By Joe Henricksen

Richmond, Mills and one crazy season

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By Joe Henricksen

Well, forget about wins, losses and potential postseason matchups. This wild high school basketball season just keeps adding more drama and controversy. What exactly is happening to high school basketball?

The best player on the state's best 3A team, North Lawndale's Jon Mills, missed his second regional game due to being ruled ineligible by school officials after being accused of cheating on a math test. And the state's best player on state title contender Waukegan, 6-7 junior Jereme Richmond, will likely miss the much-anticipated matchup next Wednesday night with Zion-Benton after being assessed two technical fouls in Friday's win over Fremd. In both cases it's not as cut-and-dry as it would seem.

After reading different stories from the Waukegan game and even talking with people who were at the game, Richmond's second technical foul for hanging on the rim was very questionable, if not "ridiculous," according to a couple of people in attendance. While the Hoops Report was not at the game, the technical for hanging on the rim is rarely if ever called in high school basketball. If there is this much dispute over the call, it doesn't appear as if it was a no-brainer call. And if it wasn't a no-brainer, it shouldn't have been called. With the stakes this high it's a shame a sectional championship could be determined as a result of this.

Anyone involved with the game knows rules are rules in high school basketball, and whether it's a coach on the bench or a player on the floor, if either are given two technical fouls in a game they are required to sit out the next game. So while the call is very questionable, the action taken is not. I was asked this morning on a radio show "Can something like this be overturned?" In a word, no. It's a judgment call by an official that the IHSA will not mess with when it comes to getting involved and overturning a call.

Again, an absolute shame on many levels. First, a huge blow to Waukegan and its program. But more importantly to a player who has grown up, matured and done what was asked of him after a turbulent season a year ago.

In the case of Jon Mills, it will be interesting to see what transpires between now and Tuesday when the case goes before a judge. A lawsuit has been filed against North Lawndale and school officials after Mills was ruled ineligible.

After hearing details from those close to the situation, the Mills case seems to be far from over. According to sources, Mills took the math test early Tuesday morning in a classroom with just himself and the math teacher. There were no other students in the classroom and the math teacher was the proctor of the test. Mills completed the test, it was graded and he was given an A for the work he did in what is considered to be his best subject. Only later did school officials notify Mills and coach Lewis Thorpe that their belief was that Mills cheated on the test.

However, after listening to at least one interpretation of the events that transpired, officials at North Lawndale will certainly have some explaining to do or have to come up with some concrete proof of the accusation. After hearing the details of the events, the accusations are very sketchy with plenty of questions surrounding them.

Without Mills there is no question North Lawndale becomes a more vulnerable team. Throw in the fact talented guard Terry Johnson, who missed the regional opener and played in the regional final with a severly sprained ankle, and the Phoenix have their work cut out for them in the Riverside-Brookfield Sectional.

Some more "technicalities"
Never before has a regional championship night involved so many dramatic technical fouls. Ahhhhh, March.

In addition to the Richmond fiasco, there were two games in particular that had game-changing technical fouls. These two technical fouls actually helped determine the outcome of some hotly-contested regional finals.

At East Aurora, where Plainfield North was trying to win the school's first-ever regional championship, the host Tomcats were whistled for a technical foul with 1:11 left in regulation and Plainfield North up by three points. Plainfield North hit a free throw and scored on the next possession to put the game away.

In a pivotal Class 3A sectional game between Aurora Central and Oswego, a game where the Hoops Report believes the winner will be a favorite in the Rochelle Sectional, a huge technical was called with 21.1 seconds. At the time Oswego led 60-58 with Aurora Central attempting to inbound the ball. Aurora Central called a timeout but didn't have any remaining, resulting in a technical and ending any hopes for the No. 1 seeded Chargers. Oswego promptly knocked down two technical free throws and got the ball.

Can't wait to see what next week brings.

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8 Comments

While I was not at the Waukegan game, I think officials determining the game is ridiculous. First of all they knew the rules about technical fouls. Second they know Richmond is the area player of the year. If the technical was egregious then fine. Otherwise give the kid a break. Officials have too much power in determining a game. They are supposed to be facilitators not on power trips to determine games for the kids. I go to many games in the area and I see too much of officials having their own agendas and obviously calling games against one team. Whether it's personnal or they live in a certain area, something that makes them bias. I will say the Evanston-Glenbrook North game was well officiated and Glenbrook North is a very good team. The only other thing I will say is the Waukegan coach is an idiot. Why have Richmond in the game with a 23 point lead with 4 minutes to go in the game? Don't put a kid in that situation to have something like this happen to him. I was planning on going to the Zion Benton-Waukegan game. Now it's no use in going cause there is a conspiracy to help ZB get down state. I saw it first hand last year when Evanston played ZB in the Final Four. 24 fouls by Evanston to 8 for ZB in the ENTIRE GAME. And ZB is an aggressive playing defensive team. I will be going to the Notre Dame-Glenbrook South game on Wednesday.

