An injury has brought Calvin Brock to a crossroads in his basketball career, and the former Simeon and Illinois guard is not yet sure which direction he will go.
Brock, 26, played the last three seasons in Europe, but he's back in Chicago going through rehab after tearing the LCL in his right knee while grabbing a rebound during the summer.
The 6-foot-5 Brock said he can run and jump while operating at about 50-60 percent and hopes to be back at full strength by late spring. He's also talking to former teammates and friends to see whether he can find a graduate assistant or other lower-level college position to make his coaching start.
"I want to have a career in coaching, so I'm looking for opportunities for teams next season, in case I don't feel like playing with my knee. I'm not trying to reinjure it," Brock said. "Of course I want to play basketball. I don't want to quit, but my health is more important than the game that I love."
Brock said he developed that love at Simeon, where he gave up his first sport, baseball, to play for the late Bob Hambric.
"He was a quiet coach," Brock said. "He didn't say much during games, except when we messed up. Off the court, if you went into the office to talk to him, he'd be sitting there talking and laughing with you."
During his senior season in 2003-04, Brock led Simeon to the Class AA quarterfinals, averaging 22 points, 10 rebounds, five steals, four assists and four blocks per game as a Tribune first-team All-State selection.
Simeon coach Robert Smith, then an assistant under Hambric, said he originally told Brock he should focus on baseball when he was going to be a sophomore. But Smith was surprised by how much he improved.
"Calvin really worked at being really good," Smith said. "He worked on his game and mastered what he could do."
Brock was one of Illinois' top reserves during his junior and senior seasons, averaging 5.2 points and 3.3 rebounds in 17.8 minutes per game during his career. He said he keeps in touch with Dee Brown and a few other teammates, and visits Champaign when he can. Though he's only spoken to new coach John Groce on the phone, he watches most of the current Illini's games on TV.
"I think they're tough," Brock said. "The coach has confidence in them, and they're playing like it. Their chemistry is good. Everybody knows their role."
After Illinois, Brock spent two seasons playing professionally in Germany and a season in Lithuania. He said he worked his way into starting roles before the injury, which has left him rehabbing at local fitness clubs with friends.
"It was different, different culture, different ways of life and living, but it was fun," Brock said of playing in Europe. "I got to play basketball in a part of the world I'd never been and meet new people. I was doing what I loved, so I enjoyed it."
Simeon at Perspectives-Calumet
When: 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Records: Simeon 9-2, 3-0 Public League Red-South; Perspectives-Calumet 8-6, 1-1.
Colleen Kane's quick take: The Wolverines look to regain their swagger after an ugly loss to Montverde (Fla.) on Saturday. The Public League divisional matchup should provide opportunities for players who were shelved the last few games at Pontiac and in West Virginia. Perspectives is coming off a trip to Arizona for a holiday tournament over break.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times