Simeon looks back to prepare for the road ahead

Simeon looks back to prepare for the road ahead
January 9, 2013, 4:20 pm
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In order to get where youre going, you sometimes have to know where youve been.

The Simeon Wolverines got taken to the woodshed in another nationally televised game against Montverde at the Cancer Research Classic in West Virginia over the weekend.

The 29-point loss was the worst ever since Robert Smith took over the program and the Wolverines didnt look like the best team in the State of Illinois. They didnt even look like the best team in the City of Chicago. They were beaten in every phase of the game and didnt play Simeon basketball at all.

This is the worst loss Ive had since Ive been here, said Robert Smith after Simeons practice on Tuesday. 29, thats a lot of points to lose by and when you look at it, the first quarter was our best quarter and it pretty much went downhill after that.

We werent playing together. We looked like a bad team that shouldnt be anywhere near one of the top 25 teams in the country, said senior forward Kendall Pollard on the loss. Montverde put pressure on our guards and didnt let us set up our offense at all. We couldnt get out in transition something that were known for we couldnt get any easy baskets which is what gets us going.

With the embarrassing blowout still on everyones mind, Smith held a team meeting before the team took to the practice floor on Tuesday. He didnt call the meeting to yell and scream at his players, instead, he wanted each of them to look themselves in the mirror and get refocused on their goal as a team.

And to motivate his squad even further, the coach also showed his players videos of the 2006 state championship squad that was led by his junior superstar and current Chicago Bulls guard, Derrick Rose.

I showed them films of that group because I wanted them to see how that team shared the basketball. How they played defense. How they understood that Derrick was the leader of the team, said Smith. Tim Flowers was the vocal and emotional leader, but Derrick was the guy that came out here and did his thing on the floor and I wanted them to see how his teammates respected him so much.

I showed it to them in groups of threes so that we could talk about it as we were going through it and I could show them certain things that the 2006 squad did that theyre not doing. And all of the guys said, Yeah, we dont do that. So were just trying to get them in the mode to pick up the behaviors that those guys had.

Once their meeting was done, the coach said he saw an immediate change in his squad during practice.

I could see how those films affected them, explained coach Smith. Guys were diving on the floor in practice. We might have dived on the floor more today than we have since practice started at the beginning of the year. It was just really good today and intense. We never go this hard the day before a game, but the guys wanted to get out here and go at each other and I think they competed well.

The Wolverines will face Perspectives-Calumet on Wednesday before embarking on a second trip to Memphis on Saturday to play Southwind High School (Tenn.) in the Penny Hardaway Hoopfest. And as for the loss to Montverde, Simeon seems to already have put it behind them.

We got it out of the way. Were lucky that we took that loss now because it helped to point out what we did wrong our bad habits, said Simeon star Jabari Parker. Coach Smith just told us in the meeting not to worry about it because were still putting everything together.

Parker also made sure that as the Wolverines leader, he kept his teammates spirits lifted after such a bad loss and instilled confidence in them that no matter what, theyre still the best.

The most important thing was I didnt want to belittle them after the Montverde game, explained Parker. I didnt want to put them down because I had a decent game. I just wanted to uplift my teammates and let them know that well be better the next time we come out on the floor. I have confidence in my guys. Were the best in the Midwest and we just have to come with it.