Dom Adduci, St. Charles East
Scoring more than 1,000 points at St. Charles East in three years as a starting guard, the two-time All-Area selection can be virtually unguardable driving to the hoop. The 6-foot senior guard, all-tourney at St. Charles East, is a repeat all-conference pick in the Upstate Eight River Division. Scoring a career-high 40 points against Elgin this season, with games of 36 and 33 points, he interests several Division I colleges. Through 26 games this season Adduci averaged 21.1 points, 4 assists, 2.8 assists and 1.3 steals, hitting 40 3-pointers and 80 percent from the foul line. Asked to summarize Adduci, Saints coach Patrick Woods said, simply: "Competitor, scorer, winner, warrior."
Tyler Carlson, Kaneland
Once the 6-foot-3 senior swingman fully acclimated to basketball after football season he scored in double figures 20 straight games. Averaging 15.4 points and 7.4 rebounds through 25 games, Carlson's streak included double-doubles against Genoa-Kingston, Dixon, DeKalb and Rochelle, in which he scored 33 points. A go-to defender, he twice had 5 steals in a game, 4 in another and took 7 charges. He was all-tourney at Plano, all-conference in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East. An early bird in the gym, Carlson was Kaneland's most well-rounded and consistent player. "He's a do-it-all, hodgepodge type of guy where we throw him wherever we need it," said Knights coach Brian Johnson.
Jake Esp, Marmion
Different players have given Marmion different things this season, but this 6-foot-5 junior forward has been the Cadets' consistent scoring threat. All-conference in the Suburban Christian Conference Blue Division, entering regional play Esp led the Cadets with 14.2 points a game and was second with 4.9 rebounds. Able to hit the 3 and also work low in the post, Esp's season high was 26 points with two games of 25. Against Marian Central he scored 14 points with 10 rebounds. Marmion coach Ryan Paradise praised Esp's greater understanding of matchups and when to shoot or pass. "I'm looking forward to having him one more year, that's for sure," Paradise said.
Cole Gentry, St. Charles East
The competitive, 5-foot-11 junior, a two-year starter, is a wizard handling the basketball, sees the court and knows the game. Gentry averaged 4.5 assists, well over a 2-to-1 assist-turnover ratio, plus a team-high 1.9 steals. As point guard the Upstate Eight River Division all-conference selection defers to others but can score with the best from long range or on athletic drives into the paint. His 32 points against Metea Valley included 17 of 17 on free throws to enter IHSA records. Entering the playoffs Gentry averaged 12.5 points and 3.2 rebounds, and made 40 3-pointers. "He's one of our floor leaders, one of our captains," said Saints coach Patrick Woods.
Alec Goetz, St. Charles North
A gym rat assigned different roles over three varsity seasons, two as a starter, the 6-foot-1 senior was asked to score and set tempo at point guard. He flourished. Twenty-nine points against West Chicago had the team captain averaging 16.8 points with 57 3-pointers – making 52 percent of 2-pointers, 39 percent from 3 and 82 percent on free throws while leading his team in steals. All-conference in the Upstate Eight River, Goetz earned St. Charles East all-tournament and unanimous first-team honors at Pontiac, hitting Simeon with eight 3s and 36 points. "He's one of those kids that makes you proud to represent the program," said North Stars coach Tom Poulin.
Roland Griffin, West Aurora
Blackhawks coach Gordie Kerkman said he could have started the 6-foot-4 forward last season as a sophomore, but wanted to give him more playing time. The extra year's experience paid off. The junior forward entered regional play averaging 15.5 points and 8 rebounds, with nine double-doubles including three in a four-game span. All-DuPage Valley Conference and a second-team all-tournament pick at Pontiac, Griffin shot 55 percent from the floor and 62 percent inside the arc. He is strong inside, can hit a 3 and athletically gets to the rim. "Roland's good at passing, scoring, rebounding and defending," Kerkman said. "You can't ask for much more than that."
Johnathan Harrell, Aurora Christian
Perfectly illustrating this 6-foot-3 senior's unflagging spirit and faith, after older brother Jarred was killed in an accident driving back from watching Johnathan at the Plano Christmas Classic, Harrell returned the next day to score 15 points with 7 assists while fans from all schools cheered. Eagles coach Pat McNamara said: "He just gives you everything he's got." A three-year starter and natural 2-guard who played the point because that's what his team needed, Harrell produced team-high averages of 5 assists, 1.6 steals and 5.4 rebounds while scoring 12.2 points a game. Plano all-tournament, he's a two-time Suburban Christian Blue all-conference selection. "He was a pleasure to coach," McNamara said.
Jake Ludwig, St. Charles North
North Stars coach Tom Poulin said this 6-foot-1 junior has done as expected. He must have expected a lot. After coming off the bench as a sophomore, Ludwig started at guard and was named all-conference in the Upstate Eight River Division, all-tournament at St. Charles East and honorable-mention all-tourney at Pontiac. A master of changing speeds and direction on the dribble, a 28-point effort against West Chicago had him averaging 16 points, making 61 percent of his 2-point shots and 80 percent on free throws. Ludwig also was leading St. Charles North in assists, second in steals, third in rebounds. "He's played his best in the biggest games," Poulin said.
Nate Navigato, Geneva
Even averaging 18.6 points before regionals behind 53 percent shooting from the floor, 41 percent on 3-pointers, the 6-foot-7 junior wing is probably too unselfish. "He is a team-first player...a coach's dream," Vikings coach Phil Ralston said. Twice an all-conference pick in the Upstate Eight River Division, all-tournament at West Chicago and MVP at East Aurora, Navigato already has three college offers. He averaged 6.2 rebounds, made 87 percent of his free throws, has great post footwork, shooting form and attitude. Navigato scored 41 points in a 61-57 win over Bloomington including 33 points in 12 minutes with 17 straight free throws. "It was witnessing greatness," Ralston said.
Chris Parrilli, Geneva
This 6-foot-2 senior guard portrays Geneva coach Phil Ralston's philosophy on both ends of the court – disciplined and patient offense, exacting, in-your-face defense. A solid jump shooter who sacrifices his own shots to get teammates better ones, after 27 games the two-year starter averaged 11.1 points on 58 percent shooting inside the 3-point arc. First-team all-tournament at East Aurora, this team captain led Geneva in steals with 41, was second in rebounds with 5.2 a game, third in assists at 2.7. His career-high 24 points came in a win over Neuqua Valley. Parrilli is coachable, respectful, a leader. "He is the rock of our team," Ralston said.
Jontrell Walker, West Aurora
The 6-foot senior guard, a four-year starter, is honorary captain of the TriCities All-Area Team. Averaging 23.4 points a game entering regionals, he established new program records for scoring in a career, for 3-pointers made in a season and a career, and led West Aurora to its first DuPage Valley Conference title since 2006, shared with Glenbard North. Walker also shared the DVC MVP award, was a unanimous first-team selection at Pontiac, scored 36 points against Glenbard North and 34 against Curie. Naperville North coach Jeff Powers said: "Jontrell is a great player who was never afraid to take the big shot. It was fun competing against him."