It seemed reasonable to think of Trequan Carrington as a missing ingredient for the Martin Luther boys basketball team heading into the season. By the end, that didn’t seem like a proper descriptor at all – he was more like the secret weapon.
Carrington, a sophomore who transferred from Milwaukee Riverside in the second semester of his freshman year and only played a small handful of JV games with Martin Luther, was an instant force for a team making a rapid turnaround. The Spartans, transitioning from one of the weakest programs in the Metro Classic two years ago to a 9-win team last year, finished the year 22-4 with an appearance in the sectional final, and the speedy point guard was a huge reason why. For his efforts, he was named to the 2017 Now Newspapers All-Suburban Team.
Carrington, who averaged 18.5 points per game along with 3.8 rebounds, 3.2 steals and 4.6 assists, joined an already talented sophomore class that featured Xzavier Jones (one of the state’s highest-regarded prospects in the Class of 2019), Ace Evans and Jeramie King, the team’s leading scorer from one year ago who was sidelined before the season with a torn ACL.
Juniors Ki-Anthony Blake and Gabe Mack-Roundtree also played prominent roles, making it clear Martin Luther is a serious player in the immediate future.
“A lot of the guys I grew up with went to Martin Luther, and they were telling me I should come,” Carrington said. “I took a shot over here and I liked it, and I think it went pretty well. Xzavier, Jeramie, (former ML player) Allen Johnson, we grew up playing together in middle school, even if we didn’t all know each other, so it wasn’t that hard to start jelling. We all played in the summer league together and on the same AAU team before that.”
With Carrington leading the offensive attack, Martin Luther started achieving things it hadn’t before. It shared the Metro Classic title, its first crown since 1988, and twice beat powerhouse Dominican, including in the sectional semifinal. If there could have possibly a silver lining to losing a player like King, it’s that the injury occurred in the offseason, and Martin Luther had time to pick up the pieces.
“When he got hurt, it made us a different team,” Carrington said. “We would have been better, obviously. He can do everything; he can run and play in the halfcourt. … I don’t think I would have had to do (as much) if he was here. We just played as a team, and I tried to let the game come to me. The season was just playing as a team.”
Second-year coach Paul Wollersheim said Carrington played roughly 25 games with the ML team over the summer and another 15 in the fall.
“His ability to push the ball … he brings a confidence to our team,” Wollersheim said. “He’s not intimidated by any situation or any team. That confidence rubbed off on our young team.”
Carrington scored 32 points on 12-of-15 shooting in a win over The Prairie School, the program with which ML shared the league crown. Prairie’s JC Butler was named the league Player of the Year, and Carrington was second in that voting.
“I knew I was capable of doing it, but it was my first year playing on varsity,” Carrington said. “We all grew up playing together, all dreamed of winning a state championship. We have a young team and even being noticed in the state was good for us and a dream come true.”
Wollersheim said having a leader like Carrington among the youth greatly aided the ascent.
“His ability to be a leader on the team and really score for us … that was a concern a year ago, but this year his ability to consistently put 18 to 20 points on the board for us was really big,” Wollersheim said. “The coach from Prairie said to me before he played the second game, there are times he's impossible to stop, we just can't, especially in the open court. There's no way that we can stop him from getting to the basket.”
It was a remarkable year for Spartans basketball. The girls team also won its first league title since 1996 and advanced all the way to the Division 3 state-championship game, falling to Madison Edgewood in the final. The boys team expects to follow suit, and Carrington will be one of the primary catalysts.