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It’s time for Carmel fans to rally to the cause

The strange college basketball sagWaukegan High School graduate Akeem Springs took another twist with report from NIU saying thhe has

The strange college basketball saga of Waukegan High School graduate Akeem Springs took another twist with a report from NIU saying that he has quit the Huskies’ basketball program. | FILE PHOTO

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The strange college basketball saga of Waukegan High School graduate Akeem Springs took another twist with the following report from NIU saying that he has quit the Huskies’ basketball program.

The official annoucement from NII read this way:

Northern Illinois freshman Akeem Springs has left the program for what coach Mark Montgomery calls “personal and family reasons.”

Springs, a 6-3 guard from Waukegan, was averaging 7.7 points and 2.9 rebounds in 20 minutes of playing time per game.

“We wish Akeem all the best in the future,” Montgomery said in a statement.

Spring was a four-year varsity player at Waukegan, and on both Bulldogs teams that played in Peoria as part of the Final Four of March Madness.

Originally, Springs verbally committed to play his college ball at Tennessee State. Later, he changed his mind and announced for Mississippi Valley State. Later, he changed his mind again and finally committed to NIU last April — making him one of the last of the top prep seniors to make a college choice last year.

If Springs transfers to another NCAA Division 1 school, he’ll have to sit out a year before becoming a redshirt sophomore.

NIU’s basketball program has been borderline mediocre for several years.

Updated: March 16, 2013 6:21AM

Two things we know about the kids who attend Carmel High School:

■ They’re smart.

■ They know about school spirit, and how it can make a winning difference on Friday nights (see the packed home stands at Corsair football games).

Well, this Friday night at Carmel, something is going to happen in the gym that hasn’t happened in 21 years:

The Corsairs will be playing a meaningful regular-season boys basketball game in February.

Back in 1992 — going on 21 years now — Scott Rosberg coached Carmel’s basketball team to a 19-9 season and a regional championship.

That was the last time a Carmel boys hoops squad finished the season with a winning record.

Which brings us to this Friday night, and Carmel’s challenging home game against St. Patrick, which is 15-7 and, on paper, the better team.

This is the Friday that all of Carmel High School and any adults who bleed Brown/Gold ought to be in the gym, supporting the basketball squad to neutralize the talent advantage that the Chicago-based team has.

Here’s why it matters.

Carmel has an 11-12 record going into Friday’s game, and the only regular-season game left is a sure win against Marian Central of Woodstock.

The Corsairs also have a sure win in the opener of the Class 3A Ridgewood Regional against Johnsburg.

But after that, March Madness becomes tricky for the Corsairs.

A win over Johnsburg will lead to a game against powerhouse Ridgewood on the Rebels’ home court. And even a win there would lead to a sectional-semifinal round game that’s probably not winnable against Lakes.

Do the math:

Current win total is 11.

Wins over Marian Central and Johnsburg bring the total to 13.

A win over Ridgewood would bring the win total to 14.

Currently, the Corsairs have 12 losses. If they lose to St. Pat’s for loss No. 13, the tourney loss to either Ridgewood or Lakes would be No. 14.

That would leave the final record at either 13-14 (with a loss to Ridgewood) or 14-14 a loss to Lakes).

And either result would extend the streak of non-winning seasons to 21.

B-U-T, if Carmel beats St. Patrick, it’s 12-12. Then, the wins over Marian Central and Johnsburg make the Corsairs make it 14-12 and assure the magical winning season.

It all comes down to Friday’s game.

Beat St. Pat’s and you’re going to make it above .500. Lose to St. Pat’s, and you’re not.

Nobody reading this probably is old enough to remember, but way way back in the day, on a Monday afternoon in near-empty Wrigley Field, Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks ripped his 500th career home run off Pat Jarvis of the Atlanta Braves.

As the ball caromed off the empty bleachers and back onto the field, TV announcers Jack Brickhouse was screaming, “On Your Feet. This Is It.”

Those would apply to Carmel High fans on Friday night.

To borrow from Jack: On your feet Carmel fans. This is it.

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