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I recently read a post from you about Darius Luster transferring

from Cahokia to East Side. I have spoken to 2 different sources and

each have confirmed that to be the truth. This caught me by total

surprise. I had all but written off the SWC to Belle-West. I think Luster will give them the interior toughness that has been missing since Brandon Stallings graduated. East Side could conceiveably start 4 players 6'4 or above. I think Luster could turn out to be good

prospect for a mid-major. Speaking of Brandon Stallings I saw him

in early summer and he has stretched to about 6'7 inches. When he

graduated he was only 6'5 inches. Give him a look Soderberg.

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jalensdad, i was envisioning luster playing the opposite wing. let smith and steven andrews handle the inside. andrews isnt as big, but his game is more suited for the inside than luster who has guard skills. at least on offense anyway luster can always guard the taller player if necessary. i agree east side is now the team to beat on the east side imo. luster is a huge get. that regional semi will be interesting with belleville west, east st louis, althoff, carbondale and centralia. those are 5 very good teams imo.

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>jalensdad, i was envisioning luster playing the opposite

>wing. let smith and steven andrews handle the inside.

>andrews isnt as big, but his game is more suited for the

>inside than luster who has guard skills. at least on

>offense anyway luster can always guard the taller player if

>necessary. i agree east side is now the team to beat on the

>east side imo. luster is a huge get. that regional semi

>will be interesting with belleville west, east st louis,

>althoff, carbondale and centralia. those are 5 very good

>teams imo.

I didn't fully complete my thought. I believe Coach Brooks will

have him playing the small forward position where he can crash for

offensive rebounds as well give weak side interior defensive help.

I have watched Luster since his incoming freshman year, during that

summer he and Liddell often played together and I was duly impressed

with his toughness. The kid always sought out contact never shied away

as Andre Brown and Demario Smith did. I felt bad for him in that lost

to East Side in the Regional Finals, but he did have a draw dropping

rejection of a Liddell breakaway. I can't wait for the season to begin

I think I posted on the All-Star Forum Board that Coach Karvinen was

playing Luster out of position by having Luster play at the 2-guard.

He was in a sense effectively neutralizing Luster greatest asset. His

strength and toughness. Now with his athleticism matched with Liddell's watch out for highlight reel dunks.

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east side should be outstanding with the addition of luster. who will be the main man at point guard for the upcoming season. liddell and luster are a much better offensive combo than price and jones. plus howlett is a hell of a shooter when he is on. demario needs to take a step forward up front. i was impressed with some of east side's j.v. athletes (don't know their names), but i liked belleville west's j.v. athletes as well.

even with west's talent, i think east side will be the team to beat if tommie takes his game to the next level. he has talent that nobody else in the area has (including lisch), but he tends to coast at times. (like the edwardsville game and the decatur game at collinsville). He can do some things that darius cannot do. if he takes ownership of that team and that league, east side will be even tougher. that is why althoff is still a threat. lisch simply willed them to some big victories, like that sectional masterpiece he laid down on carbondale. i'm looking for a few more efforts from tommie like i saw at the savvis against vashon.

it should be a great duel. with the other teams that b.roy mentioned.

by the way, i heard that the childs kid from cairo moved to carbondale. is this true. if so, that would give c-cale a great backcourt with dentman. could someone verify this?

bad boyz for life

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I've only watched Luster play for a couple minutes, but isn't he a power forward? I saw him at Day 2 of the St. Louis Eagles tryouts at West Pine Gym and he looked like a good power player, with strength and quickness.

Liddell and Luster are probably a better duo than X. Price and J.B. Jones. I wrote "probably" because we'll see what happens this winter. I like Tommie Liddell's game a lot, though I haven't seen him play very much. Luster, like I mentioned, looks like a strong kid that can be a difference-maker inside. Price didn't do much in the three or four games I saw him last season -- I think he had one point in a loss to Belleville West -- and I haven't been too impressed with Jones.

Belleville West might be a better team, however. Sean McPeak is a big bruiser who can do the dirty work, score and rebound. I think B West has another starter returning, but I'm drawing a blank now. I don't know what East St. Louis has returning, but that will definitely be a marquee matchup.

- Nate

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p diddy, while lisch may not be able to jump as high as liddell, he is a much better basketball player. lisch will make 90% of his free throws and shoot nearly 50% from the field. he will lead the team in assists and steals as well and nightly shut down the best player on the other team. tommie does not have the presense and floor vision that lisch has. that doesnt mean that tommie isnt a good player. while watching tommie at the sportsplex this summer over three games, i decided that tommie is best compared to hughes. that is the type of style that liddell plays. dont get me wrong. he is not on hughes level yet. but the way he approaches the game, the way he handles himself, that is the best way to describe his court "look".

as to your comments on west, while liddell is the best player between the two teams when comparing belleville west and east st louis, i think that jb jones and arthur sargent and xavier price are better than luster. luster is a very good player, but so are price, sargent and jones. no doubt it will be a fun game to watch. i personally am eagerly looking forward to their matchups. i am a huge fan of arthur sargent. he might be the breakout player of the area imo. he is ready to emerge.

maybe the key to east side is motivating the smith kid. he has a nice body, but i have been told he doesnt use it. we all know that the football lineman that plays inside for west, mcpeak, isnt afraid to throw his massive body around. so it will be up to smith to stand up to that. i havent really watched smith that much, but i remember watching stevie andrews a lot in grade school. he will come to play. i guess it is a shame that stevie doesnt have smith's body.

the other key matchup will obviously be at the point. price can hang with liddell, can howlett hang with jones? i dont think so.

