By Joe Henricksen

Holiday hoops primer: Part II

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By Joe Henricksen

This is the second in a series of holiday tournament previews by the City/Suburban Hoops Report.

McDipper Tournament (at Rich South)
Hoops Report's projected title game matchup
Hales Franciscan vs. Thornton

Top players to watch
• Aaron Armstead, 6-4, Hales Franciscan (Sr.)
• Aaric Armstead, 6-5, Hales Franciscan (Jr.)
• Eddie Alcantera, 6-4, Hales Franciscan (Jr.)
• Deji Ibitayo, 6-3, Rich Central (Sr.)
• Jamie Crockett, 6-4, Crete-Monee (Sr.)
• Michael Orris, 6-3, Crete-Monee (Jr.)
• Greg Mays, 6-8, Crete-Monee (Sr.)
• Macari Brooks, 6-2, Rich South (Sr.)
• Brian Greene, 6-2, Thornton (Sr.)
• Jay Parker, 5-9, Thornton (Sr.)
• Maurice Joiner, 6-6, Leo (Sr.)
• Paul Beene, 5-10, Leo (Sr.)

Underlcassman to watch
Russell Woods, Leo ... The emerging 6-7 Woods, who is just a sophomore, began to blossom this past summer and has helped jumpstart Leo to a strong start.

Most to prove: Crete-Monee ... After being stunned in a wild final minute of play by Rich South earlier this season, the Warriors are out to prove they are the real deal and capable of stepping up on a big stage. And the road Crete-Monee has, with Lincoln Park, Leo and Hales before even reaching the final, will be a proving ground for coach Matt Ryndak's club. A tournament title (or at least a strong showing) here would re-open the discussion of Crete-Monee as a legitimate threat this winter. A year ago Crete-Monee fell in the final to Hales.

Keep an eye on: Bloom and junior guard Donald Moore are ones to watch. Bloom beat Mt. Carmel earlier this year and played Hillcrest tough in a 59-53 loss. Brown scored 20 in the head-to-head matchup with Juice Brown and Hillcrest. Richards and Rich South are winnable games in the opening two rounds, which would put the Blazing Trojans in the semis.

Brian Greene, Thornton ... Strong, athletic guard may not put up monster numbers in Thornton's balanced attack, but he has evolved into one of the better uncommitted prospects and is a Division I prospect.
Tony Core, Tinley Park ... Bouncy, active, all over the rim and plays with energy. The 6-5 senior is capable of a double-double each time out and is a solid small college prospect.
Hales/Thornton Dipper dominance ... The Hoops Report's projected title game teams have been a fixture at the Dipper for years and have fared better than anyone. Since 2002 both Hales and Thornton have three titles apiece and 13 top four finishes between them.

What a difference a year makes: Well, in this tournament there really isn't a difference from a year ago as last year's semfinalists -- Hales, Thornton, Rich South and Crete-Monee -- are all in opposite brackets and expected to return to the semis.

Most intriguing potential matchup
Hales Franciscan vs. Thornton ... The two most successful programs in the Dipper are once again penciled in as the favorites and are the highest ranked teams in the field. These two have won the last three tournament titles and five of the last six. It would be only fitting for both to make it through their bracket and meet on the final night.

Other potential matchups of interest
Crete-Monee vs. Leo ... Now here is one heck of a second-round matchup, with the winner getting a shot at Hales in the semis.
Rich South vs. Thornton ... A good old fashioned south suburban battle. Macari Brooks has elevated the Stars early on and would love to add a marquee win to the resumé in front of the home crowd.

Hoops Report's projected title game matchup
Downers Grove South vs. St. Ignatius

Top players to watch
• Nnanna Egwu, 6-10, St. Ignatius (Sr.)
• Ryan Jackson, 6-2, Riverside-Brookfield (Sr.)
• Jeron Wilbut, 6-2, Downers Grove South (Jr.)
• Jamal Millison, 6-2, Downers Grove South (Jr.)
• Matt Palucki, 6-6, Maine South (Sr.)
• Reilly O'Toole, 6-2, Wheaton-Warrenville South (Sr.)
• Nick Zeisloft, 6-4, Lyons Twp. (Sr.)
• Will Sullivan, 6-2, York (Sr.)
Bobby Harmening, 6-1, Brother Rice (Sr.)

Underclassmen to watch
Kendall Stephens, St. Charles East ... The son of former Purdue star and NBA player Everette Stephens, the 6-3 guard is just beginning to blossom and is among the top five prospects in the Hoops Report's Class of 2013.
Elliot McGaughy, Oswego ... The 6-2 combo guard hasn't been talked about much but this sophomore has a lot of tools and a nice upside. McGaughy has led the surprising unbeaten Panthers with just over 17 points a game.

Most to prove: Downers Grove South ... At first glance, the 7-3 record won't jump out at anyone. However, the Mustangs have played just two teams with a losing record, beaten East Aurora and lost to a tough trio of teams in Hales Franciscan, Lyons Twp. and Morton. But there are high expectations for a team that was ranked high in the preseason rankings.

