Pass this on to anyone who believes shooting is all there is to this wintertime passion.
The 2006-07 Tribune All-State boys basketball team may well have the greatest collection of set-up men in the illustrious history of honoring the five best players in
Derrick Rose of Simeon, Evan Turner and
of St. Joseph and DeAndre Liggins of Washington combined to average 30 assists per game.
These guys could open up their own "dime" store.
"When I was 12 years old, I was a point guard who used to shoot 30 times a game," said Turner, who grew from a 5-foot-10-inch playmaker to a 6-6 forward at St. Joseph. "My teammates used to get so mad at me.
"Once I came to St. Joe, I had a mind-set to keep everybody happy. I noticed my teammates were hitting more shots, and my field-goal percentage got better."
The Chargers were trailing Proviso East by a point with two seconds left in the title game of the Proviso West Holiday Tournament, and it was Turner time.
Instead of jacking up a 30-foot prayer, Turner had the presence of mind to fire a pass to Garrett Leffelman, whose layup gave St. Joe a 59-58 victory.
"That was probably the most memorable assist in my career," said Turner, who averaged 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists and has signed with Ohio State.
It was Rose's unselfishness that brought Simeon back-to-back state titles and a legacy that compares with the greatest teams of all time.
"I've always told people that I don't care if I score one point--as long as my team wins," Rose said after scoring just two points in Simeon's 77-54 rout of O'Fallon in Saturday's Class AA title game in Peoria. "My coach (Robert Smith) and I have been saying all season that we aren't a one-man team."
At various times, Rose has been told to shoot more by his coach.
"But that's not me," said Rose, who averaged 18.5 points, 7 rebounds, 7.5 assists and has signed with Memphis. "I'm always looking to find the open man."
Following Rose's lead, Simeon became one of the best passing teams of all time. It wasn't uncommon to see five snappy passes in succession without the ball ever touching the court, resulting in a layup or dunk.
Liggins is thinking assist the moment he grabs a defensive rebound, and the 6-6 junior might be the most accomplished fast-break outlet passer in the state.
"I'd rather pass than shoot, and I try to keep my teammates happy," said Liggins, who averaged 14 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds and recorded four triple doubles. "I can sense when someone is open--it just comes to me. It's just a gift, I guess, and it's always been like that."
Liggins, whose short list includes Illinois, Iowa, Virginia, DePaul, Memphis, Notre Dame and Purdue, had 17 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in the second game of the season--a victory over Spring Harbor, Ark.
He had 18 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in a victory over Young in the Public League semifinals. In his last game, a 56-52 sectional loss to Thornton, Liggins finished with 14 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds.
"I'd like to be a point guard someday, and Illinois, Georgia Tech and Iowa are recruiting me for that position," Liggins said.
The 6-3 McCamey could be the Illini's point guard next season after averaging 15 points and 7.5 assists. McCamey had 16 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in a sectional victory over Proviso West.
"I learned you have to keep your big men happy," McCamey said. "If you set them up, they're going to block shots, rebound and do all the dirty stuff.
"Coach Ping (St. Joe's Gene Pingatore) and coach Mike Mullins (Illinois Wolves summer team) worked with me on getting everyone else involved first, and then get your shots."
6-6, junior, forward
Rated by many scouts as the best player in his class, he nearly averaged a triple-double with 14 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds. Instantaneous outlet passes and no-look assists are his trademarks. Considering Illinois, Iowa, Virginia, DePaul, Memphis, Notre Dame, Purdue.
, St. Joseph
6-3, senior, guard
The one top local recruit who is staying in-state to attend college, the powerful point guard with three-point accuracy averaged nearly 15 points along with 7.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds for a team that lost to Simeon in the supersectionals. Will attend Illinois.
, St. Joseph
6-6, senior, forward
Rated the second-best player in the state behind Rose, he averaged 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists. In a loss to Simeon at the City-Suburban Showdown, he finished with 29 points, 11 rebounds and six assists while guarding Rose. Will attend Ohio State.
6-3, senior, guard
All-American led Wolverines to back-to-back Class AA titles, this season averaging 18.5 points, 7 rebounds, 7.5 assists. He had 28 points, nine assists, eight rebounds in victory over Oak Hill Academy, the nation's No. 1 team. Will attend Memphis.
6-5, senior, center
Most dominating post player in the state was the ideal complement to Derrick Rose. Averaged 17.6 points and 11.5 rebounds, coming away with 35 points and 12 rebounds in the Class AA title-game victory over O'Fallon. Will attend Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
6-9, sr., C, Peoria Richwoods
Averaged 18.8 points, 11.6 rebounds for Class AA supersectional qualifier. Will attend Illinois.
6-6, sr., F, Simeon
He provided a third scoring option for the Wolverines, averaging 15.5 points and three blocks. Going to Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
6-0, sr., G, Proviso East
Mainstay of the Pirates the last two seasons, he averaged 22 points in leading Proviso to the sectional finals. Will attend Kansas State.
6-3, jr., G, Washington (Ill.)
Downstate sharpshooter averaged more than 21 points and is nearing state mark for three-pointers.
