Morgan Park hasn’t even played a summer game together in preparation for the 2019-20 season, but the Mustangs already have a growing reputation. Based on the individual talent assembled it appears coach Nick Irvin’s next team has the look of a potential superpower. One that will undoubtedly have a target on its back.
Due to an influx of added star talent via the transfer, the Mustangs may become the team many in the high school basketball world will root against. But after a couple of seasons where there’s been an absence of any “superpower,” in the area, Morgan Park has the potential to be one.
“Absolutely,” answers Irvin when asked about the potential to be a superpower. “The pieces are there and the potential and ingredients are there to be the best team I’ve had at Morgan Park.”
That’s saying a lot if the “best team at Morgan Park” materializes.
The returning players are elite and a couple of very talented, impactful transfers will bolster an Irvin team that also just happens to head into the season with a chip on its shoulder. That’s courtesy of Bogan’s Class 3A sectional win over the Mustangs this past March.
“Last year I couldn’t lock in as a coach, and I don’t think our players could lock in as a result,” says Irvin, who admits personal things going on in his with his mother’s health impacted the season. “But my mom is in a better place, and we’re going to dedicate this season and play this season for her.”
Everything starts with the returning backcourt of Adam Miller and Marcus Watson. There won’t be a better backcourt in the state or one that complements one another better.
Miller is the ballyhooed combo guard with size, endless shooting range and scoring ability. The 6-3 junior 28 points a game last season and is among the top 25 prospects in the country in his class.
The jet-quick Watson has taken his game to another level this spring while playing alongside Miller in the Mac Irvin Fire backcourt on the Nike EYBL circuit. Watson, who will be a three-year starter this coming season, put together a stellar junior year but is now among the top five prospects in Illinois in the Class of 2020. He recently received an offer from coach Brad Underwood and Illinois.
“He’s a gamer,” Irvin says of his 5-10 veteran guard who has been through a lot of high-profile games in his career already. “I knew he had this in him. Now people around the country are starting to see it. He’s become a better point guard and isn’t as worried about scoring as much.”
But what could put this team over the top is the addition of Brandon Weston and Seryee Lewis.
Irvin says Weston gives his team a dimension it’s lacked as a big, strong, athletic wing with a growing offensive game. The 6-5 Weston transferred to Morgan Park from Lake Forest Academy during the school year. He sat out most of the season and is now showcasing why he’s considered to be one of the top prospects in the state.
After a productive junior season at Kenwood, the 6-8 Lewis brings much-needed size, athleticism and another Division I prospect to the Mustangs’ stable.
Then there is tough, high-energy Isaiah Burrell, a 6-4 senior wing, and 6-5 junior Aneas Davenport who continues to get better and better.
Morgan Park looks more than ready to add to what has been a dominant seven-year stretch, which has included an average of 27 wins a year while winning four state championships and finishing third once. You also know what a Nick Irvin-coached team brings to the table with the relentless fervor it always plays with.
But the look of this group could end up being more about where it ranks among the very best of those Morgan Park state championship teams. Irvin believes it has a chance to the best team he’s coached.
“Our goal is to win another state championship and run the table,” says Irvin. “We have the type of team that can go undefeated. Plus, this is a team with something to prove and will be that much more ready with the way last season ended. Now it’s a matter of keeping everyone happy, on the same page and having fun.”
NICK IRVIN AT MORGAN PARK