Boys Basketball: Evergreen Park taking summer sessions as lessons
The wins, losses and stats won’t count, but don’t tell Evergreen Park’s Alex Cheatham that summer games don’t matter.
The senior forward has the cut and stitches over his right eye to prove how real they are.
Playing against Nazareth, Cheatham went up for a rebound and took an elbow square in the face.
“I didn’t think it was that bad, but I looked at my hand and there was blood everywhere,” Cheatham later said with a smile.
Cheatham and the Mustangs were competing at the 19th Annual Stagg Shootout June 14 and 15 in Palos Hills. The two-day Shootout offered teams a chance to pack many games into a tiny window.
For coach Pat Flannigan, let the fun begin and just focus on your own play especially with eight players on his bench.
“Never look at the scoreboard,” Flannigan said with a laugh. “We’re playing teams with 17 players on the bench. We’re learning. We’ve got some sophomores kind of testing the water. They might be able to play for us, and that’s what we’re trying to find out.”
For other players, the summer gives a chance to carve out a niche for themselves, or at least create a good impression on the coaches. A defensive tackle and end on Evergreen Park’s football team, Cheatham expects to give the Mustangs some muscle inside.
The senior came out for the team last season as a junior after choosing not to play his first two years. He missed preseason workouts as Evergreen Park’s football team made a deep run in the Class 4A state playoffs.
“Last year I just went into the season and tried to use my speed, stick with it and went with the flow,” Cheatham said. “I’m excited for this season. I think it will improve my game and get some different looks.”
Improvising on the fly, the Mustangs lost their starting point guard this summer to a potentially serious injury. Expected to be the team’s starting shooting guard, Toby Oladajio was ready to move over to the point.
“It may seem like a hard transition, but I’ve been preparing myself for something like that,” Oladajio said. “I’ve been working on my handle a lot more. I wanted to be in that position (point guard) eventually so I was ready for it.”
Flannigan, looking to improve on last season’s 8-22 record, hopes to keep the summer simple.
“We want individual skills; catching and squaring up, fundamental footwork,” Flannigan said. “We’ve got some guys handling different roles, and we’ll see what we’ve got.”