Grayslake Central Rams
Coach: Brian Moe, 6th season
Last year: 5-23 (2-10 FVC Fox)
Last year's tournament: Lost in the Vernon Hills regional semifinal to Lakes, 72-54.
Key players lost: G Danny Reed
Key players returning: G Joey Mudd, jr., G Malcolm Reed, sr., F Alex Lennartz, sr., G/F Sam Ruhlmann, soph.
Top newcomers: G/F Michael Benko, jr., C Jack Beckman, soph.
Outlook: Box-out drills might be a staple at Grayslake Central practices. The undersized Rams will need to make rebounding fundamentals a priority this season. "We aren't going to be the biggest team on the floor very often," said Grayslake Central coach Brian Moe, who at 6-foot5, towers over most of his players. "Rebounding will continue to be a point of emphasis for us." The Rams would also like to rebound from last year's 5-win season, an unusual diversion for a program that has been competing for sectional championships in recent years. The bad news for Grayslake Central is that it loses leading scorer Danny Reed (14.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2 apg) from last year's team. The good news is that seven players with experience return, including senior forward Alex Lennartz. Lennartz, the quarterback of the football team, averaged 6.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game last year and at 6-foot-4 will be one of the Rams' biggest players inside. Guards Joey Mudd, Malcolm Reed and Sam Ruhlmann also saw significant minutes last season. Mudd was just a sophomore last season, but was the Rams' starting point guard and averaged 4.2 points and 1.7 assists per game. Reed chipped in with 5 points per game and could also be counted on to create for others and pull down rebounds. Newcomer Michael Benko will help Mudd and Reed in the backcourt while sophomore center Jack Beckman will help inside. "Keys to our success will be shooting a high percentage from the perimeter and limiting our turnovers," Moe said.
Opener: Monday vs. Stevenson at the Buffalo Grove Thanksgiving tournament (6 p.m.)