Libertyville's Peterson, USC returning to NCAA Tournament
A year ago, Libertyville graduate Drew Peterson helped USC make a run to the Elite Eight.
The 6-foot-8 senior guard played a key role as the Trojans beat Drake, Kansas and Oregon before losing to Gonzaga one game shy of the Final Four. Peterson, who played his first two years of college at Rice, scored 14 points vs. Drake, grabbed 8 rebounds against Kansas and had 13 points in the loss to Gonzaga.
He and the Trojans return to the NCAA Tournament this year. USC earned the No. 7 seed in the Midwest region and will open against No. 10 Miami.
Peterson started all 33 games this season, averaging 12.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists a game while shooting 50% from the field and 41.1% from the 3-point line.
He's not the only local graduate to keep an eye on in March.
Junior guard Trey Calvin put Wright State in the tournament by hitting a jumper with 10 seconds to go in the Horizon League championship game. The St. Viator graduate averages 14.3 points and 3.3 assists and will get his first taste of tournament play in a First Four game Wednesday when Wright State meets Bryant in a battle of 16 seeds.
Ryan Davis, a 6-foot-8 senior forward from Conant, leads Vermont in scoring at 17.1 points per game. The Catamounts, a 13 seed, play No. 4 Arkansas on Thursday in Buffalo.
Freshman Max Christie from Rolling Meadows averages 9.5 points for Michigan State. With a first-round win over Davidson, the seventh-seeded Spartans likely would meet No. 2 Duke.
Other local players include Jimmy Sotos (Conant/Ohio State), Brandon Lieb (Deerfield/Illinois) and junior forward Tom Welch from Naperville North, who averages 3.6 ppg at Loyola.