By Joe Henricksen
Foreman standout point guard Lavonte Dority, who had narrowed his potential suitors to Baylor, New Mexico and South Florida, made it official this weekend with a commitment to South Florida. The 5-11 point guard is among the top 20 prospects in the City/Suburban Hoops Report's Class of 2010 player rankings and becomes the fourth Foreman senior to commit to a Division I basketball program.
A big reason for the decision was the opportunity to play at the highest level, which South Florida provides Dority. Now Dority, who took his official visit to South Florida last weekend, will have the chance to prove those who didn't believe he was a high-major point guard wrong.
"He definitely wants to prove some things to some people," says Foreman coach Terry Head. "When he got back from his visit last weekend I had a pretty good feeling it was going to be South Florida. It's tough to pass up the Big East."
There will now be a signing party this November on Chicago's North Side at 3235 N. LeClaire as Foreman's fabulous foursome are set to sign Division I letters-of-intent this November. Dority will sign with South Florida, while combo guard Mike McCall will sign with Saint Louis, guard Tommy Woolridge to Eastern Illinois and 6-5 Eddie Denard to UIC.
"It's going to be a big plus to have the recruiting out of the way and taken care of," says Head, looking ahead to the upcoming season. "There were definitely times when we were worried too much about playing in front of college coaches."
Foreman will certainly enter the season among the top 10 teams in the state when the City/Suburban Hoops Report preseason issue comes out next month. It wasn't too long ago when the thought of Foreman being in any rankings was laughable.
Head knows -- heck, he's heard it himself -- there were and are a lot of skeptics and naysayers out there when it came to his program.
"There has been a lot of negativity towards our program," says Head. "Foreman? Why would you go to Foreman? What can they say now?"
Foreman, after all, is not exactly in the geographical hotbed of city hoops. This is not Simeon or Marshall with their history and tradition. Foreman is not on the South Side and it doesn't play in the Red-West. But here the program sits with four Division I recruits. And only one of the four, Dority, had a big name four years ago. McCall, Woolridge and Denard weren't exactly highly-touted phenoms coming into Foreman as freshmen. Foreman has emerged in city basketball.
Now Head and his program are poised for a breakout year. And with it will come a little pressure. But Head believes both he and his team are more prepared.
"We learned from the pressure of last year," says Head.
A couple of years ago a young Foreman team challenged for the top spot in the Chicago Public League's Red-North, only to see Von Steuben go unbeaten. Last season Foreman entered the year ranked No. 9 in the Hoops Report's preseason Top 25 and was expected to get over the hump and win the Red-North. But Lincoln Park stole the thunder, going 9-0 in division play while Foreman finished 8-1.
This appears to be the year for Head and his experienced Hornets. The Dority, McCall, Woolridge trio is as good as it gets on the perimeter. The 6-5 Denard provides athleticism and rebounding. Senior Kevin Baston has experience and size at 6-5. And 6-9 Dante Jones provides Head his first legitimate big man.
"For us this year it's a matter of being on the same page, being focused and everyone understanding their role," Head points out.