Chicago Public Schools in collaboration with NIKE Chicago and several notable sponsors, hosted the 2019 Chicago Elite Classic from Friday December 6, through Saturday December 7, at Wintrust Arena in downtown Chicago.
Now in its eighth season of existence, the event featured some of the top high school basketball players in the nation.
“The biggest thing is that we get to showcase Chicago,” said Robert Smith, head coach of the Simeon Wolverines and co founder of the event about the rich history of the Chicago Elite Classic. “Coach (Tyrone) Slaughter and myself would attend these other tournaments
outside the city and realized we could do this for Chicago. We get to showcase Chicago for what it’s really worth, not just for what people see on TV.”
Coach Smith expressed his views and love for the annual Classic during an exclusive NIKE pregame press conference held for the media on Friday afternoon December 6, at Wintrust Arena.
Smith also shared that this year Classic featured top team’s and player’s from Pace High School in Atlanta, St.Frances High School in Baltimore, Duncanville High School in Texas and Vashon High School out of St.Louis.
“We get to show them our beautiful downtown and businesses,” said Smith. “We are grateful to our staff because they really are the ones that make this thing go. They are top notch. Knowing that they are volunteers means a lot. They had kids who attended these Chicago public schools. They could have moved on when their children graduated but they didn’t and we are grateful for them.”
Smith believes the Classic was something needed for the city prior to the holiday’s and that it happened at the right time.
“People are looking forward to this (year’s) Classic,” said Smith. “We are working to make it one of the premier tournaments in the country.”
In addition to Smith pregame comments, the Chicago Elite Classic also featured the state of Illinois Top 5 recruits in DJ Steward, a 6’2″ point guard out of Whitney Young High School (who will attend Duke University in the fall of 2020 on a full scholarship offer), Adam Miller, a 6’4″ point guard out of Morgan Park High School (who will play for the University of Illinois Fighting Illini next fall), Keshawn Williams, a 6’3″ shooting guard out of Bloom High School (who will attend Tulsa University in the Fall of 2020), Isaiah Rivera, a
6’4″ small forward out of Geneseo High School (a current Colorado State University commit), and Martice Mitchell, a 6’9″ center out of Bloom High School (who will attend the University of Minnesota in the Fall of 2020).
BIG GAME MATCH UPS AND SCORES OVER THE WEEKEND:
Throughout the weekend, a wide range of highly ranked outer-state and inter-ranked team’s faced off against each other, including Baltimore St. Frances, Md. upsetting Simeon 61-57, Bloom defeating Atlanta Pace, Ga. 84- 54, Duncanville, Texas defeating Young 57-55, Lincoln Park edging Kenwood 49-48, and Morgan Park closing out the night with a
73-72 win over St. Louis Christian Brothers, Mo.
Other scores earlier in the tournament, Evanston defeated Notre Dame 62-53, Fenwick upset Oak Park-River Forest 55-48, Lane defeated New Trier 57-47, and Homewood Flossmor girl’s basketball team edged Simeon 50-49.
According to the organization’s mission statement, the Chicago Elite Classic (CEC) is the premier high school basketball showcase in Illinois that was co-founded by two of Illinois perennial basketball powerhouses Whitney Young and Simeon Career Academy.
The event showcases nationally ranked team’s from throughout the country and utilizes basketball to promote and encourage a champions in life message.
This year’s theme for the 2019 Chicago Elite Classic was entitled: “Be What Chicago’s Famous For.” Part of a NIKE campaign airing through several ads and tv commercials across the city of Chicago.
The group donated brand new state of the art uniforms that were worn by the player’s of Simeon, Whitney Young, and Morgan Park.
They were also supplied with a pair of new “Kyrie Irving 6’s,” a gym shoe designed by NIKE.
Chicago Crusader Players of The Game:
Dante Maddox Jr., Bloom (IL), three first quarter three-pointers, 30 points.