The Northwest suburbs All-Area Boys Basketball Team
Michael Best WheelingWheeling coach Michael O'Keeffe believes that Best truly is one of the best athletes to come through the high school's doors. Best has been a standout in football, basketball, baseball and volleyball over his four years and basketball turned out to be his strongest sport. Best, who will continue his basketball career next year at Lake Forest College, averaged 18.6 points per game to go along with 4.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game. He scored 20-plus points 15 times this season, and had two 30-point games. Best also made 99 3-pointers on the season and finished with 1,100 career points. "Michael is the most impressive student-athlete I have worked with as a school counselor and basketball coach," O'Keeffe said. "He has committed himself to being the best person, student and athlete he can possibly be the last four years."
Jason Boock Barrington Boock is making his second consecutive appearance as a member of the all-area team. He helped lead the Broncos to 19 wins by scoring 13.4 points per game to go with 1.4 assists and 3.5 rebounds. He led his team in multiple categories including total points, 3-point field goals, free throws made and free throw percentage. He was all-conference the last two years and named to the Jacobs Hinkle Holiday Classic all-tournament team. "His proficiency from the 3-point line made him a threat for a big night every time he took the floor," Barrington coach Bryan Tucker said. "It is even more impressive when you consider that teams would game plan to stop him first. It is rare to find a player with the consistency to perform at this level for three years." Boock, who was a team captain, had 10 games of 17 or more points with high games of 28 points vs. Dixon and 25 points vs. Crystal Lake Central. A 3-year starter, Boock eclipsed the 1,000 point mark in his career and averaged 50 3-pointers per season.
Treyvon Calvin St. ViatorA broken hand sidelined Calvin for a handful of games this season, but the senior point guard barely missed a beat. Calvin finished the season strong to earn all-conference honors in the East Suburban Catholic Conference and then lead the Lions to the sectional championship game. "Trey is an extremely skilled point guard who allows the game to come very easy to him," St. Viator coach Quin Hayes said. "He is definitely one of the best pure shooters and ballhandlers I have ever seen." Calvin, who will be playing at Wright State next year, averaged 17 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists per game. He hit 43 percent of his 3-pointers on the season.
Julian Campbell PalatineAt 6-foot-6, 300-plus pounds, Campbell is certainly a presence on the basketball court. And he often made that presence felt in a big way for the Pirates. Just a sophomore, Campbell averaged 18.4 points and 8 rebounds per game. He connected on 60 percent of his field goals and had four 30-point games. "Julian has established himself as a physical force this season," Palatine coach Eric Millstone said. "He's got good feet and incredibly soft hands for his size. Growing up, he always relied on his size, but this year he started to see importance of footwork and balance and how those concepts go hand-in-hand with production."
Max Christie Rolling MeadowsIt was a season of ups and downs for Christie, one of the most highly-touted sophomores in the country. He began the season hospitalized with an illness during the first week of practice, then he missed a handful of games with a deep thigh bruise. "But he still managed to average 26 points and 10 rebounds per game," Rolling Meadows coach Kevin Katovich said. "He is a great teammate and constantly strives to get better." Christie has already passed the 1,000-point mark for scoring and is the sixth all-time leading scorer in school history. Against Elk Grove, Christie scored a season-high 51 points and he had a triple-double against Maine East. In his first game back from the thigh bruise, he scored 41 points against Niles West.
Nate Cole Buffalo GroveA sophomore on varsity last year, Cole was a role player who scored a few points per game. This year, his role was much different, and the Bison relied on him heavily for his production. "Nate increased his points per game by over 10 points this year," Buffalo Grove coach Keith Peterson said. "Nate has worked very hard since last season to improve all aspects of his game. We have asked him to do a lot for our team this year and he really stepped up." Cole averaged 13.5 points per game and made 60 3-pointers. He also grabbed 4.5 rebounds per game.
Kam Craft Buffalo GroveJust a freshman, Craft made an immediate impact for Buffalo Grove. He scored a season- and career-high 31 points against Grayslake Central in his very first high school game. Craft also had 30 points later in the season against Schaumburg. "Kam is a very skilled and gifted scorer," Buffalo Grove coach Keith Peterson said. "He can score in a variety of ways and has done a great job of making his teammates better. He is a student of the game and continues to find ways to make himself and our team better." Craft averaged 20 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals per game. He rolled up 65 3-pointers on the season.
Dean Ganas FremdOne of the two Enzones for Fremd this season, Ganas has been a 2-year varsity starter. Fremd is all about defense and Ganas was a ballhawk. He was a fierce defender, with 52 steals on the season. He played big when the Vikings needed it most, scoring 20 points against Schaumburg in the second half and overtime in the final game of the regular season to lift Fremd to the MSL title. "A determined defender, Dean has been a key to our success this season," Fremd coach Bob Widlowski said. "He has come through for us offensively at key points throughout our season." Ganas averaged 9 points per game and was a solid free throw shooter, converting 82 percent from the line. "His nonstop effort and high motor have set a great example for our program," Widlowski said. "He is nonstop effort and hustle. His hustle plays have been a great example for our younger players. He brings a fierce competitive attitude to every game and practice."
