Mattox turns corner at Pontiac Tournament
Oak Park, 12/14/12 Oak Park River Forest's Tacourrus Mattox grabs the rebound away from Proviso West's Joshua Thompson during their game in Oak Park December 14, 2012. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 28, 2013 5:13PM
OAK PARK — During the summer, Oak Park-River Forest senior Jakari Cammon got used to seeing talented senior teammate TK Mattox turn in consistent performances on the basketball court.
Cammon expected the 6-foot-7 forward to be a vital part of the team’s success this season.
While that wasn’t necessarily the case at the beginning, Mattox opened some eyes at the prestigious Pontiac Tournament Dec. 29.
“I was very surprised,” Cammon said. “We knew he could play like that because he dominated during the summer, but when this season started he wasn’t playing as well. He turned it up at Pontiac and showed what a great talent he is. Hopefully he can continue to play that way.”
Mattox was one of the reasons the Huskies were able to capture the consolation championship by finishing 3-1.
After dropping a tough 53-51 decision to Warren in the opening round, the Huskies (11-4) bounced back to beat Danville 62-32, Waukegan 57-40 and Niles West 54-48 in the final.
“This is one of the top tournaments in the state and (OPRF) coach (Matt Maloney) talked about the seniors leaving their mark,” Mattox said. “We knew this was our last year and I wanted to go all out and do what I could to help us win.”
Eric Locke, who scored 22 points in the consolation final, was an honorable mention all-tournament selection for the Huskies, while Mattox turned in two of his best performances of the season on the final day of the tourney.
In the win over Niles West, he had 18 points and nine rebounds, while he contributed eight points, 15 rebounds and four blocks against Waukegan.
“I kind of started off slow this year, but I’ve been improving every day in practice trying to be better,” Mattox said. “I need to come out and play well every game. I want to be a double-double person and a great teammate. I’m trying to be a better leader this year.”
Maloney was pleased to see Mattox’s breakthrough effort.
“It was a performance we knew he was capable of,” Maloney said. “It’s something we’ve been waiting some time for. He came out with some unbelievable performances. He showed flashes of what we are hoping to see in the second half.”
Maloney knows the Huskies will need continued strong play from Mattox down the stretch.
OPRF will take a 4-0 West Suburban Silver record into its conference game at Glenbard West Friday.
“Now that he has shown those types of performances, we’re not letting up on him,” Maloney said. “He has raised the bar to a level we always thought he could reach and now he has to maintain consistency.”