Dom Adduci, St. Charles East
When speedy St. Charles East junior guard Dom Adduci attacked the hoop to score or draw a foul, or pulled up to shoot, there was little anyone could do to stop him. Coach Patrick Woods described Adduci as a gym rat with stamina, a warrior who hates to lose. He became each opponent's defensive focus when the Saints lost Kendall Stephens to injury. Twice the second-year starting guard won games at the buzzer, beating Glenbard East on a half-court shot. All-Conference in the Upstate Eight River and all-tournament at St. Charles East, Adduci averaged 15 points and 3.5 rebounds, made 72 percent of his free throws and sank 55 three-pointers. He totaled 51 points and nine 3-pointers in consecutive wins over Streamwood and Geneva. "He's got a toughness about him," Woods said. "He's going to find a way to get whatever we need done, done."
Jordan Glasgow, Marmion
Marmion sophomore guard Jordan Glasgow comes from a football family, all-conference in the Suburban Christian Blue. On the basketball court he's physical and aggressive but also athletic with surprising hops for a 6-footer, earning him jump ball duty. "I don't label him a football player on the basketball court anymore," said Cadets coach Ryan Paradise. Glasgow was all-SCC Blue in basketball, second-team all-tourney at DeKalb, where his confidence and game took off with outings of 20, 21 and 20 points. Glasgow's 11.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game led Marmion, his 57 steals second. He had the heart to shrug off injury, the disposition to handle adversity, and could defend all five positions. "If I'm picking a team of 10 I'm picking him first in any sport including basketball," Paradise said. "Even when guys may have more talent, that's the guy I'm going to pick."
Johnathan Harrell, Aurora Christian
It's clear this junior guard loves the game. "He was one of the first guys at practice, one of the last to leave," said Aurora Christian coach Pat McNamara. The 6-foot-3 Harrell suffered a concussion in the third game, hit his stride in January then moved to point guard to help deliver a regional title. He made six 3-pointers and scored 28 points with 12 rebounds to beat Timothy Christian on Jan. 22 and "since that game it was like an added bonus for us," McNamara said. All-conference in the Suburban Catholic Blue, Harrell averaged 11.4 points and led the Eagles in steals and rebounds. McNamara called him a "facilitator" but Harrell was gold at the arc, making an unbelievable 52 percent of his 3-point shots including a buzzer-beater to beat St. Francis. He's got speed, leadership, enthusiasm. "He's just the whole package," McNamara said.
Matt Limbrunner, Kaneland
A testament to hard work, Matt Limbrunner went from being a freshman B-team player to the Northern Illinois Big 12 East player of the year. The 6-foot-4 senior forward's season began with a bang, a career-high 26 points in the second game of the year against Crystal Lake South at Batavia where he was all-tourney. Limbrunner also earned Plano all-tournament honors. He scored 19 points against taller St. Charles North competition, and had two 23-point games. Limbrunner could play with his back to the basket or hit from the outside, leading the Knights in 3-point baskets. He averaged team highs of 13.8 points, 6.3 rebounds with 74 offensive boards, and led Kaneland in blocked shots. Defensively Limbrunner guarded the opponent's top post player, and took 12 charges. "He was just a strong, solid force for us throughout the year," said Kaneland coach Brian Johnson.
Josh McAuley, West Aurora
The 6-foot-7 center is the All-Area Team honorary captain. His growth offensively from junior to senior seasons and his impact defensively in blocking and altering shots served as the difference-maker for a regional champion team. All-conference in the DuPage Valley, the two-year starter helped lead West Aurora to the championship game at the prestigious Pontiac Holiday Tournament for the first time in nine years. He gained major attention for games like 15 points, 7 blocks against Lockport, 12 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks against St. Charles North, and held his own against Simeon in the final. Entering Wednesday's Bolingbrook sectional semifinal McAuley averaged 13.1 points on 56.2 percent shooting, 7.6 rebounds and 3.5 blocks. "You go into the lane and you're probably going to have a pretty hard time getting your shot off," said Blackhawks coach Gordie Kerkman.
