Uplift, Markese Jacobs brace for Simeon challenge in city quarterfinals

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Markese Jacobs (0) slows the ball down against Leo Saturday 01-27-18. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

The class of 2019 is weak all around the area, but it is shockingly poor in the Public League. It’s always possible that some players will emerge over the spring and summer and it is also likely that the high-profile schools will bring in some transfers. But the way things stand now, the talent level is historically low.

Uplift’s Markese Jacobs, a Kansas recruit, is the one big-time, sparkling burst of talent. He briefly transferred to a prep school in Arizona this summer and his spent the entire season working his way back into the team’s good graces, coming off the bench in every single game until last week against Hyde Park.

“Markese has been great,” Uplift coach David Taylor said. “It’s pretty well documented about the troubles he and I have had. He’s done everything I’ve asked him to do this season and been a great teammate, much better than last year. It’s been a complete 360, he is a joy to coach.

“He’s earned the starting spot. I’ve seen him try, I’ve seen the better attitude. We are a pretty dangerous team when Markese gets going.”

The weak junior class means that several of the city’s traditional powerhouse teams have a lot of playing time available next season. Taylor knows that other coaches are going to try and get Jacobs to transfer.

“Of course, but I have to say I feel pretty comfortable,” Taylor said. “I’m basing that on everything we’ve gone through together. It would be completely senseless to leave now. He had his pick of schools to come back to and he came back here. He chose Uplift because he is comfortable in the school, besides from basketball.”

The Titans have some major roadblocks ahead of them this season. They face Simeon in the Public League quarterfinals on Tuesday. Then Orr looms as a possible Class 2A sectional final opponent.

“Talen Horton-Tucker is playing at an extremely high level, he is a matchup nightmare,” Taylor said. “A good bit of what they run goes through him. We are going to have to try to figure it out. It is a daunting task, a very tall order. Even if we are playing our best I think it could be a tall order.”

Morgan Park plays at Young in what should be the best quarterfinal. Expect the game to be played at a blistering pace. Ayo Dosunmu returned from his injury last week and scored 29 points against Prosser and 42 points against King.

The Mustangs are hungry to get a major win and prove themselves.

Kenwood, which knocked off Lincoln Park in the second round, will play at Curie in a quarterfinal. The Broncos have point guard Artese Stapleton back from injury, they are 8-2 with him this season.

Arthur Goodwin’s very young Bogan team will play at Orr in the other quarterfinal.

“We can go over there and give them a game,” Goodwin said.

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