(5-2-18) Last night in game one of the Eastern Conference semifinals series the Cleveland Cavaliers hung on to win a 113-112 OT win over the Toronto Raptors. The game one memory for many in the Stateline area area is the altercation between the Cav’s LeBron James and Rockford Auburn grad and Raptor Fred VanVleet. The video is plastered all over social media today.
Watching that video is a reminder of when Fred led his Auburn Knights to the IHSA 4A State Finals. In a key super-sectional game (3-13-12) at Northern Illinois University, against a much taller Gurnee Warren team, VanVleet had Warren’s Mitch Munda in his face the entire second half and making some gestures in hoping to detour the Knight’s floor-leader. Instead Munda fired up Fred who would go on to score 18 of his game-high 27 points (over half of Auburn’s total points) in the second half. Until Munda started his ‘tirade’ Warren had been in control. It ended up making a big difference that would change the outcome of the game. You could see VanVleet amp up his game after Munda started his ‘assault’, the results led to a Kinghts 49-43 win and a trip to Peoria.
Gordy Kasper, who is now an assistant boys basketball coach at Rockford Boylan, was doing color on Rockford’s WROK-AM had this to say about that night:
The more the Warren defenders tried to get under the skin of VanVleet the more he played with intensity. He went from a player just trying to win a game to a player on a mission to not just win the game but make it clear to the opponent just how much better of a player he was than they were.
Highlights of Warren- Rockford Auburn game in 2012 – (VanVleet #23 black uniform) (Munda white uniform #21 white uniform)
After the game VanVleet told the Chicago Tribune:
“I do my talking with the ball and putting the ball in the basket and playing good defense. When the moment comes, (you have) to step up.”
Fred Van Vleet Stats vs Warren
- 27 points
- 8 rebounds
- 5 3-pointers
- 5 steals
- 5 assists
So if you have followed Fred’s career, look out Cavs, this should be a good series.