Here are five things to watch for in Tuesday’s boys basketball playoffs:
1. All-state guards square off: Two of the state’s best guards in Benet’s David Sobolewski, a Northwestern recruit, and East Aurora’ Ryan Boatright, a Connecticut recruit, will meet up in the East Aurora sectional semifinals. Benet is undefeated and the No. 1 team in the state. East Aurora has been up and down, but Boatright can go off for 40-plus points on any night. A year ago, Benet defeated East Aurora 72-60 in the same round. Sobolewski had 21 points in that game, and Boatright finished with 18.
2. Oh, the talent: The entire court will consist of nearly all Division I-caliber players at times during the De La Salle-Whitney Young sectional semifinal at York. De La Salle is led by seniors Mike Shaw, an Illinois recruit, and Dre Henley, who is one of the area’s top unsigned players, and sophomore stars Alex Foster and Jaylon Tate. Whitney Young has even more Division I talent. Sam Thompson is headed to Ohio State. Tommy Hamilton Jr. is one of the nation’s top sophomores. Jahlil Okafor and Paul White are two of the country’s premier freshmen. Gabriel Snider recently committed to UIC, and he comes off the bench.
3. South Side showdown: Tuesday’s schedule is packed with potentially great games, and Mount Carmel vs. Simeon in the Argo sectional semifinals is one of them. Illinois recruit Tracy Abrams leads the Caravan, and Jabari Parker, one of the nation’s top sophomores, heads up Simeon.
4. Unsigned stars: Niles North’s Abdel Nader and Notre Dame’s Quinton Chievous are two of the state’s top unsigned players, and they will face each other in the New Trier sectional semifinals. Notre Dame defeated Niles North 61-50 in the Wheeling holiday tournament earlier this season. Chievous had 17 points and 17 rebounds, and Nader finished with 18 points and seven rebounds.
5. Downstate affair: If there’s a game to watch outside of the Chicago area on Tuesday, it’s Peoria Central vs. Peoria Notre Dame in a sectional semifinal. Peoria Notre Dame is undefeated and is among the favorites to win the Class 3A title. Peoria Central is playing some of its best basketball and has the talent to compete with Notre Dame. The winner will likely advance to the state tournament.