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He's not the "Dominator" just yet. Grayslake North sophomore Dom DiProva hasn't reached his potential, truth be told.
But he's soared past the rim.
With two hands, while holding a basketball.
Mind you, DiProva stands 5 feet 11.
During a recent JV game against Carmel Catholic, DiProva came up with a steal, dribbled downcourt on a breakaway and delivered a dunk that dropped jaws.
"It was two hands, like monstrous," Grayslake North coach Todd Grunloh said. "Snapped the rim back."
DiProva nearly had his first varsity dunk during the third quarter of Grayslake North's 64-35 win over host Antioch in a nonconference game between rivals Tuesday night.
From underneath the Antioch basket, Knights point guard Nick Carmody lobbed an inbounds pass to DiProva, who soared over a couple of defenders and above the net. But DiProva couldn't grab the ball tightly and instead settled for a layup after the ball bounced on the rim a couple of times.
In the fourth quarter, DiProva leapt high to score on a similar inbounds pass from Brendan Walker.
A.J. Fish's 15 points and 9 rebounds led Grayslake North (4-3), which never trailed. Anthony Formella sank four 3-pointers and scored a game-high 17 points to pace Antioch (1-6), which dropped its third in a row.
Since a win over Johnsburg, the Sequoits have lost to North Chicago by 55 points, Lakes by 36 and Grayslake North by 29.
"We're in a tough stretch," Antioch coach Jim White said. "We knew we were going to come into the season pretty short and outmanned. At the same time, we set the bar high with the energy we were playing with. But North Chicago really put us on our butt, and Lakes on Saturday was pretty demoralizing.
"We're just not playing confidently, and it's hard to simulate."
Like Antioch's inexperienced team, DiProva is learning to adapt to the varsity game. He proved he could slam over the summer, dunking in a summer-league contest with the sophomores.
"It was our last game," DiProva said. "I got a fastbreak breakaway, I tried it and it went in. I was pretty hyped."
Grayslake North has reason to be hyped about DiProva, who started the varsity's first two games this season. He finished with 6 points and 3 fourth-quarter rebounds against Antioch. DiProva also had a pretty dish to Fish for a three-point play.
"He's really athletic," Grunloh said. "It's an adjustment for him because he's always been the primary scorer on any team. I give him credit every day. He's done a great job of accepting his role. He comes to practice every single day and works his butt off and is always listening. He's going to make some young mistakes, but he comes off (the court) and he listens.
"He won't make the same mistake twice," Grunloh added. "He's going to be pretty special once he figures everything out."
Grunloh got a laugh in the fourth quarter when, on a two-on-one fastbreak with Walker, DiProva pointed his finger toward the rim, signaling for an alley-oop lob. Walker sped in on the dribble but kept the ball and tried a layup.
"I thought he was going to see me, but he really didn't," DiProva said.
Grunloh played his entire eight-man bench in the first half, as the Knights built a 31-12 advantage. The only Grayslake North player who didn't play was 6-6 Dylan O'Toole, who was out sick.
Fish scored 6 points in the first quarter, Carmody (7 assists) had all 7 of his, and Matt Taskovic came off the bench to hit a 3-pointer and score on a drive, as the Knights opened a 20-10 lead. Fish also finished with 9 rebounds. Neither he nor any of Grayslake North's other starters played the fourth quarter.
"We just tried to pound the ball in the post with A.J.," Grunloh said. "A.J. did a great job not only establishing himself but also, when they started collapsing, he was finding cutters wide open to the basket. He crashes the boards."