The DuPage County Boys Basketball All-Area Team
Barret Benson, Hinsdale South
Already a third-year starter, Benson's a nationally ranked player regarded among the state's elite juniors. The 6-foot-10 center found new ways to dominate this season, extending his game beyond the post. The result was a tremendous boost in his stats. Benson averaged 19.3 points and 10 rebounds while making 58 percent of his shots. "He just makes massive improvements every year," coach Brett Moore said.
Colin Bonnett, Benet
Bonnett's stellar senior season was born during last year's runner-up finish in Class 4A. Benet's lone returning starter, the 6-foot-4 senior point guard led the Redwings to their sixth straight 20-win season. Bonnett thrived in every role asked of him during three years on varsity. He averaged 17 points, 4 rebounds and 4.2 assists. "We ask so much of him and he always delivers," coach Gene Heidkamp said.
Demond George, Neuqua Valley
Neuqua Valley's starting point guard the last two seasons created points and got the ball back for more. The senior averaged 4.2 assists on better than a 3-to-1 assist-turnover ratio. He averaged 2.2 steals a game, 11.2 points and 2.6 rebounds, and he sank 44 3-pointers, hitting 42 percent from the arc and 87 percent from the line. Wildcats coach Todd Sutton said, George "stepped in from Day 1 and did everything we wanted."
Baylor Griffin, Naperville North
Griffin's only been at Naperville North for two seasons, but it's hard to imagine the Huskies without him. The 6-foot-3 senior forward added bulk in the off-season, helping Griffin be stronger on his many drives to the basket. It also allowed him to control the boards against bigger opponents. Griffin averaged 11.9 points to go along with 6.1 rebounds. "The way he plays is a coach's dream," coach Jeff Powers said.
Nick Jordan, Wheaton North
Last season Jordan solidified the point guard spot with steady ballhandling and strong defense. This season the 6-foot-1 senior added a steady jumper and a determination to go hard to the hoop for tough buckets. Jordan averaged 13.5 points and was among DuPage County assist leaders with 4.3 a game. "It's been a great luxury having a point guard like him," coach Dave Brackmann said. "He makes us go offensively."
Chris Karkazis, Waubonsie Valley
The 6-foot-2 senior went from starting at a wing as a junior to handling point guard this season for the Warriors. He guarded opponents' best players while also averaging 4.4 assists, not easy since Karkazis' 12.9-point average doubled all but one teammate. He made 35 3s and scored a personal-high 27 points against Oswego East. "His work ethic and his passion for the game are second to none," said Waubonsie coach Chaz Taft.
Jordon Kedrowski, Downers Grove North
A transfer from Neuqua Valley, Kedrowski blended in perfectly in the Trojans' lineup. With the ability to drive and finish or attract attention and dish the ball to open teammates, the 6-foot-2 senior point guard led the team in scoring and assists. Kedrowski averaged 12.9 points and paced the county with 5.2 assists a game. "He was the right piece of the puzzle in all the right ways," coach Jim Thomas said.
George Kiernan, Hinsdale Central
Slowed last season by injury, Kiernan showed his value this senior year. The 6-foot-6 forward, committed to Navy, excelled at finishing in the post, but he also knocked down 30 3-pointers. Kiernan, who scored 30 points for the short-handed Red Devils in an upset win over St. Joseph, averaged 12.9 points and 4.5 rebounds. "His offensive ability is special," coach Nick Latorre said. "He works hard at being a versatile scorer."
Mark Konkle, Metea Valley
A future Hillsdale College offensive lineman, the 6-foot-6 senior powered Metea's post. The 235-pounder averaged 14.3 points on 64 percent shooting, plus 7.8 rebounds. A two-year starter, Konkle used good footwork to garner 26 points and 13 boards against South Elgin. Metea's most consistent player soaked up coaching. "He's who we want in this program, someone who wants to get better every day," coach Bob Vozza said.
Marcus McDaniel, Lake Park
The player of the year in the DuPage Valley, McDaniel led the Lancers to their first conference title since 2007. A three-year starter, the 5-foot-10 senior point guard was critical to one of DuPage County's top defensive units. Guarding opponents' best player, he also managed team-high averages with 12.4 points and 4.1 rebounds. "He really makes it hard on the players he's guarding," coach Josh Virostko said.
Matthew Meier, Naperville Central
After graduating all five starters from last season, the Redhawks desperately needed someone to be the voice of experience. Meier stepped up and filled that role. A sixth man as a sophomore, this season the 6-foot-2 junior guard rarely came off the court as a pivotal contributor at both ends. Meier averaged 12.2 points and 2.7 rebounds. "Having him back made a huge difference for us," coach Pete Kramer said.
