In early January of 2017, a young freshman made his varsity debut for Oak Lawn Community High School’s boys basketball team, and he joined another freshman Sami Osmani on the squad. This freshman was Trey Ward. Physically, he may not have quite looked like a varsity player at that time, but the skill set certainly shined through. During the last eight weeks of that season, Ward averaged only 3.7 points per game for the 12 games, but he shot an amazing 11-for-22 from three-point land.
Ward continued to work hard and steadily improved his game year-to-year going from 3.7 points per game to 5.7, then 12.5 and ending with a senior season where he averaged 18.7 points a game. He finished his career scoring more than 1,000 points. And along with his individual physical improvement, he became a leader and the team improved as well.
“When we brought up Trey exactly one month after we brought up Sami, you could see he wasn’t as ready physically as Sami, but you could see the potential,” said Jason Rhodes, head coach of the Spartans. “He got his butt kicked in practice by senior Rashad Johnson (Class of ’17) for the last eight weeks of that season, which was good for him.”
“Trey is a great example of what can happen when you combine talent with a lot of work ethic. I never had to beg him to get in the gym, he was all about it from Day 1 as a Junior Spartan. He was in the gym for almost every early morning shooting session we held, and in the weight room for workout sessions after school. I could always count on him showing up, working hard, and competing. That consistency was key to his development.”
In recent weeks, Ward decided to keep improving his game and to play at the next level as he decided to attend nearby St. Xavier University of the NAIA next year.
“Trey’s situation at St. Xavier is a win,” Rhodes said. “He is still growing and getting better, and I think he’s going to thrive there for another really strong program. His shooting and ballhandling abilities translate immediately to the college game. I’m going to be a frequent visitor to the Shannon Center the next four years.”