The Wolverines beat the No. 1 team in the country..
Derrick Rose, Tim Flowers and Daniel Green grew up together on the South Side, attending Beasley Elementary and Simeon.
Thursday at the UIC Pavilion, the group of friends and teammates shocked the basketball world by defeating defending national champion and USA Today No. 1 ranked Oak Hill Academy (Va.) 78-75 in a game televised live on ESPN.
Derrick Rose staked his case for national player of the year honors, finishing with 28 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds against the most highly regarded team in the nation.
“Before the game I said I wanted to make history,” Rose said. “My mother told me this morning that not even LeBron James or Greg Oden had played on ESPN.”
Chicago Bears Devin Hester and Chris Harris were among the 3,070 fans on-hand for the game. Hester was more than impressed with Rose.
“What a great player,” Chicago Bear Devin Hester said. “I heard he was good, but I didn’t know he was this good. He’s like a Michael Jordan for his team. Not only can he score, he keeps all of his teammates involved. I’m glad I got a chance to watch him play.”
The unlikely hero for Simeon was Daniel Green, Simeon’s sixth man, who drained three three-pointers to finish with 11 points.
“We’ll be taking about this later on,” Rose said. “It’s something we will laugh about later on.”
A three-point play by Flowers with 4:47 to play put the Wolverines ahead by 15, but Oak Hill charged back behind star guard Brandon Jennings, who scored all 19 of his points in the fourth quarter.
Jennings’ three with seven seconds to play cut the lead to 76-72 but Rose drained two free throws a second later to seal the win.
“When I was walking out I was shaking [the fans] hands thanking them for supporting us,” Rose said. “The whole city came to together as a family and I’m happy for that.”
Senior Kevin Johnson (18 points, 10 rebounds) contributed in the paint and in transition, providing the combination of length and speed that Simeon lacked in last year’s loss to Oak Hill.
“Johnson did a great job of stepping up,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said. “Our bench players all stepped up and gave us a tremendous lift. That’s why we won the game.”
Flowers finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds and junior Keyon Smith came off the bench to add nine points, four steals and four assists.
“The only thing I hate about coaching at Oak Hill is that you’re expected to win every game,” Oak Hill coach Steve Smith said. “Simeon is going to beat most teams that come into Chicago.”
Michigan-bound guard Alex Legion led the Warriors (22-1) with 23 points and nine rebounds. Nolan Smith added 12 points.
“I’m just happy everyone was here to support us,” Rose said. “Even our rivals were here.”