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Monday, March 19, 2012
Simeon coach suspends 9 players

By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com

Chicago's Simeon Career Academy coach Robert Smith on Monday suspended nine underclassmen for one game next season after they removed their shoes and placed them on the court following their third straight Class 4A state championship in Peoria, Ill.

Simeon Shoes
Simeon players left their shoes on the court following their third straight state title on Saturday.

After a 50-48 win over Proviso East in the state championship on Saturday, Simeon's players took off their shoes near half court, placed them side by side on the ground and walked away. The shoes were picked up by Illinois High School Association officials and moved elsewhere.

"They were trying to make a statement saying this was our court," Smith, who won a state-record fifth state title, said on Monday. "To take off the shoes was out of character. I don't think it was the time and place for that. We had already made our statement by winning three (state championships) in a row.

"There's just a way of going about doing things. I don't think that was the appropriate way. We have to make sure we're representing the CPS (Chicago Public Schools) and Simeon as best as we can."

The suspended players are Jaylon Tate, Bobby Harris, Myles Harrison, Dennis Williams, Ricky Norris, Kendrick Nunn, Kendall Pollard, John Gardner and Quon Davis. The only underclassman not suspended was Jabari Parker, the nation's No. 1 junior who did not participate. He was being interviewed at the time.

Simeon's seniors were also involved, but Smith said they would not be punished because they didn't have any basketball remaining.

Smith previously suspended five players prior to the Chicago Public League quarterfinals due to a team violation.

"As a coach, I have to set the right example for these young men," Smith said. "They're going to be going to college and out into the real world."

Officials with the IHSA were not immediately available for comment.

Simeon became the first school in Illinois history to win six state titles. Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose led the school to state titles in 2006 and 2007.

Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at spowers@espnchicago.com.