While the game won’t take place until Jan. 9, 2016, there’s already plenty of attention and major buzz surrounding a matchup between basketball powerhouses Althoff and Chaminade next season at the 25th annual Highland Optimist Shootout Classic.
There are five other games on a loaded shootout schedule, but organizer Matt Powers realizes they could probably sell out the Highland High School gym with just the Althoff-Chaminade game.
Chaminade 6-foor-9 All-American Jayson Tatum, the nation’s consensus top junior recruit, has narrowed his list of college choices to Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky and St. Louis University.
Along with Tatum are 6-9 junior Tyler Cook, who has offers from numerous Southeastern Conference and Big Ten schools, and several other potential Division I scholarship players. Chaminade (25-4) lost in the quarterfinals of the Missouri state tournament, but should be a preseason favorite to win the state title next season.
Althoff (30-4), which finished second in the state this season in Class 3A, returns one of the state’s top sophomore recruits in News-Democrat Large-School Player of the Year Jordan Goodwin along with juniors Brendon Gooch and Tarkus Ferguson. Gooch and Ferguson both have Division I scholarship offers and Goodwin’s stock is on the rise following a strong state tourney showing
“It’s the matchup everyone wanted and we got it,” Powers said. “This is our 25th year for the shootout, so there’s no better way to do it. I see that game as probably one of the best game this area’s seen in a long, long time.”
Chaminade and Tatum also helped fill the Highland gym to overflowing at the 2015 Highland Shootout when the Red Devils faced (Chicago) St. Rita and Kentucky recruit Charles Matthews. St. Rita won the game 77-75.
As good as that Althoff-Chaminade game is, there are many other attractive matchups including small-school powers Okawville and Central going head-to-head along with another bi-state battle between Peoria Manual and Missouri power Father Tolton from Columbia, Mo.
Host Highland will play Vianney from St. Louis is the 4:30 p.m. game.
Tolton star Michael Porter Jr., a 6-8 forward, is considered one of the nation’s top sophomores and already has offers from Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Marquette.
“Most recruiting services have him as the No. 2 sophomore in the country,” Powers said.
Tolton also features 6-9 freshman Jontay Porter while Manual’s top player is 6-3 sophomore Da’Monte Williams, the son of former Illini guard Frankie Williams.
Also at Manual is A.J. Youngman, a 6-5 sophomore and the son of former Highland Bulldogs coach Jim Youngman. After starting for a high school in Kentucky and averaging nearly 20 points a game as an eighth-grader, A.J. Youngman’s family moved to Peoria and he has offers from Boston College and West Virginia, among others.
The third game of the day matches Springfield Lanphier and electric point guard Xavier Bishop against Hazelwood (Mo.) Central and star Xavier Sneed. The 6-6 Sneed has offers from Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, Kansas State and Xavier while Bishop’s offers include Illinois State, DePaul, SIU Edwardsville and Central Michigan.
“In all other years that might be our marquee game;,” Powers said. “We’ve got them as our third game of the day because our lineup is so loaded.”
The Okawville-Central battle features reigning News-Democrat Small-School Player of the Year Noah Frederking against Cougars’ junior guard Logan Kohrmann,a first-team All-Area pick who also drew Player of the Year votes.
2016 Highland Optimist Shootout Classic
Jan. 9, 2016
at Highland High School
Game 1: Highland vs. Triad (girls), 11 a.m.
Game 2: Okawville vs Central, 1 p.m.
Game 3: Springfield Lanphier vs. Hazelwood Central, 2:45 p.m.
Game 4: Highland vs. Vianney, 4:30 p.m.
Game 5: Peoria Manual vs. Father Tolton (Columbia, Mo.), 6:15 p.m.
Game 6: Althoff vs. Chaminade, 8 p.m.
For more information, visit www.highlandshootout.com