Fremd's Kyle Sliwa just doesn't spend a lot of time talking.
Whether it is during a game, practice, being interviewed by reporters or even at home, Sliwa usually has his finger on the mute button.
"I am not really sure why I am so quiet," Sliwa said. "I have three sisters, so I am usually doing guy things by myself.
"I do go out with my friends and talk a lot there. I just talk when it is necessary. I am not a loud guy."
Fremd's opponents may dispute that last part, for Sliwa's play on the basketball court does his talking for him, loud and clear.
And on the high school boys basketball landscape, the message was received: Sliwa has been chosen to captain the Daily Herald's Northwest all-area team.
"He leads by example," said Fremd coach Bob Widlowski said. "He is a great kid and excellent player."
Widlowski says Sliwa has been that way since he was on varsity as a sophomore.
"He has been extremely consistent since the first time he played on the varsity," Widlwoski said. "He is a three-year player and tremendous student. I wish everyone could get a chance to coach a kid like this."
The senior is averaging nearly 18 points and 2 assists. He has also been a sharpshooter from outside the 3-point line, converting a sizzling 45 percent (58-of-129) from long distance.
Sliwa's performance has played a significant role in Fremd's success, as the Vikings are 27-0 entering Friday's regional final at Hoffman Estates. The Vikings won the Mundelein Thanksgiving Tournament and the Wheeling Hardwood Classic, and Sliwa was named MVP of both tournaments.
Sliwa was also selected as player of the year in the Mid-Suburban West. His play was also key in the conference title game, as he came up with 23 points to lead the Vikings to the title at Prospect.
"I think he would be a tremendous addition to any team," Widlowski said. "He has a quiet confidence. He has worked so hard at his game. He carries himself so well. We expect him to play at a high level."
Sliwa says that when he does talk on the court, it is all encouraging.
"I am not big into yelling and that kind of stuff," Sliwa said. "When I do talk it is more positive."
Widlowski says Sliwa's style has translated throughout the school.
"He is very well respected by student body and faculty," Widlwoski said. "He carries himself quite well on and off the court."
On the court, opponents know where Sliwa is at all times.
"I have had that target on me all season," Sliwa said. "And it has been for every game I played. I am used to that, and I try to use it to my advantage. I try to drive to the basket more and try to draw the foul."
And teams that foul Sliwa pay the price, as he's shooting 82 percent from the free throw line.
"At the end of the game I like to have the ball in hands," Sliwa said.
Strangley, Sliwa almost never made it to basketball. He was a baseball player and was looking to play hockey in the winter, a sport that his father, uncles and grandfather had played successfully.
"I was really more of a baseball player," Sliwa said. "I was deciding for a winter sport and was looking at basketball and hockey. I didn't know anyone that played hockey, so I played basketball and I have loved it since."
Sliwa is closing in on 1,000 career points and his teams have gone 69-14 during his tenure.
He averaged 10.8 points last year for the Vikings, who went 23-6 and lost in the sectionals in overtime to Lake Zurich. He averaged 8 points for a 19-8 that lost in the first round to Grayslake when Sliwa was a sophomore. Both of those losses came in Fremd's gym.
Sliwa has excelled in the classroom as well and hopes to play in college where he is planning to go pre-med. But thus far, only D-3 schools such as Marian, Benedictine, Carthage and Knox have shown strong interest.
"Not as many contacts from colleges as I thought I would have," Sliwa said. "I really love playing, keep the opportunity going because after that I will be done."