Friday, January 5, 2007

Upset? Yes. Surprised? No.

POINT #1 .... First, this is not an "I told you so." However, Farragut's upset win over Simeon on Friday night in the Chicago Public League Holiday Tournament is not an absolute shock. For further proof, go back and read previous Hoops Report blogs, particularly the one headed: Unbeatable? Simeon is not.

While Simeon is clearly the most talented team in the state with the dynamic, unselfish superstar Derrick Rose leading the way, the Wolverines do not possess that invincible feel we have seen from some of the state's all-time great teams. Simeon's style, whether it be sitting in that stinkin' zone defense or just not utilizing the ridiculous amount of speed, quickness and athleticism it has, lends itself to an upset on any given night. We saw it in the state championship game, we saw it against Warren in the title game at Pontiac, and we see it again against a team in Farragut that should have been completely overmatched.

POINT #2 .... Plain and simple, Simeon allows teams to stay in games when they have no right being in them. When it is all said and done, Simeon could very well win back-to-back state championships this March. But again, I will not be shocked if they were upset along the way.

It has been said before by some that Derrick Rose is too passive, that he lets the game come to him too much and he never tries to do too much. That is all true. That doesn't make him less of a talent. He's still the best guard I've seen in Illinois in the last 25 years. He's still going to be a star at Memphis and be a Lottery Pick in the NBA. He can still impact and, at times, dominate games without scoring. But, when it comes to the all-time great teams, the best player on those teams have had a little different mindset and personality than Rose. And this may sound crazy to some, but there have been some players at the high school level that I would rather have trying to win me a game than Rose. I would take Rose's future and NBA prospects over those players, but truth be told, I would rather have had Jamie Brandon of King at the high school level, Quentin Richardson of Whitney Young at the high school level or Jon Scheyer of Glenbrook North at the high school level.

POINT #3 .... Anyone who doesn't believe this Farragut win over Simeon doesn't significantly change the landscape of high school basketball in Illinois, has blinders on. I have talked with several coaches that have watched this same Simeon team I have watched. Those same coaches have some of the same feelings I have about this Simeon team. They are beatable. However, the minds of players--opposing team's players--would have begun to shift with every Simeon win this season. Win after win after win for Simeon, coupled with the non-stop media exposure of how this Simeon team may be one of the state's greatest teams, would naturally enter the heads of those players Simeon were playing against. Now? Forget about it! They're licking their chops for a shot at the defending state champs and feel a sense of confidence after hearing what Farragut accomplished.

You better believe there is a little smirk on the faces of all those Chicago Public League teams, as well as teams like Richards, Leo, Proviso East and St. Joseph, all of which may get a shot at Simeon come state tournament time.

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