The big one-two of St. Charles East's Kendall Stephens and Dom Adduci may just be a big one.
Or not. It depended on a doctor's visit the 6-foot-5 Purdue recruit made Thursday, after deadline for this article, concerning a torn labrum in his right shoulder suffered last week in practice. Stephens had an MRI on Monday.
"He could be playing next week, he could be out a short period of time, he could be out for the season," said Saints coach Patrick Woods.
Complicating the situation should surgery be necessary, Stephens said his doctor cited a six-month healing process. If Stephens were to wait till after his senior season he would miss Purdue's summer camp and likely not be cleared until September. Stephens said his family, which includes Saints assistant and former Boilermakers star Everette Stephens, would consult with Purdue coach Matt Painter and staff before making the decision.
Stephens, a two-time all-Upstate Eight River pick who last season averaged 17.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.3 blocked shots and 1.2 steals in his third season as a starter, would obviously be a huge loss to the Saints.
Woods acknowledged it -- "a player of his caliber can impact the game in every facet," he said -- but believes this team has more in the tank.
"Honestly, I told our kids I still think we can win conference with or without Kendall. That's the goal. We have a big team, a deep team. We have Adduci."
Adduci is good to have.
In his first year at St. Charles East after transferring from Wheaton Academy, the wily point guard averaged 12.9 points, 3.1 assists and 1.8 steals. He was able to hit the 3 and proved nearly unstoppable driving to the hoop, showing a willingness and ability to take over a game late uncommon for a sophomore. Adduci has no college offers but plenty of interest from the likes of Colgate, Bucknell, Southern Illinois and others.
St. Charles East graduated guard Charlie Fisher, forward Johnny Hondlik, center Luke Ludke and fan favorite Dom Urso but returns exciting prospects who got at least some varsity action last season.
Woods listed junior Dave Mason and senior Dan Wilkerson as a pair of 6-8 players. Mason actually tied Stephens in blocks per game at 1.3, and averaged 2.5 points and 4 rebounds. Neither Wilkerson nor 6-5 senior wing Ben Skoog earned many numbers last year, but when Wilkerson took shots he made 54 percent of them.
Just as exciting is the arrival of the top two players from last year's sophomore team. Junior A.J. Washington is a 6-5 junior who plays above the rim; sophomore guard Cole Gentry handles the ball as if on a string and, like Adduci, will get the ball to the hoop any way possible.
The Saints have size, strength and mobility, and Woods being in his second year at St. Charles East benefits players learning his fast-paced system.
"I think we'll be fun to watch this year," he said. Hopefully with Kendall Stephens.
Coach: Patrick Woods (second year, 15-13; 11th overall)
Last year: 15-13, 8-4, third in the Upstate Eight River
Key players: Dom Adduci, G, jr.; Dave Mason, F, sr.; Kendall Stephens, F, sr.; A.J. Washington, F, jr.
Skinny: With or without Stephens, Woods is confident