Seton Academy boys basketball coach Brandon Thomas got a phone call Thursday morning from D.J. Cooper.
The same D.J. Cooper who lead Ohio to a Sweet 16 berth last year and is the only player in NCAA Division I to have 2,000 points, 900 assists, 600 rebounds and 300 assists in his career. Cooper helped the Sting to their first state title in 2009.
"He just told me congratulations on winning the (Class 2A Joliet Central) supersectional and he hopes we take it all," Thomas said. "Not a day goes by that I do not get a call from a former player just to say hello or to wish the team luck."
Seton has built a pretty good boys basketball tradition to say the least in the 10 years it has had male students. A state title in 2009 and now its third trip to the Class 2A final four in Peoria.
It will look to enhance that tradition this weekend as it starts tonight when Seton faces Winnebago in one semifinal at Carver Arena.
Senior guard Mark Weems Jr. said Cooper texted him before Wednesday's win over Providence-St. Mel and also on Thursday as the team left for Peoria.
"D.J. just wished us luck and said for us to win it," Weems said. "I heard from other players, too. It is really nice to hear from past players."
Soon Weems and his teammates will be doing the same. Weems said it was a little different when he came to Seton as a freshman in the fall of 2009. And that was after the Sting, under coach Ken Stevenson, won the 2A title.
The former Elizabeth Seton High School was an all-girls school and Weems said he was reminded of that.
"People would say it is a girls school and 'why are you going there?'" Weems said. "They are not saying that anymore."
Even Thomas said it took some time for people to realize the school turned co-ed and this its 10th year with male students.
"At one time it wasn't cool to go to Seton," Thomas said. "Now it is because we are also a good school academically."
Thomas said the girls track program has been the most successful athletic program at the school and anything that will get the school in the spotlight is a good thing. Seton has 200 students.
"I think people may take notice because of basketball, but then they check the school out and see how good it is academically," Thomas said. "We want people to know we are a great academic school and you will be challenged in the classroom here."
Seton is building a pretty program, but it already has a good academic tradition.
This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.