By Joe Henricksen

Combs is one to watch

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By Joe Henricksen

Since the year 2000, the Thornwood basketball program has produced a Mr. Basketball winner and NBA Lottery Pick in Eddy Curry, numerous Division I players, churned out five seasons of 25-plus wins, made four trips to Peoria and claimed a pair of state runner-up finishes (2001 and 2003).

But since coach Bob Curran left the Thunderbird program following the 2006-2007 season, Thornwood basketball has dealt with coaching turnover and has hovered around the .500 mark with just one regional title game appearance in the last four years.

Although most people are unaware outside the south suburbs, Thornwood basketball has something to be excited about again -- Darrell Combs.

Although very underappreciated by the masses, Combs has long been among the Hoops Report's top 15 prospects in the Class of 2012. He received his first offer from Loyola last week and, in the eyes of the Hoops Report, remains one of the best-kept mid-major secrets in the much-maligned Class of 2012 in Illinois. He averaged 19 points and four assists a game last season as a junior.

With Combs returning next season and some stability provided by coach Paul Slavich, who went 16-12 last year in his first season as head coach after 15 years coaching at the lower levels, Thornwood has something to build on. And Combs is looking forward to building his own reputation over the next six weeks.

"I'm just real excited for the opportunity," Combs said of playing with his Meanstreets team during the July evaluation period. "I'm anxious to get on the court and show what I can do -- and not just to the show the people in Chicago that I can play, but others as well in July."

What the 6-1 Combs does best -- and what college coaches will come to appreciate -- is put the ball in the hole. The slender, smooth, fluid combo guard can often look effortless in putting up impressive scoring totals and in a number of ways. Combs can put it on the floor and shoot it with range. He can slither to the basket in the open court and knock down shots with an evolving mid-range game in the halfcourt. He's a naturally gifted scorer.

What Combs also hopes to show going forward is an ability to lead. He believes this is an area he's made his biggest strides as a player and teammate.

"I think I have really improved in terms of being a leader, my work ethic and knowing what it is that I need to in order to help my team," says Combs. "Now I want to find a school that fits me, fits my talent and style of play."

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6 Comments

Combs is the BEST 2012 GUARD IN THE STATE!!!!! MID-MAJOR MY BUTT, THIS KID IS ILLINI'S NEXT PG IF THEY ARE SMART???? OR...Watch a Butler come and steal him and get him on the BIG STAGE were he'll EAT ALIVE A WHOLE LOT OF BIG NAMES!!!!

Combs is a nice player, but THB is a little aggressive here. He's not a high D1 player and he's not the best 2012 guard in the state.

Combs is a very nice player. Tyrone better at the point position. I think Combs can score a little more than Sherman. These to south suburb guard are underrated to me. I love them both.

You know, I could agree and disagree with THB.. First, I was at Thornwood a few weeks ago watching them train and workout. Darrell Combs is abt a legit 6'2 now. He is not 6'1 b/c I am 6'1 and he's a little taler than I am.. What makes you think Darrell cannot play at Illinois? His attitude and discpline, yes, maybe, but that would get kicked out of him quick.. Darrell has NBA range on his 3, can handle the ball, play full court defense, can get others involved, and is an athletic guard that is quick. Who does this remind you of that use to be at Illinois? (6'0 Dee Brown? Maybe even 5'11).. He was a SCORING GUARD. listed as 6'0. He was a shooting guard in a point guards body. Deron Williams was the PG of that team.. Or look at Jacob Pullen, another 6'0 SCORING GUARD listed as a pg.. But, you can tell me Illinois offer Michael Orris? Yes he has better floor vision and passing ability, but he is not very quick, as athletic, or a prolific scorer as Combs. C'mon now. If Illinois offers Orris, why not offer Combs? Or at least take a look.. Just stating facts. Both players will excel wherever.

Why can't Loyola do it?

There's many reasons probably the most obvious is Butler will always block their path until they leave the comference

This is great to read regarding Darrell Combs. I've been know Darrell personally a long time. Hes a quality player, a good home life with his mother, and he can play. He also is a fantastic Wide Reciever in football and could have gone that way too. Loyola got a steal....you'll see! Way to go Darrell!

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on June 20, 2011 7:25 AM.

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