Final Four Teams Have Many Connections to Chicago

Final Four Teams Have Many Connections to Chicago
Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky should be the overwhelming favorite for pre-season Big Ten Player of the Year in 2014-15.

Although no teams from Illinois earned an invitation to the NCAA Tournament, there were still many local players to root for during the fortnight. With 68 whittled down to the Final Four, there are still plenty of local angles to watch as College Basketball's penultimate tips off in Texas.

Ben Brust (Mundelein) Wisconsin

Brust has improved his scoring in each of his four seasons at Wisconsin. He has gone from a little used bench player as a freshman, to the team leader this season. Brust has made over 160 three point field goals the last two seasons.

Brust has been pretty close to his regular season averages throughout the tournament. He has averaged 12.0 PPG and 3.8 RPG in the Badgers four West Region Games.

Brust was second team all-state in High School.

Frank Kaminsky (Benet Academy) Wisconsin

Commencing with the Badgers loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal, Kaminsky has arguably been the best player in the country.

He has scored at least 19 points in four of the Badgers last five games. Beginning with the loss to MSU, Kaminsky has averaged 20.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 1.6 BPG and is shooting 54.9 percent from the floor. Kaminsky's run through the West Region culminated with him being named the Region's most outstanding player.

His one downfall has been foul trouble. He has also averaged 3.6 Fouls per game. He will be the key to Wisconsin. If he gets in foul trouble against Kentucky's Julius Randle, the Badgers will need someone to step up both offensively and inside.

Kaminsky was first team All-State at Benet his senior year.

Ryan Boatright (East Aurora) UConn

His backcourt mate, Shabbazz Napier has gotten the headlines during the Huskies improbable NCAA Tournament run. Boatright has come up big in his own right for UConn. He is averaging 13. 8 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.3 APG and 1.8 SPG and he is shooting 36.8 percent on threes.

Boatright shared the Illinois Mr. Basketball with Stanford's Chasson Randle in 2011. He averaged 31.2 PPG at East Aurora and scored over 40 points seven times in his senior season.

Kentucky 

Although the Wildcats don't have any Chicago connections currently, they have historically had key players from the Windy City.

Antoine Walker and current Bull Nazr Mohammad led UK to the 1996 National Championship and Batavia's Dan Issel starred there from 1968-70.

More recently, Anthony Davis became the number one pick in the 2012 NBA Draft after being named the NCAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Player following another UK championship. Marion Catholic's Tyler Ulis will enroll in Lexington this fall and St. Rita's Charles Matthews will follow a year later.

Florida 

Former DePaul point guard Rashon Burno is an assistant on Billy Donovan's Gator staff. Burno has played a key role in the development of Scotty Wilbekin and Michael Frazier II.

At DePaul, Burno ran Pat Kennedy's offense and led the Blue Demons to one of only two NCAA Tournament appearances they've had in the last 22 seasons. He was a defensive sparkplug and classic point guard. Burno finished his collegiate career with over 400 assists and 200 steals.

The Bulls biggest current star Joakim Noah led the Gators to back to back NCAA titles in 2006 and 2007.

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