Jacobs Golden Eagles
Last year: 18-15, 7-5 Fox Valley Valley (third)
Coach: Jim Roberts, first season at Jacobs, fourth overall (19-63)
Top returnees: senior Billy Castellano (6-3, F), Ben Murray (6-0, G); junior Chris Orange (6-1, G)
Top newcomers: seniors Robert Grant (6-5, F), Reilly Peltier (6-4, F); juniors Matt Bindi (6-3, F), Cory Boeckh (5-10, G), Mike Canady (5-10, G), Kenton Mack (6-2, G); freshman Cameron Krutwig (6-5, F) Outlook: Iconic coach Jim Hinkle did not leave his successor an empty cupboard. Former Round Lake coach Jim Roberts takes over at Jacobs and has talent to work with, led by junior point guard Chris Orange. He was the fourth-leading scorer for the Golden Eagles a year ago (7.3 ppg) and is poised to take on a bigger scoring role in his second varsity season. He leads off the court, too. "Since Day 1 for me back in April, Chris has been our guy, our leader, our voice, our staple," Roberts said. "He is committed to the game every single day and he works his butt off. He and Ben Murray have been our leaders." Murray, a key member of Jacobs' sectional champion baseball team last spring, played in 13 of 31 games last season and averaged 1.8 points, but his role will expand as a senior. Likewise, senior Billy Castellano takes on more responsibility after appearing in 13 games as a junior. A key addition is 6-foot-2 junior guard Kenton Mack, a year-round basketball player who Roberts said might be the best athlete on the team. The lineup gets an influx of height thanks to Robert Grant and Reilly Peltier. Grant transferred to Jacobs from South Elgin, where in 27 games last year he averaged 7.6 points, 6.6 rebounds. He also blocked 49 shots, the most of any returning player areawide. Aggressive junior forward Matt Bindi is coming off an injury that sidelined him most of the fall. He brings a level of toughness the team needs, Roberts said. Another major addition is 6-5 freshman Cameron Krutwig, whose older brother Conrad Krutwig was the honorary captain of the Daily Herald All-Area team in 2008-09. Roberts calls Cameron Krutwig "the most skilled, young, big kid I've ever been around," and said the freshman will compete for minutes immediately. "We have a history of success with what coach Hinkle accomplished here and I see no reason why this Jacobs team can't compete with anyone in our league for a conference championship," Roberts said. "If that wasn't our goal, I think that would be a problem. If all five guys on the floor compete on every possession on offense and defense, I feel good about being able to do that."