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nate, you need to go back and watch west more. jones will grow on you. he has the heart of a lion and is very unselfish. probably why he didnt stand out. but over a course of a few games, you will begin to see him get the big steals, rebounds, make big shots, etc. he is a player.

luster was lost at cahokia. luster has ball skills. sure he has a big body. i am guessing he is 6'5" at least and probably approaches 220 lbs. but he can handle the ball and slash to the basket. i think he could be a college wing. at cahokia he was never going to get to play there simply because they would need him inside. jamos clay was the only other inside player the team had.

price is an enigma. i have seen him play a number of times, and typically he was on the short end. but think back to the games you saw. i saw him play against jones and lisch all the time. plus they were always big games. there was no doubt price didnt have the supporting cast. and both althoff and west knew if they stopped price, they would probably win the game. tough setting. i do know that normally ten times a game i would see a hand up above the square on the backboard and when i followed the hand back to the body it was xaiver's. the kid is a fantastic athlete. thus you have that potential thing.

this year we get to see price playing with fellow jets, jb jones and arthur sargent. which means teams cant focus on just stop the x man. he might explode. if he doesnt, jones or sargent might. 3 headed monsters like that are rare in high school. imo they all three are college players.

i had not heard that about the cairo player moving to carbondale. but i thought i heard somewhere that a high level player was transferring to marion. but i forget where he was coming from. i do know that cairo has a big time player. plus i thought i heard there a second very nice player in tams maybe? but i dont know the name.

i am surprised we are not hearing more about dentman and jones and their college plans as of yet. are they academic problems?

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lisch is a great player. I won't dispute that. he is a tremendous player. however, when liddell is at the top of his game, there is nobody better in town, plus his upside is limitless. he can play point guard, shooting guard and small forward. I was in virginia in april when he dominated at the boo williams tournament against national competition and the eagles made it to the championship game. he made the all-tournament team which was made up of only five players. Tommie was getting it done against the best in the country, not just a bunch of guys from belleville and collinsville.

the difference is that you're going to get the best of lisch all the time, but tommie doesn't bring it every night like i know he can. i think people forget that tommie took a very unheralded east side team to the super sectionals as a sophomore. as a said before, he has to be more assertive. When he does that, nobody can stop him. you don't even realize he is a great athlete until he throws down one of those tomahawks jams on the rebound follow.

it seems to me that tommie is at his best against the top competition when he is presented with a great challenge. the true challenge is for him to bring it all the time.

bad boyz for life

liddell can post up small guards. he is an excellent offensive rebounder and a top scorer off the dribble. he's just smooth. he kills xavier just about every time they play against each other. even when they were freshmen when x was the big name and nobody even knew who tommie was. liddell got the best of x at the panther dome in a flyers victory. I know jalensdad remembers that game.

when i see a player making plays against the nation's best for four consecutive days, that sticks out in my mind.

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one thing i forgot to mention. i still think price is still suspect at this point. in moving to belleville west, i think he ran away from the challenge of leading o'fallon's team. o'fallon would have been good enough to challenge in the conference had he stayed because the supporting cast of juniors was improving. instead, he hooked onto j.b.'s coattails at west.

btw. word on the street is that kyle kirk is a done deal at cbc, unless he moves to springfield kickapoo. (word is that they are in the hunt).

bad boyz for life

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i think we are actually saying the same thing. i didnt compare tommie to larry hughes for nothing. i still believe larry hughes is the best college talent i have ever seen in person. without a doubt he is the most talented billiken that i have ever witnessed.

my reasoning for taking kevin lisch over tommie liddell is exactly what you outlined. you get a top effort EVERY game. and you get results. the fact he makes his shots both from the field and from the line is undeniable. i cant tell you how many games were won by althoff last year because kevin was automatic from the free throw line.

but as far as pure athletic ability, you will get no argument from me about tommie liddell.

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Yeah I did see that game and I've been telling anyone who would listen

that Liddell is the best player in the area. I think had Bennie Lewis

played him as a freshman they would have finished at least 2 games

over .500 as opposed to 10-17. I do believe we will see an improvement

in Price at West. He won't have the pressures of leading a team. I think

Price is the type of player that will do well feeding off a player like

Jones. He can just concentrate on scoring and playing defense. But in the end Tommie Liddell, Darius Luster, Demario Smith, Steven Andrews,

and Will Rogers will be too much to deal with.

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I think you have to give the defense a little credit. Tommie is not

going to have the types of games against Vashon every time out. You

do know that team are geared to stop him. East Side was not blessed

with good shooters. Teams know that if you stop Liddell more times

than not you will beat East Side. Check the stats.

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