Nate Navigato, Geneva
Though he led or tied Geneva in scoring 24 of 30 games, the 6-foot-6 sophomore swingman has just scratched the surface of his potential. Savvy beyond his years understanding the game, Navigato made the winning shot in the season opener and clinched MVP honors at West Chicago with 25 points against Addison Trail. Later, he was voted all-tourney at East Aurora. A pure shooter with all the moves, Navigato averaged team highs of 15.7 points and 6.2 rebounds, making 48 3-pointers on 41 percent shooting beyond the arc, 61 percent on 2-point attempts, 77 percent on free throws. Also first in blocks and steals, second in assists. All-conference in the Upstate Eight River, Navigato is coachable, humble and unselfish probably to a fault. He "may be embarrassed by individual accomplishments and pulls for team accomplishment," said Geneva coach Phil Ralston. "Those types of kids are golden."
Quinten Payne, St. Charles North
North Starts coach Tom Poulin doesn't have all the records but figures this 6-foot-4 senior guard trails only Dustin Lee among career scores. Twice all-Upstate Eight River and chosen to five all-tournament teams in three starting seasons, in 2012-13 Payne averaged 19.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.2 steals. He shot 39 percent from 3-point range, 74 percent from the foul line. Selecting Loyola from among multiple offers, the tireless worker added perimeter shooting and point play to his ability to finish at the rim and draw fouls. At Pontiac, where he was second-team all-tournament, Payne averaged 23.8 points to lead the field. "As special a player as he is," Poulin said, "he's a better person. He's got a huge heart and he is very, very passionate about what he does. He gave us everything he had, and he's going to be someone who's special to me forever."
Mike Rueffer, Batavia
"The unquestionable leader of our team," Bulldogs coach Jim Nazos called this three-year starting point guard. "You don't have to score big points to be considered effective." The unselfish distributor always guarded the opponent's best perimeter player and led by example in games and practices. When points were needed -- the game-winning layup against Elgin, the shot to send Batavia into overtime against Lake Park, double-figure scoring while football players got their legs -- the team co-captain got it done. All-Tournament at the Ken Peddy Windmill Classic, Rueffer averaged 7.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists, leading Batavia in that category as well as in steals with 37 and charges taken with 16. "At practice you could see how respected he was by his teammates," Nazos said, "because everything he did, it wasn't fake. It was genuine, it was real."
Phil Schuetz, Aurora Central Catholic
Coach Nathan Drye had not seen this in nine seasons coaching the Chargers -- one player scoring all his team's points in one half. Schuetz, a 6-foot-2 forward, scored 17 of his career-high 34 points in the second half of a 51-47 win over Joliet Catholic, to go with 6 steals. He carried this regional finalist as basically its sole consistent scoring option. Strong and athletic, Schuetz hammered dunks as he rose from role player as a junior starter to all-Suburban Christian Blue as a senior. All-tourney at East Aurora and Joliet West and the Chargers' MVP, Schuetz averaged team highs of 15.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.9 steals. Shooting 53 percent from the floor, in the post he was hard to deny. Schuetz set a goal to be an outstanding player and achieved it. "He maximized his talents, which was cool to see," Drye said.
Jontrel Walker, West Aurora
It's nice when your best players are your hardest workers. Like Jontrel Walker. He may not be the fastest Blackhawk, but coach Gordie Kerkman said the 6-foot point guard usually wins every practice sprint. Walker's determination was evident in the second game against Glenbard East. Playing as if possessed, the junior scored 20 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, sending the game into overtime on a 33-foot running one-hander at the horn. All-DVC a second straight year, all-tourney at Rock Island and Pontiac second-team all-tourney, Walker entered sectionals averaging team highs of 18 points (with a high of 33), 1.8 steals and 82 percent foul shooting. Spanning three starting seasons and more than 1,000 points, next year Walker may challenge Juwan Starks' program scoring mark. "He's a very hard-working kid both on the basketball floor and in the classroom," Kerkman said.