Westinghouse Wins Chicago City Championship

For the second year in a row, Simeon and Westinghouse met in the Chicago Public School Championship Game hosted in the United Center. And for the second year in a row, Westinghouse left as the Champion. On Saturday night, Westinghouse used a big first half, and held on in the second half for a 15 point victory over Simeon. IlliniBoard.com was at the Championship Game and got to see the stellar sophomores for Simeon <i>(<b>Derrick Rose</b> and <b>Tim Flowers</b>)</i> for the first time.

On the big back of DeAndre Thomas, Westinghouse jumped out to a 37-19 halftime lead. Simeon had no answer whatsoever for the big behemoth on the inside. Simeon was using their standard 2-3 zone defense to slow down Westinghouse, but it was not working as DeAndre Thomas had his way on the inside dominating any defender that was sent his way. Sophomore Tim Flowers, the star of Friday's semifinal game, looked small next to Thomas, and he picked up three fouls in the first half trying to slow down the senior center from Westinghouse.

Simeon came out in the second half and changed up their defensive game plan, getting out of the 2-3 zone and going to a more pressure oriented man-to-man defense. Sophomore Derrick Rose was used often as the player double teaming the ball, as he just ran around on the defensive side of the court wreaking havoc on the Westinghouse guards. This defensive change by Simeon's Head Coach Robert Smith allowed his team to cut the Westinghouse lead just eight with five minutes left to play in the game. Simeon would get no closer.

After Westinghouse let their half time lead of eighteen drop to eight, the Warriors went back to their big man and closed out Simeon with an 8-2 run capped off by a DeAndre Thomas breakaway slam dunk. Thomas finished with 29 points on 11-of19 shooting from the floor and 7-of-9 from the free throw line, while contributing 7 rebounds and three assists.

  • There is no escaping the hype that has surrounded Derrick from the moment he stepped on the court as a varsity player for Simeon. Every one on the Internet that follows recruiting knew about a freshman from Simeon that was going to be the next in the line of great Simeon players, and the Chicago papers would not let you ignore him once this high school season started. The main question I had going into last night's game was, "Is the hype justified?" Yes, it probably is. Now, the only issue will be whether or not the Chicago Hype Machine gets to be too much for this talented player.
  • When watching Rose on the court, the one thing I consistently thought about was: He will be a great college point guard. If you throw out his athleticism, and his high flying dunks, you still have a player that can see the court, and pass the ball through the tiniest of crevices to a teammate. On Saturday night, there were plenty of times where Rose would throw great passes to teammates and they would convert. There were also plenty of times that Rose would see an opening for a teammate and throw the pass, only to have it bounce out of bounds, or be deflected to a Westinghouse player because his teammate was not ready to receive the pass.
  • Defensively, Rose was used by Robert Smith as the pressure, especially in the second half when Simeon switched from their 2-3 zone to a man-to-man pressuring defense. Rose was roaming around the court trying to find someone to trap, and cause turnovers.
Overall: Derrick Rose was the best player on the court last night as a sophomore. His game is not as polished as DeAndre Thomas' is, but he is also two years younger. Rose shows all of the skills that make talent evaluators and college coaches drool over, and he is just a sophomore. On Saturday night, Rose recorded a very quiet double double, scoring 11 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.

  • After Friday night's semifinal performance, the spotlight was on Tim Flowers heading into Saturday's Championship game against Westinghouse. Flowers was assigned the difficult task of stopping DeAndre Thomas in Simeon's 2-3 zone, but Flowers was giving up two inches and probably 50 pounds to the Westinghouse center. Flowers just did not have enough bulk on the inside to slow down Thomas, and he was saddled with foul trouble all game, in fact he had three fouls by halftime, forcing him to be used just sparingly in the second half.
  • When Flowers was in the game, he showed a very good nose for the basketball. He could find the ball coming off the defensive or offensive glass, and he used his offensive rebounding ability, and the general lack of desire to rebound defensively from DeAndre Thomas to convert Simeon's missed shots into easy bunnies for himself.
Overall: If Tim Flowers was not standing next to DeAndre Thomas all game, I would have thought he was a very big kid, but next to Thomas he just look diminutive. Flowers was no match for the big man two years his senior, and it showed with the fouls he picked up, but his activity on the glass allowed him to finish with a team-high 17 points, mainly off the offensive glass.

  • You can never get past a scouting report of DeAndre Thomas without mentioning his size. DeAndre Thomas is a big boy, and he is easily pushing 300 pounds, and reminds me in terms of size of former Florida State player, Nigel Dickinson.
  • After noticing his size, the next thing you notice about Thomas is his touch when the ball is in his hands. Thomas is a very skilled shooter, and has touch from fifteen feet and in on the offensive end of the court. When Thomas would receive the ball in the post, he really only had one post move, he would spin towards the basket (no matter which block he was on), and then shoot a five foot jump shot in the middle of the lane over the defense.
  • Defensively, Thomas uses his size to push the offensive player off the block. He is not really active, and he does not really seem to enjoy rebounding. When a ball comes off the glass, he just sort of stands there and if the ball comes to him, he will rebound it, but if it requires him to jump for it, he will probably not get the rebound. Tim Flowers was able to get quite a few offensive put backs because he was more aggressive on the offensive glass than DeAndre was on the defensive glass.
  • The final thing that is obvious about Thomas is his attitude. Thomas wants to win, and he shows it with the emotion he plays with on the court, but he takes that emotion too far sometimes. On Saturday night, at one point he was called for a foul and it looked like he was about to take out the ref who called the foul on him before his teammates could get over to him and restrain him. There were also numerous other times where Thomas would just scowl at the refs after they made calls that he did not agree with.

    During the Simeon run in the second half, Thomas was not getting the ball as much from the Westinghouse guards, and he started to sulk on the court. Instead of continuing to get position in the post, Thomas would just stand about twelve feet out, and pout that he was not getting the ball. At one point during the run, Thomas pulled aside a Westinghouse guard and told him to "give me the effing ball!" Westinghouse did, and they closed the game on an 8-2 run.
Overall: DeAndre Thomas is a high major player, and he will be successful at a power conference school. He needs to get into better shape, and he will when he gets to college. I don't know how he would fit in at Illinois, though. The Fighting Illini already took a large base forward in the Class of 2005 (Charles Jackson), and I don't think they are looking for another one in this class, especially with the collection of big guys that Bruce Weber has down in Champaign (Shaun Pruitt, Marcus Arnold, Charles Jackson, James Augustine, and Warren Carter).

Illini Inquirer Top Stories