Boys Basketball: St. Rita’s Victor Law knows his time is at hand
By Patrick Z. McGavin For Sun-Times Media April 19, 2013 9:10PM
St. Rita's Victor Law. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 22, 2013 6:54AM
DuSable guard Malik Williams made one of the signature plays of the state tournament with his game-winning jump shot in the Class 4A St. Rita Regional championship.
It made for riveting and great theater, unless of course, you were one of the St. Rita players.
Except for those lucky few on a state title run, every season inevitably ends on some kind of note of disappointment or regret. The way the Mustangs’ otherwise stellar year ended was heartbreaking. St. Rita missed its own game-winning shot and then watched Williams rip their collective hearts out.
“Any time your season ends like, I don’t care what sport it is, it’s going to motivate you to get better, improve and make sure it never happens again,” St. Rita forward Victor Law said.
The 6-foot-7 Law was a centerpiece of the Mustangs’ attack, averaging 14 points and 9 rebounds per game while shooting 47 percent from the floor.
“You have to remember we had five players who averaged double-figures, so we didn’t have one big scorer,” St. Rita coach Gary
“He’s a very skilled and talented player who can score with either hand and dominate the game,” DeCesare added. “He is one of the top three or four players in the state and one of the top 25 in the country.”
Law’s case is a bit unorthodox as the rare player who arguably holds a greater profile nationally than locally. He is ranked the 28th-best player in the Class of 2014 by ESPN and No. 67 by Rivals.
After the Mustangs played at a holiday tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and the elite Springfield, Mass.-based invite in January, Law seized his opportunity to state his case for elite national status.
“Law is exciting because he brings together a skill athleticism and I think a desire to really get better,” ESPN recruiting analyst Dave Telep said. “The last time I saw him he had the attributes of an athletic small forward with legitimate perimeter range.
“There are a lot of guys who are juniors (who) may have already hit their peak but Victor Law is a guy to me who is trending in the right direction.”
The top competition triggered some of Law’s best efforts. In the team’s first game at South Carolina, Law scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as St. Rita ended the 35-game winning streak of Christ Presbyterian of Franklin, Tenn.
“Coach DeCesare did a great job of allowing each of the players to really showcase their game,” Law said.
“I had a chance to play really well against players on the national level, and a lot of influential (recruiters) had a chance to see me play, some for the first time, because not many people (at the national level) really knew what I could do, and I had a chance to show them what I could do.”
Now the stage shifts to the club season, where Law balances offseason conditioning, setting up college visits and playing with the powerhouse Meanstreets program with Marian Catholic star Tyler Ulis, as well as St. Rita teammate Charles Matthews.
The program competes in the Elite Youth Basketball League, the best of the Nike-affiliated national club programs. Two weeks ago in Milwaukee, Meanstreets lost in the championship game to Young star Jahlil Okafor and the Mac Irvin Fire.
“My role with Meanstreets is not really all that different from Rita,” Law said. “With St. Rita, I’m playing power forward; with Meanstreets, shooting guard. I really want to master the areas of strength and then work on and refine the areas where I need to improve. I really like the way I’m shooting right now.”
An elite student who wants to study business with an emphasis on marketing and sports management, Law has made a visit to Georgia Tech during a recent family sojourn to his native Mississippi. He also is planning to make visits to Harvard and Boston College.
“(Illinois) Coach (John) Groce has been very aggressive and enthusiastic in recruiting,” Law said. “I also met with (new Northwestern coach) Chris Collins and I talked with him for about 30 minutes, and he told me about the system he’s going to have in place.”
DeCesare coached seven years as an assistant during separate stints at DePaul and Richmond.
“I tell kids the biggest change from high school to college is the strength of the players,” DeCesare said. “Victor has got to get stronger and improve his ballhandling. Those are his biggest areas of improvement.”
Law is ready to expand his game.
“I know my time at high school is coming to an end,” he said. “You only get three, four years, then it’s over so fast. I want to make sure I make my mark.”