With a new cast of characters, Bob Hambric said coaching the team was "a real adventure." The Wolverines' start to the decade sputtered to an early end with a 49-48 loss to South Shore in the Public League quarterfinals. Among the seniors were current Tilden coach Cyrus McGinnis and Hambric's future successor, Robert Smith.
Future DePaul player Belefia Parks led a balanced group that suffered two losses to rival King and Rashard Griffith. In a classic Windy City Classic final, King topped Simeon 60-59 on a technical foul shot after Simeon was called for a delay of game for celebrating the tying basket. Hambric charged afterward that one of the officials had a "vendetta" against his team. The second was a 50-34 loss in a Public League quarterfinal.
With a name familiar to current Simeon observers, 6-foot-9 center Ben Coupet drove the Wolverines, who ended their season against Marshall in the third round of the Public League playoffs. Coupet, whose son is a freshman forward for Simeon, was one of the few players with experience, and Hambric expressed some frustration with the team. "This is not a Simeon team, and I doubt that we`ll become one," he said after a January loss to Julian.
In Bryant Notree's junior season, Simeon compiled the most losses in Hambric's career up until that point. But Dexter Young and Kerry Burrell helped the Wolverines make a surprise Public League semifinal appearance, in which they bowed out to Westinghouse 72-61.
The Wolverines endured a rocky offseason marked by Hambric's surgery to remove a brain aneurysm and Notree's four-game suspension for participation in a Nike all-star game. But by the season's start they were ranked No. 6. Notree and future Illinois teammate Kevin Turner led Simeon to the Public League quarterfinals, where defending state champion King delivered the knockout.
A rebuilding year ended in a third-round city loss to Manley. The Wolverines were introduced to a Carver guard named Nick Irvin, who scored 25 points in a February blowout victory over Simeon and remarked "it was an easier victory than we expected." Many more battles were to come as Irvin grew up to be Morgan Park's coach.
As sophomore Bobby Simmons and junior Hyseal Sheppard emerged, the Wolverines put together a quiet season, highlighted by handing Carver its first Red-South loss in three years with a 53-52 overtime victory. Bowen, the Blue-South champion, seized its first city semifinal berth with a 73-67 victory over the Wolverines.
Simeon won the first of what would grow to be 11 Pontiac Holiday Tournament titles. Young became a new thorn in Simeon's side, winning at Chicago State in December and knocking the Wolverines out of the Public League semifinals.
The most notable Simeon name of the decade, future DePaul and NBA player Bobby Simmons, put together a second-team All-State season, including a 25-point, nine-rebound night in Simeon's Public Leauge playoff upset of No. 4 Farragut. Vocational knocked Simeon out in the quarterfinals. Hambric recorded his 400th career victory in December.
Unranked to start the season, young Simeon's up-and-down season was led by juniors Cameron Echols and Dwayne Williams and ended with a semifinal loss to King. "We're not very big, we're not very talented, but we do enough things well to win ballgames," Hambric said after a victory over Carver.
*Records according to ihsa.org. In some cases, records in Tribune archives varied.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun