Simeon looks back to prepare for the road ahead

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Simeon looks back to prepare for the road ahead

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.

Recruiting News and Notes: Ben Bryant commits to Cincinnati

Recruiting News and Notes: Ben Bryant commits to Cincinnati

Ben Bryant (QB), Lyons Township

Lyons Township senior three-star quarterback Ben Bryant (6-foot-3, 195 pounds), who originally gave Wisconsin his verbal commitment only to have the Badgers rescind his verbal scholarship offer, has given Cincinnati his verbal commitment.

"It was a much harder decision this time around compared to the first time I committed," Bryant said. "When I committed the first time (to Wisconsin) I had two offers. This time around I had a lot of options and some great offers, but Cincinnati is the best place for me."

Bryant is thrilled to have ended his recruiting process again and can now focus on his upcoming senior season while also putting to rest the entire ordeal with Wisconsin.

"I've put the whole Wisconsin deal behind me and I stand my statement that I sent out on my Twitter account and that's all I have to say. I had some great offers and options and it was a great problem to have. I can just focus now on my team this summer and having a great senior season."

Bryant joins Simeon wide receiver Jayshon Jackson and Mount Carmel senior offensive linemen Jeremy Cooper as part of the Bearcats Class of 2018. 

Jeff Griffin (DL), Homewood-Flossmoor

Northern Illinois continues to do well with filling out its Class of 2018. The Huskies added another Chicagoland piece when Homewood-Flossmoor senior defensive linemen Jeff Griffin (6-foot-2, 260 pounds) became the team's ninth in-state commitment and 14th overall pledge.

"I visited NIU (last Saturday) and that visit really sold me on NIU," Griffin said. "I always wanted to stay closer to home for school and once NIU stepped up and offered me it was a hard offer to turn down. After the visit on Saturday I was sold on NIU so I called up the coaches and committed."

Griffin is also hoping to help NIU add a few more pieces from Homewood-Flossmoor's talented senior class.

"I'm definitely already talking to Justin (Hall) and Mario (Wright II) about joining me at NIU."

Seniors' athlete Justin Hall and linebacker Mario Wright II have both listed Northern Illinois as one of their favorite schools this summer. 

[RELATED: Recruiting News and Notes - Jyran Mitchell commits to NIU]

Indiana State recruiting

Indiana State head coach Curt Mallory has been on fire when it comes to the Sycamores recruiting this summer. Mallory, who was a long-time assistant coach at various stops in Illinois, now has an amazing 24 verbal commitments — including two recent additions in Bishop McNamara safety Giavion Mason (6-foot-0, 190 pounds) and Lindblom wide receiver CJ Rutherford (6-foot-0. 170 pounds).

So why the Sycamores?

Rutherford pointed towards the strength of the coaching staff as a big factor in his decision.

"I really love the coaching staff at Indiana State," Rutherford said. "Coach Mallory brought in a staff that has a lot of experience and several of his coaches worked with him when he was at Michigan. The coaches made us feel comfortable and at home at Indiana State and I'm just excited to be a part of helping the football program win."

Recruiting News

Who are the Top 5 uncommitted players remaining in the Class of 2018?

Carterville tight end Luke Ford (6-foot-7, 245 pounds) has offers from literally every Power 5 school in the nation. Ford originally committed to Arkansas.

Oswego DT Noah Shannon (6-foot-2, 290 pounds) was committed to Minnesota but reopened his recruiting process. Shannon has shown heavy interest in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Indiana and Arkansas.

Bolingbrook DT Dashaun Mallory (6-foot-2, 265 pounds) added a camp offer from Michigan State, and has a Top 3 list of the Spartans, along with Iowa State and Toledo. 

Waubonsie Valley tight end Charles Robinson (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) listed Iowa State, Minnesota and Mississippi State as his Top 3 favorite schools.

Bolingbrook wide receiver I'Shawn Stewart (5-foot-11, 165 pounds) camped earlier this summer with Wisconsin and also made a recent visit to Syracuse. 

58 Days to Kickoff: St. Viator

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58 Days to Kickoff: St. Viator

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Jul. 31, we’ll unveil the @CSNPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: St. Viator

Head coach: Dave Archibald

Assistant coaches: Chase Murdock (DC/LB), Kyle Jenkins (DL), Gregg Kirkwood (DB), Frank Laterza (Asst. DB/ST), Bob Lamick (OL), Casey Lynde (WR), Al Panzeca (RB), Dan Hall (K), Mike Tubridy (Football Operations)

How they fared in 2016: 6-5 (4-3 East Suburban Catholic Conference), made the Class 6A state playoff field, defeated Rockford Boylan then lost to Lake Forest.

[MORE: 59 Days to Kickoff - McHenry]

2017 regular season schedule:

Aug. 25 – @ Rolling Meadows

Sept. 1 – Lake Forest

Sept. 8 – @ Marian Catholic

Sept. 15 - Benet Academy

Sept. 22 - Carmel

Sept. 29 – @ Marian Central Catholic

Oct. 6 - St. Patrick

Oct. 13 - @ Nazareth Academy

Oct. 20- @ Notre Dame

Biggest storyline: Can the Lions make a deeper run this fall?

Names to watch this season: senior QB/K Bryce Hellgeth, senior DL/OLB Michael Wittich 

Biggest holes to fill: The Lions will need to find a go-to receiver with the graduation of standout tight end Cole Kmet (Notre Dame). St. Viator will also be inexperienced on the defensive line.

EDGY's early take: The Lions had a nice season in 2016 and return 12 starters back (seven offense, five defense). If St. Viator can fill in a handful of key spots, they have a great shot of getting back into the playoffs.