2017-'18 Season Coverage
updated: 3/10/2011 6:51 PM

Boys basketball: Tri-Cities all-area team

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  • Jesse Coffey

    Jesse Coffey

  • Dean Danos

    Dean Danos

  • Chaon Denlinger

    Chaon Denlinger

  • Cole Gardner

    Cole Gardner

  • Eddy Grahovec

    Eddy Grahovec

  • Ryan Harreld

    Ryan Harreld

  • Josh Mikes

    Josh Mikes

  • Juwan Starks

    Juwan Starks

  • Kendall Stephens

    Kendall Stephens

  • Dan Trimble

    Dan Trimble

By David Oberhelman

Jesse Coffey


A repeat All-Area selection, Coffey added to his repertoire as a dangerous outside shooter. "He also improved his ability to attack the basket off the dribble," said Batavia coach Jim Roberts. A 6-foot-3 senior guard, Coffey averaged 13.5 points fueled by 68 3-point baskets. His all-around game included clutch 80 percent free-throw shooting. All-tournament at Elgin, the Bulldogs co-captain scored a career-high 25 points twice, against Rockford Guilford and at Batavia's Night of Hoops against Simeon. In a three-day stretch in December he scored 17 points, 22 and 24. Coffey also averaged 2.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists. He'll play basketball at Taylor University in Indiana. "He has hit some big free throws to enable us to win games," Roberts said.

Dean Danos

Aurora Christian

Transferring from Richards, the 5-foot-8 junior point guard spearheaded Aurora Christian's first sectional championship since 2000. In his Aurora Christian debut Danos scored 31 points. He's since had games of 34, 37 and, in Aurora Christian's sectional win over Uplift, 36. "He's the complete package offensively," Eagles coach Steve Hanson said. All-Suburban Christian Gold, all-tourney at Oswego/Naperville North, Danos can fire the 3, drive to the hoop, stop fast for a midrange jumper or spot an open teammate. He seems to relish defensive pressure. Entering supersectionals Danos averaged 20.3 points and 4.4 assists, hit 65 3-pointers and made 84 percent of a whopping 188 free throws. "He gets the most out of his God-given ability every single day," Hanson said.

Chaon Denlinger


First, Kaneland's 6-foot-3 senior forward added 10 pounds of muscle. Then he evolved his game. Known primarily as a perimeter shooter, Denlinger accepted coach Brian Johnson's challenge to take the ball to the basket. Results included Denlinger's 26-point, 8-rebound game against Rochelle that earned the Knights the inaugural title of the Northern Illinois Big 12 East -- Kaneland's first conference title in 29 years. All-tournament at Sycamore and at Plano and the conference player of the year, Denlinger hit 45 3-pointers, made 60 percent of his 2-pointers, and averaged 13 points and 4.5 rebounds. "He was probably offensively one of our most versatile players, and he really did a nice job down the stretch when every game mattered," Johnson said.

Cole Gardner


A strong 6-foot-5 blessed with soft hands, the junior forward provided power in the paint. "If it's in his area he usually catches it and presents it strong," said Batavia coach Jim Roberts. All-tourney at Batavia's Ken Peddy Windmill Classic, Gardner scored 30 points with 15 rebounds against St. Charles North, one of 11 double-doubles. He closed the regular season with games of 25 and 24 points. Adding a spot-up jumper, he averaged 14.4 points on 54 percent shooting, plus 8.7 rebounds. Perhaps the best thing is Gardner will return for a third varsity season. "I think he's utilized his physical size and agility really well, and hopefully he will continue to grow and improve as a player," Roberts said.

Eddy Grahovec


Perhaps the area's smoothest shooter, Marmion's co-captain set school records with ten 3-pointers in a 57-51 win over Chicago Christian and 93 in a season. The 5-foot-10 senior guard rocked Walther Lutheran for 30 points, beat Marian Central with a game-winning 3 and averaged 20.5 points at Waubonsie Valley's holiday tournament to earn all-tourney honors. "He's one of the best pure shooters I've seen in a long time -- and I've seen a lot of them," said Marmion coach Ryan Paradise. Grahovec averaged 16.6 points and 2 rebounds, and earned Suburban Christian Blue All-Conference honors. He's good-natured win or lose, hard working and instinctive. "He's the type of guy who will go through a brick wall for you," Paradise said.

Ryan Harreld

Aurora Central Catholic

As a junior Harreld mainly came off the bench. He worked to improve every aspect of his game and, as a senior, was voted All-Suburban Christian Gold. "He probably exceeded even my expectations," said Chargers coach Nathan Drye. The 6-foot guard may have surprised foes with two December games of 26 points, but as a known commodity he torched Marian Central for 25 and Kaneland for 22 in ACC's playoff opener. Smart and clutch, Harreld entered sectionals averaging 15.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2 steals and nearly a 2-to-1 assist-turnover ratio. He made 71 3-pointers and shot 76 percent at the foul line. "He's been a joy to watch," Drye said. "I like to see kids step up their senior year."

Josh Mikes

St. Charles North

This three-year starter initially relied on physical skills that'll have him playing football at Winona State. "He's always been an incredible athlete and as the years went on he was thinking the game more," said coach Tom Poulin. Blessed with great hops and hands, the consistent 6-foot-4 senior forward developed a jumper to accompany his inside game. Repeat Upstate Eight All-Conference, all-tourney at St. Charles East and Jacobs, Mikes averaged 13.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and converted 59 percent of his 2-pointers. His career-high 29 points came Nov. 17 at St. Charles East. In February against the Saints Mikes capped a senior night win with two dunks and 19 points. "He really was able to create some great memories," Poulin said.

