As my colleague Kevin Schmit aptly wrote in his column this week, we are definitely in the Dog Days of winter. But I'm looking forward to a break in what can be a lackluster month in the boys basketball season by seeing unbeaten Benet host St. Viator on Tuesday and then take on Glenbard East in a highly anticipated showdown in the finale of the Jan. 22 High School Hoops Showdown at Hoffman Estates' Sears Centre.
So how good are the Redwings, who feature 7-foot Wisconsin recruit Frank Kaminsky, Northwestern-bound point guard David Sobolewski and shooting star Matt Parisi? Viator coach Joe Majkowski has a pretty good idea with nearly a quarter-century of experience as a head coach in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. That includes facing some talented St. Joseph teams (including its 1999 Class AA state champion) before the school jumped to the Chicago Catholic League this season.
"They're the most dominant team in the conference in the time I've been a head coach," Majkowski said after his team beat Nazareth in overtime Friday night. "They have everything and they're poised. They're so confident in themselves and it's just remarkable how good they are."
The state's second-ranked team by The Associated Press behind Simeon in Class 4A has been seriously pushed only twice - 64-58 on Dec. 10 in what is Notre Dame's only loss and 54-50 in overtime against Homewood-Flossmoor in overtime of the Proviso West Holiday Tournament title game. Eleven of the Redwings' victories are by at least 20 points.
"This is no knock on those Joe's teams at all," Majkowski said, "but the way Benet is beating people, they're a machine. They play that way all the time."