Homewood-Flossmoor’s golden generation graduated from high school this past spring. Several of last season’s All-Area and All-City stars grew up playing with the Vikings United youth program in H-F’s district. Some never started at H-F. Other players eventually transferred away.
Second-year coach Jamere Dismukes, a south suburban native and Rich East grad, is making significant strides towards keeping that talent home.
Monday was the first day of basketball practice across the state and instead of wondering how he would replace a missing star, Dismukes showcased new additions.
Bryce Heard, the state’s top-ranked junior and the No. 84 player in the country according to 247sports.com, is now at H-F. Heard started high school at Kenwood and spent last season at one of the top prep schools in the nation, Montverde, Fla.
Gianni Cobb, who started high school at Bloom and was an All-City guard at Perspectives-Leadership last season, recently committed to Columbia and has transferred to H-F.
Mac Hagemester, a 6-7 senior, transferred from Lincoln-Way East.
Those additions join senior Carson Brownfield and junior point guard JD Tyler, one of the breakout stars of the summer.
“These kids all grew up together so they know each other and have played some form of basketball together before,” Dismukes said. But that’s just half the battle. If we can mesh well together we will have a really successful season.”
It’s an exciting group on paper. Cobb is one of the area’s flashiest guards. He and Tyler form one of the state’s most dynamic backcourts.
“We’re getting closer and closer every day,” Tyler said. “I’m learning his spots and he’s learning mine. He’s unpredictable but it is always productive.”
The Vikings are in all of this season’s marquee events: the Chicago Elite Classic, Team Rose, When Sides Collide. They even make a trip downstate to the Bank of O’Fallon shootout.
Heard, a 6-4 wing, flashed major potential in limited minutes as a freshman at Kenwood. There’s definite excitement surrounding his return to the state. He has nearly two dozen scholarship offers, including California, DePaul, Georgetown and Illinois.
“I’m not feeling any pressure,” Heard said. “I just want to help the team win games. It’s not about me.”
As an underclassman, Brownfield watched the last group of stars leave. Now he’s ready to contribute to the new group that has arrived.
“It’s good having all of my neighborhood friends come back for my senior year,” Brownfield said. “We want to do some stuff that H-F hasn’t done, like win state. The last time they had a chance at that was 2004.”
Brownfield isn’t worried about the new group meshing.
“Some outsiders are saying we can’t play together,” Brownfield said. “That is false. There isn’t a selfish person on the team. We are always making that extra pass. We are friends and there isn’t any jealousy.”
Homewood-Flossmoor and Marian Catholic play every Thanksgiving Eve at the Chicago Heights Classic. It’s a special night, easily the best opening week atmosphere in the area. The stands are usually packed, but this year’s matchup will serve as the high-profile debut for the new-look H-F program.
“Last year we lost on a buzzer-beater,” Tyler said. “I want to win that game badly.”