The Sun-Times is counting down the 50 high school basketball programs with the most wins during the decade.
When high school basketball fans think back to the 1980s, programs like Quincy, Providence St. Mel, East St. Louis Lincoln and the arrival of city powers King and Simeon are easy to think back on.
The 1990s brought us memorable basketball giants in Peoria Manual and Thornton, a few steamrolling Proviso East teams and the continued dominance of King.
The first 10 years of the 2000s included Glenbrook North, Peoria High and the beginning of a Simeon juggernaut.
Now, with the calendar inching closer to wrapping up an unforgettable 2020, the end of this month closes out another decade. And it’s another high school basketball time period to look back on.
This list is comprised of the 50 winningest programs over the past 10 years, starting with the 2010-11 season and concluding with the 2019-20 season. Every team in every class throughout the Chicago area will be broken down in a variety of ways. But total wins, with winning percentage used as tie-breaker, determined the rankings.
We present No. 36 DePaul Prep today and will add one program a day going forward.
36. DEPAUL PREP: 191-106
Decade’s biggest storyline: The decade was filled with so many highlights. But the 25-win team in 2018-19 that finished third in the state in Class 3A jumps to the top. The Perry Cowan-led team fell to Bogan in the state semifinals but bounced back to beat Peoria Manual in the third-place game.
Underrated decade highlight: The great Tom Kleinschmidt, who returned to DePaul Prep (formerly Gordon Tech) as head coach, turned the program into a bonafide area power. Kleinschmidt’s impact can’t be overlooked.
Kleinschmidt, who led Gordon Tech to a second-place Class AA finish in 1990 and was a McDonald’s All-American as a senior, has averaged 22 wins a season since the change to DePaul Prep in 2014. He’s emerged as one of the top coaches in the state.
Remember, this was a program that at one point prior to Kleinschmidt’s arrival had lost 36 Catholic League games in a row and had not won a league game in four years.
Player of the Decade: Perry Cowan (2017)
All-Decade Team: Raequan Williams (2015), Perry Cowan (2017), Lance Mosley (2020), Brian Mathews (2021) and TY Johnson (2021)
Other decade news and highlights:
–DePaul Prep snapped the 36-game Catholic League losing streak in eye-opening fashion with a shredding of a talented St. Joseph team in 2012-13. Kleinschmidt always believed that win catapulted his program and was the beginning of the belief and the culture within the program.
-The Rams won 26 games last season, including their sixth regional championship of the decade.
-The Rams were Catholic League Blue champions in 2018-19.
-In the short history of DePaul Prep, Perry Cowan became the all-time leading scorer –– and tops the list of so many other statistical categories.
-Raequan Williams, who was a huge piece of the culture change at DePaul Prep, starred at Michigan State in football and is now playing in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles.