Jaylon Tate was a highly underrated part of Simeon Academy’s success this year; people forget that Jabari Parker was still coming back from a foot injury at the beginning of the season and played limited minutes. It was Tate who kept the skip afloat.
“Jaylon kept us intact early when Jabari was hurt and Kendrick was hurt,” Simeon head coach Robert Smith said to illinihq.com’s Matt Daniels. “Kendrick had nagging injuries with his toe, ankle and hip most of the season, but he knew that he couldn’t sit down because Jabari wasn’t fully healthy. Some games Kendrick probably shouldn’t have played, but he sucked it up so we could continue to win. Once our other guards started to play to their level, there was no beating us.”
The Illinois comit will shine under head coach John Groce, who has done a nice job of recruiting Chicago area talent. Smith is a fan of Illinois’ head coach and is excited to see what his former player can do for him.
“I think they can do nothing but come and help,” Smith said. “Coach Groce has done a great job with what Illinois basketball has accomplished so far. Hopefully the rest of the state and those better players can fit into what they’ve got going on there, look at it and say, ‘Wow, those guys stayed home.’ Kendrick had Kansas and UCLA after him, among others, and Jaylon had Georgetown interested in him late in the process, but they wanted to stay at home and win at our home state school. I think kids and parents should like the sounds of that.”
Something tells me that John Groce is just getting started.