Chris Pruitt is excited about what she has seen so far, granted it is just the summer.
The new T.F. North girls basketball coach also knows that now is when the groundwork is laid for a successful season.
Pruitt takes over for Tim Zasada, who is now the Reavis football coach. Zasada built the Meteors into a south suburban power in his seven seasons on the sidelines in Calumet City. Pruitt likes the fact she is taking over an established program instead of starting from scratch.
"The kids have basketball knowledge, and they know the game," Pruitt said. "We got some younger kids who show potential. I think we are going to be pretty good."
Though this year's team may be a bit different, defense will still be the key.
"We will be more finesse, because we don't have a Sabrina Montgomery in the middle," Pruitt said. "We probably won't pound it inside too much."
She lost Chardae Greenlee, who transferred back to Homewood-Flossmoor, but returns some quality kids like Devin Luster. The point is these kids have been in a successful program and want it to continue, as does Pruitt.
Pruitt knows a thing or two about the game. She was a basketball star at Simeon and at the University of Wisconsin, where she was the Badgers' co-most valuable player her senior year in 1985. She was the head girls basketball coach at Simeon for 10 years. She also was the volleyball coach at Robert Morris College and the boys and girls volleyball coach at Washington High School on the East Side.
"We got work to do. There is no doubt about that," Pruitt said. "The kids are willing to work, and that is important that they love the game."
Though they are athletes in a time where there is specialization, Pruitt doesn't mind sharing with the volleyball team.
"We have about five or six kids who were with volleyball today (Thursday), but I don't mind sharing," Pruitt said. "When I was at Simeon, we had great basketball players, but they did not play multiple sports. These kids are athletes."
Pruitt played basketball, volleyball, softball and ran track, so she can appreciate a student-athlete competing in different sports.
Pruitt runs the Chicago-based Chris Pruitt Sports Foundation, which provides recreation as well as mentoring to youths, particularly to young women.
Her basketball knowledge and history speaks for itself, and Pruitt's love of the game shows as does her competitiveness. There is a good tradition with the program, and Pruitt seems like she will keep it going.
This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.