By Joe Henricksen

Sad Richmond saga worsens

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By Joe Henricksen

You just hope this isn't the early stages of the young prodigy falling by the wayside or spinning out of control. However, the news that sophomore star Jereme Richmond has been kicked off the Waukegan basketball team isn't the first eye-opening moment that would signify that possibility. Richmond, who is everyone's No. 1 prospect in the talented Class of 2010, with the exception of the City/Suburban Hoops Report which elevated Rich South's Crandall Head to the top spot in January, will in all likelihood be heading to his third high school in three years next fall.

The Hoops Report learned Richmond engaged in a verbal confrontation with Waukegan head coach Ron Ashlaw following the team's game with Loyola Academy on Thursday night. The sad thing is, this is far from the only confrontation Richmond has encountered in his brief high school career. He was suspended early this season for three games due to an altercation with a teammate. He waged verbal wars on the floor with various players throughout the year, including last weekend's high-profile contest at the City-Suburban Showdown against Iman Shumpert and Oak Park. The way Richmond has carried himself on the floor this season has been undesirable and not what you expect of any high school player, regardless of his status.

In the end, I really feel for Ashlaw. Here is a coach that is in his first year of a pretty high-pressure high school coaching job. You would think having one of the state's elite players would make the transition easier. The opposite was true. I don't care if Ashlaw is the best young coach in high school basketball, is above his head and clueless or somewhere in between. No coach should have to go through what Ashlaw has had to go through, especially at the high school level. This is stuff made for the NBA -- player/coach confrontations, that is.

I could only shake my head when reading an article in the Chicago Sun-Times a few weeks ago where, basically, Ashlaw was thrown under the bus by Richmond and his father. When did we start having to hear publicly about how a high school coach is incorrectly using a player? Richmond's father, Bill, was quoted saying Jereme "is playing a little out of position.... I say, Why are you on the baseline 90 percent of the time? And he says, 'Dad, I'm not the coach.'"

Huh?

This is still high school basketball, right? The matter of whether Richmond is being used correctly or not isn't the issue. The issue is the platform and forum used. But to go public, in a major daily newspaper, questioning a high school coach? What happened to the old "Hey, coach, can we have a talk during your lunch period on Monday?"

Sadly, this is our culture today, especially in the world of big-time high school athletics. The actions and behaviors have slowly filtered down from professional sports to college and now to high school. Now you can only hope the Richmond camp gains some balance, because a flurry of questions and possible criticism will surely come his way. How will a young phenom handle that?

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26 Comments

What in the world would make this young man think that he is allowed to call out his teammates and his coach in public? His parents. As a former youth sports coach myself, I can tell you the parents are worse than the kids.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not excusing Jereme. He is old enough to know better. But he's probably been convinced by his parents that he could be the next Michael Jordan...and it's gone to his head.

I graduated from Waukegan long ago. But my daughter graduated from Zion, and we are ZeeBee fans now. I sure hope this kid doesn't end up there. We don't need that kind of arrogance.

As a Warren grad and still a fan of the Blue Devils, I hope the Richmond saga doesn't end up in Gurnee. Warren basketball has been just fine. Hope he goes to Evanston. There is no reason any high school kid should have the attitude of I'm too good for this team even if he thinks he's being used incorrectly. Where is the respect for adult figures?

Sounds like too much hype at too young of an age. It's gone to his head. As a fan of high school basketball and watching him play, his actions on the floor and his disrespect for opponents was sad to see. It's a sad day for high school basketball and for the Illini nation that is the type of kid we are getting for our program. Hopefully, in two years he can get himself and his parents straightened out.

Grow up kid! Respect adults! I have to read stories like this in the NBA. Now in high school too?

I think Richmond needs to get his head together. I dont know what school he will go to now, but he better get his act together. What high school coach needs that kind of player?

IMO, this is what happens when H.S. kids are treated like NBA stars at an early age. Part of the problem is that he was offered by Illinois before he even played a H.S. game. Thinking that the NCAA needs to prohibit offers from being extented by over zealous coaches until at least the kids junior year. A 14 or 15 yer old doesn't know anything about college life and expectations than he/she knows about nuclear science. Come on coaches, NCAA and yes parents let kids grow up before they make a lifetime decision.

A better question to ask, is why would a "major daily newspaper" give parents and player the platform to voice said criticism? The Suntimes wouldn't give me the ink and space to say anything about anyone. They have the power to print or not print what they want. Players and coaches have verbal confrontations all of the time (not just on the NBA level) and good coaches know how to diffuse these situations, and handle them in the appropriate manner. There are worse kids in this world than Jeremy Richmond, and they seem to find a way to respect their coach, and get past locker room dust ups. You can't treat everyone the same, but you can treat everyone fairly.

does anybody remember ashlaw throwing jereme under the bus, well i do. it went something like this good players know how to get the ball, i think good coaches know how to get good players the ball but hey thats just me.

