Award winners at fourth-annual High School Elite Top 50 Junior Showcase
on Oct. 3 were (from left) Chris Singletary, Robert Eppinger, Steve Jenkins,
Darrien McKinstrey, Sherron Collins and Osiris Eldridge.

Most Elite Player
Chris Singletary, Farragut

High School Elite Top 50 Jr. Showcase Recap

Net Torcher
Top Scorer - Sherron Collins
1)  5’10” Sherron Collins, Crane
2)  6’7” Robert Eppinger, Rockford Jefferson
3)  6’3” Kevin Bulger, Glenbrook South
4)  6’3” Chris Singletary, Farragut
5)  6’5” Dustin Maguire, Civic Memorial
6)  6’6” Andre Walker Jr., Homewood-Flossmoor
7)  6’6” Kendall Russell, Von Steuben
8)  6’1” LeMarcus Anderson, Peoria Woodruff
9)  6’5” Mario Little, Wasghinton
10)  6’1” Willie Walker, Romeoville

By Frank Rusnak

    Chris Singletary’s first love was football. But that doesn’t come to a surprise if you ask any opponents of the 6’3” bull-dozer of a point guard.

    With a tank of a body, a finally-tuned handle on the ball and improved athleticism that allows him to finish his drives to the hoop with a thundering one-handed dunk, Singletary played his way to the Most Elite Player award at the Fourth Annual High School Elite Top 50 Junior Showcase on Oct. 3 at North Park University.

    Despite both of Singletary’s parents being former basketball standouts in the Chicago Public League and at Malcolm X Junior College, Singletary did not grow up with a basketball in his cradle.

Aerial Demon
Dunk Champion - Steve Jenkins
1) 6’1” Steve Jenkins, South Shore
2) 6’5” Andre Gullens, Harlan
3) 6’3” Osiris Eldridge, Phillips
4)  6’1” Sergio Brown, Proviso East
5)  6’5” Mario Little, Washington
6) 6’4” Brandon Williams, Thornwood
7)  6’5” Devan Bawinkel, Winnebago
6’3” Mitchell Bouie, Marist

    Playing football as a youngster, Singletary was asked to stop after he got injured.

    “He got his finger stepped on and Chris’ grandmother and I thought it was too tough,” said Catrina Singletary , Chris’ mom.

    Chris picked football back up last year, going both ways as a tight end and defensive end, but gave it up this season to focus on basketball.

    “When some guys work on their game they work on it by themselves or with guys their own age,” said Chris, who played in open gyms at Farragut this summer with past players and current college stars. “I work on my game with guys who are older than me and been past high school.”

    His talent on the court though is something that has rarely been questioned. After several displays of poor attitude last year and over the summer Chris has been labeled by some as a hot-head. But he insists that is the past and he is changed.

Glass Cleaner
Top Rebounder - Robert Eppinger
1)  6’7” Robert Eppinger, Rockford Jefferson
2) 6’6” Andre Walker Jr., Homewood-Flossmoor
3) 6’6” Kendall Russell, Von Steuben
4) 6’6” Peter Flowers, Fenwick
5)  6’8” Blake Mishler, Metamora
6)  6’10” Jeremy Ball, Canton
7)  6’10” Brian Carlwell, Proviso East
8) 6’3” Travis Marion, West Aurora
9)  6’3” Mitchell Bouie, Marist
10)  6’5” Mario Little, Washington

    Still a very emotional player, Chris said if he’s yelling and screaming on the court now it is more of excitement and having fun than frustration.

    “He’s maturing,” said Catrina Singletary, who along with Chris’ father are both 6’3”. “He’s now 16. And given the social, economical circumstances with the way we’re living I think he’s doing a good job. This is the West side, this is the heart of it all. He’s not taking the easy way out. There are a lot of temptations out there. I’m just grateful he’s taking other alternatives.”

Jenkins gets things going on right foot
    Stepping one foot in front of the free-throw line and leaping over three chairs, South Shore transfer Steve Jenkins won the dunk contest with straight 10s, defeating Harlan’s Andre Gullens.

    But that was only the beginning for the 6’1” Jenkins.

Pass Master
Top Assist Man - Darrien McKinstrey
1) 6’0” Darrien McKinstrey, Hales Franciscan
2)  6’3” Chris Singletary, Farragut
3)  5’10” Sherron Collins, Crane
4) 6’0” Dayvon Ellis, Larkin
5)  6’1” Willie Walker, Bolingbrook
6) 6’5” Marcus Relphorde, Homewood-Flossmoor
7)  6’5” Devan Bawinkel, Winnebago
8) 6’0” Cordelro Yelder, Richards
9) 5’9” Cory Hughes, Farragut
10) 6’6” Jon Scheyer, Glenbrook North

    “Ever since I won everybody’s talking about it,” said Jenkins two days after the event. “They say, ‘I didn’t know you can jump that high.’ People are trying to put me to the test now.

    “When I’m outside they say, ‘Well, touch this. Grab the street sign, the barber shop sign.’ I jumped over a car for someone. I’m serious they had me jump over a car at the barber shop. I knew I could do it though; it wasn’t nothing but a Civic.”

    Enrolled at South Shore since the start of the school year, Jenkins, who runs cross country, is back in school for the fist time in about a year.

    The combo guard is two years behind his true high school graduating class, which would’ve been 2004. Jenkins, 18, plans on playing AAU in Illinois this summer then attending a prep school because he’ll be too old for Illinois high schools in his senior year.

NasDaq Man
No one knew about, but blew up:
Osiris Eldridge
1) 6’3” Osiris Eldridge, Phillips
2) 6’1” Steve Jenkins, South Shore
6’0” Cordelro Yelder, Richards
4)  6’5’ Arseno Williams, Bogan
5) 6’0” Dayvon Ellis, Larkin
6)  6’4” Brandon Williams, Thornwood
7) 6’3” Kijuane Leech, Leo
8) 6’2” Patrick Beverly, Marshall
9) 6’5” Billy Rush, Thornridge
10)  6’5” William Comfort, Gage Park

    Jenkins began high school at Joliet Township where he played on the sophomore team four years ago as a 5’8” guard.

    Jenkins has had a checkered past; both dropping out and being kicked out of school, to where he then helped support himself and his mother.

    “I couldn’t go to school and help my mom at the same time,” he said.

    Working at Certified Foods in Joliet, Jenkins’ biggest highlight of the past few years was being promoted from the mop-up crew to shelf boy.

    After he met and became friends with Hales Franciscan star forward Nate Minnoy at an AAU tournament, everything started to change for the better for Jenkins.

    “I got in touch with Nate Minnoy and he just has kept me on the right track,” Jenkins said. “He didn’t do nothing bad and I hung with him so I could stay out of trouble. I owe a lot to Nate.”

    All of which brings us to Sunday’s event and dunk contest; an obvious step up from stocking shelves and getting kicked out of school.

    “That was the most enjoyable thing I’ve done in the past year a half,” Jenkins said of the Junior Showcase. “I never really got the experience to play against all the high school people so I never really had the exposure being out of school.”



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