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North Chicago's JaVairius Amos-Mays (2) runs for the ball after almost colliding with Thornton Fractional North's Greg McClain (5) at Whitney Young High School Monday, January 21, 2013. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times Media
When the season began for North Chicago the starting point guard was Arnold Shead, who played effectively and then suddenly was gone.
His replacement at point guard was Timothy Dixon. He also played effectively and he too suddenly was gone.
On Friday the Warhawks suspended five players for multiple games for a violation of the school’s athletic policy.
Three of the five will miss the rest of the regular season (four games) and could return for the IHSA playoffs.
The other two are likely not going to be able to earn their way back onto the team this season.
The five were not suited up for North Chicago’s NSC Prairie showdown at Lakes on Friday.
The players not in uniform were the team’s leading scorer, JaVairius Amos-Mays; key reserves Joe Thomas and Travaris Knox; and subs Jay Finch-Pettis and Denzel Adams.
North Chicago coach Gerald Coleman did not say which three were probably done for the season. But a source close to the situation indicated two not likely to be back were higher-profile players.
“There was a violation of team rules. We wanted to make sure all of our student-athletes are in compliance with what we’re trying to do,” North Chicago athletic director Brian Colbert said. “We want to have more than just outstanding basketball players. We want them to be outstanding young men.
“This occurred yesterday (Thursday). Everybody got involved ... the school administration, the athletic office, coaches, and parents.
“They were collaborative decisions from the administration, the athletic office and the coaches. The parents were in support of the outcome.'' said Colbert regarding the suspensions. “Everything we do, we’re looking out for the best interest of our students.”
Coleman talked about the situation before Friday’s game.
“This team has come a long way. They’ve bonded together in a positive way. We had some players make a poor decision that violated team policy,'' he said. ''Kids are going to be kids, but when you make a mistake, there are consequences. These are strong young men. I talked to them, and they accepted the decision (about being suspended).
“I met with the team today and announced the decision that was made. I explained to them why it was made. It wasn’t about basketball at that point.
“We’re trying to develop better men, not basketball players.
“This (the remaining players) is what we’re going to roll with and on the basketball court, we’re going to continue with what we’ve been doing. I brought up three sophomores who can help us and would have been on the tournament team anyway.”
The new players are Jamero Shelton, Cortez Zimmerman-Dixon, and Keunte Howard. Zimmerman-Dixon is a 6-4 wing.
As for the remaining varsity players, Coleman said they are good to go as is.
“They’ve been very professional about it,” Coleman said. “They handled the situation very well.”