The award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court.
Kemph is the first Gatorade Illinois Girls Basketball Player of the Year to be chosen from Rolling Meadows High School. The 5-foot-6 junior point guard averaged 20.0 points, 7.6 assists, 3.3 steals and 2.3 rebounds per game this past season, leading the Mustangs (31-4) to the Class 4A state championship game.
A two-time Mid-Suburban East Player of the Year, Kemph shot 47 percent from the field, 30 percent from three-point range and 73 percent from the free throw line. In seven postseason games, Kemph averaged 13.1 points and 6.6 assists. She also led Illinois Elite's 17U squad to the Amateur Athletic Union state title this past May.
"She's fantastic," Hersey coach Mary Fendley said. "She's impossible to guard. She's very unselfish and always has a calm demeanor. I don't think I've ever coached or coached against a better point guard."
Kemph has maintained a 5.34 weighted GPA in the classroom and represents one of the state's top academic candidates in meeting the Gatorade Award's broad criteria. In addition to donating her time as a youth soccer and basketball instructor, she has volunteered locally on behalf of the Special Olympics and a youth literacy-outreach program.
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports.
Kemph joins recent Gatorade Illinois Girls Basketball Players of the Year Morgan Tuck (2011-12) and Ariel Massengale (2010-11) of Bolingbrook, Fenwick's Tricia Liston (2008-09 and 2009-10), Warren's Sarah Boothe (2007-08) and Brittany Johnson of East Richland (2006-07).
IHSA Class 4A state champion Marian Catholic and Rolling Meadows, who split their two meetings last year with Rolling Meadows handing the Spartans their only loss of the season at the Montini Catholic Christmas tournament, will headline the tournament's 2013 field.
Joining Marian Catholic and Rolling Meadows in the 16-team field will be Huntley, Fremd, Zion-Benton,
Trinity, Neuqua Valley, DeKalb, Montini, Geneva, Plainfield East, South Elgin, Batavia, Proviso West, St. Joseph and Oak Park.
Huntley, which finished fourth in the 2013 Class 4A state tournament, Trinity, Neuqua Valley and Geneva are newcomers to the field. All four are expected to be among the top 10 teams in the Chicago area next season.
Some people deserve to be in the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame for what they did on the court. Carl Prose deserves to be there for what he has helped others do.
Prose was born in Morrisonville, a small farming community in downstate Illinois south of Springfield. He attended school there from first grade through high school. When Prose was in middle school, the custom was for the fourth and fifth grade students to play a 5-minute game during the halftime of the high school varsity contest.
Prose participated with these teams and developed a love of the game that has continued to the present day.
Prose continued to play with the grade school teams and played four years with the Morrisonville Mohawks high school team. College activity was restricted to intramurals where he was chairman of his dormitory's team.
After college, he played with the independent league team from his high school area for several years. These teams consisted of players whom had not played beyond high school and some who had played in college. Many of the small towns in the area had teams and it was a very competitive league.
A job transfer in 1962 to Peoria took Prose away from his home town and began his northward migration. After five years in Peoria and six more years in Park Forest, he arrived with his growing family of four children in Streamwood in 1974.
His love of athletics, and basketball in particular, was inherited by his children and all were involved in athletics at Streamwood High School. His oldest daughter, Jana, was in Streamwood's very first graduating class in 1978.
While Prose's youngest daughter, Lynda, was playing in junior high, they met Streamwood head coach George Rosner and began what became a 32-year relationship. Prose began working with Rosner by helping with the varsity team during Saturday practice sessions and coaching summer league.
Prose's daughter, Lynda, went on to become the starting point guard on Streamwood's first regional championship team in 1985. After graduating from Eastern Illinois, she became an assistant coach at Streamwood during the 1994-95 season, and continued for four years as an assistant when Rosner returned to head up the Lady Sabres during the 1997-98 season.
Prose retired from his "real" job at the end of 2001, and after serving as a "part-time" assistant to Rosner for nearly two decades, began assisting Rosner full time. This past season was Prose's 12th as a full-time assistant to Rosner.
One of the great satisfactions of the job for Prose was being able to work with his daughter when she returned as an assistant coach for two seasons before leaving to spend time with her growing family of four children.
The Sabres just concluded one of their most successful seasons by going 21-9 and winning a regional championship, losing in the sectional final to Huntley, which finished fourth in the state in Class 4A.
Prose recently returned from attending the girls state basketball tournament at Redbird Arena in Normal. It was the 31st consecutive girls' state tournament he attended. The tournament has become an annual tradition for Prose, dating back to the days when the tournament was at Assembly Hall in Champaign. He usually attends the tournament with other family members.
As he nears the time when he will retire a second time - this time from his assistant coaching position - Prose's love for the game has not diminished. In spite of the time requirements of being an assistant at Streamwood, he found time to attend his grandsons' games - one of whom was a starting guard on his high school team and the other a basketball player in third grade on a park district team.
Prose won't be able to walk away from the game easily. He has many more years of being a fan ahead of him.