Before we take a look at the game itself, let's take a look back a couple years and see what brought De La Salle to this point.
Two seasons ago, point guard Jaylon Tate departed for Simeon after spending his first two years at De La Salle. The next offseason, uncommitted 2013 big man Gavin Schilling made a move from DLS to prestigious Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nevada just outside of Las Vegas. And on top of that, big man Alex Foster, a former top 10 player in the country whose stock has declined in the last couple years, departed for Seton Academy.
If those three had stayed around, De La Salle would have arguably one of the best trios in the state of Illinois. But the lone remaining member of that group is wing and Minnesota commit Alvin Ellis.
Ellis has been having a big season for De La Salle. The wing is especially adept to slashing, but can also step back and hit both mid-range and outside jump shots. He's extremely active and his motor never stops running.
I guess the irony of the whole situation is that a trio of Ellis, Foster, and Schilling may all reunite at Minnesota (should Schilling choose that route).
But Ellis will face some serious attention on Saturday. SMU bound wing Sterling Brown leads the charge for the Pirates of Proviso East. Brown doesn't always put up the big numbers for his team, but when you see him play, you realize how successful he makes his teammates.
Brown's value is more than meets the eye, and his defense has significantly improved this year. Another teammate, Illinois State commit Paris Lee, is an excellent defender, and he'll give the De La Salle ball handlers fits all game.
Proviso East has no problem being patient and running their half-court offense, while De La Salle will look to get out and run. Talent matchup suggests that Proviso East has the advantage, but I think whoever controls the pace in this one takes home the win.
IlliniPlaybook will be live from the event providing up-to-the-minute coverage of the event.
For those interested in attending, details of the event are below:
Where: House of Hope Arena (Chicago, IL)
When: Saturday, February 23, 4:00 PM Central
Follow throughout the week for a look ahead at the other two matchups.