Thursday, November 16, 2006

Unbeatable? Simeon is not

POINT #1 ... There is no question Simeon headlines the 2006-2007 high school basketball season in Illinois. After all, the Wolverines are the defending Class AA state champs and clearly boast the best player in the state and one of the top five in the country. In addition, Simeon has a terrific supporting cast, led by UW-Milwaukee recruit Tim Flowers, the heart and soul of this team. Add depth, experience and tradition and Simeon could possibly have the makings of one of the great teams in state history. They are ranked No. 1 in every preseason poll - from the Hoops Report to the Sun-Times and Chicago-Tribune to nationally ranked by everyone.

With all this being said, however, this to me is not an unbeatable team. I may be in a small crowd with this notion. No, there rarely is an unbeatable team. But when it comes time to play for it all in March, there have been teams that you get that feeling about. I personally thought that about the great Proviso East team with Donnie Boyce, Sherrel Ford and Michael Finley. I could have said the same for the Quentin Richardson-led Whitney Young team in 1998. And this is coming from the guy who picked Simeon No. 1 in the preseason last year and picked them to win it all.

Simeon's style lends itself to be a victim of the upset. We saw what an overmatched but well-coached Peoria Richwoods team nearly did last year in the state title game.

Nonetheless, it's a long way between now and March, so Simeon could evolve into "that team." And no matter what, there won't be a more fun and entertaining team to watch this winter. And when all is said and done, we may still be talking about the Simeon 2006-2007 team as one of the state's best ever.

POINT #2 .... Don't discount chemistry and leadership when it comes time to discuss the top teams in the Chicago Public League. There are a few teams in the city that, I believe, will need to develop both if they have any hope of challenging Simeon for the city title. These top teams in the city have questions that need to be answered. How does Marshall begin to replace not only the scoring of Patrick Beverley, but the energy as well?

POINT #3 .... This year's senior class is definitely missing the starpower after Derrick Rose. The top of the class just doesn't have the high-end talent with potential high-major impact players. But what this class has shown over the past six months is a little more depth then expected. The number of Division I signings, with more to follow in the spring, has been better then what was projected a year or two ago.

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