The Simeon Wolverines have already lost two games this season. Both losses came on national television and one of those defeats came in embarrassing fashion. Since opening the December month later than most teams, the three-time, Class 4A Illinois state champions have looked nothing like the dominant squad many have become accustomed to seeing.
That being the case, it stands to reason that the losses especially the 29-point drubbing at the hands of Montverde have given local teams confidence that the Wolverines can be beaten just dont tell them that.
Im pretty sure theres a few teams thinking they can beat us right now. If I watched the game on TV, Id feel good about myself on winning too, head coach Robert Smith said. But at the end of the day, everybody that knows me and what Im about and what I do, they know well get it together.
Simeon took out a bit of their anger and frustration from the Montverde loss on Perspectives-Calumet Wednesday night, blowing them out by a final score of 68-39.
Jabari Parker continued to work himself back into elite status as the senior put up 26 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks in the victory.
Though the win over Perspectives was expected. The real test comes later this season when the Wolverines will square off against the likes of Whitney Young, Morgan Park and other top-tier Public League programs; schools that feel like they may have a shot at knocking off the champs.
The competition in the city, theyre no pushovers, Dayton commit Kendall Pollard explained. Weve still got to deal with Whitney Young and Morgan Park. Theyve seen us get our butts kicked on national TV Whitney Young was there against Montverde. So Im sure they think they can get us, but I dont think they can.
The games against nationally ranked teams that weve played so far, just prepares us for the local teams, the Duke-bound Parker said. Yeah, weve lost, but now were basing all our practices and games as preparation for what well have to face in the city. A couple of more practices and I think well be ready. I think well be back blowing the other top teams out and well make our presence felt in the city.
University of Illinois commit, Kendrick Nunn, echoed his senior teammates sentiments.
Locally, I think we should handle those games pretty well. Im not worried about any of those teams beating us, but you still have to be humble about it and just play hard. Always play hard.
Past success breeds confidence, but confidence can also be instilled by a strong leader. The Wolverines seem to get their confident attitude from their head coach who has pretty much seen it all and knows what his team is capable of, even if it doesnt appear to be that way on the surface.
When it comes down to those last games when its win or go home theres been no better team than us, Smith said. As the season goes on we start to figure things out. But were still the champs and if people dont think that or understand who we are or what we are, then theyre sadly mistaken. At the end of the day, were still Simeon.