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Basketball Game to Feature All-Star Players

Two Benet seniors will be in the NeXt All-American Classic at the Sears Centre.

While Benet Academy’s boys basketball team is still dealing with the sting of an early exit from the postseason in March, Redwings fans will get a chance to see star players Frank Kaminsky and Dave Sobolewski play together two more times.

The first opportunity comes Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, where the two Big Ten-bound seniors will participate in the NeXt All-American Classic. The game will be televised live on CBS College Sports and tickets are available at the Sears Centre. 

On April 30, the pair will head to DePaul for the Chicago United Hoops Classic, which benefits the Norm Van Lier Scholarship Fund.

“It’s always nice having Frank at these things with me,” Sobolewski said. “It adds something to the experience. We can share things with each other. It’s nice to have him around.”

Since returning from their respective spring break trips with their families, the Benet duo have been on quite a whirlwind in the days leading up to the all-star game, which features some of the top talent from Illinois and across the country.

The home base for the players participating in the classic is down the street from Benet at the Hilton in Lisle, and the players have quite an itinerary. Social outings, practices around the Chicago area and a sightseeing tour of downtown Chicago were among the highlights. That was followed by a black-tie banquet Friday night and Saturday’s Fan Slam, which features a dunk contest and skills competition at Simeon at 4 p.m.

“It’s been pretty crazy,” Sobolewski said. “It’s been nice getting to know the guys in the Big Ten that I’ve gotten to know. We’re developing friendships that we’ll have for a long time.”

None of Sobolewski’s future Northwestern teammates are participating in the game, but Kaminsky will get to know a pair of future Wisconsin teammates a little better. Point guard George Marshall of Brooks High School in Chicago and forward Jarrod Uthoff of Jefferson Scranton High School in Jefferson, Iowa are on the team opposite of Kaminsky and Sobolewski’s on Sunday.

There is an Illinois feel to the two 12-man teams. Two of the crown jewels of Bruce Weber’s Illinois recruiting class, DeLaSalle forward Mike Shaw and St. Ignatius center Nnanna Egwu, an AAU teammate of Kaminsky and Sobolewski, are among the top players.

“Too bad none of them wanted to come with me (to Northwestern),” Sobolewski joked.

The Redwings are less than a month removed from seeing their 29-1 season end in the sectional semifinals at the hands of East Aurora. Benet had an unbeaten regular season, beat the state’s No. 1 team, Simeon, wrapped up its second straight unbeaten East Suburban Catholic campaign, set a school record for wins and won the prestigious Proviso West Tournament prior to that disappointment, however.

“It was an unbelievable season,” Benet coach Gene Heidkamp said. “It ended earlier than we wanted. When you look back at all we accomplished, there is a lot there. They have to be proud. I think they understand that. What they were able to accomplish in two years is remarkable.”

It took the players some time to adopt that view of the season, but as time passes, it’s slowly sinking in to them.

“It was almost a good a season as you possibly could have,” Sobolewski said. “It ended sooner than we hoped, but we can look back at being 29-1. That’s pretty special to do in Illinois. Around the state, a lot of people followed us and sent us congratulatory messages. It’s pretty special.”

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