Chicago's backcourt ballers

2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches v Cancer Day 2
The Chicago Tribune put together a nice package of stories focusing on guards who are starring on campus in the Chicagoland area and it got me to thinking about who they left out.

I took one look around, saw a maroon cap on the floor and said out loud: "hey, what about those Saluki guys."

Truth is, SIU (8-10, 3-4 MVC) would likely be totally lost without the Chi-Town Trio.

OK, so they're not all from Chicago. But only for this blog's purposes, I will embrace the surrounding suburbs in an effort to prove a point.

All Downers Grove product Bryan Mullins has done since putting on the maroon and white is distribute, deny and win. Easy as one, two, three.

Mullins has been a part of two MVC championship teams and a Sweet Sixteen run. He's a winner, through and through. Earlier this season he broke the school's assist record and continues to climb the ranks in steals.

Theft has never been more appreciated.

Freshman guard Kevin Dillard is a superstar in the making and is on the brink of being one right now. Head coach Chris Lowery describes the Homewood native as the Salukis' go-to guy as KD has scored in double figures in each of his seven MVC games, including a career-best 22 in a loss to Drake.

He leads the Salukis in scoring (12.7 PPG) but has really picked it up against the Valley, averaging 17.1 points per game.

Marshall (Chicago) product Ryan Hare might go down as the steal of the recruiting class. Coming from a strong b-ball background has helped Hare as he already is drawing comparisons to former Saluki great Stetson Hairston. And having seen Hairston in his senior year, consider me to be on that bandwagon.

At 6-4, 200 pounds, Hare is a tough matchup for most guards. He's quick enough to take you off the dribble and get to the rim and he is skilled enough to spot up and hit the 'J' from the perimeter. Did I mention he's got handles and plays solid 'D' too?

And the Chicago-to-Carbondale pipeline doesn't end there. Just wait 'til next year when Maywood native Tony Freeman takes the SIU Arena floor by storm. And if there are two people that know Chicago hoops very well it's Lowery and assistant coach Lance Irvin.

Damn. Did I forget to mention ex-Schaumburg great Tony Y oung. OK, I think you guys get the point now.

'Til then, this Chicago kid is enjoying the fruits of "The City's" labor.