St. Joseph among Illinois teams at Elite Classic
St. Joseph’s A.J. Patty (33) is pressured by St. Charles East’s Dom Adduci (2) and David Mason, during the first half at East, Friday November, 23, 2012. | Ray Luna ~ For Sun-Times Media
At St. Francis de Sales, 7 p.m.
At UIC vs. Chicago Elite, TBA
At Regina, 7 p.m.
Hosts Joliet Cath., 5 p.m.
Hosts Mother McAuley, 7:30 p.m.
At Habetler Bowl vs. St. Patrick, 4 p.m.
At Brunsw. Glendale Hts. vs. Immac. Concept. Tourn, 11 a.m.
At Habetler Bowl vs. Gordon Tech, 4 p.m.
At Elmwood Park w/Evergreen Park, 5:30 p.m.
At Fenton Tourn., 9 a.m.
At Morton w/ St. Ignatius, 5 p.m.
Updated: December 30, 2012 3:23PM
WESTCHESTER — When St. Joseph senior A.J. Patty checked out his team’s schedule this season, there were certainly some games that stood out.
One of them will be on Saturday when the Chargers take on two-time defending California state champion Mater Dei in the inaugural Chicago Elite Classic at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“It’s a really good opportunity for us,” Patty said. “We’re pretty happy about the game. It’s another exposure game and big game against a team from out of state.”
The event will feature five of the top teams from Illinois against some of the top teams from California, Maryland, Utah, Ohio and Georgia.
Normal University High will take on St. Vincent’s/St. Mary’s (Ohio) — LaBron James’ high school — at 11 a.m., followed by St. Joseph’s game at 12:45 p.m., Proviso East and star Sterling Brown against Lone Peak (Utah) at 2:30 p.m., Whitney Young and Jahlil Okafor against DeMatha (Maryland) at 6:30 p.m., and Simeon, featuring Jabari Parker, facing Milton (Georgia) at 8 p.m.
“There’s motivation playing in a game like this,” Patty said. “It’s going to be a tough game, but it’s a really good game that will help us get better as a team. I think we’re taking a lot of steps forward.”
Mater Dei, which finished 34-2 and was ranked No. 8 in the country last season, is led by junior Stanley Johnson, who is considered one of the top players in the Class of 2014, and Elijah Brown, a Division I prospect and son of former Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown.
“We are looking forward to our trip to Chicago and the opportunity to play in the Chicago Elite Classic,” said Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight, who owns a 926-83 record in his 31st season at the helm. “(St. Joseph is a) very strong opponent and it should be a very good game.”
St. Joseph finished 3-1 in its season-opening St. Charles East Tournament.
St. Joseph coach Gene Pingatore is focused on his team’s Chicago Catholic League North opener Thursday at St. Francis de Sales, but knows the excitement that comes with participating in a showcase event and hopes the Chargers can be competitive against Mater Dei.
“I don’t think our start is any different than any other year,” Pingatore said. “We’re making our normal progress and we’re not as good now compared to where we’ll be a month or two from now. It takes time. Are we ready to play a team like Mater Dei, which is a nationally-ranked power year in and year out, I don’t know. We’ll see.”