Coach: Tim Bowen, 4th season
Last year: 15-14 (3-5 ESCC)
Last year's tournament: Lost in the Antioch sectional championship to North Chicago, 63-46.
Key players lost: C Cullen Barr, G Greg Edkins
Key players returning: G Nickai Poyser, G Billy Kirby, sr., Mike Barr, sr., F Jack George, sr., Chris Duff, soph., Matt Kelly, sr.
Top newcomers: Lee Bowen, jr., Sharief Belser, soph., Nate Reid
Outlook: After years of single-digit victories and early exits from the state tournament, the Corsairs not only put together a winning record last year, they also advanced all the way to the Class 3A Antioch sectional championship game. "We return many players from that team and we have great senior leadership," said Carmel coach Tim Bowen, who will need to find a way to replace the double-double averaged by graduated center Cullen Barr (12 ppg, 10 rpg). "The players are focused and now very versed in the program philosophy and the structure of our offense and defense." Back for more is a large group of seniors that won the East Suburban Catholic Conference championship as sophomores. They include Billy Kirby, Mike Barr, Jack George, Matt Kelly and Nickai Poyser. "Those kids shared the conference title with Benet. Many of the league's leading players (two years ago) were sophomores who were up on varsity," Bowen said. "The conference games will be a huge test for us every night but will get us ready for the state tournament." Sophomore Chris Duff is also back for Carmel after making the varsity last year as a freshman. Some of the Corsairs' most promising newcomers are Sharief Belser, Nate Reid and Lee Bowen.
Opener: Monday vs. Huntley at Prairie Ridge (6:30 p.m.)