Juwan Starks

West Aurora

Blackhawks coach Gordie Kerkman believes only one DuPage Valley Conference player, Wheaton North's Kent Graham, has been a unanimous all-conference selection all four years. Having earned a third straight unanimous vote this season, Starks may become the second. The 6-foot-4 junior forward, who drew mention at the Rock Island and Pontiac tournaments, averaged 17 points, 5.5 rebounds, and canned 43 3-pointers, typically against each opponent's best defender. Attracting college interest, he scored 28 points against Naperville Central, 26 against Wheaton North and finished with 23 in a playoff loss to Wheaton Warrenville South. Very quick, great jumper, solid jump shot and, best of all, a wonderful teammate. "He's a great kid to work with," Kerkman said. "Very coachable, excellent attitude."

Kendall Stephens

St. Charles East

With a vast wingspan, good leaping ability and a sweet jump shot, 6-foot-4 sophomore swingman's upside is enormous. The reality is the All-Area Team's honorary captain garnered five Division I scholarship honors during the season and verbally committed to play basketball at Purdue University. Silky smooth from the 3-point arc, against a steady diet of box-and-1 defenses Stephens averaged 17.1 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals. He hit 72 3's, hitting 40 percent from the arc, and converted 74 percent of his free throws. Upstate Eight River Division all-conference, all-tourney at York and St. Charles East. Despite all the attention, Stephens remains humble and is a player his teammates pull for. "He's handled it unbelievably," said Saints coach Brian Clodi.

Dan Trimble


"One thing you find is you can't teach height," Geneva coach Phil Ralston said. It's also hard to teach the shooting touch this 6-foot-8 senior swingman has. Trimble drew college interest averaging 15.5 points and 8.2 rebounds, and blocked 38 shots. In just his second full high school season due to a shoulder injury Trimble made three all-tournament teams using his combination of a quick release on perimeter jump shots and matchup-busting post moves. He scored 29 points against DeKalb, 28 against Walther Lutheran and 25 against Bartlett, a game in which he both hit a couple 3s and dunked the ball. "He really has done a nice job of making himself more of a dynamic basketball player," Ralston said.

2010-11 Basketball All-Area roster

Player School Pos. Yr.

Jesse Coffey Batavia G Sr.

Dean Danos Aurora Christian G Jr.

Chaon Denlinger Kaneland F Sr.

Cole Gardner Batavia C-F Jr.

Eddy Grahovec Marmion G Sr.

Ryan Harreld Aurora Central G Sr.

Josh Mikes St. Charles North F Sr.

Juwan Starks West Aurora F Jr.

Kendall Stephens* St. Charles East G-F So.

Dan Trimble Geneva F Sr.

* -- Honorary captain

Special mention

Mark Berdelle, Marmion, sr., F; Robert DeMyers, Aurora Central, jr., F; Kyle Nelson, St. Charles North, jr., C; Quinten Payne, St. Charles North, so., G; Elliott Vaughn, Batavia, sr., C-F

Honorable mention

Brad Bernhard, Geneva, sr., F; Tim Fernandez, Aurora Central, sr., F; Charlie Fisher, St. Charles East, jr., G; Graham Glasgow, Marmion, sr., C; Brandon Hayes, West Aurora, sr., G; Trever Heinle, Kaneland, jr., G-F; Daniel Helm, Kaneland, fr., F; Johnny Hondlik, St. Charles East, jr., F; Brendan Leahy, Geneva, jr., G-F; Nick Marema, Aurora Christian, jr., F; Joey McEachern, Aurora Central, jr., G; Ryan McQuade, Aurora Christian, so., F; Spencer Motley, St. Charles East, sr., G; Kyle Pilmer, West Aurora, sr., C; C.J. Schutt, Aurora Christian, jr., F

So young, so good

Top freshmen and sophomores

Daniel Helm, Kaneland, fr. F; Ryan McQuade, Aurora Christian, so., F; Joe Medgyesi, Aurora Central, so., G; Tony Neari, St. Charles North, so., G; Quinten Payne, St. Charles North, so., G; Mike Rueffer, Batavia, so., G; Kendall Stephens, St. Charles East, so., G-F; Zach Strittmatter, Batavia, so., F; Ryan Suttle, Aurora Christian, so., G; Jontrel Walker, West Aurora, fr., G

Past captains

1998: Eric Dodson, St. Charles

1999: P.J. Fleck, Kaneland

2000: Pete Schmit, St. Charles

2001: Eric Regan, St. Charles East

2002: Brian Schmit, St. Charles East

2003: Dan Izzo, St. Charles East

2004: Shaun Pruitt, West Aurora

2005: T.J. Marion, West Aurora

2006: T.J. Marion, West Aurora

2007: Nick Fruendt, Batavia

2008: Nick Fruendt, Batavia

2009: Jeremy D'Amico, Geneva

2010: Dave Dudzinski, Kaneland

The winners

Conference champions


Regional champions

Aurora Central, Aurora Christian

Sectional champions

Aurora Christian

The future

Teams to watch in 2011-12

Aurora Christian, Batavia, Kaneland,

St. Charles East, St. Charles North