By Mike Helfgot, Special to the Tribune
10:16 PM EST, December 10, 2012
Boxes filled with gear appear regularly at Simeon practice.
Senior guards Kendrick Nunn and Rickey Norris estimated seven Nike T-shirts have been handed out this season, and they couldn't guess how many they received last winter.
Monday's handout was headphones from Skullcandy.
The company, which is endorsed by former Simeon and current Bulls star Derrick Rose, gave the school headphones with Simeon colors, a Simeon logo and each player's respective uniform number.
They also gave them to the girls team and the school's computer lab and library.
"These are pretty good headphones," Norris said. "They look nice with the uniforms. Not too many schools get this."
The company is entering sponsorship agreements with some of the elite programs in the nation.
The school is putting up a Skullcandy banner in the gym.
Simeon coach Robert Smith said Rose played a role in the deal and that the headphones belong to the school, not the players.
"He had a lot to do with it," Smith said. "The biggest thing I like about it is they made sure the whole school benefits. He made sure there would be 25 in each computer lab. That was the biggest incentive. It helps the whole school."
Right up their alley-oop: Middle-aged Illinois fans remember the alley-oop connection between Bruce Douglas and Efrem Winters in the 1980s.
Younger ones are going to love watching Jaylon Tate throw lobs to Nunn.
The Illinois-bound guards are good friends, AAU teammates and frequent partners on alley-oops that put a charge in Simeon's practice gym.
On Monday, Tate threw a pass from halfcourt that Nunn caught with his left hand high above the rim and pounded through.
"They are the best (alley-oop) tandem since I've been here," Smith said. "They know each other. Illinois is getting great tandem of guards with good size, court awareness and basketball IQ. And they're really good kids."
Parker making progress: Dunking with authority, throwing no-look passes and blocking shots, Jabari Parker looked a lot like the 2011-12 version of himself Monday.
Illinois' reigning Mr. Basketball said he still has a ways to go in his recovery from a foot injury that kept him off the court for five months.
"I'm getting there gradually," Parker said. "I'm still not decisive like I used to be. I need to find spots to make easier plays."
Colleen Kane catches up with Bobby Simmons, a star of Simeon past.
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