Breaking down the 4A semis
Here’s a look at Friday’s Class 4A state semifinals:
Proviso East (31-0) vs. Rockford Auburn (31-2) at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN3.com
The story: This is a rematch for these teams. They met in the Proviso West holiday tournament semifinals, and Proviso East won 75-56. Proviso East jumped on Rockford Auburn early and was able to build a lead with its quick guards and ball pressure. Proviso East coach Donnie Boyce didn’t expect a similar game and knows Auburn will be prepared this time around. One of the more interesting matchups will be Proviso East point guard Keith Carter, who is headed to Saint Louis, against Auburn point guard Fred Van Vleet, who is going to Wichita State.
Proviso East player to watch: All-area selection Sterling Brown, the younger brother of Shannon Brown, continues to develop his game. He has a number of high-major schools, including DePaul and Northwestern, after him.
Auburn player to watch: Van Vleet is considered one of the state’s top seniors. He has the type of court vision few players possess.
Pick: Proviso East
Simeon (31-1) vs. Bloom (28-3) at 8:15 p.m.
The story: Simeon won’t be satisfied unless it wins its third consecutive state title. The Wolverines have proven they’re not perfect. There have been a couple of in-state teams which have taken them to the wire, but no one has defeated them. Evanston coach Mike Ellis said he thought Simeon had to beat itself for it to lose. Bloom went through a rough stretch in early January where it lost three out of five games, but has been perfect every since. The Blazing Trojans will need to keep this a low-scoring game to likely pull off the upset. They’ve scored an average of 44.2 points in the playoffs and allowed an average of 34.2 points.
Simeon player to watch: Jabari Parker is the top junior in the country and is the ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year. He normally doesn’t disappoint.
Bloom player to watch: Bloom point guard Donald Moore is an all-area selection. He does a little bit of everything for Bloom.