Boys Basketball: Phillip Lee returns for Hyde Park, downs ManleyFrank Williams of Hyde Park lands one of his many dunks in the game against Manley. Patrick Gleason ~ For the Sun-Times
Updated: December 9, 2011 7:37PM
Hyde Park junior Phillip Lee was ineligible for the Thunderbirds’ opening game this season and was itching to play basketball. Thursday in Hyde Park’s 91-49 win over visiting Manley, he expressed his happiness at being back on the court in a rather unique way.
With 4:45 to play in the third quarter and the game well in hand, Lee threw the ball off the backboard—caught it himself—and tried to dunk it. He missed, and his teammates let him have it after the game.
Lee didn’t find himself sitting on the bench after the flashy move. Before the game, Hyde Park coach Lamont Bryant had promised that his team would put on a show, and Lee’s carnival dunk attempt was just one of the attractions.
“Phil had kind of crazy idea there,” Hyde Park junior Kyle Davis said. “We are always trying out different dunks in practice. He was just having fun, it’s all about fun.”
That may have been the only non-triumphant moment in an impressive showcase game for the Thunderbirds (2-0).
Bryant has one of the deepest and most talented teams in the city, thanks to a bevy of transfers being ruled eligible.
There has been plenty of talk about the transfers from Bogan (Moshawn Thomas and Juwan Savage) and Mount Carmel (Marcus Smith). But there is another true difference maker in the mix, 6-7 senior Frank Williams, who started at Vocational, was at Phillips and then had to sit out last season.
Williams scored 14 points, grabbed eight boards and blocked three shots in limited playing time.
“Everybody forgot about Frank after he sat out last year,” Davis said. “Everybody thinks Hyde Park is nothing. They don’t know how good we are.”
The Thunderbirds’ press overwhelmed Manley (0-2), forcing 23 turnovers in the first half alone.
Davis finished with 16 points and Smith, a sophomore, added 15. Lee had eight points and seven rebounds. 12 players scored for Hyde Park.
“Everybody in the city knows me,” Davis said. “So of course they will all be gunning for me. But they don’t know how good all these guys are around me.”
Javon Linson led Manley with 18 points and Darnell Lindsay added eight points and 11 rebounds.
Despite his overwhelming confidence in his teammates, Davis’ isn’t overlooking the Thunderbirds’ next opponent.
“We have all kinds of goals for this season,” Davis said. “But right now there is just one. Beat our rival. Beat Curie.”