High school basketball: Public League questions, Mount Carmel transfer

If you take all the Kenwood prospects — Jaden Smith, Chris Riddle, Calvin Robbins and now, recent Hillcrest transfer Isaiah Green — out of the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s Class of 2024 player rankings, there are just two Public League players among the top 30: Curie’s Carlos Harris and Lane’s Shaheed Solebo.

This follows a couple of recent classes — the Class of 2022, which just graduated, and the Class of 2021 — where we saw just three players from the Public League ranked among the final top 25 in each class.

This is a bit of an alarming trend for city basketball, especially when looking at the talent that’s been produced out of the city historically.

The Class of 2007 had nine Public League players among the top 25, followed by nine in 2008, eight in 2009 and nine in 2010.

The Public League averaged 8-10 players a year among the top 25 prospects in the state from 1998-2015. Since then we have seen those numbers drastically drop and, in many years, limited to a handful or less of the top 25 prospects.

Public League challengers?

Watching all the different talent and age groups in the city, along with getting a sneak peek at teams in the Riverside-Brookfield and Ridgewood shootouts in June, this could be as top-heavy as the Public League has ever been. It’s Simeon, Young, Kenwood, Curie and …?

Morgan Park was a major player in city and state basketball for a decade under coach Nick Irvin. His departure to the college ranks — Irvin is now a part of Bobby Hurley’s staff at Arizona State — ended Morgan Park’s dominating run.

Orr coach Lou Adams has retired, leaving questions surrounding that highly-successful program. Bogan has taken a massive step back following the sudden passing of longtime coach Arthur Goodwin 15 months ago. The turnover at Lincoln Park and Hyde Park has not helped their cause.

As a result of several fading or transitioning programs, there is an opening in the Public League to elevate itself and be in that next group behind the “Big Four” in the city’s hierarchy.

Mount Carmel’s addition

The recent transfer of Lee Marks from Homewood-Flossmoor to Mount Carmel is a boon for the Caravan.

Homewood-Flossmoor’s Lee Marks (23) gets an open look from beyond the arc as the Vikings play Hyde Park.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Coach Phil Segroves’ team was already among the top teams in the Catholic League with the return of Division I star guard DeAndre Craig, promising junior Angelo Ciaravino and other key pieces. But Marks, a 6-5 junior who made an impact last year at Homewood-Flossmoor as a sophomore, adds much-needed size, length and athleticism.

Brother Rice and Mount Carmel both figure to be the biggest threats to St. Rita in the Catholic League this season.

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