Palatine's Seiffert missing his biggest fan

  • Palatine senior Luke Seiffert, who will play basketball and baseball at Augustana next year, finds himself playing this season without his biggest fan. Seiffert's dad, Dave, passed away in November.

    Palatine senior Luke Seiffert, who will play basketball and baseball at Augustana next year, finds himself playing this season without his biggest fan. Seiffert's dad, Dave, passed away in November. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Conant's Devon Ellis, right, will attend Link Year Prep in St. Louis next year.

    Conant's Devon Ellis, right, will attend Link Year Prep in St. Louis next year. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

By Dick Quagliano
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 2/11/2021 4:56 PM

The COVID-19 pandemic has limited schools to the number of fans that attend games. Nearly all of those spots go to the parents of the home team players.

But for Palatine's Luke Seiffert, no matter where he plays, there will always be an empty spot in the stands this season.


Seiffert's father, Dave, a fixture at Luke's basketball and baseball games, passed away in November. Dave Seiffert, who was a former District 15 school board member was 58.

"It is fitting that since we can't have fans, he is not allowed to be here," said Luke Seiffert after his team beat Conant in Hoffman Estates last Saturday.

"That is the only way he was not going to be here. It is tough. But the whole Palatine community has rallied around me and my family and that has been really nice. I just want to say thank you to them."

Palatine coach Eric Millstone was especially proud that Luke has just signed to play basketball and baseball at Augustana.

"Luke has a lot of fans, but Dave was his biggest," Millstone said. "When I talked to Dave in the fall about Luke's college options, Dave was obviously going to support Luke with whatever decision he made, but when Luke chose Augie I know Dave was thrilled because he would be able to see Luke a little more because of the proximity of some of the teams in the conference. Dave will still be watching, he'll just have a better view. "

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Baseball-style scheduling:

When it comes to scheduling, Maine South and coach Tony Lavorato, Jr. has taken a page from the baseball team.

With a shortened season, Maine South has scheduled 22 games, more than any team in the area. The Hawks have played four games thus far, winning all of them.

"On Twitter, some people were haters, some people loved it, "Lavorato said. "Here is my philosophy: It is a baseball-mentality schedule. My goal is 16 games. If we can play 16 games, I will be happy."

Other than home and away games with Central Suburban South opponents, Maine South has scheduled five CSL North teams along with Loyola, Streamwood, Libertyville, Nazareth and Notre Dame. That comes to nearly four games per week.

"As we found out, our girls already had to cancel games," Lavorato said. "They just lost four games. I told my AD we want to try to schedule everything. I want to get it scheduled. If we have to cancel, we are not rescheduling it. We just cross it out like a rainout and we are moving on."


Lavorato's theory also looks especially good in light of all the games canceled in just the first week of the season. Elk Grove, Hersey Prospect, Rolling Meadows, Maine West and Evanston all have postponed games due to COVID protocols.

With a senior-dominated roster that includes Sean Gallery, Nikola Zelenovic, Marko Anderson and Milan Adamovic, all of whom hope to play basketball in college, the game exposure is important according to Lavorato.

"This is about the kids," said Lavorato, who is in his 23rd year as head coach. "Two and half weeks ago we thought we were going to get canceled. We are grateful that we are healthy, and we were able to play at last one game this year. Everything else is gravy."

Conant's Ellis makes decision:

The inability to play basketball in tournaments this summer has hurt the recruiting of many top players. Conant's Devon Ellis is taking a different avenue to increase attention to his game.

The senior, who all-area last season for the Cougars, will be enrolling in Link Year Prep in St. Louis next fall. Ellis hopes the extra year of attention will increase his chances for a Division-I scholarship. By going the prep school route, Ellis will not lose any college eligibility, like he would if he attended a junior college.

"Something about it felt right," said Ellis, who is 6-foot-6 and averaged 16.9 points and 7 rebounds per game for Conant last season.

"I had some D-II offers and some interest from some D-I schools, but nothing firm," he said. "I thought an extra year of development would help. This is the best move for me."

Ellis, who is on the younger side of his class at Conant, has shown what one year of development can do for his game. He has added nearly 20 pounds of muscle to his frame and is now 220 pounds. That in turn has helped his game thus far this season where he has scored 21 and 25 points in Conant's first two games.

"He kind of got the short end of the stock by not having a spring AAU season," Conant coach Jim Maley said. "Our late start has hurt that as well."

Around the horn:

•Buffalo Grove and Hersey will play Friday night in a nonconference game. The game will be played at Prospect and was scheduled after Prospect and Elk Grove have been delayed due to COVID protocols. Game time will be 7:30 p.m.

The two prior scheduled games between Buffalo Grove and Hersey will still remain and count in the MSL East standings.

•Wheeling's Joe Jordan became the school's all time rebounding leader on Tuesday. Jordan, who is a senior, now has 505 rebounds.

•St. Viator's Aidan Harrington committed to St. Norbert's College.

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