By Joe Henricksen
A couple of expected area powerhouse basketball teams will be joining the Proviso West Holiday Tournament this December, with both Morgan Park and Benet Academy joining an always stacked field of teams.
Morgan Park, led by Louisville-bound Wayne Blackshear and a host of talented young players, is expected to be ranked among the top five teams when the preseason rankings come out in November. Coach Nick Irvin's program will be making its first appearance since 2006-2007.
With the return of point guard David Sobolewski and big man Frank Kaminsky, a pair of Big Ten commitments who will be signing with Northwestern and Wisconsin, respectively, Benet Academy will also be highly ranked heading into the season. Coach Gene Heidkamp's club piled up 26 wins a year ago and captured regional and sectional titles. Benet fell to Simeon in a supersectional heartbreaker.
"We couldn't have written a better story-line to bring back two teams that are full of Holiday Tournament history as we celebrate our 50th year," said tournament executive director Joe Spanolo in a statement. "The return of Benet Academy and Morgan Park to an existing solid field of teams proves that once again Proviso West is where basketball is best."
Morgan Park and Benet Academy replace Whitney Young and Evanston in the 16-team field. The tournament, which will run Dec. 27-30, also includes defending Class 3A champ Hillcrest. In addition, Fenwick, Foreman, Glenbrook North, Hinsdale Central, Homewood-Flossmoor, Morton, New Trier, Proviso East, St. Joseph, St. Patrick, T.F. North and Von Steuben.