PONTIAC, IL — Every time Curie guard Josh Stamps shot the ball last year, people groaned. Never mind that it went in the vast majority of the time. All that anyone wanted to see was Cliff Alexander.
“It’s a totally different world for Josh this season,” said Curie coach Mike Oliver. “No more yelling at him to feed the post. He’s free.”
Stamps is making the most of his new freedom. The senior scored 25 points Monday to lead the Condors to a 74-45 win over Danville in the first round of the Pontiac Holiday Tournament.
Stamps is clearly a top 100 national player, but you won’t find his name on any of those lists. His academic situation was a mess for most of the past few years and non-qualifiers don’t interest Division I colleges so those players rarely wind up celebrated by the national evaluators.
That could be changing though. Stamps earned a qualifying ACT score and is working on his grades. He still might qualify for a scholarship.
“I’m working hard,” said Stamps. “I’m making up all the classes that I failed. I think I’m going to be able to get it done.”
Oliver said that several local colleges are monitoring the situation, including St. Louis, DePaul, UIC and Loyola.
“Someone might get a steal,” Oliver said.
Junior Devin Gage, the other piece of Curie’s talented guard tandem, scored 24. Several freshman and sophomores logged significant minutes in the game, including Elijah Joiner (nine points) and 6-6 Treavon Martin (six rebounds, two blocks)
“(Martin) has a really high ceiling,” said Oliver. “He’s only 14. He has a mid-range game now and is probably more skilled offensively than (Alexander) was as a freshman.”