oswego @ Minooka, 6:30 p.m.

Riverside-Brookfield @ Ridgewood, 7:00 p.m.

Woodstock @ Crystal Lake Central, 7:00 p.m.

Montini @ Marian Central Catholic, 7:00 p.m.

Neuqua Valley @ Metea Valley, 7:15 p.m. (GIRLS)

Naperville North @ Naperville Central, 7:30 p.m.

No. 20 St. Patrick @ Marist, 7:30 p.m.

New Trier @ Maine South, 7:30 p.m.

Our Muscle Milk Team of the Week is Curie High School boys basketball team. Pay no attention to the Condors record, which contains five losses. Or maybe pay attention to the five teams that beat Curie. Every one of them was highly ranked, including local teams like Simeon and Benet, to national powers in Oak Hill Academy (VA) and Arsenal Tech (IN). Their cornerstone is 6-9 Cliff Alexander. Can this highly-touted junior take Curie deep into postseason play?

We'll also head out to Carol Stream to profile Jered Cortez, our Allstate High School Athlete of the Week. Cortez is a two-time Illinois state champion and a Cadet National Champion. What is the key to success for this 126-pound phenom?

As always, well take a drive down Memory Lane in our Flashback segment and bring you up-to-the-minute scores and highlights from across Chicagoland.

High School Lites streams live this Friday night on CSNChicago.com.

We invite you to share your story ideas as well. Check us out at: highschoollites@comcastsportsnet.com

Recruiting News and Notes: Ben Bryant commits to Cincinnati

Recruiting News and Notes: Ben Bryant commits to Cincinnati

Ben Bryant (QB), Lyons Township

Lyons Township senior three-star quarterback Ben Bryant (6-foot-3, 195 pounds), who originally gave Wisconsin his verbal commitment only to have the Badgers rescind his verbal scholarship offer, has given Cincinnati his verbal commitment.

"It was a much harder decision this time around compared to the first time I committed," Bryant said. "When I committed the first time (to Wisconsin) I had two offers. This time around I had a lot of options and some great offers, but Cincinnati is the best place for me."

Bryant is thrilled to have ended his recruiting process again and can now focus on his upcoming senior season while also putting to rest the entire ordeal with Wisconsin.

"I've put the whole Wisconsin deal behind me and I stand my statement that I sent out on my Twitter account and that's all I have to say. I had some great offers and options and it was a great problem to have. I can just focus now on my team this summer and having a great senior season."

Bryant joins Simeon wide receiver Jayshon Jackson and Mount Carmel senior offensive linemen Jeremy Cooper as part of the Bearcats Class of 2018. 

Jeff Griffin (DL), Homewood-Flossmoor

Northern Illinois continues to do well with filling out its Class of 2018. The Huskies added another Chicagoland piece when Homewood-Flossmoor senior defensive linemen Jeff Griffin (6-foot-2, 260 pounds) became the team's ninth in-state commitment and 14th overall pledge.

"I visited NIU (last Saturday) and that visit really sold me on NIU," Griffin said. "I always wanted to stay closer to home for school and once NIU stepped up and offered me it was a hard offer to turn down. After the visit on Saturday I was sold on NIU so I called up the coaches and committed."

Griffin is also hoping to help NIU add a few more pieces from Homewood-Flossmoor's talented senior class.

"I'm definitely already talking to Justin (Hall) and Mario (Wright II) about joining me at NIU."

Seniors' athlete Justin Hall and linebacker Mario Wright II have both listed Northern Illinois as one of their favorite schools this summer. 

[RELATED: Recruiting News and Notes - Jyran Mitchell commits to NIU]

Indiana State recruiting

Indiana State head coach Curt Mallory has been on fire when it comes to the Sycamores recruiting this summer. Mallory, who was a long-time assistant coach at various stops in Illinois, now has an amazing 24 verbal commitments — including two recent additions in Bishop McNamara safety Giavion Mason (6-foot-0, 190 pounds) and Lindblom wide receiver CJ Rutherford (6-foot-0. 170 pounds).

So why the Sycamores?

Rutherford pointed towards the strength of the coaching staff as a big factor in his decision.

"I really love the coaching staff at Indiana State," Rutherford said. "Coach Mallory brought in a staff that has a lot of experience and several of his coaches worked with him when he was at Michigan. The coaches made us feel comfortable and at home at Indiana State and I'm just excited to be a part of helping the football program win."

Recruiting News

Who are the Top 5 uncommitted players remaining in the Class of 2018?

Carterville tight end Luke Ford (6-foot-7, 245 pounds) has offers from literally every Power 5 school in the nation. Ford originally committed to Arkansas.

Oswego DT Noah Shannon (6-foot-2, 290 pounds) was committed to Minnesota but reopened his recruiting process. Shannon has shown heavy interest in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Indiana and Arkansas.

Bolingbrook DT Dashaun Mallory (6-foot-2, 265 pounds) added a camp offer from Michigan State, and has a Top 3 list of the Spartans, along with Iowa State and Toledo. 

Waubonsie Valley tight end Charles Robinson (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) listed Iowa State, Minnesota and Mississippi State as his Top 3 favorite schools.

Bolingbrook wide receiver I'Shawn Stewart (5-foot-11, 165 pounds) camped earlier this summer with Wisconsin and also made a recent visit to Syracuse. 

58 Days to Kickoff: St. Viator

st._viator_-_30.png

58 Days to Kickoff: St. Viator

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Jul. 31, we’ll unveil the @CSNPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: St. Viator

Head coach: Dave Archibald

Assistant coaches: Chase Murdock (DC/LB), Kyle Jenkins (DL), Gregg Kirkwood (DB), Frank Laterza (Asst. DB/ST), Bob Lamick (OL), Casey Lynde (WR), Al Panzeca (RB), Dan Hall (K), Mike Tubridy (Football Operations)

How they fared in 2016: 6-5 (4-3 East Suburban Catholic Conference), made the Class 6A state playoff field, defeated Rockford Boylan then lost to Lake Forest.

[MORE: 59 Days to Kickoff - McHenry]

2017 regular season schedule:

Aug. 25 – @ Rolling Meadows

Sept. 1 – Lake Forest

Sept. 8 – @ Marian Catholic

Sept. 15 - Benet Academy

Sept. 22 - Carmel

Sept. 29 – @ Marian Central Catholic

Oct. 6 - St. Patrick

Oct. 13 - @ Nazareth Academy

Oct. 20- @ Notre Dame

Biggest storyline: Can the Lions make a deeper run this fall?

Names to watch this season: senior QB/K Bryce Hellgeth, senior DL/OLB Michael Wittich 

Biggest holes to fill: The Lions will need to find a go-to receiver with the graduation of standout tight end Cole Kmet (Notre Dame). St. Viator will also be inexperienced on the defensive line.

EDGY's early take: The Lions had a nice season in 2016 and return 12 starters back (seven offense, five defense). If St. Viator can fill in a handful of key spots, they have a great shot of getting back into the playoffs.