By Joe Henricksen

The Decade of Illinois Prep Basketball

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By Joe Henricksen

Four-class basketball. Preps to the pros. Simeon's back-to-back titles. Schaumburg upsets Thornwood. Gordie Kerkman and West Aurora win first state title. Shaun Livingston. Hales forfeits state title. Derrick Rose. Michael Jordan's son. Seneca wins 64 straight. Jon Scheyer's 21 points in 75 seconds. Banks, Bailey and Westinghouse. Gene Pingatore and Steve Goers passing Van Scyoc.

These were a few of the coaches, players, teams and storylines that made this past decade of high school basketball memorable.

This week's issue of the City/Suburban Hoops Report broke down the entire decade of high school basketball in Illinois, looking back at a decade of prep basketball starting with the 1999-2000 season and ending last year. Along with the issue and a breakdown of the decade, differences of opinion and spirited debate followed. The stories ranged from Decade Player of the Year to Program of the Decade to Decade's Top Stories and Storylines to a dozen other topics of intrigue. In addition, the Hoops Report broke down the top 75 winningest programs of the decade (among large schools in Illinois). Here is just a quick snapshot and sampling of the issue and a look back at the decade, including the top 10 winningest programs of the decade.

Player of the Decade
Simeon's Derrick Rose
The choice wasn't as easy you think, with Rose getting the edge over Glenbrook North's Jon Scheyer. Rose, though, was a two-time state champion, made the decade's biggest shot (game-winning basket to give Simeon the 2006 state title) and became a city and state icon.

All-Decade Team
Derrick Rose, Simeon
• Arguably one of the top five high school players the state has ever produced.
Shaun Livingston, Peoria Central
• As skilled of a point guard as we've seen. A two-time state champ and McDonald's All-American.
Jon Scheyer, Glenbrook North
• Won a state title, reached Peoria three times and one of only five players to score 3,000 career points.
Dwyane Wade, Richards
• Hoops Report Player of the Year in 2000 and maybe best remembered for scoring 95 points in two games in one day at a tournament at St. Xavier.
Eddy Curry, Thornwood
• People forget how dominating he was as a prep player. Capped off career by scoring 28 points in McDonald's All-American game.

All-Decade Second-Team
Darius Miles, East St. Louis Sr.
Dee Brown, Proviso East
Shannon Brown, Proviso East
Pierre Pierce, Westmont
Sherron Collins, Crane

Program of the Decade
Simeon
The Wolverines won the most games in the decade and reached Peoria four times, winning two state titles and finishing second once.

Decade's Winningest Programs
1. Simeon .........................................(251-65)
2. Zion-Benton ................................. (250-63)
3. West Aurora ................................. (246-53)
4. Hillcrest ........................................ (245-48)
5. Lincoln ......................................... (242-78)
6. Rockford Boylan .......................... (238-66)
7. Rock Falls .................................... (235-71)
8. Curie ............................................ (233-68)
9. Neuqua Valley ............................. (226-74)
10. North Lawndale ..........................(224-60) *
Homewood-Flossmoor ...............(224-69)
Leo .............................................(224-76)
(* North Lawndale has one less season due to not starting its program until the 2000-2001 season.)

Decade Flashforward
It appears as though Whitney Young is here to stay as a power for the foreseeable future. The Young basketball program just has too many positive variables going forward for the Dolphins not to be among one of the consistent, dominating programs of this next decade.

And from an individual standpoint, we're off to quite a start with the freshmen trio of Whitney Young's Tommy Hamilton, Simeon's Jabari Parker and De La Salle's Alex Foster in a very talented Class of 2013. And the next big thing in Illinois prep hoops? How about Jahlil Okafor, a 6-7 powerfully built 8th grader (yes, that's the Class of 2014 if you're counting) in the northwest suburbs? You will very likely find Okafor playing in the Chicago Public League next season as one of the elite freshmen players in the country. Throw in Springfield's hotshot 8th grade guard Larry Austin in the mix and we have a starting five of Austin, Okafor, Hamilton, Foster and Parker going forward.

For more information or to subscribe to the City/Suburban Hoops Report, email hoopsreport@yahoo.com or call (630)-408-6709

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8 Comments

Received the Hoops Report in the mail today and wow! What a breakdown of the decade. Just awesome with a lot to chew on as always. You help make high school basketball special.

First, thanks for being professional in your analysis and not bickering and complaining and ripping and bashing about other writers and evaluators. That stuff gets old. Great look at the decade. Hard to argue with much but I would have found a way to put Pierre Pierce on the first team. As a high school player unstoppable and crazy scoring numbers. I know it was against mostly small schools but big impact player as a high schooler. Maybe replace Curry with Pierce?

Great stuff here and even better stuff in your Hoops Report! Right on by the way with your preseason hype for Glenbard East and their players. You hit that one right on the head with your preseason ranking and those players. Glad people are now starting to take notice of that team and players.

Love reading your perspective on things, straight, to the point. Well written. But was wondering what or where the Peoria schools were at on this list. Surprised no one topped out in the top 10.

Thank you for this info. And your last issue of the Hoops Report was outstanding. Just great stuff in there.

Dwayne Wade on the first team?? Come on man. He is one of the best NBA players to come out Chicago in a while but his high school career does not merit a first team all decade. He was barely top 5 in his class coming out of Illinois. You should have Sean Dockery or Will Bynum up there instead. They were two of the best prep players to ever come out of Chicago. Imari Sawyer could make a case too.

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on January 21, 2010 8:40 PM.

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