Joe Henricksen’s weekly three-pointer
Bogan coach Arthur Goodwin was prophetic when he stated last year that Luwane Pipkins was the player who would put Bogan on the map.
“We’ve never had a star at Bogan,” Goodwin said last winter as his then-sophomore was scoring over 20 points a game.
Bogan certainly has one now. Goodwin has had some quality teams in his six years at Bogan, but he’s never had a player like Pipkins,a 5-10 point guard who is averaging 25 points a game this season.
Playing in the big, bad Red-South with Simeon and Morgan Park and making a trip to the Proviso West Holiday Tournament has provided a stage for Pipkins. And he’s taken full advantage of the opportunity, garnering attention with his shooting, scoring, toughness and ultra-competitive nature.
Very few players have been as productive and indispensable for their respective team as Pipkins has been the past two seasons for the Bengals. Bogan is 12-1, headed to the Proviso West tournament semifinals and has beaten Morgan Park and West Aurora this year.
Pipkins had 18 points while setting a Proviso West Holiday Tournament record with 10 steals in an opening-round win over Glenbrook North. He was 12-for-19 from the field and pumped in 31 points in beating Hillcrest, and followed it up with 20 points, including a game-tying basket with five seconds to play to force overtime, in a quarterfinal win over Providence-St. Mel.
There are concerns among major college programs when evaluating Pipkins, including his lack of size and whether or not he can become a true point guard. But despite the questions, he deserves more recruiting attention.
West Aurora’s Roland Griffin was the biggest eye-opener in the junior class this holiday hoops season.
The 6-4 wing didn’t perform in spectacular fashion, but he was highly productive (17.5 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game) and efficient (26-for-47 from the field) in four games at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament. The big, strong and versatile Griffin has made tremendous strides as a player, is a no-brainer Division I prospect and among the top 25 prospects in the Class of 2015.
Yes, it took awhile — 10 days and a total of 54 games — but the semifinal matchups people expected and hoped for have materialized at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament.
A pair of unbeatens, Stevenson (10-0) and St. Joseph (11-0), meet in one semifinal Monday night, while the always-intriguing Red-South rematch between Bogan and Morgan Park takes place in the other semifinal. These four dynamite teams have a combined 42-2 record this season.
An added bonus for fans is a chance to see six of the most talented junior guards in the state. Pipkins, Morgan Park’s Kain Harris, the St. Joseph tandem of Jordan Ash and Glynn Watson, and Stevenson’s duo of Jalen Brunson and Connor Cashaw are all among the top 20 prospects in Illinois in the Class of 2015 with high-level Division I scholarship offers.