Lattner follows in family footsteps
3/6/13 Fenwick's Luke Lattner drives past Orr's Jamal McDowell in the IHSA 3A Sectional semifinal at Riverside-Brookfield H.S. on Wednesday. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
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Updated: April 15, 2013 10:05AM
The Lattner name is synonymous with football at Fenwick, thanks to 1953 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Lattner, but the family can play basketball too.
Luke Lattner, Johnny’s grandson, ended his three-year varsity basketball career March 6 with a 55-46 loss to top-seeded Orr in the Class 3A Riverside-Brookfield Sectional semifinal.
Luke represented the third generation of Lattners to play basketball at Fenwick. Three of them were selected first-team all-Catholic League: Luke, his father Jack and his grandfather Johnny.
Luke could be the last Lattner to play varsity basketball at Fenwick for a while. His younger brother Will played for the freshman team this season, but favors football, according to Luke. Luke, his twin brother John and Will all live in Hinsdale.
Luke played football as a freshman and sophomore, but quit to focus on AAU basketball.
“He made it a point to improve in the game (of basketball),” Johnny Lattner said of Luke. “The only way to do that was to play one sport. He made that decision, but it was a hard one.”
Johnny Lattner attended nearly every one of Luke’s games this season and sat in the second row behind the Fenwick bench for Luke’s final game. Johnny Lattner was a regular spectator for football games as well.
Luke hasn’t determined where he’ll play next season, but is mulling opportunities from Division III, NAIA and junior college programs.
He scored 10 points in his final game after collecting just two points in the first half. After making the second basket of the game on a layup off a turnover, he missed his next five shots before halftime.
Fenwick (18-9) ended the season with two seniors among its regular contributors. Luke Lattner was the only senior starter, while Joshua Carlisle was a top reserve. Carlisle didn’t score against Orr and was hampered by four fouls.
“They were very capable kids with integrity and character,” Fenwick coach John Quinn said of his seniors. “They were a great group to work with.”
Luke Lattner stayed with basketball despite the popularity of football within his family. His brother John was a defensive back for Fenwick’s football team last fall and played with three cousins: Robert Spillane, Ryan Smith and Danny Lattner.
Spillane, one of at least six grandsons of Johnny Lattner currently attending Fenwick, played with Luke during last year’s basketball season, but did not return to the team after having a standout junior season in football.