YOU SAID A MOUTH FULL, BUT THE KEY IS WHY IS THE PLAYER
IN THE GAME WITH 4 MINUTES LEFT, A BLOWOUT, NOW HE CAN'T
PLAY IN THE SECTIONAL-SEMIFINAL, THIS IS A BLOOPER OF A
MOVE BY THE COACHING STAFF, IT HAPPENS, THEY MUST MOVE
ON, THEY MUST DEVELOP A GAME PLAN THAT WORKS WITHOUT THE
PLAYER OF THE YEAR!
THE MILLS SITUATION WILL WORK ITS WAY OUT, BUT NLCP IS
NO JOKE OF A SCHOOL, THIS IS A CHARTER SCHOOL, AND
GUESS WHAT, PRETTY SOON, THE CPS WILL BE MORE CHARTER
THAN ANY SCHOOL SYSTEM IN THE NATION, YOU DON'T NEED TO
BE A CERTIFIED TEACHER, TO EVEN TEACH AT THESE SCHOOLS,
THEY ARE RUNNING THEMSELVES, THIS IS UNION-BUSTING AT
THE HIGHEST LEVEL, BUT THE PLAYER CHOSE THE SCHOOL, NO
ONE PUT A GUN TO HIS HEAD AND MADE HIM GO TO NLCP!
YOU HAVE TO TAKE THE BITTER WITH THE SWEET!
JUST MY HUMBLE OPINION WITH SEVERAL FACTS!

AS FOR THE REF,S , I KNOW THEY HAVE A TOUGH JOB, SOME ONE HAS TO DO IT. NO ONE IS PERFECT, YET THEY KNOW THAT DETERMINING THE OUTCOME OF A GAME IS NOT THERES TO DO! I HAPPENED TO SEE A CREW DO JUST THAT FROM MY PERSPECTIVE, ONE TEAM I WAS ROUTING FOR THE OTHER JUST WATCHING. THE GAMES,CURIE-VS-EISENHOWER, AND ST. RITA-VS-MARIST. THE CREW TALL GUY,GRAY HAIRED GUY,STARTED CALLING FOULS WITH 3 MINUTES TO GO, AFTER THE GAME HAD BEEN PLAYED THE SAME WAY THROUGH OUT IN BOTH GAMES, SHOCKING FANS AT BOTH GAMES AS IT HAPPENED RESULTING IN TECHS IN BOTH GAMES. BRINGING CURIES 20PT LEAD TO 6PTS, AND RITAS 12PT LEAD DOWN TO 2PTS. YET MAYBE THIS JUST HOW I SAW IT? DID ANY SEE IT THIS WAY OR THE OTHER?

Joe,
We are missing the whole point here. If we continue to sit back and ignore the rules of a game, why even play. In the Richmond case, I agree with you that maybe the hanging on the rim foul should have never been called. However, why would Richmond put himself in a situation to even get 2 in one game anyway. What I am trying to say is that lets look at the real problem, he got the first one. I have coached basketball for a long time, and when one of my kids get a technical foul called I make it a big issue and sit them the rest of the game. I'm not saying that my way is the right way, but we need to look at the "whole" reason for him to be sitting the next game, and that is because he got 2 T's not 1. I have watched Jeremy play for several years now and I enjoyed every minute, however he needs to learn how to control himself better. This may go a long way in Jeremy becoming a better young man and basketball player. As far as the Mills case, there has to be more information we are not privy to. I would hope the adults making these decisions are smart enough to make this decision with a clear conscious. After all these folks wouldn't have a job if it wasn't for these kids. And if there is an ulterior motive here that really sucks. After all this is about the kids, not the schools, administration, or anything else. Simply put it is about the KIDS!

Ed M .... I hear what you are saying. However, the point is there should never have been a second technical called. Have you seen the call? I encourage you to take a look at the video of it of the Sun-Times site. So because he received one technical foul in a regional game he should have to sit for a sectional game because of an absolutely ridiculous call by an official? That's what he deserves? He didn't put himself in position to get two technicals -- just the one, because he did nothing wrong the rest of the game. Now should the IHSA overturn the call? I don't think they can because that just opens a can of worms for the future.

Where is this video on the S-T site? Can't find it but would love to see the play in question. Thanks

The video is on the yourseason website, which is the high school page on the Sun-Times website.

Ed why can't the IHSA change the call? If the official made a mistake(which he did) admit it, change the call and let Richmond play against ZB. I am from Evanston and saw first hand what the IHSA did to us in the Final Four last year. Evanston 24 fouls to 8 for ZB and it STILL took a last second half court shot to beat Evanston. I think the IHSA is doing everything they can to give ZB the title this year. I personally hope they lose cause their fans are so obnoxius. It's a shame because the players are good kids who play hard and I admire the way they play. But I don't want them to win cause their fans are classless and obnoxius. Regardless of that the call against Richmond was wrong on all grounds period.

HE CAN PLAY, HE CAN PLAY!
THE IHSA HAS REVERSED THE DECISION, HE CAN PLAY!
IT IS LIKE KISSING YOUR SISTER, THEY SAID THE REF MADE
A CORRECT CALL, BUT IT DIDN'T WARRANT A SUSPENSION!
THE ILLINI NATION HAS SPOKEN AND THE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
CAN PLAY!
WHAT DID BRUCE WILLIS SAY IN DIE HARD- YIPPEE- KIYAY, WELL
YOU KNOW THE REST!
A GREAT SECTIONAL-SEMIFINAL - WAUKEGAN VS. THE Z-BEES!
OHIO STATE VS. ILLINOIS IN THE FUTURE GAME!

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on March 7, 2009 2:06 PM.

Upset alerts raised was the previous entry in this blog.

Sectional sneak peak is the next entry in this blog.

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