The Chicago Elite Classic is back. The city is brimming with excitement as they prepare to watch high schoolers from across the country compete for bragging rights on and off the court. The Chicago Elite Classic is in its eleventh year and the event has become an annual favorite. Rolling out spoke with coach Robert Smith of Simeon High School about this year’s classic, why people are excited and some new additions to the event.
Why do you think the city looks forward to this tournament every year?
It brings a family atmosphere. You can bring your family out and watch good basketball all day. It’s just a great time. It’s something that we really strive to do and we really want to put on for our city and give a sense of positivity about the city of Chicago.
Why was it important to add the “She’s Got Next” component?
We started adding girls’ basketball a couple of years ago. They were playing at 9:30 in the morning and we were scheduling them between boys’ games and we recognized they have their own fans. Women’s basketball has taken off and we decided to give women their own day. We thought it would be a good idea to showcase great basketball, women’s basketball here in the city. It shows how much more talent the city of Chicago has to offer.
What’s the most memorable moment you’ve had over the past 11 years?
Year one was the most memorable. We were just asking some teams to come and play without knowing any of the background of this type of event. We didn’t know what it was going to take to do all this stuff. We got together with a group and they said if we could get the teams together they would take care of the rest. I appreciate the camaraderie and how people enjoy it and look forward to it.
What can people expect at the Chicago Elite Classic this year?
We have a lot of things going on, not just basketball. One of our sponsors, Blue Cross Blue Shield. is doing a mental health piece. It’s really needed in our communities. Now when you get on the court it will be some of the best basketball you’ve seen in a while because we have so much great parity and matchups among the teams that are playing.
The Chicago Elite Classic takes place Dec. 2 through the fourth at the Credit Union 1 Arena in Chicago at 525 S Racine Ave, Chicago, IL 60607. You can purchase tickets at the link below.