In Play with Tom Markowski

U-D leads from start to finish, defeats Milan 69-56 as Cubs continue their growth

Basketball   | Tom Markowski

State Champs! Sports Network

 

 

Romulus – U-D Jesuit continues to be a work in progress. The good news for Cubs fans is that there is progress being made.

U-D (7-1), a Class A semifinalist a season ago and currently ranked No. 7, has but two experienced players back from that team and one of those is one of the state’s best.

Cassius Winston, a 6-1 junior, is one of the best players in the Midwest regardless of class. He had 30 points, eight assists and four rebounds as U-D defeated defending Class B champion Milan 69-56 as part of the Martin Luther King Classic on Monday at Romulus.

Winston is a constant and has been since he started as a freshman.

The questions that remain concern the development of the other players; Winston’s supporting cast.

Specifically, much is expected of the two 6-8 Nigerian-born sophomores, Ike Eke and Greg Eboigbodin. In U-D’s first game this season against Chicago Morgan Park Eke and Eboigbodin appeared lost. Athletically gifted, the two are playing their first varsity season and their introduction to the high level of competition that U-D plays is often painstaking.

Again, progress is being made.

Milan (7-2), ranked No. 2 in Class B, provided a good test for the team as a whole and, specifically, to Eke and Eboigbodin. Milan features one of the state’s top forwards in Nick Perkins, a 6-7 lefthander who signed with Buffalo. Perkins had 19 points, nine rebounds and three blocks but he did not dominate. He had four 3-pointers but had difficulty scoring inside.

U-D’s sophomores stood their ground when play came near the basket. Eboigbodin had eight points and 11 rebounds, and Eke had four points, six rebounds and one block.

Afterward Eke seemed more concerned about what he shouldn’t do than about what he should.

“We just can’t get into foul trouble,” he said. “Just stay out of foul trouble. That’s my thing.

“Cassius is a good player. He can see the court. I’m used to his game. I look at him and I know what he can do.”

Eboigbodin said his game needs constant work. Despite his fine play against a formidable opponent Eboigbodin rated his play as a two on a scale of one to 10.

“I need to work on my post game,” he said. “I need to work on my screens. I made a lot of mistakes early in the season. I still make mistakes. Its turnovers. I get the ball inside and I miss shots. I have a lot of chances to dunk the ball. I’m not comfortable dunking the ball.”

Both were soccer players in Africa before coming to America. Eboigbodin said playing soccer has hindered his play in basketball.

“When I play soccer I lose most of my footwork,” he said. “I’m done with soccer.”

Those are words U-D coach Pat Donnelly loves to hear. He knows this team has the talent to win a state championship. He and his team have seven weeks before they’re put to that test.

“It’s progressing,” he said. “Greg and Eke are still new to the game. We need to understand spacing better. Our guys always play hard. Sometimes we get too bunched up when Cassius drives to the basket. When he drives sometimes we have two or three guys in there. We can’t do that. Cassius has great vision. We want him to score but at the same time he makes everyone else better.

“Greg and Eke are getting a lot better. They have to learn about the physicality of varsity basketball. We’re not looking for instant progress. We want to peak come March.”

That’s the plan.