Sunday, December 3, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Ahead of their home openers on Dec. 1, Proviso East basketball coach Donnie Boyce and Proviso West basketball coach Anthony Longstreet each talked about what they’re looking forward to from their respective teams this season.
East features a core group of seniors that includes Jordan Morris, Michael Wright, Quinlan Bennett, Trevor Moore and Jaelon Hood. Bennett, Boyce said, is still recovering from off-season wrist surgery.
Boyce said that sophomore guard Michael Osborne, junior guard Devin Spencer and junior forward Aaron Sykes are “playing really well.”
Boyce added that he’s waiting for the IHSA to approve the transfer of 6’5 power forward Jeremiah Jones, a senior from Saint Patrick’s High School in Chicago. The addition could add even more depth to his roster.
West, Longstreet said, is also a senior laden team that features top prospect Ronnie Allgood, the 6’5 forward who is the team’s leading scorer.
Proviso East’s Donnie Boyce
Last year’s record: 16-14
Current record: 4-1 (They beat Willowbrook at the buzzer on Friday for a 74-72 victory)
On what he expects this season: For us, the expectation has never changed. We have four team goals each year: We want to win every tournament we’re in — from the Thanksgiving and Christmas tournaments to the conference and state tournaments.
We made it to the championship game in the Thanksgiving tournament, but unfortunately we lost.
On the team’s most impressive win: It’s still early in the year, so its hard to pinpoint the most impressive win, but our common goal in all of our games has been to really establish the temp and make it tough on the defensive end. We want the other team to feel uncomfortable. So far, I like how we’ve applied pressure.
On the team’s sole loss: We lost to Naperville North in the championship game in an Oswego tourney called Hoops for Healing, which does a really good job at reaching out to people in the community who are cancer survivors. We lost in the championship game. We jumped out to an early lead on them, but took our foot off the gas.
From that game, we really realized we have to play all of our minutes with the right mental focus. We have to apply the right kind of defensive pressure and play together as a team. Losing that game really opened our eyes that we have to compete the whole game.
Games he’s looking forward to: We play Orr, who won the 2A state title, this month. The Proviso West Holiday Tournament is always a good gauge to see what areas we need to improve in and what we’re excelling in. More importantly, you get the opportunity to test yourself against other elite programs in the area. The kids are really excited to get the opportunity to take back something that we feel belongs to us and that’s the conference championship.
On intangibles: I like our depth. We have several guys who can play multiple positions. We’re always constantly trying to bring in a fresh wave of fresh bodies throughout the course of the game.
The guys are also really locked in in the classroom, which is always a great indication. We’re really looking forward to this team’s growth. Hopefully, we can match our potential. We have a good chance to be one of four teams still competing in Peoria. I really believe we’re going to surprise a lot of people. A lot of people are underestimating us.
Proviso West’s Anthony Longstreet
Last year’s record: 13-14
Current record: 1-0 (West beat Du Sable 85-49 in their season opener at home on Dec. 1)
This is Longstreet’s first year coaching at West. The former Crane coach, who replaced Michael Ingram, compiled a 268-100 record over 13 years at Crane, which he built into a powerhouse.
“We wanted to bring in a proven coach who could help enhance scholarship opportunities and instill discipline while getting our kids to the next level of competitive basketball,” Proviso West Athletic Director Calvin Davis told the Chicago Sun-Times when Longstreet was hired.
On what he expects this season: I’m trying to create an atmosphere of winning and to have these kids playing on a positive level. We want to establish an inside game and I would like for us to be a bit better on defense.
Right now, we’re probably at 20 percent of what I’m expecting us to be. We’ll be working on quite a few things. My goal is to get ready for the playoffs.
Games he’s looking forward to: The Proviso East game and the Proviso West Holiday Tournament. We’re excited about the tournament. We got a host of great teams in there, so every game will be big.
On intangibles: This will be the fourth year this squad has played together, so I’m looking for great chemistry. VFP
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