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Former local stars in Eastern hoops matchup

Kanelgraduate David Dudzinski is leading rebounder for Holy Cross. | Peter Cooke~Holy Cross University

Kaneland graduate David Dudzinski is the leading rebounder for Holy Cross. | Peter Cooke~Holy Cross University

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Updated: January 19, 2012 11:03AM



This should be one to remember for David Dudzinski and Ryan Boatright.

Their high school basketball teams from Kaneland and East Aurora never met on the court, but their college teams will play each other this afternoon. They just had to travel about a thousand miles from home for the meeting to take place.

Dudzinski and his Holy Cross teammates will make a 45-minute drive from their scenic mountain-top campus in Worcester, Mass., to play Boatright and defending national champion Connecticut at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn.

The visiting Crusaders and Dudzinski, a 6-foot-9 sophomore forward, play in the Patriot League. The Huskies and Boatright, a 5-10 freshman point guard, are from the Big East.

“I don’t know if he’s gonna remember me, but we did play against each other once before,” said Dudzinski, who is starting this season after seeing action off the bench in all 27 games last year.

“It was my senior year and his junior year (of high school). We were both playing on different teams in a fall league at the Bulls-Sox Academy. They beat us by 12. Some games you just don’t forget.”

Holy Cross and UConn are very different. The former is a small private school of 2,800 students with a student-to-faculty ratio of 11-to-1, while the latter is a public state institution with nearly 22,000 students on multiple campuses.

“It’s exciting enough on its own to play a top 10 team at their place,” Dudzinski said of meeting the No. 9 Huskies.

Dudzinski is the leading rebounder for the 4-6 Crusaders, averaging seven a game. He’s the third leading scorer (10 ppg).

“I stepped into a bigger role this year after we lost our leading rebounder, who was an all-conference player,” said Dudzinski, who averaged 4.6 points and 2.8 rebounds last season.

He’s enjoying life on the East Coast, where hills provide a nice contrast to the flat lands of Illinois.

“Everything is so close. I’ve been to Boston and we played in New York City and Washington D.C.”

But there’s little time for recreational travel.

“We’ve played against some really good players, but it’s as busy as you’ll ever be,” he said. “There’s always a lot of homework to do on road trips.

“We’ve been up and down, but a 22-point win at home over Boston College was the highlight.”

Boatright has come off the bench in three games for the 8-1 Huskies after his six-game suspension to open the season and is averaging 16 points and 31 minutes with 12 assists and four turnovers.

The game, which starts at noon, will be carried on SportsNet New York/Mid-Atlantic Sports Network and ESPN3.



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