Henricksen: My weekly three-pointer

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No. 1

While the season is young, there hasn’t been a more impactful freshman than Elliot Sieger of DePaul College Prep.

The 5-11 guard has been an instant difference-maker for the Rams, averaging 16 points and 2.5 assists per game in his team’s 6-2 start to the season.

Sieger singlehandedly disrupts a defense and flourishes as a major offensive weapon.

He can shoot it from the three-point line and score in a variety of ways; defenses can’t keep him in front of them. Plus, he’s extremely efficient for such a young player, shooting 35 percent from beyond the arc and 56 percent from the field.

Sieger is among a stellar group of young players in coach Tom Kleinschmidt’s rising program.

It was just last season when DePaul featured another ultra-productive freshman. Perry Cowan, who is regarded as one of the best players in the Class of 2019, continues to raise his game as the sophomore is averaging 16.6 points, 5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2 steals a game. The 6-4 Cowan already has offers from DePaul, Illinois and UIC.

There is a bountiful of young, talented players in place at DePaul. In addition to Cowan and Sieger, there is Pavle Pantovic, an improving 6-6 sophomore, and freshman guard Lance Mosley, whose time will come at the varsity level sooner than later.

But don’t discount the senior impact of Fred Nunez, an athletic 6-1 guard with scoring ability, and Matt Tonkel, a four-year varsity contributor and leader.

When you put it all together DePaul will be a factor in the Chicago Catholic League this winter and a major threat in Class 2A when March rolls around.

No. 2

The Public League’s Red-West has established itself as the best basketball conference in the Chicago area.

How good? The Red-West could potentially have three of its teams playing in Peoria this March in three different classes: Young in 4A, North Lawndale in 3A and Orr in 2A.

This past week showed the competitive balance within the conference, as well as the star power it possesses by flexing some muscle in non-conference play.

Young went 2-1 in the talent-filled Gonzaga Classic in Washington, D.C., while Farragut handed Homewood-Flossmoor its first loss of the season and Orr beat Marian Catholic.

If last week was any indication the Red-West will be wild over the next two months. Young beat Orr at the buzzer. Westinghouse, led by overlooked senior forward Coreyon Rushin, may be 0-2 in league play but took Farragut to double overtime and fell to North Lawndale 63-62.

No. 3

As the holiday tournament brackets are being released, it’s easy to pinpoint which tournament will be the strongest in coming weeks.

The 86th annual Pontiac Holiday Tournament is absolutely loaded. The three-day tournament, which tips off Dec. 28, features the top two ranked teams in Curie and Simeon. When you add Joliet West, Bloomington and Benet the tournament currently boasts five unbeaten teams.

Even with Class 3A power Peoria Manual decimated with injuries, including Illinois recruit DaMonte Williams now out for the year with a torn ACL, the depth of the tournament is impressive.

West Aurora, St. Charles North, Bloom and Oak Park are a combined 25-4 but are still behind the aforementioned five unbeatens. Thus, the top nine teams at Pontiac currently sport a combined 55-4 record.

Follow Joe Henricksen and the Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport

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