Here we go again blaming it all on the kid and his parents. Yes maybe he should have handled things differently. Remember the kid is still only in 10th grade. But when are people going to start holding the coach accountable. I am from Evanston and have seen a lot of Waukegan games. It is obvious Jereme was used incorrectly in their offense. It is just as much of a crime when you have a coach that has no clue how to use a kid of his talents. It hurts the other members of the team when you don't use all the kids talents correctly. Why he didn't use Jereme correctly I don't know. I will say things would have been different if they had their previous coach at Waukegan. As it is I hope he comes to play at Evanston. I am sure we will know how to use his talents correctly. It isn't about coddling Jereme it is about getting the maximum of his ability. Remember he has done nothing criminally like some other kids that have gotten into trouble with the law. So give this kid a break he may still become a great player for Illinois.

There are good coaches and poor coaches. There are players misused all the time throughout basketball every year. That's not the point. There aren't a whole lot of players that fight teammates, argue and disrespect coaches and adult figures and get kicked off high school basketball teams. There aren't many young players that have a fit about it and handle it anyway they choose to. I watched Marcus Jordan play limited minutes (far less than half the game) two different times this season. He didn't have a breakdown and lose control and cause a scene. I have seen other players in high school being played out of position due to the make-up of that particular team. It happens. It's obviously a different era when we promote and encourage disrespect, poor behavior and actions over questionable coaching decisions.

Why is everyone blaming Richmond. Coach Ashlaw is a hot head. I'm not sure he understands his players, nor is he capable of containing his emotions. I've seen him get technical fouls by swearing obscenitieds from the bench on ticky tack calls. That is not sign of a good coach. Richmond deserves more. He is a very emotional kid but he needs a calming influence...not a hot head like Ashlaw. Ashlaw grew up as a Catholic School kid in the city and has coached mainly city kids so he should know better. Shame on Ashlaw. Without Richmond, Waukegan is now the worse team in the CSL South and will be a bottom feeder for years. Expect Ashlaw to bail out of there after next year.

--- Lee
www.lanetechfan.com

Joe, Why do you use spoiled brat Marcus Jordan as an example of a well behaving athlete?

I do not believe in badmouthing any high school 'Children', but please use better examples. Afterall, Marcus Jordan transferred to WHitney Young after Loyola Academy asked him not to return. Obviously, Marcus Jordan is not the best candidate for 'student athlete role-model of the year'.

Once again, I apoligize for bad-mouthing any high school kid, but I felt a fact had to be mentioned.

Phil

JEREME RICHMOND IS OVERRATED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BOY JUST PLAY BALL AND KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. SOMEONE PLEASE TELL HIS DADDY HAVE A SEAT!!!!!

How can you say Waukegan is a worse team without Richmond? Did you see how they played against North Chicago when he wasn't there? They played loose and as a team.
Have fun with this head case, Coach Locke.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A YOUNG PLAYER HAS COMMITTED
TO A COLLEGE, IN THIS PLAYERS SITUATION HE HAS GIVEN
A VERBAL TO ILLINOIS.
MOST SCOUTING SERVICES SAY HE IS THE NUMBER ONE PLAYER
IN THE STATE IN THE SOPHOMORE CLASS.
HE TRANSFERRED TO WAUKEGAN FROM A PRIVATE SCHOOL, OR
WAS HE RECRUITED TO TRANSFER?
NOW HE AND THE COACH DON'T SEE EYE TO EYE, AND HIS
FATHER DOESN'T APPROVE OF THE COACH EITHER.
NOW HE WILL TRANSFER TO A PREP SCHOOL OR A CITY SCHOOL,
BECAUSE THE RULES ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN, BUT WHAT IF
THEIR WAS A LAW ON THE BOOKS THAT WOULD CAUSE HIM TO
MISS NEXT SEASON, BECAUSE YOU CAN'T PLAY FOR THREE
DIFFERENT SCHOOLS IN A THREE YEAR SPAN!
THIS YOUNG MAN WOULD HUMBLE HIMSELF AND RELAX AND PLAY
AND ENJOY THE GAME, BUT INSTEAD PEOPLE AROUND HIM ARE
COUNTING HIS FUTURE MONEY, IF HE GETS ANY.
LET THE PLAYERS PLAY, LET THE COACHES COACH, LET THE
REFS REF, AND THE WORLD WOULD BE A BETTER PLACE.

Waukegan plays much better without him. I wish Jereme will turn the corner with his attitude and develop his game. AND DEFINITLY TELL HIS DADDY TO TAKE A SEAT - HES HURTING THE KID!!! Ashlaw is worried about building a program and Jereme is not a HS program type kid. Maybe he can take that goofy News Sun sports reporter (Jeff Bonato)with him to Evanston :)

Well Lake County Fan Waukegan was 1-3 without Richmond so that should tell you that Waukegan is a worse team when he is not there. What a comparison North Chicago are you kidding me. Well I have seen the kid play many times and once again he was misused. Waukegan was a better team when he had the ball in his hands. Bringing the ball up the court and setting his teammates up as well as himself. He is not a selfish ball player. As for the fighting incident that was both kids fault. The players and coaches on Waukegan were obviously jealous of his talent and abilities. Maybe they were pissed off when he went to North Shore instead of Waukegan his freshman year. Well once again I hope he goes to a school whose coach has a clue about how to use him to help the team. If it is not Evanston then wherever he goes. Good Luck to him and to all his critics stop hating on his talent.

