The City/Suburban Hoops Report released its 21st annual all-state team yesterday. The 2015-2016 awards continue today with Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and Team of the Year honors.
Player of the Year: Charlie Moore, Morgan Park
The top senior prospect in Illinois put up big numbers, averaging 28 points, 7 assists and 5 steals a game while leading his team to a 26-4 record. Moore led the Mustangs to a Proviso West Holiday Tournament title, where he was named tournament MVP, along with regional and sectional championships.
Moore has swept the postseason awards, winning Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year, Illinois Gatorade Player of the Year and Mr. Basketball honors in Illinois.
Plus, the Memphis-bound Moore did it differently than past Morgan Park stars, who had the benefit of having a star sidekick. Last year Marcus LoVett had Moore as a high-major running-mate; Billy Garrett, Jr. had Dayton recruit and all-stater Kyle Davis in 2013. But the 5-11 point guard put the Mustangs on his back and was the catalyst for a team that was ranked near the top all season while playing a strong schedule.
Past City/Suburban Hoops Report Players of the Year
2016: Charlie Moore, Morgan Park
2015: Jalen Brunson, Stevenson
2014: Jahlil Okafor, Young
2013: Jahlil Okafor, Young
2012: Jabari Parker, Simeon
2011: Wayne Blackshear, Morgan Park
2010: Jereme Richmond, Waukegan
2009: Drew Crawford, Naperville Central
2008: Kevin Dillard, Homewood-Flossmoor
2007: Derrick Rose, Simeon
2006: Jon Scheyer, Glenbrook North
2005: Jon Scheyer, Glenbrook North
2004: Shaun Livingston, Peoria Central
2003: Shannon Brown, Proviso East
2002: Dee Brown, Proviso East
2001: Pierre Pierce, Westmont
2000: Dwyane Wade, Richards
1999: Leon Smith, King
1998: Quentin Richardson, Young
1997: Brian Wardle, Hinsdale Central
1996: Ronnie Fields, Farragut
Coach of the Year: Gene Heidkamp, Benet
In addition to reaching Peoria, upsetting Simeon and finishing second in the state in Class 4A, Benet coach Gene Heidkamp also has this distinction: He becomes just the second coach in 21 years to win City/Suburban Hoops Report Coach of the Year a second time.
Heidkamp joins legendary coach Gordie Kerkman of West Aurora, who won the award in 1997 and 2006.
In 11 years, Heidkamp has turned a dormant program into a perennial power, winning with a certain style and culture while playing tough, competitive schedules. Benet has won 20-plus games seven straight years, including three sectional championships and state runner-up finish in 2014.
But this 31-win season came out of nowhere and was a record-breaker at Benet.
The wins, losses and success of a team are generally the factors that dictate awards. But with a team that, on paper, didn’t stack up from an individual talent standpoint to many of the top teams in Illinois, coaching certainly comes into play.
With Heidkamp, basketball instruction and strategy need to be measured, not just the end results. Coaches, the great ones, can take non-dominant talent and make up ground by excelling at development and deployment, and who has done that better with his team this year than Heidkamp? He maximized the talent and the jobs of his players by putting them in the best position so they could individually succeed within their roles and structure of the team.
Past City/Suburban Hoops Report Coaches of the Year
2016: Gene Heidkamp, Benet
2015: Phil Ralston, Geneva
2014: Tom Livatino, Loyola Academy
2013: Mike Taylor, Marian Catholic
2012: Robert Smith, Simeon
2011: Scott Miller, Glenbard East
2010: Gene Heidkamp, Benet
2009: Ron Ashlaw, Waukegan
2008: John Chappetto, Richards
2007: Pat Ambrose, Stevenson
2006: Gordie Kerkman, West Aurora
2005: David Weber, Glenbrook North
2004: Roy Condotti, Homewood-Flossmoor
2003: Bob Curran, Thornwood
2002: Rick Malnati, New Trier
2001: Conte Stamas, Lyons Twp.
2000: Dave Lohrke, Glenbard South
1999: Gene Pingatore, St. Joseph
1998: Mark Lindo, Naperville North
1997: Gordie Kerkman, West Aurora
1996: Rocky Hill, Thornton
Team of the Year: Lincoln-Way West
The City/Suburban Hoops Report Team of the Year Award has annually been given to the team that has shown the most character, overachieved, surprised, beat the odds in some way or overcome obstacles in putting together a terrific season.
Thus, this one is a no-brainer in this 2015-2016 season.
Coach Brian Flaherty’s Lincoln-Way West program came into the season with expectations after winning the program’s first-ever regional championship last season. But there were certainly obstacles –– both big and small –– that this team faced.
There was a slow 1-3 start to the season, due mostly to being shorthanded as the Warriors waited for some football players to return from playing in a 5A state championship game Thanksgiving weekend.
There were three losses to district rival Lincoln-Way Central, including a 52-47 loss in the regular-season finale.
There were nine regular-season losses and being crossed off a legitimate contender in Class 3A.
There was perennial power Hillcrest waiting for the Warriors in the sectional and mighty Morgan Park in the super-sectional.
And there was the fact these players, this coach, this program had never been through it before as the school opened just seven years ago.
But there they were on the last day of the season, after taking care of Hillcrest, stunning Morgan Park and upsetting Peoria Manual in the state semifinals, playing in a state championship game in Peoria.
This Lincoln-Way West team, which finished second in the state after falling to Belleville Althoff in the championship game, invigorated a program and excited a school and community for a three-week joy ride no one outside of New Lenox saw coming.
Past City/Suburban Hoops Report Teams of the Year
2016: Lincoln-Way West
2013: Morgan Park
2005: Brother Rice
2004: Hoffman Estates
2003: Downers Grove South
2002: Highland Park
2000: Brother Rice
1997: Niles Notre Dame
1996: New Trier
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