Waukegan's Jereme Richmond wasn't named to the Sun-Times' All-Chicago Area basketball team.
A lot of people are upset because they can't understand why one of the nation's top-rated sophomores, arguably the best player in Illinois regardless of class, a player who already is committed to the University of Illinois, wasn't included among the top 20 in the city and suburbs.
I didn't have a vote. But if I did, I would have done exactly what the panel of judges that selected the team did. They benched Richmond.
He is the poster child for what is wrong with high school basketball today, a spoiled brat who thinks the game is all about scoring and shooting and dunking and styling. Is basketball a T-E-A-M game or what?
Richmond has been reading his press clippings and you can blame the media for that. Who can say who the best freshman or sophomore in the country is? Who has seen them all? And even if Bob Gibbons or Van Coleman have seen everybody from Florida to California, does it really matter?
Is Richmond as good as Quinn Buckner was as a sophomore? As good as Ronnie Fields? Glen Grunwald? Roger Powell? George Wilson?
If he is one of the two or three best sophomores in the nation, as most recruiting analysts are projecting, does that mean the 15-year-old will be as good as a senior as Cazzie Russell? Kevin Garnett? Isiah Thomas? Bobby Joe Mason? Tommy Hawkins? Jamie Brandon? Deon Thomas? Marcus Liberty?
I can't recall any stories about those players being benched or dismissed from their teams for arguing with their coach over how many touches they got in a game or why the offense wasn't revolving around them or why they hadn't been interviewed by ESPN.
Here's a kid who started with good intentions, as a student at prestigious and academic-minded North Shore Country Day in Winnetka. But somebody whispered sweet nothings in his ear, about why he should go to school in hometown Waukegan where he could play against better competition from week to week, and he began spinning on the AAU merry-go-round.
Now he might be headed for his third high school in three years. That's a red flag for any college coach. Richmond has two years of eligibility remaining in high school and already he has earned a reputation as a malcontent, an ego-driven youngster who thinks only of himself. The NBA is full of those characters.
Let's hope he looks in a mirror, stops listening to those outside demons, keeps his mouth shut, listens to his coach and begins to play the game as it was meant to be played, as a team sport. Talent isn't his problem, his ego is.