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Welcome to Basketball Paradise.
That's the new Amateur Athletic Union program Marmion boys basketball coach Ryan Paradise has started. It may pay dividends for the Cadets. He believes he's got a bunch of contributors.
"We've got a lot of depth, it was very hard for me to make any cuts," said the former Naperville Central and Northern Illinois University star. "We have sixteen guys on the roster right now and really all sixteen of them have a legitimate shot to play and get minutes."
He said they offer size, variety, work ethic and athleticism but getting that many players on the same page can be a task.
"The main thing with our new guys is we're trying to get used to playing with each other," Paradise said. "We have a lot of new guys. We're just trying to mesh right now."
In 2011-12 Marmion featured the disparate abilities of seniors Pete Stefanski and Ryan Glasgow — the former a 7-foot high jumper, the latter a football lineman as nimble on the court as a 270-pounder can be.
The Cadets' other two top scorers return as the team's anchors this season. Both drew Paradise's praise as being "about as versatile as it gets."
Colin Kavanaugh added muscle to his 6-foot-5 frame. Averaging 8 points and 3.2 rebounds last season, in summer play Kavanaugh worked on finishing in traffic and increasing his shooting range to the 3-point arc, Paradise said.
Fellow senior Alex Theisen was able to hit the 3 and drive to the lane. The guard started as a sophomore. Last season he came off the bench then worked his way into the starting lineup to finish his junior year averaging 8.8 points, second to Stefanski, with 2.1 rebounds and 80 percent free-throw shooting.
"He's always been one of our top on-ball defenders and he can play multiple positions," Paradise said. "It'll be hard to get him off the floor, I think."
Ryan Glasgow's sophomore brother, Jordan, and junior guard Mike Sheehan are among the array of players Paradise has running his motion offense. The coach figures in an open Suburban Christian Conference Blue Division, Marmion's size, athleticism and depth make his team a contender.
"As a coach," he said, "those are three things that you always want."
Coach: Ryan Paradise (third year, 29-27)
Last year: 14-14, 5-5, tied for third in the Suburban Christian Blue
Key players: Colin Kavanaugh, F, sr.; Alex Theisen, G-F, sr.
Skinny: Could figure in the SCC Blue