Proviso East 4A Sectional: Whitney Young Displays Its Balance--Puts Rest Of State On Notice

By Roy & Harv Schmidt

March 11, 2017

9:30 A.M. C.S.T. 

The biggest reason why Whitney Young is such a difficult team to beat is because of their tremendous depth and balance. They have as many as four guards who can impact a game--not only with their scoring ability but also because of their smarts and capability of spreading the floor.  

We are talking about 6'4 2017 2-guard Lucas Williamson, 6'1 2018 point guard Xavier Castaneda, 6'3 2018 2-guard Justin Boyd and 6'3 2017 combo Craig Beaudoin.  All four were instrumental in Whitney Young advancing to the Class 4A supersectional at Chicago State with a 73-55 victory over Oak Park in the sectional final at Proviso East.

However, as good as Whitney Young's guards were, there is no question that the player of the game was 6'4 2018 wing Javon Freeman, who turned in a spectacular overall performance.  Freeman provided a highlight reel in the first quarter when he took off from inside the lane to throw down a monstrous one hand windmill dunk that brought the crowd to its feet.  He would finish the game with 17 points.

In addition to his stellar athleticism, Freeman has incredible length which allows him to effectively play the passing lanes on defense and also handles the ball extremely well.  The only thing that appears to be lacking is a consistent jump shot (the only thing that was not evident in this contest).  Should Freeman demonstrate that, Illinois Prep Bulls-Eye firmly believes that he can rank as high as the #3 prospect in Illinois from the 2018 class.

Oak Park was able to stay in the game early as the result of getting after it defensively and being able to match Whitney Young's quickness.  The primary catalyst was 6'5 2017 wing Cameron Gross, who attacked the glass with a vengeance en route to 14 points and 15 rebounds.  But as the game wore on, turnovers continued to plague Oak Park and Whitney Young took full advantage.  The Dolphins were then able to run their spread offense to perfection and dictate the pace of the game.

The general consensus has been that the overwhelming favorites to win the Class 4A state title are Edwardsville, Simeon and Bolingbrook.  That said, from what we saw last night, Whitney Young has sent a clear cut message that they are definitely in the mix as well.  Oak Park, meanwhile, caps off a fantastic season with head coach Matt Maloney doing an outxtanding job.  There is still plenty of talent in the cupboard at Oak Park and they will definitely be heard from next season.

Editor's Note: Once again, a special thanks to all administrators at Lincoln-Way East, Thornwood and Proviso East respectively for their accomodations and hospitality.  It is their professionalism and outstanding job that makes our state tournament coverage all worthwhile.

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