COMMENTARY – Whitney M. Young Magnet High School is known throughout the Chicago area for their academic success, and rightfully so. Young is the upper echelon of academics and only a select few are granted admission. I should know, I was there from 2008 to 2012. Not only does Whitney set the standard for education, but also athletics. Many of exceptional athletes have passed through the halls of the orange and navy and Young seems to have a knack for getting the best talent. From NBA player Quentin Richardson to Michael Jordan’s son Marcus Jordan, Whitney M. Young has been home to many. Although there are various sports and several athletes who’ve excelled, I’d like to focus on three who have a great chance on establishing themselves elsewhere.
Terry Baggett – Men’s Football
Baggett, also known as Turk, strolled through the halls of Young with his bulky body until 2011. He’s a BIG body, but a peaceful and humble person. A two-sport varsity athlete, football and basketball, Baggett was at his best when dominating on the gridiron. He meant everything to Young’s football organization during his time, alternating between playing quarterback, running-back, linebacker, and tight end. Baggett averaged 11.8 yards per carry and finished with a total of 32 touchdowns throughout his time at Young. Terry is now in his third year as a running-back for the Army Black Knights. Most recently, he appeared on ESPN, and other sporting outlets, for his 4 TD – 304 rushing yard performance against Eastern Michigan.
Sam Thompson – Men’s Basketball
Thompson is very athletic and gifted on the basketball court, a freak of nature I’d say. He was apart of the same graduating class as Terry Baggett and a member of some successful teams at Young, including winning the 2008 and 2009 4A Illinois State Championship. Seeing Thompson play, it is evidently clear that this guy can jump. Forget what he can do on the offensive and defensive end, which is still quite impressive, if he came running down the court with a full head of steam you’d better be cautious because you run the risk of getting jumped over. He’s slim with lanky arms and a long stride; beware. There is one moment through his high school years that I’m sure Sam would not like to relive. Sorry Sam! Thompson finished his senior year with averages of 17.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 3.3 blocks, and 2.0 steals. Now, he’s in his third year at Ohio State University and is looking to continue his impressive career. Thompson finished last season with averages of 7.8 points and 3.5 rebounds as a starter while earning several appearances on ESPN’s SportsCenter Top 10.
Linnae Harper – Women’s Basketball
Harper came into Young and instantly made a name for herself on the basketball court. I’ve seen her play in person and she is the real deal. Linnae is really laid-back and relaxed, but on the court she is a beast. She was a member of Young’s 2012 4A Illinois State Championship team and contributed to four consecutive city championships, averaging 19.0 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 5.7 assists in her final season. She is also a McDonald’s High School All-American and is involved with Team USA. Now, she is in her first year as a member of the Kentucky Wildcats and is reunited with teammate Janee Thompson. Harper is sure to make the most of her colligate experience and continue where she started.
Deciding on athletes for this list was no easy task. There were several others that I passed over, including those from my graduating class. Athletes currently at Whitney Young are already on my radar and could be included in the next edition. That just goes to show that Young is not only a school of nerds, but a school of nerds who excel in sports. Check with the trophy cases for more validation. I am proud of these and other athletes who have at one time represented the orange and navy uniform and wish them well. Once a dolphin, always a dolphin. Dolphin pride!