Bailey and Banks Looking Towards Continued Success At UIC

UIC sophomores Martell Bailey (left) and Cedrick Banks compiled a
record of 132-3 while at Westinghouse.
UIC sophomores Martell Bailey (left) and Cedrick Banks compiled a record of 132-3 while at Westinghouse.

Aug. 23, 2001

The names Hersey Hawkins, Kiwane Garris and Mark Miller are synonymous with Westinghouse High School basketball.

Miller also left his mark on the UIC basketball program as he finished his career as the school's seventh leading scorer (1,458 points), sixth in three-pointers made (99), fifth in free throws made (307) and fourth in steals (154).

UIC sophomores Martell Bailey and Cedrick Banks also enjoyed standout careers at Westinghouse, which included a 58-57 upset of the No. 1 team in the nation, Oak Hill (VA), and a runner-up finish in the IHSA state finals. In all, Bailey and Banks compiled a record of 132-3 during their careers at Westinghouse.

As a senior, Bailey averaged 14.5 points and 8.3 assists per game as he was selected to the Chicago Sun Times First-Team All-State basketball team. Banks was named the Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year following his senior season after averaging 21.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per contest.

Their legacy at Westinghouse is undeniable, however, their legacy at UIC stands before them.

"It was good hearing my name ringing a bell with players like Mark Miller, Kiwane Garris, Hersey Hawkins," Bailey said. "Coming into this program and following Mark Miller's footsteps is great."

Bailey and Banks, however, would have to wait one season in order to make their presence known on the Chicago campus. Both individuals used last year as a redshirt season, due to NCAA initial eligibility standards.

Cedrick Banks
"It was a good experience, knowing that I had to sit out and I had to try my best in the classroom," Banks said. "I've done all of my work and now I have a 3.6 grade point average."

Bailey, however, is looking forward to returning to the court and is confident about the Flames' chances this season.

"I missed being out on the court last season," Bailey said. "It was great watching those guys play, and it just motivated me to work hard and come to play this year."

I'm looking forward to coming out and playing and making it to the NCAA tournament."

Banks knows that much is expected from the duo this season, and he is prepared for the rigors of college basketball.

"I'm kind of calm about it, but I'm also a little bit nervous," Banks said. "This is my first year of playing at the next level. I'm getting prepared for it now, through our workouts and at the shoot-arounds."

Banks has taken along some valuable advice from his coach at Westinghouse, Chris Head.

"Coach Chris Head talked to us and let us know that if you're going to play, play hard and play to win," Banks said.

Bailey believes that his experience at Westinghouse has helped him become a stronger basketball player and a person.

"We had to work hard every day and be at practice at 6:30 in the morning every day of the season and get out of practice at 6:30 at night," Bailey said. "You just have to work hard.

"If you didn't work hard, you wouldn't play."

Bailey and Banks almost didn't have that chance to play together at Westinghouse.

Following their eighth grade year, Bailey made plans to attend Manley High School, while Banks was headed for Marshall.

A chance meeting during a summer basketball league, however, altered both their paths to high school as both decided to attend Westinghouse.

They have been inseparable since. So inseparable, in fact, that when the college recruiting process came along, they wanted to play at the next level together.

"We wanted to play together," Bailey said. "We sat down and talked and felt that (UIC) Coach (Jimmy) Collins was the best man to come and play for.

"We wanted to be close to home where our family and friends could watch us play," Bailey continued. "If we went far, then they wouldn't be able to come and watch us play, so we stayed home and went to UIC."

Their choice to attend UIC, helped solidify the Flames' recruiting class as Collins' most heralded class in his six years as the head coach. Fellow Public Leaguers Armond Williams, Will Lewis and returning starter Aaron Carr will join Bailey and Banks on the court this season to complete the 2000 recruiting class.

Bailey is antsy for the season to start, but is looking forward to the competition.

"We want to come out and play our game, but we want to play our best," Bailey said. "We had pressure put on us before when we played Oak Hill (VA) in 2000 when they were the No. 1 team in the nation."

"Everyone thought we were going to come out and lose," Bailey continued. "We went out, played hard as a team and we won.

"We feel we can come here and do the same thing with this program."