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De La Salle's Brandon Hutton (left) is the No. 6-rated junior in Illinois. | Patrick Gleason/For Sun-Times Media
The rise of De La Salle junior forward Brandon Hutton began in July and has continued with his eye-opening open gym performances this fall. As the rugged and athletic 6-5 Hutton continues to morph from an undersized 4-man into a true wing, high-major college programs have taken notice. Wisconsin, West Virginia and Iowa have offered in the past few weeks, with several others showing a high level of interest.
“He likes to play defense as much as he likes to score, and that’s a unique thing,” said De La Salle coach Tom White of Hutton, currently the No. 6 prospect in the Class of 2015. “He has a motor that doesn’t stop, and he competes at everything he does. He will compete in getting to the lunch line first.”
Hutton will be the centerpiece of a young but talented De La Salle team that hopes to surprise and challenge in the Chicago Catholic League this season.
Chicago Elite Classic matchups set
The first Saturday in December will be special for Chicago area basketball fans as the second annual Chicago Elite Classic at the UIC Pavilion will feature seven matchups, highlighted by eight in-state schools and six out-of-state powers.
The headliners include Young and Jahlil Okafor taking on St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) and Curie and Cliff Alexander matched up against Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), which features 7-footer Stephen Zimmerman, the No. 2 ranked player in the country in the Class of 2015.
The remaining matchups include: Simeon vs. Hamilton (Memphis, Tenn.), Benet vs. Redondo Union (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Marian Catholic vs. Etiwanda (Calif.), St. Rita vs. Gonzaga College Prep (Washington, D.C.) and Fenwick vs. Normal U-High.
Huge recruiting weekend for Illinois
The last weekend in October brought the nation’s No. 2 player, Curie’s Cliff Alexander, to Champaign for an official visit to Illinois. While the buzz surrounded Alexander, who is set to make his college decision Nov. 15, coach John Groce and his staff also welcomed the state’s No. 1 junior, St. Rita’s Charles Matthews, the state’s No. 1 sophomore, Simeon’s Zach Norvell, and Simeon’s D.J. Williams, who is among the top 50 prospects nationally in the junior class.
Feeling sorry for Young?
No one is going to be throwing a pity party for nationally-ranked Young, which boasts the country’s top prospect, Jahlil Okafor, along with Georgetown recruit Paul White and Saint Louis commit Miles Reynolds. But imagine the look of coach Tyrone Slaughter’s team, which may be the preseason No. 1 team in the Chicago area, if 6-7 junior Joseph Toye and 6-5 L.J. Peak had not transferred.
Toye, now at La Lumiere Prep School in Indiana, has blossomed into a high-major prospect. Peak, who is a top 100 player in the country and committed to Georgetown, moved back to South Carolina after a stellar junior year at Young.