Two South Side High School basketball teams will face-off tonight, but only one of the school’s fans will be in the stands. Traditional basketball powerhouse Simeon Career Academy, which produced players like Derrick Rose and now top recruit Jabari Parker, will host Percy Julian High School tonight in a closed game.
This comes after Morgan Park High School student Tyrone Lawson was shot to death outside Simeon's game with Morgan Park two nights ago. An altercation between players occurred at the very end of the game, and tensions were running high outside Chicago State University's gym at the time of the shooting.
Tonight’s game is only open to Simeon parents and students with valid IDs. Reginald Brock, Simeon’s Athletic Director, says Julien parents can also attend.
“But we don’t want a parent coming in with five students or teenagers saying they’re with me, we want to come see the game,” he said. “That’s not going to happen.”
Sean Dockery, a former basketball player at Percy Julian High School, says shutting fans out will hurt the game's atmosphere.
“If you’re an athlete, you know it’s so hard to play in front of an empty gym, the atmosphere means everything when you play basketball,” he said. “Just imagine playing a game of basketball when no ones there, it’s kind of bad you know, it’s kind of hard to enjoy it.”
This is the second time this school year Simeon high school has had to close a game for an athletic event. The first was a football game after a fight broke out on the sidelines of the opposing team.
Brock said no Simeon students were involved in the incident but the game ended in front of an empty stadium, after fans were asked to leave for safety precautions.