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Iman Shumpert performs on Michelle Obama's rap album; Football star Simmie Cobbs returns to OPRF

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By Marty Farmer

Sports Editor

Shumpert performs on Michelle Obama's rap album

New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert loves to rap and make mixtapes in his free time. The Oak Park native and former Oak Park and River Forest High School basketball star will be putting his rhymes toward a good cause in the fall.

Shumpert's rap song "Pass the Rock" will appear as the 11th track on "Songs for a Healthier America," a rap album released by First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her "Let's Move!" campaign aimed at fighting childhood obesity. The Partnership for a Healthier America and Hip-Hop Public Health are sponsors of the album. Rapper Darryl McDaniels of RUN-D.M.C fame, fellow hip-hop legend Doug E. Fresh, singers Ashanti, Monifah and Jordin Sparks along with Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker among others are also contributing to the 19-track album.

Shumpert, 23, returned to OPRF over the summer to host his annual youth basketball camp. During his brief hometown visit, he talked about his longtime love of rap.

"I've always loved rapping," he said. "It's relaxing for me and an opportunity to express myself creatively."

After suffering a torn ACL and meniscus in his left knee during a first-round game of  the 2012 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat, Shumpert returned last season in mid-January to average 6.8 points per game during the rest of the 2013 regular season. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound guard noticeably picked up his play in the playoffs, averaging 9.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game along with shooting 42.9% from the three-point line.

Cobbs comes back to OPRF, return to Huskies football pending

After attending Montini for a year, 6-foot-4, 210-pound wideout Simmie Cobbs has returned  to Oak Park and River Forest High School. Cobbs was declared ineligible by the IHSA to play football at Montini last season, although he did play basketball for the Broncos last winter. Montini won its fourth consecutive state championship in football with a 19-6 win over Morris in the Class 5A title game last year.

Nile Sykes, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound defensive end Division I prospect, is another talented former OPRF player who transferred to Montini in January of 2013. Unlike Cobbs, however, Sykes will spend his senior year at Montini playing out his preps football career with the Broncos.

The anticipated return of Cobbs to the OPRF football program would enhance the Huskies' already explosive offense featuring quarterback Lloyd Yates and scoring threats Jamal Baggett and Ryan Chancellor.

Cobbs elected to return to OPRF after Montini's tuition became an issue particularly when he couldn't receive financial aid. If the IHSA approves his return to the football field, Cobbs will continue his development as a rising Division I football prospect who has already drawn interest from several colleges including Illinois, Northern Illinois, Indiana, Purdue and Iowa State.

OPRF wrestling racks up more honors

At the National Wrestling tournament in Fargo, North Dakota, nine Oak Park and River Forest High School wrestlers qualified in 14 events. The country's top grapplers qualify for the prestigious event held in July by winning state and multi-state tournaments. National Championships are won at the National Wrestling tournament in the two Olympic styles of wrestling which are Greco-Roman and Freestyle.

Several Huskies excelled in Fargo, highlighted by four national champions. Gabriel Townsell won a national championship at cadet 120 in Greco-Roman and also notched second place in Freestyle. Other OPRF national champions included Isaiah White (138, Freestyle), Davonte Mahomes (junior 160, Greco-Roman), and Larry Early (cadet 138, Greco-Roman). Mahomes and Early also garnered Top 3 finishes in Frrestyle competition.

Kamal Bey took second in Freestyle and third in Greco-Roman at cadet 160, Adam Lemke Bell finished fourth in Freestyle and eighth in Greco-Roman at cadet 285. Zach Pickering notched sixth in Greco-Roman at junior 152. Savonne Bennette (cadet 132 Freestyle) and Andrew Borgdorff (cadet 152 Greco-Roman) performed well but didn't place at the tournament.

Fenwick's Showalter dives at the highest level

Fenwick Junior Max Showalter advanced through the gauntlet of summer championships to qualify and compete at the Junior National Diving Championships held recently at the University of Minnesota. The path to the Junior National Diving Championships was cleared via an impressive Top 12 finish on both the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard at regional championships held in Iowa City. Showalter also traveled to Missouri in mid-July to compete in the Zone Championships. At the Zone level, he scored a national-qualifying top six finish on both boards to advance to nationals.

Showalter also competed in his first Senior qualifying meet in Tucson, Az. Showalter posted a strong showing, finishing in the middle of the pack on both boards and besting a large number of divers ranging from 18 to 29 years old.

At the Junior National Diving Championships, Showalter competed on 1-meter in a series of 11 dives when he broke his two middle toes on a forward 1 1/2 somersault with 2 twists. He broke his toes by hitting the board in the middle of his rotations. This resulted in a two-point penalty from all judges essentially dashing his hopes for placing in the Top 12. He returned the following day to dive on the 3-meter springboard and post a solid set of 11 dives to close the season. 

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