Posted On: 01/25/18 7:15 PM
It was #1 vs #2 in the city of Chicago on Thursday night as Simeon hosted Curie in a battle of public league powers. It was a packed house on the Wolverines new look home court in front of their former star Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker. It was tight early as Curie only trailed 15-13 after one quarter, but Simeon would stretch the lead the rest of the game to win by a final of 80-63. Here are our 5 Takeaways: Simeon vs Curie.
Simeon is the Best Team in Illinois and Its Not Close
We thought in the preseason the Wolverines were going to be the team to beat in Illinois and they have more than proven it throughout the first half of the season. They have not lost to a team inside the state all year and their only out of state losses came to nationally ranked teams with five-star players. This was the second time they have beat Curie who is one of their toughest competitors in 4A this season. Coach Robert Smith’s squad just keeps getting better and better with every game. They are clicking on all cylinders heading into the city and state playoffs. The team I would love to see them match up with in the city playoffs is Orr.
THT is the Clear Favorite for Mr. Basketball
Iowa State commit Talen Horton-Tucker started off a bit slow, but then he got it rolling. The 6’5” small forward has a strong body, but has slimmed down throughout his career and his athleticism has reached levels quite honestly we didn’t see at a young age in his career. He is an incredibly tough cover off the bounce with his size, strength, and handles in traffic. Shifty in short spaces and can finish through contact. THT had several monster jams including a transition one where he crossed his man and took off a good distance away from the hoop. At times he forced jumpers and had some wild passes, but overall it was a big night on a huge stage for Horton-Tucker. He did manage to connect on a few tough step backs. Finished with 24 points. Heading into the city playoffs he has the lead for Mr. Basketball on Dosunmu and Liddell.
THT is clearly the star on Simeon, but what makes them extremely tough to beat is the depth that this team possesses. If one player is having an off night they have so many other weapons. Early in the contest it was sharp shooter Kenny Pittman who was on fire from deep drilling three in a row from beyond the arc. He is a 6’4” wing with plus size for position and is a floor spacer at the D2 level. He had 11 points. Senior guard Xavier Pinson has seen his recruitment skyrocket in recent weeks. He was solid in this game hitting a pair of jumpers including a nice one dribble pull up. Also got to the rim where he finished with athleticism. Pinson had 11 points. Drake commit Messiah Jones is the heart and soul of this team. He brings so much toughness and energy on the interior. Plays above the rim with alley-oops and dunks. Best getting on the offensive glass for put backs. Great fit in the MVC. He had 16 points. The star junior for Simeon Kejuan Clements is an athletic combo guard that is best attacking off the bounce with strong takes to the rack. Makes plays in transition as well. He had 12 points.
Curie Can Still Make Noise in City and State
Curie has now fallen to Simeon twice after previously losing to them at Pontiac in the championship game. They are obviously one of the best teams in the state with tons of D1 talent across their roster. They will have to regroup after this game and look to make a run in the city playoffs in February and state playoffs in March. There is a chance these two teams could meet again twice more in both of those tournaments. They have the pieces to do it with a quality backcourt in Maurice Commander and Marquise Walker. Walker had his moments in this game hitting some jumpers, but was also out of control at times. Finished with 12 points. Inside they are one of the few teams that can cause problems for Simeon with Treavon Martin and Tyree Martin. They both are more defensive players, but as Treavon showed a couple years ago he can make a big impact come March. Treavon had 6 points and 6 rebounds. Tyree had 8 points and 6 boards. Both are headed to Tennessee State where they will be quality defenders and rebounders. Junior Dajuan Gordon is a top 15 prospect in the 2019 class that has upside. He scored a lot of his points in junk time, but he could be a key for this team if he can step up and provide a consistent three point threat. In this game most of his points were in transition and at the rim. He had 12 points.
Maurice Commander Great Fit at UT Chattanooga
Curie’s best player their senior floor general Maurice Commander. The quick and shifty left handed guard has the ability to break defenders down off the bounce as well as shoot it from three. He made a trio of triples in this game. When his team was down he had to force some offense which is not really his game. Also had a nice finger roll late. Commander is a classic example of a prospect that picked the right level to be really successful at. If he would have waited he might have got higher offers, but Commander chose a program that fit him level wise perfectly where he can be super successful for four years.