Boy’s high school basketball games begin today in Illinois and schools from around the state will tip-off Thanksgiving tournaments to begin the season. Here's a look at the Starting Five Thanksgiving tournaments to check out this first week of the season.
1. Chicago Heights Classic: Beginning tonight at two sites, Bloom and Marian Catholic, the Chicago Heights Classic culminates in Friday's championship day at Marian Catholic and features the No. 8 Spartans, No. 19 Hillcrest, Bloom, Thornwood, Brooks, Homewood-Flossmoor, T.F. South and Hales. This event has a lot of talent, especially the co-hosts, Marian Catholic, as they feature point guard Tyler Ulis, a Kentucky commit.
2. Ron Johnson Thanksgiving Tournament: The 55th Ron Johnson Thanksgiving Tournament at St. Charles East has a great field of teams with multiple teams ranked in CSN Chicago's Preseason Top 25. The field is led by No. 12 St. Joseph and their backcourt of junior point guard Glynn Watson and guard Jordan Ash and No. 20 North Lawndale is strong as well with junior guard Fred Sims and freshman big man Manuel Patterson leading the way. St. Charles East, East Aurora, Downers South, St. Charles North, Schaumburg and junior guard Aaron Jordan and Plainfield East round out the teams.
3. Lane Tech Thanksgiving Tournament: An intriguing field of teams with a lot of question marks entering the season includes No. 16 Zion-Benton and high-scoring senior wing Milik Yarbrough as well as Evanston, Mount Carmel, Lane, Notre Dame and Taft. The Zee-Bees will be the favorite, but if they are dethroned, it will be through a tough top-to-bottom field featuring some good teams.
4. Joe Majkowski Thanksgiving Tournament: The 37th annual event at Saint Viator sees the No. 10 Lions host Prospect, Conant, Walther Lutheran and Highland Park in the five-team field. This is an interesting round-robin of a lot of good north suburban teams that features some good guards including the Viator backcourt of Ore Arogundade, Roosevelt Smart and Mark Falotico, Prospect senior Bobby Frasco and Highland Park point guard David Sachs.
5. The Bill VandeMerkt Thanksgiving Classic: Riverside-Brookfield hosts top-notch events whether in the summer or the season and they host No. 23 Oak Park-River Forest, up-and-coming Kenwood and Rich Central for this solid Thanksgiving field. Riverside-Brookfield and Kenwood both have enough talent to challenge in their respective leagues this season and the Huskies have a nice inside-outside duo with Erick Locke and Jovanni Harrell.