Collinsville Coaching Legend Dies

Vergil Fletcher

Illinois is without a doubt one of the best places in the country for High School Basketball. Very few states have the history and tradition to rival Illinois. On Tuesday, June 30th one of the greatest coaches in Illinois history, Vergil Fletcher passed away at the age of 93.

Fletcher coached many sports but is most known for success on the hardwood and gridiron. Fletcher has been inducted in the National High School Sports Hall of Fame as well as the Illinois High School Hall of Fame for both Basketball and Football.

As a hoops coach in Collinsville, Fletcher compiled a record of 747-170 (792-234 overall) over a career that began in 1946 and ended 32 years later in 1978. In addition to that sick .814 winning percentage, he led the Kahoks to 2 state titles and a record 14 state tournament appearances. Keep in mind that he won his titles before the IHSA went to a multiple class system. For a town the size of Collinsville that is quite an accomplishment.

The world has lost a coaching legend. However, Fletcher will forever be remembered as one of the greatest basketball coaches the world has ever seen.

High Schooler Jeremy Tyler Going Pro

Oversees that is. Big man and possibly the top prospect from the class of 2010, Jeremy Tyler, has decided to fore-go his senior year of high school to play professionally in Europe. I know that I’m in minority but I say congratulations kid.

With the exception of American Football players in other sports routinely go pro at even earlier age than Tyler. So I applaud his choice. Now I know the critics are going to bash the kid. However, everyone that thinks this a bad move should put themselves in his shoes.  Let’s look at his options.

Plan A: Finish High School and the go play college ball for a year.

OK. There’s nothing wrong with route but there are several downsides to it. First of all, he’s a man among boys at the High School level. He can only develop his skills so much at this level. Secondly, if he has the skills to pay the bills, why not earn some Euros now? Plus there’s always the dreaded injury bug. If this kid gets seriously hurt in a High School game what will he have to show for his career?

Plan B: Finish High School and then take the Brandon Jennings route oversees.

He could do this but what’s the point? Isn’t 2years of pro ball better than one? Tyler can easily go back and get his GED at any point he chooses. For the average person receiving a diploma from your HS is important. However, keep in mind this kid is far from average.

Plan C: His chosen path.

There could be nothing better than having 2 years of pro experience under your belt to make you NBA-Ready. International players routinely start playing professionally at 16-17yrs old. So is it really much of that surprise that the International players make up a huge percentage of the NBA today? School will always be there. He should make a pretty decent amount of change overseas and down the road in the NBA. Even if his NBA career turns out to be a bust he should still have plenty of bank left to finance a degree. I know some critics criticized Jennings for going overseas because he wouldn’t be playing in front of NBA scouts. Those people need to wake up and realize the scouts are everywhere. There has been scouts at every single one of Jennings’s games and there will be for Tyler as well. Furthermore, the biggest problem with young prospects is there maturity level. Living in another culture and actually playing pro ball is going to force this kid to mature fast. Any player choosing this path or Jennings path will be much more prepared for the NBA lifestyle than his peers that take the NCAA one and done approach.

In summary, do your thing Jeremy Tyler. I applaud you for thinking outside the box. Instead of going through the system that makes Colleges and NCAA billions of dollars at your expense you’ve chosen a plan that benefits you to the maximum. I’ll definitely follow your progress. Good Luck.

Shot of Jack v4.1

I just checked the front page at espn.com and you won’t believe what is #4 on their top news stories. Yanks’ Chamberlain Pleads Guilty to DUI charge….I say who gives a shit. It should get reported but it’s not front page news. Joba has to pay a fine and spend some time on probation. Shocking isn’t it? That’s what first time offenders get. Why is this top news? It’s not like drinking and driving in rural areas never happens. If you’ve ever lived in a small town or rural area then you’ll know what I’m talking about. Road tripping is usually common practice. I’m not saying it’s right or condoning this behavior. However people who are not from rural areas always seem to be completely oblivious to the fact that so many people drink and drive. Joba was in Nebraska. C’mon is it that surprising that he drank and drove?

The #5 story is entitled: UConn men’s program had $6M profit in FY ’08. Again why is this front page worthy. ESPN is once again turning into the tabloid of sports. Calhoun said the basketball program brings in $12mil dollars to the university. He didn’t say whether or not that was profit. Revenues were over $14mil. I don’t even know why I’m getting into this weak story.

ESPN engages in some questionable journalism but I’m not going to let that stop me from enjoying the 2009 McDonalds All-Amercian Game tonight. I love nearly everything about these games. Having to listen to that senile, loudmouth Dick Vitale is the only thing I dislike about the game. My prediction for Most Outstanding Player: John Henson. Henson is a 6’10” Forward from, Odessa Florida. He’s one of 4 players in this game that’ll be going to UNC next year. I’ve only seen youtube clips of this kid but I really like his game. The McD’s Game is always a lot of fun to watch. Game starts at 7:00pm CST tonight. Don’t miss out!

  • **Correction: Dick Vitale is not working the McD’s Game. I was misinformed and couldn’t be happier.***

That’s all I’ve got for now. Check back tomorrow for a McD’s recap as well as part2 of the Pub’s MLB Preview.