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Crete-Monee's Marquette Muhammad drives around Providence's Mikes Boykin. | John Patsch~For Sun-Times Media
When Crete-Monee finished 3-3 in the Joliet West Shootout over the summer, coach Tom Cappel was encouraged by the experience.
“We only had five or six guys with us and we were missing some of our top players,” Cappel said. “That gave me optimism.”
As it turns out, Cappel had a right to be enthused.
Crete-Monee is off to a blazing hot start, winning its first five games. And the Warriors have accomplished the feat without a full roster. That’s about to change, though.
Laquon Treadwell, all 6-foot-3, 200 pounds of him, is set to join the team this week after leading the Warriors football team to a Class 6A state championship. Treadwell averaged about 10 points per game last season.
And on Dec. 20, Brandon Johnson, a 6-4, 220-pound junior, will be eligible to return.
“I’m surprised we’ve done this well without Treadwell,” Cappel said. “We have great chemistry on this team. The kids really seem to be enjoying each other.
“With more guys in the mix, we hope they can continue to work together as a group and to focus on the big picture. It’s my job to make that work.”
Seniors Marvie Keith and Mark Conner have carried much of the load during the winning streak.
Keith has performed at an elite level, despite playing with a bad ankle.
Cappel likes the way Keith is running the offense.
“He’s been hurt, but you wouldn’t know by the way he’s playing,” Cappel said. “Marvie’s had four really good games. He’s distributing the ball more and dribbling less.”
Cappel attributes much of Conner’s success to being more mature.
“He’s been great,” Cappel said. “There were signs last year of him being an exceptional player. He was on the All-McDipper Team. He’s more mature now.”
And while Conner and Keith have starred, guard Marquette Muhammad and forward Rashad Lee, 6-5, 245, have shown promise.
“Muhammad has played great defense and has done a nice job rebounding,” Cappel said of the 5-11 guard. “Rashad is coming along.”