CICERO – In summer basketball, the biggest competition can come from other teams vying for your players’ time.
This summer, Morton completed its summer season without much conflict with travel teams, and boys basketball coach Tony Martinucci learned things about the players as well.
The Mustangs stayed busy with five shootouts during the summer. The highlight was a tournament at Oak Park-River Forest where Morton lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Fenwick.
Martinucci thinks it is a good sign of what’s to come in the winter.
“We had a good turnout,” the coach said. “When we had everybody there we played well.
“It was probably one of the smoothest summers we’ve had with getting everybody there. We didn’t have to worry about summer school and we didn’t have to compete with AAU.”
After the high school summer season wrapped up around the Fourth of July, the Mustangs now are playing AAU ball for the rest of the summer. Talented junior Weisner Perez is playing for the prestigious Illinois Wolves to try and improve his recruiting stock.
“He’s getting some Division I looks,” Martinucci said. “This is going to be a key year for him. He’s developing and he’s doing well.”
Martinucci added there will be high expectations for Perez next year. The forward will captain the team alongside senior guard Greg Carter. Those two already stepped into leadership roles in the summer.
In addition to the two captains, varsity returners Jarvis Cannon and Antario Simon showed well in summer ball. Those two will be expected to play bigger roles when the season starts in November after playing as supporting players for most of their junior seasons. Martinucci said they were the two most improved players in the summer.
Luke Belcaster and Miguel Lopez also were part of a group of juniors that impressed.
“The juniors played well,” Martinucci said. “That’s what I thought was more surprising. It was one of the better summers. We didn’t have to piecemeal teams and run around and stuff.”