Trio Of Future Northern Illinois Men's Basketball Players Perform
Well At IBCA All-Star Event
DEKALB, IL A busy month is coming to a close for three Northern
Illinois University mens basketball freshmen. Frank Clair
(Chicago / Leo), Zach Pancratz (Schaumburg, IL / Schaumburg)
and Craig Reichel (Schaumburg, IL / Schaumburg) have all
seen their lives change dramatically over the last two weeks, as
the new teammates began summer classes on June 14, kicked off the
teams summer weightlifting/conditioning program and have moved
to a new city which will be home for the next four years.
trio has yet to play their first game together as teammates, the
three future Huskies ensured that the Illinois Basketball Coaches
Association All-Star game played on June 26 in Bloomington, IL,
had an NIU flavor as each helped guide their respective teams to
All three Huskies found their way into double figures as Clair scored
14 points to help lead the Class A North Team to a 102-96 victory
and Pancratz and Reichel poured in 11 and 10 points, respectively,
to guide the Class AA North Team to a 123-114 overtime win.
was supposed to be the common thread to help NIUs diaper dandies
through this transition period, adjustments continued to be the
order of business for Clair. After playing his high school days
in the Chicago Catholic League, Clair became accustomed to the Class
AA style of play. Open floor, transition-based and high-flying have
become familiar adjectives when describing the Class AA game, but
over the weekend, Clair was treated to the downstate game, which
gave the 6-foot-6 swingman a chance to show his versatility as a
more of a spot-up shooters game, Clair said about the style
of play predominant in the Class A contest. I guess I am more
used to the Class AA style where we get in the open court and run
a little more. But adjusting is good for your game. I think I was
1-for-8 in the first half, but played better in the second half
and got into a flow.
what I expected, Clair said about the competition level. Those
guys could really play and shoot the basketball. It was fun being
down there, going to the banquet and playing in the game. I enjoyed
Despite being out-rebounded 60-47 on the glass, Clair helped the
Class A North squad to 16-of-33 shooting from three-point range
to grind out the six-point win.
After the first half I just focused on playing my game,
Clair said. We had some good shooters on our team and if a
guy is hitting shots, you have to get him the basketball. I was
able to hit a few shots in the second half and get on a roll myself.
High scoring remained the order of business in the Class AA competition
as the North Team battled from 11 points down (92-81) in the final
8:30 to grab a 123-114 overtime victory. Huskie shooting guard Pancratz
keyed the run with a three-pointer to help the North squad secure
their third IBCA title in four seasons.
It was a lot of fun, Pancratz said. Once we started
playing as a team, thats when we came back. We went to a quicker
lineup to make that run. We put on a full-court press, got a couple
of steals and were right back in the game. I dont think they
were expecting a press and it worked.
Trailing by double-figures, Pancratz, the Schaumburg High School
career leader with 180 three-pointers, hit his lone shot from bonus
distance on the night to start the North resurgence.
We were able to practice twice and the coaches put in 10 plays
for us to run, Pancratz said. The night before the game,
we had a team meeting and we had to diagram each play and how it
was run. I think we were well prepared and it kept us focused.
Although a combined 237 points suggest a tough night for post players,
Reichel still found his way into double-figures, scoring 10 points
on 4-fo-8 shooting. The Schaumburg High School career leader in
rebounds (662) also did his share of work on the glass to cap a
successful night for all-three Huskies at the IBCA all-star event.
like that it can be tough for the big men, Reichel said. At
the same time, if you hit some shots, they will get you the ball.
Overall the game was a lot of fun. It was great to hang out with
all those guys on Friday and Saturday and just get to know them
a little better.