High school basketball: Previewing the Proviso West holiday tournament


Kenwood’s Calvin Robins (0) congratulates Dai Dai Ames (4) after he scored and was fouled,

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Proviso West

When: Dec. 26-29

Team to beat: Kenwood

The loaded Broncos have yet to lose to an in-state team. The impressive start includes wins over Joliet West and Young. This is a deep team with size, length and athleticism, and it starts with Kansas State recruit Dai Dai Ames, a dynamic scorer in the backcourt. This Kenwood roster, from top to bottom, is arguably the most talented in the state.  

Top challengers: St. Rita and Young

St. Rita and Young are on a collision course and should meet in the semifinals. The winner will get a crack at Kenwood. 

Everyone’s perception regarding St. Rita seems to be a topic of conversation in high school basketball over the first third of the season. We’ve already seen St. Rita face Public League giant Simeon. It didn’t go so well; the Mustangs were drilled by 27 points. 

The Mustangs should be extremely motivated at a possible opportunity to play two more of the top teams in the city and state. 

A strong showing, in some fashion, at Proviso West will enhance the prospects going forward for this team. With the Mustangs you start with the big man tandem of 6-8 Morez Johnson and 6-9 James Brown. Nojus Indrusaitis, the highly-regarded prospect and transfer from Lemont, appears to be settling in. 

With Young, it’s a heavy reliance on talented point guard Dalen Davis. But when senior Daniel Johnson produces, it provides a big boost for the Dolphins. Production from Johnson is imperative for the Dolphins to beat the very best. 

Darkhorse: Proviso East

No one expects any of the other 13 teams to put much of a scare into the Big Three: Kenwood, Young and St. Rita. But the best of the bunch beyond those three is Proviso East, led by guard Jaloni Johnson and 6-6 Bryce Coleman. 

Five players to watch: Dalen Davis, Young; James Brown and Morez Johnson, St. Rita; Darrin Ames, Kenwood; Jaloni Johnson, Proviso East

Underrated player to watch: Jevon Warren, TF North

No one has taken notice but T.F. North is unbeaten at 7-0 heading into Proviso West. And a big part of that has been the play of senior guard Jevon Warren. Veteran coach Tim Bankston calls Warren “the most athletic kid I have ever coached.” The 6-2 Warren is putting up 16.7 points, eight rebounds and 2.1 steals a game. 

Storyline to follow: Will another Kenwood-Young showdown materialize? 

This isn’t a rivalry, right? Or is it? If this battle does materialize it will be the fifth matchup between the two in the last 12 months. 

Kenwood beat Young in last year’s Proviso West Holiday Tournament final. Then Young beat Kenwood in the city semifinals and again in a Class 4A super-sectional. Kenwood came from behind to knock off Young in the season opener a month ago. 

Title game pick: Kenwood over St. Rita

Proviso West first round
Dec. 26

Proviso West vs. Lincoln Park, 9:30 am

St. Rita vs. Gary Bowman, Ind., 11 am

Bogan vs. Hammond Central, Ind., 12:30

Young vs. Zion-Benton, 2

TF North vs. Clark, 4

Proviso East vs. Crete-Monee, 5:30

Farragut vs. Fenwick, 7

Kenwood vs. Southland, 8:30

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