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‘A learning experience’ is the perfect way to describe CLC Coach Chuck Ramsey’s first year

Grayslake  Tuesday  2/19/13     College Lake County's Layne Gierke (2) puts up shot during first

Grayslake Tuesday, 2/19/13 College of Lake County's Layne Gierke (2) puts up a shot during the first half of Tuesday evening's game against McHenry County College. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media

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McHenry (5-21, 1-12 Skyway) 29-47 — 76

Lake County (6-22, 3-10 Skyway) 36-53 — 89

The team’s four sophomores (Layne Gierke of Highland Park, Will Meyer of Libertyville, Anthony Starks of North Chicago, and Patrick Peterson of North Chicago) were honored before the game as this was the team’s last home game.

Awards were given to the school group (Black Student Union) and athletic team (softball) with the most members in attendance.

CLC had a 53-33 rebounding edge.

For CLC, Jerry Gaylor (fr, Grant) 25 points (19 in second half). Eddie Tellez (fr, Wheeling) 19 points. Anthony Starks (so, North Chicago) 18 points, 6 assists. Will Meyer (so, Libertyville) 18 points, 19 rebounds, 7 assists.

CLC used an 11-0 run late in the first half to open up a 36-24 lead before MCC answered with the last five points of the half. MCC was able to close to within 6 at 52-46 with 12:18 left in the game, but could get no closer. CLC went on a 16-4 run to grab a 68-50 lead with 6:35 to play and put the game out of reach.


1. Freshman Jerry Gaylor graduated from Grant High School and was the top scorer in Tuesday’s win with 25 points. He quit the Grant team early in his senior year and watched the team win 20 games from the stands.

“Playing for coach Ramsey is great. I’ve learned more about basketball from him than any coach I’ve had. He’s taught me a lot about myself too, and how to handle myself on the court.”

How does CLC get better players? “I’ve talked to a couple guys about coming to play here,” Gaylor said. “We’re still working to overcome some of the skepticism about playing at CLC. Everybody I’ve talked to has great respect for coach Ramsey. They know who he is, so that always helps.”

2. Will Meyer, a Libertyville grad and a sophomore, will attend Illinois State next fall. He had 19 rebounds Tuesday.

“We’re playing as a team this year,” he said. “At times last year, there was a lot of one-on-one ball. This year, we’re more team-oriented, which is always a positive.”

3. CLC’s game against McHenry featured four players who attended North Chicago High School.

Ironically, the biggest name of the four — Ty Linder, who was a contributor on both North Chicago teams that went downstate — played for McHenry.

The other three are Key’Onda Triplett, who also plays for McHenry; and CLC’s Anthony Starks and Patrick Peterson.

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Updated: April 23, 2013 2:29AM

Shortly after College of Lake County’s men’s basketball team won its game on Tuesday night, one of the Lancer cheerleaders approached CLC coach Chuck Ramsey in the hallway near the locker room.

“Coach, we’re concerned about your blood pressure,” she said caringly.

The cheerers, worried about the physical effort the 61-year-old coaching legend puts forth during games and the toll it might be taking on him, politely asked that the coach take it easy.

Chuck laughed and said, “My blood pressure’s actually great. I get all the stress out of me on the basketball court.”

Welcome to junior college basketball, Coach Ramsey.

After an historic run coaching Warren High School’s boys basketball team and setting a Lake County record with more than 400 career wins, Ramsey was asked to step down after last season, and then was hired last summer to try and pump life into the scuffling CLC men’s hoops program.

Having missed out on recruiting and getting hired very late in the game, Year 1 has been an adventure, although some things remain the same ... especially the passion Ramsey has for coaching.

If you’d watched only the coach and none of the game only during the 89-76 victory over McHenry County College that was a battle of two 20-loss teams, you might have thought he was coaching Warren in a state-championship game against Simeon of Chicago.

The passion is the same.

Though, for now, not much else is.

Tuesday’s win was CLC’s sixth in 28 games. That’s 22 losses and counting with a couple games to go. At Warren, the coach would lose 22 games total in three years.

“It’s been a learning experience for all of us. It’s been a battle to try to establish some consistency playing the right way,” he said. “I’m used to coaching guys who came up through a system. We don’t have that here. Now, neither do our opponents, so it’s not a competitive disadvantage, but with the way we like to do things, it’s a challenge.”

Ramsey then pinpointed the single biggest challenge coaching hoops at CLC: “The biggest single challenge really is the instability we’ve had with ineligibilities, injuries, and life. Things just happen,” he said. “You don’t have the guys from the first day of practice all the way to the end of the season like you do in high school.

“I had a college coach tell me this, and it was very accurate: This game (juco) is more of a North-South game as opposed to East-West (high school) with a lot of ball reversal, movement, and so on. We’re just trying to get our guys to move the ball, and to move without the ball.”

This winter, Ramsey’s probably seen more high school games than he ever did in a season when he was at Warren.

He and his longtime assistant Bill Werly are at every game where there’s a chance that a future Lancer might be in action.

In other words, this CLC thing is not a one-and-done proposition.

“Coach Werly and I get to as many high school games as we can. We want it known that we’re looking for talented kids in Lake County who want to come here, get an educational foundation, and play in a good basketball program,” Ramsey said. “We’re looking for guys who want to work hard, become better players, and want to represent Lake County.

“I understand that there are scholarship players who will go to four-year institutions, but for other players I think we’re a very good alternative because of the economics, because they can transfer credits, because they can still play in front of their friends and family here, and if they’re good enough, they can come in and play immediately.

“All positions will be open next year. Our doors are open, and we’re glad to talk to guys who want to play basketball and start their college education.”

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