Justin Pierce, Glenbard West
Pierce's 3-pointers decreased from last season to this, but his points increased by 5 a game. It's a perfect example of how the 6-foot-6 junior wing keeps expanding his game. Pierce worked the post and perimeter, hitting 42 3-pointers as part of his 17.4 scoring average. He also averaged 3.9 rebounds. "Justin still can shoot it, but he's really worked at becoming a versatile scorer for us," coach Tim Hoder said.
Matt Rafferty, Hinsdale Central
The 2014-15 Daily Herald DuPage County All-Area Basketball Captain, Rafferty stands among Hinsdale Central's all-time greats. Second in all-time scoring and first in rebounds, steals and blocks, the 6-foot-7 senior post and Furman recruit led his team in nearly every category, including 19.6 points and 10 rebounds a game. "It's pretty unbelievable what he's able to do on the court," coach Nick Latorre said.
Connor Raridon, Neuqua Valley
A two-time All-Area pick like his older brother, Derek, the 6-4 senior guard is Neuqua's third all-time scorer. Averaging 15.7 points, 6.8 rebounds with 52 3-pointers this season, Connor shot 51 percent from the floor and 84 percent from the free-throw line. MVP at East Aurora and the Upstate Eight Valley Division player of the year, he's started for three conference champions. "He's just so basketball-smart," said coach Todd Sutton.
Josh Ruggles, WW South
Perhaps the best pure shooter in the state, Ruggles thrived in his lone season with the Tigers. The 6-foot-2 senior guard ran the offense against defenses completely geared to slow him. His 82 3-pointers came on 48 percent shooting, while his 89 percent free-throw shooting helped him average 18.5 points. "He's obviously done a lot for us on the court, but he's done even more for us off the court," coach Mike Healy said.
Dan Sobolewski, Benet
A bench player during last year's second-place finish in Class 4A, Sobolewski became an invaluable part of this season's surprising 20-win campaign. The 6-foot-4 junior's versatility allowed him to play guard on offense but defend in the post, where he drew a remarkable 42 charges. Sobolewski averaged 12.5 points, 2.7 assists and 4.5 rebounds. "He helps us in every facet of the game," coach Gene Heidkamp said.
Jayvon Thomas, York
An offensive powerhouse, Thomas proved too strong and too quick to be stopped on his lightning drives to the basket. The 6-foot senior guard, a two-year starter, also flashed his improved shooting ability while making 50 percent of his shots, including 34 3-pointers. Thomas averaged 18.8 points and 3.6 rebounds. "He's a special talent," coach Vince Doran said. "It's tough for defenses to keep him away from the basket."
Nick Traversa, Wheaton North
In his second starting season Traversa made a concerted effort to improve his 3-point shot. The senior wing had 50 of them heading into the playoffs. Traversa's 6-foot-4 length made him ideally suited for defending inside and out. It also helped him be among DuPage County's leading rebounders. Traversa averaged 14.1 points and 5.9 boards. "He's huge for us at both ends of the court," coach Dave Brackmann said.
Alonzo Verge Jr., Willowbrook
Verge was instant impact in his first prep basketball season. After the Warriors won two games last year, the 6-foot-2 sophomore guard carried Willowbrook to 20 wins and a conference title for the first time since 1972. Verge set the program record for points in a season with 631 and points in a game with 45. Verge led DuPage County by averaging 23.4 points and also averaged 5.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 4 steals.
Taylor White, Addison Trail
During his first two varsity seasons White piled up points as a slasher to the basket. By adding a perimeter game this senior year, the 6-foot-2 wing left opposing defenses picking their poison. White's high basketball IQ helped him excel in all phases of the game. He averaged 12.1 points and 4 boards. "It's great when your best players are your hardest workers," coach Brendan Lyons said. "His hard work made him a better player."
Denis Alibegovic, Downers Grove South, so., G; Billy Bair, Glenbard South, jr., C; Mikey Bibbs, West Chicago, jr., G/F; Devin Blake, Downers Grove North, jr., F; Jake Bruns, Willowbrook, sr., G; Troy Burrows, IC Catholic Prep, jr., G; Nate Dahl, Naperville Central, sr., G; Ron Edwards, Metea Valley, sr., G; Jacob Eminger, Neuqua Valley, sr., F; Mike Finley, Glenbard East, so., F; Cam Hardy, Naperville North, so., G; Jake Heggeland, Wheaton North, sr., C; Gabe Johnson, St. Francis, so., G; Brian Kern, Hinsdale South, jr., G; Michael Matkovic, Glenbard North, jr., G; Robert McGivney, Timothy Christian, sr., F; Mark McGrath, Lisle, so., G; Stefan Meccia, Lake Park, sr., G; Alex Passi, Glenbard West, jr., G; Connor Vance, Lake Park, sr., F.