Decatur Eisenhower's Lewis Jackson and Richards' Tommie Thomas celebrated their victory in the Chicago High School Classic all-star boys basketball game Friday night in stylewearing T-shirts made by Thomas' aunt touting "The future of Purdue."
After their performances in leading the South team to a 129-119 victory over the North at Niles North, Boilermakers fans have to feel pretty good about that future.
Jackson, the only member of the Tribune's All-State first team from outside the Chicago area, showed area fans what they missed this season--and what they might see from West Lafayette next year. The 5-foot-9 point guard finished with 13 points and four assists. Thomas, a forward on the Bulldogs 4A state championship team who will play football at Purdue next year, hit six three-pointers to tie a game-high of 18 points.
"I told [Thomas] he needs to walk on to the basketball team after his performance," Jackson said. "We're going to make some noise next year at Purdue."
More than his stat line, Jackson's flashy moves infused life into the game's second half. He twice finished alley-oop dunks set up by Hales Franciscan guard Matt Humphrey (Oregon).
"Lewis is a great player. It was fun," said Humphrey, who finished with 14 points. "We just went out there and played. He was late to practice last night, so we didn't even get a chance to practice that."
Jackson had the crowd smiling even before the game. Six inches shorter than the next tallest of the four dunk finalists, he jumped over a randomly selected spectator on an approach. He missed the dunk but still took third place.
"He's got springs in his feet," Thomas said. "I love Lewis. When we met, we just felt a connection."
The Classic, in its second year, had on its roster 30 Illinois players, 21 of which have signed letters of intent to play basketball or football at Division I colleges.
Niles North's Josh Evans (Augustana) won the dunk contest in a dunk-off over Eisenhower's Jeremy Robinson (Illinois State). Riverside-Brookfield's Chris Parrish (Southern Illinois) won the three-point contest with eight threes in the finals, beating the six by Jacobs' John Moran (Northern Iowa).
Oak Park's Danny Barnes (Eastern Michigan) led the North with 18 points and was named the North's player of the game. Robinson, the South player of the game, finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
'Future of Purdue' rocks at Chicago Hoops Classic
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