Five prep hoops observations
Here are five thoughts on the high school boys basketball scene for your Wednesday afternoon.
1. The early scholarship offer trend is getting way out of hand: It’s been ridiculous for a while, but an offer the other day reminded me of that. Cal Poly recently became the first school to offer Simeon freshman D.J. Williams. Nothing against Cal Poly -- I’m not that familiar with the program -- but why does it need to be offering a freshman who hasn’t even played varsity basketball yet? I don’t see the point. If Williams is as good as projected, he’ll land way out of Cal Poly’s league. If he doesn’t pan out, does Cal Poly need to be offering low- to mid-major players as freshmen to secure them? Maybe the offer was given to attract publicity. If so, mission accomplished. I’m writing about Cal Poly for the first time.
2. There’s a good chance Thursday’s Simeon-Whitney Young contest could be a one-sided game in front of an empty house: Simeon has lived up to the hype so far as the No. 1 team in the country and has only gotten better with the return of point guard Jelani Neely from injury. Whitney Young fell out of ESPNChicago’s rankings after losing to Orr 45-29 last week. Orr turned around and lost to Farragut this week. Whitney Young was without Tommy Hamilton Jr., Jermaine Morgan and Jordan Smith due to injuries, but it will be without at least Hamilton Jr. for the Simeon game as well. Whitney Young, especially its guards, will have to step it up Thursday if it’s going to compete with Simeon. As for Thursday’s attendance, the price tag of $15 and $33 for seats through Ticketmaster and the fact the game was moved from its original date could lead to a small crowd.
3. The location for the City-Suburban Showdown is still up in the air: It is supposed to be played at the UIC Pavilion on Feb. 18, but promoter Bob Rylko and UIC athletic director Jim Schmidt are awaiting word from the NCAA whether the event can be held at the UIC. The NCAA has been enforcing a rule this season that non-scholastic events can’t be held at Division I facilities. Every similar event around the country has had to move to another location. People may want to hold off buying tickets until the location is finalized.
4. Jabari Parker needed only 21 minutes to do something no Simeon player had done: His 40-point, 21-minute performance against Perspectives-Calumet on Monday was the most points ever by a Simeon player in a game. Parker eclipsed Tim Flowers’ record of 35 points.
5. Outside of Jabari Parker, the players who have been the most impressive in the area so far haven’t been the nationally-ranked ones: Crane’s Willie Conner, St. Rita’s Tony Hicks, Andrew’s Jubril Adekoya, Bloom’s Donald Moore, New Trier’s Connor Boehm and Curie’s Devin Foster are among those who have been the most consistent so far this season.