Week of 3/6/04 - 3/13/04
So what has it come to? The world of sports being dominated by moral decandence. From steroid use in baseball to allowing 18 year old young men enter the NFL draft come June, the world is witnessing the demise of the stucture we call sports. From the Kobe Bryant trials to Jayson Williams manslaughter charges these degeneracies have hit the basketball scene in which we all covet and love. Young Calvin Ector was recently gun down near his home in Bellewood. A National Honor Society Member, Ector was destine for a bright future. The structure of our great sport has slipped from the crevices of the mainstream and made its way to state of Illinois basketball. As I sat and watch Bloom Township take on Homewood-Flossmoor in Flossmoor, Il on Friday night, I couldn't help but think why is a number 5 seed taking on a number 1 seed in a Regional Finals match-up, with the 6-8 seeds randomly facing different opponents. Well, the answer was quite simple an IHSA official told me, "it's based on regional demography." Even Michael O'Brien of the Suntimes was stunned by the regional match-up. " No way should Blood have to play this game, no way." Two years ago the IHSA decided to destroy the current system that had been working great so many years and decided to go with the now inept system. What this system has done is taken the top seeds and put them on the road against lower seeds. Count the amount of upsets on the day we now shall call "Judgement Friday." Why is this? Well, it's simple revenue. Bloom(5.seed) Assistant Coach, Bob Askew echoed my sentiments, "It's for the money, we had a good system here. We should be playing Joliet Twsp.(4. seed) right now. Look at that crowd out there, it's sold out." 1700 fans saw H-F beat Bloom 65-55 while connecting on 29 of 33 free-throws. First we expand the boy's football to a ridulous 8 divisions, now we down play the seasons that the top team are having and send them on the road to struggle for a Regional Championship. That might not make sense to the teams that were so lucky to pull off upsets on Friday, but deep in the hearts of those top seeds who had to go on the road to garnish a regional championship, they are feeling betrayed by the IHSA. Those teams that had homecourt advantage and lost. How? It's the playoff for God's sake. I guess someone forgot to remind them that loser goes home. I guess in a way it was true what Coach Roy Condotti of H-F (H-F lost to Rich Central last year at the Olympians homecourt while being a higher seed) said, "You just have to play who is in front of you."
Just My Thoughts...The Brains Way
I am not a parent of a high school basketball player, or I am not bias towards one team or another, but there is one thing that I feel that will mirror throughout our basketball world. When the game is tight let the kids decide the game. So many times have teams been separated by the mere fact of crucial calls down the stretch. Granted some calls need to be made, but the frivolous calls that are excess to a hard working, hustling kid should be extracted from the game.
The award for Mr. Basketball should be left up to the fans. I know many fans are bias towards their own teams and would ultimately vote for their player first, but that is the same with sending a NBA player to the all-star game. The fans should be given a list of leading canidates and they should be able to choose from there. Rarely do you get players like Shaun Pruitt and Justin Cerasoli on the same team, and it is hard to determine who should get a chance to reprensent his state as Mr. Basketball. I guess my deciding factor to all my adoring Blackhawks fans was the fact that Cerasoli was a finalist for the All-American team. Can't really argue with that. Kudos to Shaun Pruitt for taking his lunch pail to work every day though. He ended the regular season averaging 16pts 9reb.
Jonathon Austin is a stud. Rather you like him or not, or know him or don't he is a real commodity. Austin was voted unamiously S.I.C.A. East Player of the Year. Which is tough considering that confrence boast some of the best talent in the state. Austin ended the season averaging 21pts 6reb 2st. Jonathon is unsure where he wants to attend next year. He told me, "I just want to take it one day at a time and finish my school work. I am really undecided right now and I don't want to put any (school)names out there yet." Spoken like a true stud.
Westinghouse takes the Chicago Public League tournament by beating Simeon and is ultimately the clear out favorite to represent the city this year in the State Quarterfinals. One of the best tournaments in recent memory included a all-star final four with Simeon vs. Julian and Westinghouse vs. Farragut. Quinton Dilliard is trying his hardest to cement himself as one of the premier coaches in the city as well as the state. He took a big step with winning the CPL title.