And if the start of this season is an indication of what is to come at Morgan Park, the Mustangs may be in for a memorable year.
Blackshear scored 71 points in impressive victories over Notre Dame and East Aurora within 24 hours last weekend, but the most notable was his 42-point, 18-rebound performance in an 82-69 win over East Aurora in the annual CPS City-Suburban Basketball Showcase at Chicago State. He hit 17-of-24 shots in his much hyped showdown against East Aurora guard Ryan Boatwright, a USC recruit.
"Wayne showed a lot of patience. The way people are going to play him, box-and-ones and whatever, you have to utilize your team to be open. Your shots are going to come," Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin told the Chicago Tribune.
Blackshear scored 34 in a victory over St. Rita earlier this season. He had 29 in a 57-45 win over Notre Dame. His dominant scoring has led the Mustangs to wins in their first six games, and that is probably just the beginning of a sweet season that really began last spring when Blackshear transferred from Curie to Morgan Park, then was declared eligible to play for the Mustangs. Morgan Park will play at Harlan on Monday.
* Defending Class 4A boys basketball champion Whitney Young, with another group of Division I recruits that includes senior guard Ahmad Starks (Oregon State), began its season with a 74-61 win over Homewood-Flossmoor in the City-Suburban Basketball Showcase. Purdue recruit Anthony Johnson scored 17 points.
* North Lawndale, a Class 3A semifinalist last year, knocked off defending 2A champion Seton Academy, 73-58, in the Showcase. It was the season opener for North Lawndale, which was led by senior forward Jermaine Winfield’s 24 points.
* Mount Carmel junior guard Tracy Abrams, an Illinois verbal, returned from an ankle injury to lead the Caravan to two victories. He had nine points, five assists and three steals in his 2009 debut, a 70-54 victory over Brooks in the Showcase, but it was his on-court presence that most helped the Caravan (6-1). "He’s the straw that stirs the drink," Mount Carmel coach Mike Flaherty told the Chicago Sun-Times. Abrams scored 18 points in a 70-53 win over Gordon Tech on Tuesday.
* Lukas Verzbicas of Sandburg and Martin Grady of Fenwick will chase after a national title in Saturday’s Foot Locker Cross Country Championships at Balboa Park in San Diego. Verzbicas, a sophomore, won the Midwest Regional with a time of 15 minutes, 34 seconds. Grady placed sixth. The national leader is Craig Lutz of Texas, who won the South Regional with a time of 14:34.
Top performers: Brust scores 43 in loss
* Mundelein’s Ben Brust scored 43 points, but the Mustangs (5-2) lost 84-77 to Lake Forest in a North Suburban matchup. During one stretch of the second quarter, Brust scored 20 of the Mustangs’ 23 points.
* Waukegan senior guard Aaron Johnson scored a game-high 24 points, leading the unbeaten Bulldogs to their fifth straight win, 68-48 over Glenbrook South in a Central Suburban South game.
* Evanston junior guard Garrett Jones scored a game-high 24 points, but the Wildkits (5-1) lost their first game, 46-42 to unbeaten Maine South.
* Tricia Liston scored 26 points, and had six rebounds and five assists, as Fenwick won its ninth consecutive game Wednesday, 69-42 over Benet Academy.
Recruiting: Boenzi verbals to Northern Illinois
Frank Boenzi, a defensive tackle at Geneva, has verbally committed to Northern Illinois, a Mid-American Conference school located just an hour from Chicago. There, he will join Geneva grad Pat Schiller, a sophomore linebacker for the Huskies, who will play South Florida in the International Bowl on Jan. 2.
"I like Coach (Jerry) Kill and the direction he’s going with the program," Boenzi told the Chicago Tribune.
Boenzi was a three-year starter for Geneva, which won 22 of 25 games the last two seasons. This year the Vikings were co-champs in the Western Sun, but lost to Class 7A state champ Wheaten Warrenville South in the second round of the playoffs.
On deck: Unbeaten Elk Grove to face Wheeling
Elk Grove, winner of its first seven games, will meet once-beaten Wheeling in a girls basketball showdown Friday night at Elk Grove. Wheeling, a Class 4A semifinalist last year, has lost just five games in the last three seasons, including to unbeaten Fenwick earlier this season.
Awards: Curran is High School Heisman finalist
Kelly Curran, a two-time Class 1A cross-country champion from Bloomington Central Catholic, is a finalist for the Wendy’s High School Heisman, which will be presented Saturday in New York. Curran, who holds a 4.1 grade-point average, won her second consecutive cross country title with a time of 17 minutes, 46 seconds. She also won the Class 1A 3,200 run in track in 2008. She is being recruited by Notre Dame, Duke and Illinois.