Small college programs hit it big locally

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SHARE Small college programs hit it big locally

By Joe Henricksen

While Division I schools are trying to land and sign the final pieces to their Class of 2011 recruiting hauls, small college recruiting is reaching a climax. And Washington University landed a good one as Maine South’s Matt Palucki gave a commitment to the St. Louis Division III power.

Palucki is one of the premier small college prospects in the state of Illinois and is arguably the Division III recruiting steal in the Class of 2011. The 6-7 senior had a stellar career for coach Tony Lavorato as a four-year starter and captain. He was a two-time All-Central Suburban League South player and an IBCA fourth-team all-stater this past season after averaging 19.6 points and 9 rebounds a game while shooting 50 percent from the field. He is the single game, season and career leader in rebounds at Maine South.

In addition to leading Maine South to 49 wins the past two seasons, Palucki’s game grew as he became one of the more versatile players in the Chicago area. A tough, hard-nosed jack-of-all trades player who is capable of playing three different positions. Palucki showed he’s capable of playing on the perimeter with his improved ballhandling and perimeter shooting over the past year, while also still being such a factor around the basket with his good feel and battle-tested will and desire inside.

Wash U. coach Mark Edwards, who has built his program into a Division III national power, already secured Glenbrook North big man Peter Szostak.

Other small college recruiting notes …

Roosevelt University has certainly made a presence recruiting the Chicago area and the state of Illinois. Head coach Joe Griffin has landed 6-6 Elliott Vaughn of Batavia and Glenbard East guard Tyree York, a defensive whiz who played a key role for the state’s Class 4A third-place team.

A Hoops Report favorite, Morton point guard Jeff Jarosz, will be headed to Division II Lewis. The kid competes at a high level, shows no fear and has an uncanny ability in finding ways to get things done and produce.

Coach John Baines picked up two very solid players at NAIA St. Francis earlier this month, landing both guard Chris Miller of Rockford Boylan and 6-5 wing Darius Draper of Stagg.

Downers Grove South big man Ziggy Riauka, who evolved from a role-playing junior to a difference-making senior this past season, will be headed to Division II Wisconsin-Parkside. Riauka has a nice upside with his combination of size and skill and should develop into a solid Division II player for coach Luke Reigel.

Another Wisconsin school, Wisconsin-Whitewater, has hit Illinois hard. The Warhawks landed Glenbard East’s Kevin Priebe, who had a big state tournament run for the Rams, and are heavily involved with both 6-7 Justin Scanlan of Plainfield Central and scoring guard Sam Sutter of South Elgin.

Glenbrook South standout Jack Ryan will be a walk-on at Stanford, while Glenbrook North shooter Tommy Hanrahan will be headed to DePauw.

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