Hubbard’s Sean Bates was having a magical senior season. The 6-2 point guard led the Greyhounds to an undefeated regular season and was looking forward to a deep city playoff run. It was all tragically cut short when he was shot in the thigh last Thursday.
Hubbard coach Rashaun Johnson said Bates was “just unlucky, it’s one of those things that happens in Chicago.”
Bates is going to be fine, but his high school basketball career is over.
“It’s been real emotional for us,” Johnson said. “He was the only senior in the starting lineup. The last few days in practice were tough. We are missing a big part.”
Bates averaged 21 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and three steals. He posted four triple-doubles this season.
Hubbard has managed to keep its winning streak alive without Bates. The Greyhounds beat visiting Solorio 49-40 on Thursday to win the Blue-Central championship.
After the game the team presented Bates’ father, Sean Sr., with a framed No. 23 jersey.
“What happened to Sean just changed our whole mindset,” Hubbard junior Shawn Marlow said. “It’s made us go harder, knowing he wants to be on the floor with us but can’t be.”
Hubbard is 16-0, the only undefeated team left in Chicago and one of just four in the state. After the short ceremony for Bates the Greyhounds celebrated with all their hearts, yelling and dancing and posing for pictures.
“We did this for Sean,” Marlow said. “I know he’s celebrating too. This is for Sean.”
The Greyhounds clearly aren’t quite the same without Bates. They were trailing by two points with 4:36 to play. Sophomore Aiqujuan Bates tied the game with a driving layup. On Hubbard’s next possession he made two free throws to tie the game again, that ignited an 11-0 run to close the game.
“That was new,” Marlow said. “We hadn’t been behind for three quarters like that all season.”
Bates finished with 17 points, 18 rebounds and five blocked shots.
“[Bates] potential is through the roof,” Johnson said. “He’s averaging a double-double.”
Marlow scored 14 and junior Jarquis Meldey added 13 points and seven rebounds.
This is Johnson’s second season as Hubbard coach.
“The love for Hubbard is big for me,” Johnson said. “I graduated from Hubbard and played basketball here. It’s a dream come true to come back and coach these kids.”
The Greyhounds were below .500 last season, Johnson didn’t necessarily see this run coming.
“This has been an amazing season,” Johnson said. “I don’t look at records. The kids screen shot things and try and show me but I don’t want to see. I don’t want it to be a jinx.”
Solorio (10-15) has an impressive sophomore of its own, Nuri Knighten. He finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Former Simeon star and Ball State player Anthony Newell took over as the Sun Warriors coach this season.
Hubbard moves on the Blue Division final four. The Greyhounds believe they can keep the winning streak alive, even without Bates.
“I felt it after the first game of the season, this is a special team,” Marlow said. “We have the chemistry to go a long way.”Tags: Hubbard, Solorio