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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Michael O'Brien

Taevion Collier, Cliff Alexander’s brother, emerges as a major factor in Curie’s win against Phillips

Curie’s Taevion Collier (21) looks on during the game against Phillips. (Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times)

Taevion Collier was intriguing the first time he stepped onto a high school basketball court. The 6-6 Curie senior is Cliff Alexander’s brother. 

Alexander was the 2014 Sun-Times Player of the Year and went on to play at Kansas and with the Trailblazers. He’s currently playing pro ball in Lebanon. 

But none of those credentials comes close to describing Alexander as a high school player. He was a destroyer, one of the most dominating players the state has seen in the past two decades. 

Collier and his coach, Mike Oliver, knew it was impossible for Collier to live up to his brother’s legend. Instead, Collier did things the Curie way. He waited his turn. 

Oliver made sure to get Collier in plenty of games the past two seasons. But Curie had dependable bigs last year, so Collier wasn’t depended on for significant stretches or in clutch moments. 

The Condors need him this season though, and he’s delivering. Collier had 12 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in No. 6 Curie’s 75-44 win at Phillips on Thursday. 

“At first everyone was comparing me to my brother and wanting me to be outstanding,” Collier said. “And then they started not expecting much from me. So this feels great, to see everything coming together now.”

Collier hit three jump shots in the game and is a solid rim protector.

“He could always shoot from around the basket really good,” Oliver said. “He’s coming into his own. He’s a quiet person. It’s never been fair to compare him to his brother. He’s doing what we ask him to do. Stay within his game and rebound.”

Curie’s Taevion Collier (21) blocks a shot by Phillips’ Phoenix Childs (13). (Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times)

Curie senior Mason Minor doesn’t have a famous brother, but like Collier, he has waited his turn in Oliver’s system. 

“The waiting was real frustrating at times,” Minor said. “But I’m here now and it is my time and things are working out just like [Oliver] said they would.”

Minor scored 11 points. Senior guard Carlos Harris led the Condors (6-1, 2-0 Red-South/Central) with 15 points and nine rebounds. Will Gonzalez added 13 points and six rebounds. 

Harris, a UIC recruit, is the only returning starter for Curie. But all of those kids that waited their turn for years are ready and the early results are excellent. 

While several highly-ranked teams in the area loaded with high-profile transfers are still finding their feet, Curie looks like one of the state’s best teams already. 

“We treat it like a farm system,” Oliver said. “We have some good process and by the time we need a player he knows our system. I’m always telling kids to be patient. Mason plays hard. He got frustrated last year. But we told him to stay grounded. He’s a 4.5 GPA student so he doesn’t need basketball.”

This year’s Curie team has a suffocating defense. The Condors jumped out to a 21–0 lead and Phillips missed its first 11 shots. 

“These guys are quicker than last year’s group and still long,” Oliver said. “And a lot of these guys played in the city championship so there is more experience there than people realize.”

 Phillips (3-3, 0-2) was led by senior Elijah Harris, who scored nine off the bench. The Wildcats don’t have a senior in the starting lineup but managed to give Simeon a scare on the road on Tuesday, losing 71-67.

“[Curie] caught us flat footed at the start,” Phillips coach Paris Martin said. “We never responded to any punch they gave us. We showed at Simeon that we have the fight and the grit and the talent. Tonight we just got outplayed.”

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