IHSA Boys Basketball: Best teams of the decade

Scott Phillips
NBC Sports Chicago

With a memorable decade of IHSA high school basketball finishing up last season, we are taking a look back on some of the memorable players, teams and games that occurred over the past 10 years. 

In the third part of our All-Decade series, I'm selecting the five best teams from the Chicagoland area this decade. All of these teams claimed state titles while a couple of programs (Simeon, Orr and Morgan Park) won multiple titles in a row. 

Since this list has so many multi-title winners, I'm only including the best version of one program's title teams -- meaning only one of Simeon's four title teams is making the list, etc.

If you have a team you loved to watch play over the past decade be sure to send us your list on Twitter @NBCSPreps. We'll have more all-decade coverage this week with a look back at more of the last 10 years of local hoops.





2012 Simeon: The third state title team in a row for Simeon, this well-oiled machine finished 33-1 and beat the state's second-best team (Proviso East) to win again in Class 4A. Losing only to nationally-ranked Findlay Prep during the season, this Jabari Parker-led outfit also had the area's best senior in Steve Taylor while junior Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate started to develop into consistent threats.

Winners at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament and Public League Playoffs as well, this 2012 Wolverines team was the best of three consecutive mega teams they produced.

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Although Simeon only lost three games to Illinois opponents over three seasons (2010-2011 through 2012-2013), this particular 2011-12 group had the distinction of having the best senior and junior in the area on the same team while remaining unbeaten in the state. 

Simeon's 2011 and 2013 teams are also among the top four teams of the decade's best as the 2011 team only lost to Whitney Young and a nationally-ranked Benet team while the 2013 team only fell to city rival (and nationally-ranked) Morgan Park. 

2014 Whitney Young: Playing perhaps the most difficult schedule in state history, the Dolphins claimed the Class 4A title behind the memorable senior trio of Jahlil Okafor, Paul White and Miles Reynolds.

Finishing 28-5 on the season, the Dolphins played an incredible 13 out-of-state opponents during the year as Okafor was a major national draw. Playing multiple games on national television -- including a top-five national win over Oak Hill Academy on Martin Luther King Day -- the Dolphins didn't get enough credit for being so dominant. 

Whitney Young's only local loss came in the legendary four-overtime thriller in the Public League Playoff finals as they lost to Curie and Cliff Alexander. But with Curie using ineligible players and eventually forfeiting the game, the Dolphins finished the season unbeaten against Illinois competition.

2015 Stevenson: On their third straight trip to Peoria, the Patriots and seniors Jalen Brunson and Connor Cashaw finally broke through and won the Class 4A state title in dominating fashion.

The state's premier player by a mile that season, Brunson had an incredible final campaign as he cemented his legacy as one of the best high school players Illinois has ever seen. But Stevenson had far more than the future NBA point guard. Cashaw was a consistent second scorer and experienced presence while sophomore Justin Smith started to blossom during his sophomore season. 

The Patriots also deserve credit for dominating local competition during the 2014-15 season. At 30-3 on the season, Stevenson only lost one game to an Illinois team all season when they lost to Simeon at the end of February. 

2013 Morgan Park: The best Class 3A state champion of the decade is an absolutely loaded Mustangs squad from 2013 that would repeat the following season. 

Led by seniors and four-year varsity players Billy Garrett Sr. and Markee Williams, the Mustangs also had additional future college players in Kyle Davis, Josh Cunningham, Lamont Walker, Kain Harris and Torry Johnson. Freshman guard Charlie Moore also started his impressive career on this team.

Although overshadowed by a Simeon team that won its fourth straight state title that season in Class 4A, the Mustangs split the season series with the rival Wolverines while Whitney Young was Morgan Park's only other in-state loss on the season. The Mustangs finished the season 33-3 and ended the year in the USA Today's national top 25 poll.

2018 Orr: Although the area had plenty of Class 2A champions this decade, including Orr's three straight to close out the decade, the 2018 Spartans were the strongest "smaller" school the area saw this decade.

Loaded with talent and senior experience, Orr returned most of the previous year's Class 2A title team as they were led by seniors Dannie Smith, Raekwon Drake, Chase Adams, Brian Hernandez and Tyronn Mosley.

Although the seniors drew the headlines, enough depth was in place to compete with any team in the state as the Spartans finished the season 30-4. Orr also dominated the Proviso West Holiday Tournament and made the Public League Playoff finals before falling to nationally-ranked Simeon.

IHSA Boys Basketball: Best teams of the decade originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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