2014 Tribune All-State First team

From left: Benet senior Sean O'Mara, Stevenson junior Jalen Brunson, Marian Catholic senior Tyler Ulis, Curie senior Cliff Alexander, Young senior Jahlil Okafor (Chicago Tribune / April 5, 2014)

Cliff Alexander

High school: Curie.

Class: Senior.

College: Kansas.

Position: Forward.

Height: 6-9.

Team highlights: Ranked No. 1 by the Tribune, Curie won the Pontiac Holiday Tournament and its first city championship in a four-overtime thriller against Young. The Condors also beat the nation's No. 1 team (Montverde, Fla.) and swept two games against Simeon, but they had to forfeit it all for playing with academically ineligible players. Alexander was not among them.

Individual highlights: His tip dunk at the buzzer completed a 37-point, 26-rebound performance and lifted Curie past West Aurora 74-73 in the Pontiac semifinals. Powerful and athletic with a non-stop motor, the McDonald's All-American and consensus top-five recruit nationally will go down as one of the most physically gifted and entertaining big men Chicago has ever produced. He averaged 24 points, 15 rebounds and six blocked shots.

FYI: Alexander did not play organized basketball until eighth grade.

Repeated: "His improvement from freshman year until now is incredible." — Young center Jahlil Okafor

Jalen Brunson

High school: Stevenson.

Class: Junior.

College: Undecided.

Position: Guard.

Height: 6-2.

Team highlights: Beat 11 Tribune Top 20 teams en route to a 32-2 record, including a win against Class 3A champ Morgan Park, Class 4A runner-up Benet and Simeon. Won the Proviso West Holiday Tournament, ascended to the No. 1 Tribune ranking and reached the Class 4A final four for the second straight season before falling to eventual-champion Young in the state semifinals.

Individual highlights: His season ended on a sour note, but the two-time first team All-State point guard had as many moments of glory as anyone. He set a state-tournament record with 56 points in the semifinal loss to Young, but it only equaled the career-high he set against Lake Forest a month earlier. He averaged 26.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.9 steals with a glowing field-goal percentage of 51.

FYI: The son of former NBA guard Rick Brunson has become a recruiting priority for many top college programs, including Illinois, Michigan State, Michigan and Kansas.

Repeated: "He will be the best point guard in the country next year." — Simeon coach Robert Smith