Is it only a coincidence or can you make something of the fact that very few multi-star athletes have surfaced since the era of AAU or summer basketball began to negatively affect high school sports?
The latest athlete to choose specialization over versatility is Mount Carmel junior Adonis Filer, who was touted to be the next great linebacker in a distinguished line that included his older brother Steven, now at Notre Dame.
I don't know Adonis from Brian Urlacher but I know his brother was a talented two-sport athlete at Mount Carmel whose football credentials didn't seem to suffer by a season of basketball.
However, somewhere along the line, somebody has persuaded Adonis that basketball, not football, is his future. And he has opted to concentrate on basketball on a full-time basis--fall, winter, spring and summer. He will lose two years of development in many observers predicted was a very promising football career.
I hope Filer made the right decision for his own sake. But I understand most analysts felt his future was in football, not basketball, and he may have listened to some bad advice. It seems to me that he could have waited until after his senior year to decide which sports was best for him.
I may be wrong but the only outstanding multi-sport athletes I can recall since the AAU era began to take a stranglehold on high school sports were Tai Streets and Antwan Randel El of Thornton, Matt Lottich of New Trier, Sherron Collins of Crane and C.J. Fiedorowicz of Johnsburg.
Compare them to the long and distinguished list of multi-sport athletes who were produced in the pre-AAU era...all-staters, college stars, future Olympians and pros who didn't burn out on one sport but chose to gain experience in more than one sport, often three, even four.
Centralia's Dike Eddleman and Bobby Joe Mason, Springfield's Bob Trumpy, Bloom's Homer Thurman, Chuckie Green and Jerry Colangelo, Thornton's Lou Boudreau, Paul Jackson and LaMarr Thomas, Thornridge's Quinn Buckner, Oak Park's Charlie Hoag, Blue Island's Willie May, Lockport's Tom Haller, Canton's Ethan Blackaby, Rock Falls' Gary Kolb, Champaign's Johnny Easterbrook, Evanston's Howard Jones, Wheeling's Jack Bastable, Du Quoin's Don Stanhouse, Luther South's Mike Conley and Peoria Manual's Al Smith.
They don't make them like that anymore.