Boys Basketball: Talented North Chicago still a work in progress

Story Image Deerfield Sunday, 9/30/12

JayQuan McCloud, of North Chicago, playing for the "Warriors" during the second half of Sunday's High School Exposure League game against the "Celtics," played at the Joy of the Game, in Deerfield. The Celtics beat the Warriors, 54-53. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
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Updated: October 2, 2012 9:28PM

There’s really no such thing as a start and end to the high school basketball season.

For example, more than a dozen prep hoops squads are currently playing in a Sunday fall league at the Joy of the Game facility in Deerfield.

It was there last Sunday that North Chicago blew a 17-point lead and lost 54-53 to a group of players from Glenbrook North.

Sitting in the stands watching the action was North Chicago coach King Coleman, who offered this assessment of the Warhawks:

“They haven’t played together as a team, and they’re not working on their defense,” Coleman said. “I know they can get up and down the floor and shoot the ball, but that’s not what I’m looking for. There’s a lot of individual play. They’re not helping each other out at either end of the floor.”

He wasn’t panicking about a team, however, that is missing several players who are playing football this fall.

“I’m not worried about it, but we have a lot of work to do to get where we need to be,” he added. “We have a lot of new players, and I was hoping that our veterans would help them gel, but that hasn’t come to pass yet.”

The leading scorers for North Chicago in the loss were Kurt Hall (12 points) and JayQuan McCloud (14).

“It’s fall league so it’s a chance for us to see where our team is at,” Coleman said. “We’re missing some players (because of football), and it’s a little hectic because people are worried about using their playing time to make up for what the missing players do.

“During the season, when those guys are back it won’t be like that. The big thing is getting people to understand that we need them to play their roles. Sometimes we have people trying to do way too much.”

Among North Chicago’s new players are transfers Emmanuel January (from Waukegan), Timothy Dixon (from Marshall in Chicago where he did not play last year), and Travaris Knox, (from a small school in Milwaukee).

Knox is a sophomore post player with an inside game the team needs.

“Travaris is another big body for us who knows how to box out and rebound,” Coleman said. “He shows leadership on the court, and he really understands what we need him to do.”

Dixon is a true point guard, and he fills a need for the up-tempo Warhawks.

“Defense and the ability to push the ball,” Dixon said about what he brings to the team. “They love to get up and down the court and that fits my game perfectly.”

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