Rolling Meadows' Cameron Christie already making his mark
Sometimes the shadow can be too big. But not for Rolling Meadows' Cameron Christie, who is emerging as one of the Northwest suburbs' top boys basketball players.
Christie, who is a sophomore this year and the younger brother of senior standout Max Christie, has been a starter since the first game of last season for Rolling Meadows. He averaged 11 points per game a year ago and his play earned him all-area honors. This season that number has jumped to 14 points per game as he runs the offense for the 11-0 Mustangs.
"He is a silky-smooth player," Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich said. "His shot is so effortless and he has worked hard to improve all aspects of his game. Everything about him looks effortless. Whether it is his jump shot, or coast-to-coast dunks, his game is so smooth."
It is not just Christie's scoring that has been going up. He has grown at least four inches from last season.
His stock with the college scouts has also risen. He has already received offers from Michigan State and Ohio State. And as his play heats up, so will the offers.
"Like Max, he is an amazing kid," Katovich said. "They are obviously different people, but he has that same quality that Max has in terms of being respectful, deferring praise from himself, and wanting to point out the accomplishments of others."
Katovich feels the Cameron Christie will shine even brighter next season.
"I think while he will obviously miss playing with his brother next year," Katovich said. "Cameron has also worked incredibly hard at getting stronger and has dedicated a lot of time in the gym. He has improved so much from last year and has one of the highest basketball IQs I have seen.
"He is a fierce competitor and absolutely hates to lose a competitive drill, or game. He has a very close relationship with the younger guys, especially Orlando (Thomas) and Foster (Ogbonna). We are very confident that Cameron will be a tremendous leader in his own right."
Last of the Schoffstalls:
There is a sigh of relief coming from opponents of Fremd basketball.
Yes, this really is the last Schoffstall.
Zach, Luke, Jake and now Eli Schoffstall have been roaming the basketball courts at Fremd for 10 years.
Eli Schoffstall, who is a junior starting guard for Fremd, is the last of four brothers that have played and starred for Fremd.
"We have been fortunate to have all four of them," Fremd coach Bob Widlowski said. "They have been synonymous with Fremd basketball for over a decade. All four have contributed greatly to Fremd basketball. All the coaches always ask: 'Is this the last one?' "
All four have been stars in their own right, according to Widlowski.
"Zach is known for his drives and clutch scoring in pressure situations," Widlowski said. "Luke for his game-winning free throws in the supersectional versus Jacobs and Jake for his game-winning buzzer beater against Palatine in the regional and his dunk against Prospect in the MSL championship game.
"All have different personalities, but all bring great energy on a daily basis. They have represented Fremd very well on the athletic field, in the classroom and the community."
Eli, who is a junior, is coming off a 19-point performance against Conant on Wednesday.
"Eli is setting his own path and has been very productive and consistent for us this year," Widlowski said. "He has been facing his older brothers for year and does not back down from a challenge."
Another Eli shining:
Another Eli making a name for himself is Saint Viator's Eli Aldana.
The sophomore guard has been drawing attention with his hard-nosed and flashy play. He is averaging 17.7 points, 5 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals for the Lions this season.
"Offensively, Eli has an advanced skill set for a sophomore," Viator coach Michael O'Keeffe said. "When the ball is in his hands, he dictates the pace of play and makes great decisions. This has allowed us to compete at a high level and pick up a handful of really good wins during the first month of the season. Defensively, Eli has a high IQ."
Aldana was brought up to the Viator varsity squad late last season by former Lions head coach Quin Hayes. Aldana stepped in quite nicely off the bench, giving Viator some quality minutes a year ago.
A year later, Aldana has flourished.
"Our expectations for Eli are extremely high," O'Keeffe said. "We believe he is currently one of the best players in the area and in the ESCC, and he is only going to get better due to his gym rat mentality. He has the potential to be one of the best two-way players to wear a Saint Viator uniform."
MSL playoff update:
With the season ending a week from Saturday, the MSL race in both divisions has reached a fever pitch with showdown Tuesday on the horizon. That's when Hersey will play at Rolling Meadows and Fremd will host Barrington.
In the East, Meadows is unbeaten and posted a 74-69 win over Hersey. A second win over the Huskies would clinch the East title for Meadows.
If Hersey would post a win a over Meadows and the teams remained tied at the end of the season, Hersey would advance to the MSL title game based on conference tiebreakers.
In the West, Fremd and Barrington each have one loss. Should both teams win on Friday, it would set up a winner-take-all game on Tuesday for the West title.