By Joe Henricksen

Whitney Young a little different

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By Joe Henricksen

Simeon has reached Peoria three straight years and made the most of its time there, winning back-to-back state titles in 2006 and 2007 while finishing second in 2008. Marshall has three state trophies in the last three years, including a state title last March in Class 3A. And even North Lawndale, which finished second in Class A two years ago, brought home a 2A state title last season.

But there is something to be said about what Whitney Young has accomplished and the current state of its basketball program.

Oh, there are naysayers out there for sure. Whitney Young coach Tyrone Slaughter even admits there are people who don't believe his program won enough -- or big enough -- last year when the Dolphins were everyone's preseason pick. This is a program that featured a ridiculous abundance of individual talent but fell short, losing to Mt. Carmel in last year's sectional final. And when the season officially tips off in a couple of weeks, Whitney Young will once again be near the top of everyone's rankings -- if not No. 1 again.

But how about these numbers? Of the seven seniors on last year's team, which included Division I guards A.J. Rompza and Bryan Hall, six received scholarships between basketball and baseball, with a seventh walking on to play basketball at Tennessee State. The combined average ACT score of the seven seniors was 25.6, while all seven had a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.

"There are people that will say our accomplishments weren't enough last year, that we didn't win enough," says Slaughter. "But all these guys won. They all are going to college."

At Whitney Young, getting these young men into college is the objective, the expectation. At Whitney Young, things are done at a high level.

While the program may be lacking that signature postseason win since capturing the state title in 1998 behind the likes of Quentin Richardson, Cordell Henry and Dennis Gates, the state of the program is rock solid. In reality, it's on a completely different level than other Chicago Public League basketball programs. It's respected, if not the envy of others.

The academics have always been there, with Young ranking once again among the elite schools academically in the state of Illinois. There is a definite commitment to academics. The schedule is eye-popping. The Dolphins play in high-profile games all year, including games in six different states -- Hawaii, California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Kentucky. It's the place to play in the city. The school itself includes a beneficial ethnic and social mix.

And then there is the talent.

There actually may be too much talent on board. Any coach may find it awfully difficult to manage that many high-profile players, keep them all happy and on the same page.

The seniors include Chris Colvin, arguably the top prospect in the senior class (No. 2 currently in the Hoops Report rankings) and a dynamic point guard. Marcus Jordan comes with the name, reputation and is a high-level Division I talent. Stan Brown is a 6-7 post player committed to Lamar. The junior class features the guard tandem of 6-3 Anthony Johnson, who is committed to Purdue, and Oregon State-commit Ahmad Starks. And then there is super sophomore Sam Thompson, a long, lanky, 6-6 electrifying talent who just may end up the best of all.

"We have been fortunate," says Slaughter. "We have the best of both worlds between our academics and athletics. We are so competitive in both. And so many of our kids come from families where their parents are still so involved in their lives and offer support."

Slaughter and his program do covet a state championship, saying "we salivate at having the type of success on the court that Simeon has had."

Maybe that time has come.

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7 Comments

I think last year they had too much talent. Too many guards. This years team has a good chance to win the State Championship. I do think it will help when Colvin signs tomorrow(and I already know where he's going but will let Colvin announce it tomorrow) it will help. These kids already being committed to schools will help their chemistry on the floor. It's too bad Marcus didn't sign early, but I think they will have a common goal which will make them very dangerous. Good Luck to the Dolphins a great school in the city.

ALL OF THE GPA STUFF AND GUYS GOING TO COLLEGE IS
GREAT, BUT ISN'T THIS SCHOOL A MAGNET SCHOOL, AND MOST
OF THESE GUYS ATTENDED A MAGNET ELEMENTARY SCHOOL!
ALL OF THE MENTAL STUFF IS TO BE COMMENDED!
NOW IT'S TIME TO GET THINGS DONE ON THE COURT!
THEY HAVE A SCHEDULE LIKE A OAK HILL, THE PROBLEM IS
THEY DON'T CARRY OUT THE MISSION LIKE AN OAK HILL!
OAK HILL IS SENDING GUYS TO THE LEAGUE, I DON'T THINK
ANY OF HIS GUYS HAVE MADE IT TO THE LEAGUE!
SO EITHER BLANK OR GET OFF THE POT, BECAUSE AT THE END
OF THE DAY, IT'S PEORIA OR BUST!
IS IT THE COACHING OR THE ENSEMBLE OF PLAYERS, SOMETHING ISN'T WORKING AT WHITNEY YOUNG, IT IS TIME
FOR EVERYTHING TO COME TOGETHER!
LIKE A WISE MAN ONCE SAID, NO EXCUSES, DO THE WORK AND
GET THE JOB DONE!