6-7, sr., C, T.F. North
As a force on the glass and in the paint, he was second only to Simeon's Flowers, averaging 18 points and 12 rebounds. Among state's top unsigned recruits.
Trey Blue 6-3 Sr. Thornwood
Justin Bocot 6-3 Sr. Bloomington
Ceola Clark 6-2 Sr. Warren
Kevin Dillard 5-10 Jr. Homewood-Flossmoor
Mike Dinunno 6-0 Jr. Von Steuben
Mustapha Farrakhan 6-4 Sr. Thornton
Ryan Hare 6-3 Jr. Marshall
Lewis Jackson 5-8 Jr. Decatur Eisenhower
Sean Johnson 6-1 Sr. Washington
Verdell Jones 6-3 Jr. Champaign C.
Jeff Jordan 6-2 Sr. Loyola
Wade Koester 6-3 Sr. Teutopolis
Robert Kreps 6-0 Sr. Maroa-Forsyth
Jong Lee 6-3 Sr. Stevenson
Sam Maniscalco 6-0 Sr. St. Patrick
Raffi Mantilla 6-2 Sr. Mundelein
John Moran 6-0 Jr. Jacobs
Lawrence Redmond 6-1 Sr. T.F. North
A.J. Rompza 5-9 Jr. Young
Iman Shumpert 6-3 Jr. Oak Park
Darius Smith 6-2 So. Marshall
5-10 Sr. Lincoln Park
Antonio Topps 6-1 Sr. Leo
Mike Balleto 6-4 Sr. Lake Park
Tori Boyd 6-5 Sr. Rockford Boylan
Mike Capocci 6-7 Sr. Glenbard East
Luke Fabrizius 6-9 Jr. Hersey
Nick Fruendt 6-6 Jr. Batavia
Eric Hobbie 6-6 Sr. Vandalia
Kenny Leverette 6-3 Jr. O'Fallon
Geoff McCammon 6-4 Sr. Conant
Brandon McGee 6-7 Sr. Crane
Breland McKnight 6-6 Sr. Peoria Manual
6-3 Sr. East St. Louis
Bryant Orange 6-3 Sr. Simeon
Lucas O'Rear 6-7 Sr. Nashville
Carl Richard 6-5 Jr. Richards
Jereme Richmond 6-7 Fr. North Shore Country Day
Mike Stovall 6-5 Sr. Marshall
Tyler Storm 6-6 Jr. Geneseo
Brad Copelin 6-7 Sr. O'Fallon
Mike Dunigan 6-10 Jr. Farragut
Carlton Fay 6-8 Sr. Putnam County
Zach House 7-0 Sr. Rock Falls
Dwight McCombs 6-7 Sr. Young
John Shurna 6-8 Jr. Glenbard West
Stanley Simpson 6-9 Jr. Leo
Peter Sullivan 6-5 Sr. Loyola
Brett Thompson 6-11 Jr. Vienna
Kellen Thornton 6-7 Sr. Hillcrest
Mike Tisdale 7-0 Sr. Riverton
RANK TEAM RECORD PRESEASON
1. Simeon 33-2 1
Became first Public League team to repeat as state champion.
2. Marshall 26-7 5
Third in Class AA with four returning starters--could succeed Simeon.
3. Stevenson 27-7 NR
Surprise team of season wound up with fourth-place trophy in Class AA.
4. Thornton 25-6 18
Wildcats made it to Elite Eight but couldn't get past Simeon.
5. St. Joseph 25-5 2
Advanced to supersectional, where Simeon ended Chargers' season.
6. Warren 26-4 12
After defeating Stevenson twice, lost to Patriots in supersectional.
7. Lockport 22-8 19
Two-game losing streak included first ESCC loss (St. Patrick) in 50 games.
8. Hillcrest 26-5 NR
Led most of way before losing to Thornton in supersectional.
9. Proviso East 26-4 20
Lost three times to St. Joe--final time in sectional final.
10. Washington 23-6 6
DeAndre Liggins, 6-6 Michael Haynes, guard Paris Paramore will return.
11. Conant 27-3 NR
Geoff McCammon's breakout season led Cougars to supersectional.
12. Evanston 22-9 NR
Wildkits caught fire at end before losing to Marshall in supersectional.
13. Glenbard West 22-8 NR
Fast-rising 6-8 junior John Shurna led upstart Hilltoppers to supersectional.
14. New Trier 20-8 NR
After upsetting Loyola, Trevians lost to rival Evanston in sectional final.
15. Loyola 28-2 4
Ramblers' splendid season came to sudden halt in sectional opener.
16. Thornton Fractional North 24-3 11
Predicted for Elite Eight, Meteors stunned in regional final by Marist.
17. Crane 18-9 7
Injury to Indiana-bound 6-7 Brandon McGee slowed down Cougars.
18. Lincoln Park 23-6 3
Season of great expectations ended in sectional loss to Crane.
19. Lake Park 29-2 NR
Mike Balleto, Andre Lewis couldn't lift Lancers past Conant in sectional final.
20. Thornwood 23-7 8