Jeremiah Hernandez St. ViatorA starter on varsity since his sophomore year, Hernandez was one of the most highly recruited players in the suburbs over the last two years and ultimately settled on Kent State. A two-time East Suburban Catholic Conference player of the year, Hernandez paced St. Viator in scoring with 19 points per game, including 30-point games of 36 points against Oswego East, 32 points against Carmel and 31 points against Libertyville. He also averaged 5 rebounds and 4 assists. "Jeremiah is the most intelligent, complete basketball player I have ever coached," St. Viator coach Quin Hayes said. "He literally can do it all on the basketball court."
Bryce Hopkins Fremd Hopkins' shot to win the MSL title game will go down as one of the top 5 plays in Fremd basketball history. But for head coach Bob Widlowski, that play just typified Hopkins' career. "Bryce is a complete player that can play all five offensive positions," Widlowski said. "His size and skill create difficult matchups. He has been rock solid for us all year long." Hopkins, who was a 3-year varsity player, makes the all-area team for the second consecutive year. During his career, Fremd won 69 games, including 3 regional titles, sectional, supersectional and a fourth-place state trophy. Add in his stellar, 4.0-plus GPA and acceptance at the University of Chicago where he will study and play next year. Hopkins returns to the all-area team this year where he averaged 13.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He was also named to the all-tournament team at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic and was MSL West player of the year. "He has left a positive mark on the basketball program at Fremd," Widlowski said. "In his three years on the varsity he has contributed in raising the bar in Fremd basketball."
Chris Hodges SchaumburgAs Hodges' experience began to grow this season, so did his play. The 6-foot-8 sophomore is a force inside on both ends of the court. That type of play has caught the eye of Division-1 scouts who will continue to add him to their list the next two seasons. Hodges averaged 16 points per game on stunning 66 percent shooting. He also had 6.2 rebounds as well as 2 blocks per game. "Chris is an unbelievable talent who can score in a multiple ways," Schaumburg coach Wade Heisler said. "He improves every game, has emerged as a team leader, and become a really good defender. His game continues to stretch from around the rim. He will be a Division I player." Hodges, who has three D-I offers thus far, scored a career-high 38 points against TF South at the York Christmas tournament where he converted 15-of-16 shots. "Chris is unbelievably talented with an extremely high ceiling," Heisler said. "He literally gets better every day. He had a great sophomore season and is already back to work to keep improving. He is excited to take a greater leadership role and take the program to a higher level."
Michael Hodges Schaumburg Hodges was honorable mention last year. The 3-year starter picked up his play this season and was able to score 16.2 points per game while hitting 34 percent from outside the arc. He also averaged 3 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. Hodges also cracked the 1,000 point mark this season while leading the Saxons to their first regional title since 2012. He had 18 points in that regional title game, hitting all 5 of his shots including 4 from outside the arc. "Mike is an incredibly explosive scorer, who plays with a high motor at all times," Schaumburg coach Wade Heisler said. "He has incredible character, and holds himself to a high standard that shows on the court." Hodges was named to the Jack Tosh York Holiday all-tournament team where he averaged 18.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4 assists. He finished his career as a member of the 1,000 point club. "Mike is an extremely hardworking goal-oriented player who has worked himself into being a dominant scorer," Heisler said. "He is positive in all situations and is a great teammate."
Mark Johnson Barrington Johnson really came into his game this season. The 6-foot-5 power forward played even bigger than his size, averaging 8.8 rebounds while scoring 11.3 points per game and handing out an eye-popping 4.6 assists per game. He was the team leader in assists, rebounds and blocked shots and was second on the team in steals. "Johnson really played both ends of the floor," Barrington coach Bryan Tucker said. "He had a rare ability to dominate a game with his passing and he sacrificed some of his scoring with 4.6 assists a game." Johnson, who was a 3-year varsity starter, had 9 double-doubles this season and twice scored 23 points in a game. He is committed to play basketball at Roosevelt University. "Mark's versatility on the court makes him unique," Tucker said. "In my 30 years of coaching, he has distinguished himself as one of the best passers I have ever coached. He will be a hard player for us to replace, as he does so much."
Ocean Johnson LeydenThe basket often seemed as big as the ocean for Johnson. The senior guard rolled up the buckets as he led Leyden to 17 wins this season and moved into third on the school's all-time scoring list. Johnson averaged 18.5 points and 7 rebounds this season. He also averaged 2.5 assists and 2.5 steals. "He has had an incredible career at Leyden," Leyden coach Bill Heisler said. "He is a better kid than he is player and he is a very good player, an elite-level athlete."
