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D.J. Williams' unselfish play helped Simeon to a 6-0 record at the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout. | Patrick Gleason/For Sun-Times Media

So did we all enjoy Simeon on the outside looking in this past winter as both Whitney Young and Stevenson grabbed the spotlight, made their March runs and garnered all the headlines last season?

Because guess what? Simeon, which won four consecutive state titles from 2010 to 2013 before Whitney Young ended the Wolverines run three months ago, has that look again –– that state champion look.

And with Simeon right back in that familiar favorite role, right beside Stevenson heading into next season, it’s a bit like Groundhog’s Day in Illinois high school basketball. 

The Riverside-Brookfield Shootout –– or any offseason event, for that matter –– should never be used as a gauge of what’s to come in high school basketball the following season. But Simeon’s run to the R-B title this past weekend was certainly a sneak peak at the possibilities, especially when you consider coach Robert Smith’s team was missing three of its top six players.

“I think we can be very good,” said Smith after watching his team roll Proviso East by 20 points in the championship game . 

Hardly a boast and very predictable; Simeon is pretty much always “very good.” 

But this 2014-2015 version has a chance to surpass the “very good” label between now and next March and win the program’s unprecedented eighth state championship.

Simeon went 6-0 at the always competitive Riverside-Brookfield Shootout, an event coaches welcome as they quickly find out what needs to be worked on and addressed in the coming month as players shift from AAU play back to playing with their high school teams in the month of June.

Anyone who watched Simeon over the weekend, including its head coach, saw a different look, a different team than the inexperienced Wolverines squad that fell to Whitney Young in the sectional semifinals this past March.

“We shared the ball and played unselfishly,” says Smith. “Our maturity, unselfishness and our guard play should all be better than what we had last year. Overall, it was a great weekend. But there is no question we have a long way to go.”

Smith knows a title given out on June 1 means nothing, especially at Simeon. But it’s what everyone took away from the two days that left an impression, including: 

▪ The arrival of Isaiah Moss, the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout MVP, who after a solid spring on the AAU circuit with Wisconsin Playground Elite looks as if he’s coming into his own. He was bit player who showed a flash here and there on last year’s team, but the 6-5 wing has added strength, confidence and more versatility to his game. He’s now more comfortable at Simeon and has become a weapon. Moss is poised to see his recruiting skyrocket over the next two months. 

▪ The versatility, unselfishness and steady play from D.J. Williams, the Illinois commit who Smith moved to the point guard position last season. Williams is a stat-sheet stuffer who, with his skill and size on the perimeter at 6-7, creates all different types of advantages and mismatches for Smith to play and tinker with.

▪ Arguably the best basketball the much-talked-about Ben Coupet, an always-promising 6-6 wing in the Class of 2016, has played since he’s been at Simeon. Coupet played with life. He was active, assertive and brings even more long, rangy, athletic versatility on the wing. 

▪ The debut of Marquise “Kezo” Brown. This freshman-to-be is going to force his way onto the floor this season. He is a mature basketball player for his age, plays hard, brings energy and just goes out and finds ways to impact games.  

▪ Simeon cruised to a 6-0 record while playing without 6-6 Ed Morrow, a high-major prospect and one of the top players in the Class of 2015, highly-regarded 6-4 Zach Norvell, one of the top five prospects in the Class of 2016, and 6-3 guard Josh Thomas, a hard-nosed, improving junior-to-be.

(Follow the City/Suburban Hoops Report for more Riverside-Brookfield Shootout coverage throughout the week.)

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