Hyde Park junior Jurrell Baldwin is the Public League’s breakout star this season.
That’s a title typically earned by a high-scoring senior, but the 6-6 Homewood-Flossmoor transfer has earned it by enticing scouts with his strong frame and shooting ability and by leading the Thunderbirds to an eye-opening 21-5 record and a spot in the Public League quarterfinals.
Baldwin had 14 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in Hyde Park’s 45-32 victory against visiting Farragut in the second round Friday. He made two corner three-pointers in the first quarter and shot 3-for-4 from three-point range in the game.
”That’s all a credit to the guards,” Baldwin said. ”They get down and penetrate and kick it out to me.”
Baldwin was an unknown heading into the season. Thunderbirds coach Jerrel Oliver was confident he would be a major contributor, but no one was expecting a star.
”He’s a mismatch problem every time he steps on the court,” Oliver said. ”Either someone is too small or too slow to guard him. I think he’s the best player in the class. He can only stop himself.”
Baldwin had some help in the post against the Admirals (12-15). All-Public League tight end Maasi Gibson, a 6-5 senior, outmuscled Farragut for 13 points and four rebounds.
”We targeted going to the post because we knew they were small,” Gibson said. ”We worked our magic and played as a team.”
Jonathan Calmese led Farragut with 12 points and five rebounds, and Eric Powell and Jamari Pickens each scored eight points.
Camron Willford added seven points for the Thunderbirds, who will host Perspectives-Leadership in the quarterfinals.
The Warriors have beaten Hyde Park twice this season, once in conference play and once at the Big Dipper Holiday Tournament in December.
”The first time we blew a double-digit lead, and the second time we blew a lead with two minutes left in the game,” Oliver said. ”We are looking forward to this next matchup. This time they have to come to us.”
Lincoln Park forfeits
Curie advanced to the quarterfinals without having to play a second-round game, and Lincoln Park coach Antwon Jennings isn’t happy about it.
According to Jennings, Chicago Public Schools ruled the Lions’ victory against Perspectives-MSA in the first round as a no-contest and forced them to forfeit their second-round game Friday.
Jennings said there was an incident in the final two minutes of the game against Perspectives-MSA. The Lions (9-14) had a chance to go up by 11 points and get the ball when the game was called.
”No punches were thrown, and the police weren’t called,” Jennings said. ”The gym wasn’t emptied out. It was over in a minute, and no kids touched each other. There wasn’t a fight. Our bench didn’t empty.
”It’s hurtful that my seniors didn’t get to play against Curie tonight. It’s frustrating because I feel CPS didn’t do its due diligence and look into the situation. This will create problems because any team can get upset and provoke an incident if they are losing.”
Public League Tournament
Young 79, Brooks 48
Curie d. Lincoln Park (forfeit)
Simeon 78, Clark 41
North Lawndale 76, Lindblom 64
Kenwood 76, Lane 44
Phillips 85, Orr 42
Perspectives-LA 104, Westinghouse 94, OT
Hyde Park 45, Farragut 32
Quarterfinals, Feb. 7
Curie at Young
North Lawndale at Simeon
Phillips at Kenwood
Perspectives-Leadership at Hyde Park