By Joe Henricksen
We are in a results society. And in sports the results, whether fair or not, are pretty cut and dry. You win or lose.
But when it comes to Thanksgiving Tournaments in high school basketball, you have to be careful and not get too wrapped up in the success and failure of teams in November. Remember, these teams didn't have exhibition games prior to the opening tip of the season. In fact, the amount of practice time coaches get with their teams at the prep level is awfully short.
Here are a few of the bigger statements made in the opening week of the season.
Niles Notre Dame
Forget about the lack of size, this team has the chemistry, guard play and shooting ability to put together an outstanding season. The Mike DiGregorio-led Dons went into Winnetka and beat New Trier over Thanksgiving weekend as DiGregorio controlled the game and scored 25 points. Notre Dame will give St. Joseph all it can handle in the East Suburban Catholic, a league that figures to be a three-way battle between Notre Dame, St. Joe's and St. Patrick. St. Joe's went 3-1 at a solid St. Charles East Tournament, while St. Patrick went 2-1, beating North Chicago and losing to Fenwick in its own tournament.
The Hoops Report had the Wildcats preseason No. 17 but there were plenty of doubters. This team is talented, features a Division I prospect in junior Dwayne Evans and beat a ranked Morton team to win the York Thanksgiving Tournament.
Here is the team that could pose the biggest threat to Neuqua Valley in the Upstate Eight. Behind the scoring of Jimmy Childs and the play of big man Dan Lopez, the Storm rolled through the Fenton Tournament with a 4-0 record, which included a win over highly-regarded Naperville Central and star Drew Crawford.
Jereme Richmond, Waukegan
The questions that dogged both Richmond and the Waukegan basketball program last season have been put on the backburner. And all signs show that Richmond, teammates and coach are on the same page with one another. If that's the case, look for quite a season in the north suburbs from Richmond and Waukegan. Richmond has been terrific and Waukegan is off to a 3-0 start, which includes a win over Warren and Brandon Paul.
Marc Little, Bartlett
Bartlett went just 1-2 in the Waukegan Tournament but the tiny, jet-quick guard went on a scoring binge. Little scored 104 points in three tournament games.
Josh Humphrey, Crete-Monee
The junior transfer made his presence felt immediately as he was tournament MVP at Oak Forest, as Humphrey led Crete-Monee to the title.
Downers Grove South
Morton's toughest test in the West Suburban Gold may not come from perennial power Proviso East. Downers Grove South looks to be much improved from a year ago. The Mustangs, led by tournament MVP Malcolm Herron, went 3-1 to claim a strong St. Charles East title. Downers South beat St. Joseph in the title game.
With all the distractions and legal issues surrounding its two best players, who are not with the team, the Blazing Trojans went out and won the Chicago Heights Classic. And along the way to its 4-0 start, Bloom beat rival Homewood-Flossmoor behind big man Aaron Nelson. This was the first Thanksgiving Tournament title for coach Jasper Williams in his six years at Bloom.
Behind the 1-2 punch of junior Cedric Watkins and versatile Anthony Welch, Evergreen Park rolled to a 4-0 record in the Battle of the Ridge Tournament. The four wins included an impressive 64-60 victory over a talented Maine East team.
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