Uplift big man Toraze Dobbs(6-4, 190lbs, so, C/F, #5) is all smiles as the two teams wait for a free throw.
Uplifts Blasts Mundelein to start 3-0
Uplift 92 Mundelein 48
If you read the local papers, all the ink is about Morgan Park, Simeon, Whitney Young, Curie, and Kenwood. Not a peep at all about Uplift. It's not like Uplift didn't accomplish anything last year. They advanced to the CPS semi-finals and the WON STATE in class 2A. Maybe it is because they don't have much expectations of Uplift because they graduated all 5 starters from their state championship team.
So, I traveled upto Mundelein to watch Uplift play the hosts of their own Mundelein Thanksgiving Tournament to see what was up with this year's version of Uplift. I'll tell you what, I was pleasantly surprised.
First of all, during their warm ups it was obvious they looked the part. They looked like ballers. I saw a team filled with athletic looking tall guys most of which were between 6-1 and 6-5. They were lean, fast, and can really move and shoot. About 1/3 of the guys had dreads.
When the game started I immediately knew this team was all business. They jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead. Their first 8 points were all a product of steals- 2 of them were slam dunks. They start a freshman point guard named Davarion Jacobs(5-11,172lbs, fr, PG) - brother of star Demetrius Jacobs(6-3, 170lbs, jr; G/W). Also starting was Toraze Dobbs(so, 6-4, 190lbs, F/C), Elliot Gongora(6-4, 169lbs, F/W, jr), and #13 Jamal Hanson(6-1,172lbs, sr).
A lof of people know Demetrius Jacobs for his key role off the bench on last year's state championship team and is the teams leading scorer. But I think as time goes by more people will hear of Hanson. He is super quick, athletic and can score. He is only 6-1 but I saw him grab a rebound about 1 foot above the rim, take two dribbles, then made a perfect 3/4 court pass to a teammate that led to a fast break lay up.
Uplift led 20-4 at the end of the first quarter and 48-15 at the half. I would estimate over 2/3 of their points were either slam dunks, layups, or very short shots. Characteristic of Uplift is their relentless defensive pressure that causes multiple turnovers and easy baskets on the other end. Depite being up by 33 at the half, they still played their starters most of the second half. Coach David Taylor likes to keep the pressure on teams.
I am not ready to crown any titles on Uplift just yet. All I know is they have started 3-0 with wins over Elk Grove, Mundelien, and Fremd. Elk Grove and Fremd are good programs and both finished in the upper half in the Mid Suburban League last year.
The press does not talk a lot about Uplift, but in a way, I think they like it that way. They remind me of Michigan State's football team. The media loves talking about Ohio State and Michigan, but all MSU did this year was beat both of them.