||Search Results||Watch Live||Buy Photos||Sign up||School Finder|
Simeon's Edward Morrow (33) comes in for a shot in the last quarter against Proviso East in the state basketball semifinals. | Michelle LaVigne/For Sun-Times Media
Jabari Parker is at Duke preparing for his first college season. Derrick Rose is nearing his United Center comeback after missing last season with a knee injury. Meanwhile, all is quiet at Simeon. Maybe too quiet, but Simeon coach Robert Smith doesn’t mind.
“This is the quietest summer I’ve had since becoming a head coach,” Smith said. “It was actually kind of nice.”
There is no successor in line for Parker’s throne at Simeon, but plenty of contenders. Junior DJ Williams was expected to take over the spotlight from Parker, but had an underwhelming sophomore season and has a lot of observers scratching their heads. He played well enough this summer to vault to No. 2 in the junior class in Joe Henricksen’s latest rankings, so perhaps things are finally clicking for the 6-7 forward.
At the start of last season, Parker said he thought Ed Morrow had the best chance to be Simeon’s next superstar. Parker’s pick looked very good last season, as the 6-7 forward had a tremendous sophomore year, providing solid minutes in some of the Wolverines' biggest games.
It’s possible that 6-5 seniors Donte Ingram and Jaycee Hillsman, two talented players that transferred into the program last year, could enter the spotlight. Jaylon Tate, Brandon Spearman and Stan Simpson all needed a year in the Simeon program before truly flourishing.
Smith has been impressed with the growth shown by 6-5 junior Isaiah Moss, who transferred in from Lincoln-Way West. Like Ingram and Hillsman, though, it could be another year before Moss is truly ready to contribute.
Most eyes will be on the sophomore tandem of Zach Norvell, Ben Coupet and Joshua Thomas. Last year that trio, as freshmen, was the core of a sophomore team that went 35-0 and won the city championship. Norvell is a natural shooting guard that may be forced to play the point for Simeon a lot this season. Coupet is a 6-7 forward with a solid lineage and extremely high ceiling.
Smith thinks the point guard spot is Simeon’s biggest question mark. He’s contemplating making some offensive changes to suit a team that doesn’t have a true point guard but features 8-to-10 players that can all handle the ball, run well and score.
Luckily for the Wolverines, no team in the Public League is loaded at the guard slot this year. There is plenty of talent around the city, but most of it is young and untested.
Simeon won’t be the top-ranked team in the area this year, at least not at the start of the season. The Wolverines don’t have a superstar right now and are just too unproven. But don’t be surprised if all that young talent finds a way to Peoria by March.
This is the first in a series of articles previewing the state title contenders. The second, a look at Morgan Park's quest to repeat in Class 3A, is here.