(Left to Right)Darnell Rawls, Phil Watson (standing), Roy Thomas, Admir Basic, Michael Edwards,
Julian McElroy, Cory Lee, Joe Sewell, Luke Rogers, Jetter Gibson (standing), Allen Aquada, Henry Stephens
High School Elite PEP Recap
By Frank Rusnak
Concluding with the Chicago Demons being crowned champions of the High School Elite PEP Fall Classic at North Park University it was a successful weekend with top talent from throughout the state on hand.
The tournament started with a bang as the Illinois Warriors faced off against the RBS All-Stars. Each team hosted several well known stars: Warriors- Pierre Pierce, Kevin Menard and Ricky Cornett & RBS- Kelly Whitney, Michael Lang and John Womack.
The main duel came down to the two big men for each team. RBS's Kelly Whitney, a 6'8" senior from Chicago Marshall, against Ricky Cornett, also 6'8", a junior from Homewood Flossmoor Christian Academy. Both teams putting on a show for all the coaches on hand, the Warriors were too much to handle for RBS in the end with their talent and depth.
That depth would turn out to diminish drastically for the Warriors as countless injuries were sustained to several of their players and eventually had to forfeit their final game as everyone could be found on the bench icing their sore muscles and joints.
Perhaps the best one-two combo at the tournament was Manley High School's 6'2" Illinois-bound Luther Head and 6'5" rising prospect, John Jones. Both players averaging 20-plus points for the tournament and Jones amassing an amazing 33 points in one game which finished as a single game high of any player in the tournament, they continually had the attention of fans and college coaches alike when they took the floor. With their high flying acrobatics and oozing skills they eventually brought Manley on to win the Consolation Championship over the West Central Gunners 16-U team.
The Gunners, comprised of Peoria-area players, came into action on a mission to prove to everyone that they could hold their own with the Chicago players. In the end, they proved far beyond that, as they never backed down to anyone and finished with their 17-U team in the championship game. Lead by Peoria Richwood's 6'4" combo guard Steve Turner, the Gunners never were out of a game. Turner finished as the Tournament MVP displaying a consistent outside shot, the ability to handle the point guard position and an unselfish-team mentality.
In the end, it was the Chicago Demons who concurred all and did the unexpected of winning the crown. With their chemistry and team play it was tough to overcome the quick Demons. Championship Game MVP Michael Edwards, a 6'3" fifth year player at Chicago Austin, lead the Demons with a 10.75 points per game average and 16 points in the championship game with some clutch shots.
Holding down the middle for the Demons was 6'6" Joe Sewell from Bolingbrook High School. Others who starred for the Demons were 6'3" senior swingman Phil Watson (Von Steuben H.S.) who displayed his uncanny passing abilities and great athleticism, Von Steuben junior point guards; 6'2" Darnell Rawls and 6'0" Luke Rogers, among others. Overall, it was a great all-around effort by the Demons and all of their players and a well deserved championship.
6'4" Levar Seals 18.3ppg St. Mel
5'10" Coby Bridgemon 16.3ppg Warriors 16-U
6'8" Marcus Jackson 9ppg Gunners 17-U
5'10" Jamal Brown 16ppg Westinghouse
6'7" Robert Turner 15.4ppg Gunners 16-U
5'10" Munchie Muskeyvalley 7.5ppg Gunners 17-U
6'7" Stan Gaines 14.6ppg St. Mel
6'0" Branden Dillard 16ppg Warriors 16-U
6'3" Phil Watson 6.75ppg Demons
6'0" John Little 11.4ppg Gunners 16-U
6'8" Marcus Arnold 10.5ppg High School Elite
6'5" Jamal Washington 15.3ppg Westinghouse
6'6" Melvin Buckley 13.6ppg Warriors 16-U
5'10" Matt Miller 14ppg Waubonsie Valley
6'3" Pierre Pierce 10.6 Warriors Warriors I
6'1" Wes Weatherspoon 11ppg Gunners 16-U
6'5" Richard Russell 9.3ppg Westinghouse
6'5" Kevin Menard 9.25ppg Warriors I
6'8" Graham Beatty 8ppg High School Elite
6'5" Quinnel Brown 12.6ppg Warriors I
6'7" Darron Evans 7ppg St. Mel
6'3" Jason Macon 10.6ppg Hubbard
6'2" Darnell Rawls 7ppg Demons
6'4" Damien Mason 12.5ppg Waubonsie Valley
6'5" John Womack 7.6ppg RBS All-Stars
|23.6 John Jones Manley||13.5 Tim Glasco Waubonsie Valley|
|21.3 Kelly Whitney RBS All-Stars||13.0 Blake Lyman Lake Forest|
|20.2 Luther Head Manley||12.6 Quinnel Brown Warriors I|
|18.3 Levar Seals Providence St. Mel||12.5 Damien Mason Waubonsie Valley|
|16.5 Steve Turner West Central Gunners 17-U||11.4 John Little West Central Gunners 16-U|
|16.3 Coby Bridgemon Warriors 16-U||11.0 Allen Apuanda Demons Srs.|
|16.0 Branden Dillard Warriors 16-U||11.0 Wes Weatherspoon West Central Gunners 16-U|
|16.0 Jamal Brown Westinghouse||10.75 Michael Edwards Demons Srs.|
|15.4 Robert Turner West Central Gunners 16-U||10.6 Pierre Pierce Warriors I|
|15.3 Jamal Washington Westinghouse||10.6 Jason Macon Hubbard|
|14.6 Stan Gaines Providence St. Mel||10.5 Marcus Arnold High School Elite|
|14.0 Matt Miller Waubonsie Valley||10.0 Thomas Smith Lake Forest|
|13.6 Melvin Buckley Warriors 16-U||10.0 Rashaun Johnson Hubbard|
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