This is beyond a doubt the model program in the State of Illinois for academics and basketball.The role model that Whitney Young is on those two fronts cannot be overemphasized.The success that the student-athletes enjoy are the results of the standards set forth by the Principal, the Head Coach, and the entire Whitney Young community.That includes the staff, the student body and especially the parents.

The fact that people choose to criticize WY on their not attaining State Championship status speaks to winning a state championship.The idea that WY is a failure,these young men are failures, the coach is a failure because of no championships won at State is a simple matter of opinion.The list is long on teams that have been successful at State, and is a matter of record with the IHSA.Conversely, bigger is the number of successful teams in the State of Illinois that HAVEN'T won State.Too numerous to name, and quite frankly it would be an insult to try;you'd either run out of typing space, or leave out a deserving team/school inadvertendly.

Fact is, you have to look at what measure of success you'd like for your child if they are involved at the academic and scholastic, as well as the athletic level.As well as the social level.Regardless of what you read, there's simply no reason to take sides on this issue regarding the recruiting of ANY basketball players from/to Rich South, Whitney Young, or ANYWHERE USA High School while ignoring ALL THINGS.Residency.Grades.Opportunity.Quality.Any denying the results at Whitney Young for Chess team members as well as basketball players?I KNOW there not!Win or lose, these STUDENTS return to a quality education with high expectations.And are rewarded for their hard work.Period.

That's not an indictment on any other school.That's just how it goes down at Whitney Young HS.Suspension or not.Perhaps another time, the 'broader scope' implied by the AD will be reported on...

AJ Rompza is off to a good start at UCF.....

he's a starter and team leader and UCF just knocked off New Mexico at "The Pit"....

first OOC loss in 34 games for New Mexico at home (last one to #5 Wake Forest in 2004)....

congrats AJ and link is below...
http://ucf.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=881412

OnewayCoach TT,
You state...
"This is beyond a doubt the model program in the State of Illinois for academics and basketball.The role model that Whitney Young is on those two fronts cannot be overemphasized"
I would disagree with you. Whitney Young does do very well in athletics, but I would not call them the model of academics...nor say the principal does a good job.

First, a 'roll model' academic school does not place basketball games over classroom experience. I am curious as to how afine academic high school justifies its students missing significant class time for trips to California, Hawaii, Florida, New Jersey, Maryland and Massachusetts. Now I know some of these are over vacation, but WY is turning into Boyz to Men - which was a basketball academy, nothing more.

WY has not fallen to that level, but the current WY administation, most natable its principle, seem to believe it their mission to push athletics before academics.

Second, now this is only rumor, but I hear from several students who attend WY that two particular basketball players are in their chemistry class together and have 'elevated grades(my term)'. From what these students tell me, these two basketball studs could never have passed the rigorous entrance examinations, but were let in by the policy of Dr Kenner.

By the way, Dr. Kenner is the same WY principle who, when asked why Marcus Jordan decided to attend WY, responded "Well,... we couldn't let the Catholic schools get him!" (like he is some object)

So, I disagree with your statement. WY is a good school, but I would not call it the 'model school'.

I usually do not create a leave a response, however after looking at through a few of the comments on Whitney Young a little different - City/Suburban Hoops Report. I actually do have 2 questions for you if you tend not to mind. Is it just me or does it appear like some of these responses come across as if they are left by brain dead individuals? :-P And, if you are posting at other social sites, I would like to follow you. Would you post a list of all of your shared pages like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on November 18, 2008 9:13 PM.

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