Keep an eye on: The No. 5 and No. 6 seeds -- Brother Rice and Riverside-Brookfield, respectively -- each have just one loss and are flying a bit under the radar. Both are capable of getting into the semifinal round. And don't forget about Oswego, a team that is unbeaten but is so young they don't know any better than to just go out and win games.

Matt Palucki, Maine South ... Has led the Hawks to a rather surprising start and a No. 1 seed in the tournament. The 6-6 senior has added to his arsenal and is a more complete player than a year ago.
Rich Kehoe, St. Ignatius ... He's one of the better coaches and tacticians in the Chicago area. And there aren't many coaches who want to go up against the disciplined Wolfpack who have a unique style.
Tom McCormack, Conant ... The veteran coach consistently gets the most out of his talent, while the halfcourt style Conant plays -- on both ends of the floor -- will always give teams fits.

What a difference a year makes: A year ago Lyons Township came in unbeaten and the team to beat. This year coach Tom Sloan's team isn't even seeded among the top eight teams, despite the fact the Lions are heading to York with just one loss and enough talent to win this thing again.

Most intriguing potential matchup
Downers Grove South vs. St. Ignatius ... Probably the two best teams on paper in the tournament, with a couple of big men -- Downers South's Ziggy Riauka and St. Ignatius' Nnanna Egwu -- playing pivotal roles.

Hoops Report's projected title game matchup
Notre Dame vs. Niles North

Top players to watch
• Mike Lang, 6-7, Loyola Academy (Sr.)
• Mike Fleming, 6-0, Stevenson (Jr.)
• Ryan Barth, 5-11, Libertyville (Sr.)
• Quinton Chievous, 6-4, Niles Notre Dame (Sr.)
• Rodney Pryor, 6-3, Niles Notre Dame (Sr.)
• Mike LaTulip, 6-0, Prospect (Jr.)
• David Niggins, 6-5, Naperville Central (Sr.)
• DaVaris Daniels, 6-5, Vernon Hills (Sr.)
• Abdel Nader, 6-7, Niles North (Sr.)

Underclassmen to watch
David McCoy, Loyola Academy ... A nice looking shooting guard prospect with some size in the Class of 2013, this sophomore hopes to get the Ramblers on a roll at Wheeling.
Nick Czarnowski, Naperville Central ... The 6-5 freshman has been a solid contributor for Pete Kramer's Redhawks and has a promising future ahead of him.

Most to prove: Vernon Hills ... Unbeaten entering the tournament, the Cougars are still looking for respect. A run at Wheeling would pass the test for a team whose 9-0 record has come against a schedule that includes just two teams with winning records -- Grant and Northridge Prep.

Keep an eye on: No one outside of the East Suburban Catholic has been breathing a word about St. Viator, a team that suffered its first loss of the season just before the holidays. Without a single big name, St. Viator has piled up a 7-1 record, with wins over Conant and St. Patrick.

Michael LaTulip, Prospect ... He is a pint-sized pack of dynamite in the backcourt, capable of carrying a team with his shooting prowess.
David Niggins, Naperville Central ... A player who has blossomed during his senior year, showcasing some athleticism, size on the perimeter and shooting stroke out to the three-point line.
Ryan Barth, Libertyville ... Another senior who has shined early, averaging over 20 points a game heading into Wheeling.
Notre Dame ... This is a good basketball team. A very good basketball team. Coach Tom Les simply lacks any size inside. Nonetheless, the Dons are clearly the team to beat at Wheeling and a better team than people around the Chicago area realize.
Libertyville ... The 5-4 record won't jump out at anyone, but the Wildcats have lost to highly-ranked Warren and have a pair of losses by a combined three points to Fremd (68-67) and in overtime to Zion-Benton (64-62). and remain dangerous as two of the four losses came

What a difference a year makes: Deerfield flew into Wheeling last year sky high. Led by Wisconsin-bound Duje Dukan, Deerfield had just one loss and was the team to beat at the Hardwood Classic. Despite graduating all five seniors, Deerfield has remained competitive this season. But the reality is the Warriors will be playing the role of spoiler rather than favorite this year.

Most intriguing potential matchup
Loyola Academy vs. Niles Notre Dame ... Loyola will likely have to get by Libertyville in the second round to set up this semifinal tilt. While it's a rematch of a game played earlier this season, Notre Dame would get another test against a team with size.

To see the Holiday hoops primer: Part I, go to the following link ...

Holiday hoops primer: Part I

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1 Comment

You are right Elliott from Oswego is a very underrated guard the kid can score from almost anywhere. I watched him in AAU action and he was something special to watch. He played with Team Acceleration for the past two years and helped them out alot. This year he will be playing for Team NLP along with Thomas Wilder and Jamaal Richardson. Oswego has surpised everyone with a 7-0 start those sophmores are fun to watch. I've seen Elliott just take over games during AAU i really cant wait to watch him and his teammate Jamaal Richardson in action. These two boys work so hard on and off the floor and will be great DIV 1 basketball players.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on December 24, 2010 10:13 AM.

Tournament ends, another keeps ticking was the previous entry in this blog.

Prospects make most of the holidays is the next entry in this blog.

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