Trust me Tim nobody is jealous. Evanston will not be his last stop. And anyway the rumor is Warren in the Lake Co. area. However, I think the jury is out on his behavior and he wont make it there with Coach Ramsey. Good luck to all involved and remember what happened in Galesburg about ten years back. I have a funny feeling Waukegan will be happy as well as the other school he attends.

Well said Phil Smith Jr!

The IHSA needs to take a serious look at Transferring athletes; it is a serious problem. Instead of worrying about fanancial issues and always pleasing the CPS and downstate, the IHSA should adress the biggest embarrassment in the Association: the flood of transfers.

I say, if you transfer, no matter the circumstances, you sit out a year IN ANY SPORT YOU PARTICIPATED IN DURING THE PREVIOUS YEAR. The athlete can play something else for a year then. This will solve many problems (as you said).

Phil

The point is.....No coach or educator deserves to be treated with disrespect by a student athlete. Waukegan has been playing basketball since 1900, and there are 4219 other students that attend the school this year. All of which should be held to the same standards. Its not about basketball ability, or use, or misuse on a team. Its about respecting authority, and all educators when in the classroom or athletic field.

I find some of these comments amazing. I know that noone ever heard Coach Ashlaw swear at a ref-or anybody else. He doesn't express himself that way. This is a good example of how people exaggerate to influence others. Being a special educator myself, I think that setting limits is showing that you care about someone. Wouldn't it be easier for Coach Ashlaw to just let Jereme do whatever he wanted? But what that be in the best interests of the team, Jereme, or the future of the program? This is a perfect example of why the program has had so much trouble over the last few decades. It is all about individuals and not the coomon good. By the way, they did win last night-a game that I am sure that most expected them to lose. Jereme is a great talent, but not necessarily a great addition to a team at this point. Sometimes losing a distraction can be an addition. Good luck to the team and Jereme. They both will need it, especially as long as people keep choosing sides.

Bob .... Terrific comments on your post!

Hey Bob what about the story of only eight kids dressing for the sophmore game. Or a promising freshman moved up to the sophmore team but didnt play because his mother didint want him to play. Is there disarray in the whole program. What is going on up there? I also heard Mike Springs the other sophmore on varsity is transferring. I never said Jereme wasnt at fault here. He has to take 50 percent of the blame but everybody wants to throw him under the bus. I think better communication between the coach and player might have solved the situation. Maybe a meeting in the coaches office after the first confrontation. So everybody is at fault in this. I hope all parties learn a lesson from this. But I remember playing basketball and what was said in the locker room stays in the locker room. I guess we are in a different time now. By the way Jereme is a very unselfish player. He is not a gunner so who's to say he wouldnt be a great addition to a team.

Tim, Are you saying that these types of problems did not exist at Waukegan before this year? That Coach Ashlaw created these problems? If you are from Evanston, then you have watched these problems at Waukegan for a long time-just as I have. In the CSL we always knew that Waukegan would have some good athletes, but there were always problems. They were often lucky to have the same players make it through the year, especially at the lower levels. Coach Ashlaw did not create these problems, he inherited them. If you look at the solid programs in the CSL (and elsewhere), it is a team where the coach is in charge, and has usually been there for a while. This is Coach Ashlaw's first year at Waukegan. Let's give him a few years to see what happens. I notice you don't want to throw Jereme "under the bus," but have no problem doing it to the coach. Did it ever occur to you that this could be a learning experience for both, if Jereme doesn't run to another program next year? Few of us learn much by running away-especially to three programs in three years. Last, what would make you think that Coach Ashlaw never sat down with Jereme privately? In my dealings with him, he has always been extremely fair and rational. I do agree that Jereme is young and should not be labeled forever. However, we all need to learn how to express our frustration in a constructive manner. Moving on won't teach him that.

Interesting comments from Evanston. All the CSL coaches know that Evanstons athletic programs are hanging on by a thread. I wonder if this attitude has something to do with it. What Coach Ashlaw, and the Waukegan athletic director stood for proves to me that Waukegan indeed is going in the right direction. As far as Evanston...this type of attitude may be the final breaking point for the school and athletic program. Im sure Tim doesnt represent the entire Athletic program and Etown, at least I hope not. Cuddos to Mr. Perkins, Ashlaw,and Schafer for doing whats right and making a stand for what HIGH SCHOOL athletics is all about. This is the Waukegan I remeber.

Hmmm our program hanging on by a thread. You are kidding right!!!! Well we just finished third in the state in basketball and have one of the best athletic programs in the state. Had only one losing season in at least 40 years. If this is a program hanging on by a thread well no problem. By the way you have to have a 2.0 gpa to play sports at Evanston. The rest of the state 1.7 gpa and I wonder how many schools fix grades for athletes. Doesn't happen at Evanston ever administration stays on top of that. Oh yeah the CSL trys to cheat Evanston at every sport because of the amount of African-American athletes in the main sports. The same thing happens to Waukegan. The reason: Well I don't think I have to say anything else.

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on February 23, 2008 5:00 AM.

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