Last year: 20-10, 8-4 Upstate Eight Valley (tied third)
Coach: Jim Wolfsmith, seventh season (110-67)
Top returnees: seniors Justin Busch (5-10, G), Brian Tripahn (6-3, F), Kevin Wantroba (5-8, G); junior Ryan DiCanio (6-0, G)
Top newcomers: senior Dustin Kram (6-9, F/C); juniors Jordan Anderson (6-0, G/F), Alex Curtis (6-5, F), Jason Hasenberg (6-4, F), Cal Pauletti (5-8, G); sophomores Robby Jimenez (6-0, G), Tyler Pauletti (6-0, G)
Outlook: Bartlett graduated its entire starting lineup, including UIC freshman Lance Whitaker. The new-look Hawks have athleticism and a smattering of height, but whether or not they can make another run at 20 wins depends on how quickly an inexperienced group jells. Senior point guard Justin Busch is the most seasoned of the returning varsity players. His role last season was to play solid defense off the bench while Whitaker, fellow All-Area pick John Moss and third-year guard Marcus Aluquin handled the scoring load. Busch will now be asked to produce in a primary scoring role. "Justin will have to step up this year pretty much like all our kids," coach Jim Wolfsmith said. "This team needs to gain experience. That's what we're lacking. You can simulate game experience as much as you want, but the first time in front of a varsity crowd with varsity refs, things start flying around you and you make dumb mistakes. We'll have to learn on the fly." Other players who saw at least some varsity minutes last year include guard Kevin Wantroba, junior Ryan DiCanio (who joined the varsity for the final month of the season) and senior Brian Tripahn, a 6-3 forward who contributed early before he was injured. Busch, Wantroba, Tripahn and DiCanio will carry the bulk of the load, particularly early, their coach said. Bartlett could get a lift in December if sophomore Robby Jimenez is medically cleared. A talented guard who played last season on the sophomore team as a freshman, Jimenez is in the final stages of recovering from off-season surgery. Brothers Cal and Tyler Pauletti will come off the bench to join the guard rotation. Both play good defense and are good around the rim, Wolfsmith said. Junior Jordan Anderson could be a sleeper. His coach calls Anderson "the best athlete on the team and a big-time leaper." The Hawks have decent post size in 6-5 junior Alex Curtis and 6-4 junior Jason Hasenberg. More height has arrived in the form of 6-9 senior Dustin Kram, however, he is still getting reacquainted with the Bartlett system after two years away from the game. I think we'll be a well-rounded team," Wolfsmith said. "We're quick and we have some size, though we're not really that big. We'll see how well we handle varsity basketball and the various and sundry things that occur throughout a season. We have to work together as a team on defense and rebounding. And we have to learn quickly so mistakes made in the first few games don't happen again in games later in the year."