Jacob Kluczewski HerseyKuba, as his teammates call him, was as big as an island and clogged the middle on both ends of the court for Hersey. He averaged 8.9 ppg and 9.4 rebounds per game and had 7 double-doubles, 5 of which came in MSL East games. "He created matchup problems for most teams," Hersey coach Autsin Scott said. "He was also second on our team in assists as he is a phenomenal passer and was the team's emotional leader." Kluczewski will play at Harper next year, "Kuba is an undeniable personality and a magnetic person," Scott said. "When he's on your side, he'll go to the ends of the earth for you. And he's an incredibly competitive person, which raised our level of play multiple times throughout the year." The game that typified his value to the Huskies came at Maine West when he scored 16 points, had 12 rebounds and 6 assists. "Kuba is a unique player with a distinctive skill set," Scott said. "His vision and court awareness make everyone around him better and our team benefitted tremendously from his presence on both ends of the floor."
Connor Kochera St. ViatorSt. Viator may be losing two Division I stars in seniors Jeremiah Hernandez and Trey Calvin, but the program will be in good hands next year with Kochera leading the way. One of the best 3-point shooters in the area, Kochera, a junior, hit 40 percent of his shots from long range. Kochera averaged 15 points per game, along with 5 rebounds and 3 assists per game. "Connor has an insatiable hunger to be the best basketball player he can possibly be," St. Viator coach Quin Hayes said. "His work ethic matches his drive to succeed. I am very excited to see how much better he gets from now until next season."
Jonathan Kreidler Prospect Kreidler came into this season with the weight of the Knights on his shoulders. He was the only major holdover from a Prospect team that appeared to be destroyed by graduation. Kreidler helped the Knights continue their success, winning their third straight MSL East title. Kriedler was a huge part of that, averaging 11.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists. "Jon is, hands down, the most efficient offensive player I ever had the opportunity to coach," Prospect coach John Camardella said. "He worked tirelessly on his game and was a big reason why we were able to have some success these past two years." Kreidler came up big when the Knights needed him most, scoring 26 points in the MSL title game on 8-of-8 shooting including three 3-pointers. Kriedler, who was named to the all-tournament team at the Wheeling Hardwood Classic and will play at Loras next year, shot 71 percent on 2-point field goals this year. "Jon dealt with injuries and setbacks with his head up and shoulders back," Camardella said. "He set a powerful example for the future generations of what it means to be a Prospect varsity basketball player."
Raj Mittal ConantBasketball is just one of many things that Mittal does well. "When your best player has a perfect score on the ACT, is a violinist, is the state math champion and the hardest worker in practice, everyone else seems to fall into line," Conant coach Jim Maley said. "Raj is the most efficient player I have ever coached and he has also been a great leader." Mittal averaged 14 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. He hit 58 percent of his shots, including 54 percent of his 3-pointers. Mittal has a full ride to attend the University of Illinois for academics but is also considering MIT and Stanford.
Aaron Sarkar Barrington Sarkar worked out with the varsity a year ago as a sophomore and saw limited minutes. But that time paid huge dividends for him and Barrington this season. His game steadily improved this year and he finished the season averaging 11.5 points, 3 rebounds and 1.7 assists. He also scored in double figures 18 times this season and was credited with 3 game-winning shots. "His versatility on the court helped him be the second leading scorer on the team," Barrington coach Bryan Tucker said. "He could hurt you in many ways on offense -- finding the open man as a point guard, attacking the rim or hitting a three." Sarkar, who has attracted the attention of college recruiters, was second in points, third in assists and free throw percentage where he knocked down 78 percent. "Aaron's competitive nature, coupled with his intelligence and instincts helped him become one of the best defenders around," Tucker said. "Night in and night out, he was challenged to shut down the opponent's best player. He always rose to that challenge. Aaron is a terrific player to build around for the future."
Justin Scholler Maine WestA reserve last season behind three senior guards who got a bulk of the minutes, Scholler saw his role change dramatically this season. He led Maine West in minutes (26 mpg) and was one of the team's leading scorers at 10.2 points per game, which included a career-high game of 31 points against Collins. He also had 26 points against Maine East. "Justin is a very crafty point guard who used his change of speed and head fakes to keep defenders off-balance all season," Maine West coach Tom Prokopij said. "He had a knack for hitting clutch 3s and making big plays that spurred momentum runs for us."
Ryne Singsank Elk GroveA varsity player as a sophomore, Singsank took off junior year from basketball to focus on baseball, and it paid off with him signing on with Southern Illinois as a preferred walk-on. Missing basketball, Singsank returned to the hardwood for his senior season and it was like he didn't miss a beat. The 6-foot-9 Singsank averaged 13.6 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks per game. He had 9 double-doubles on the season. "I think it's pretty remarkable for him to come back and play as well as he did," Elk Grove coach Nick Oraham said. "If he wasn't playing baseball, he would have a future in college hoops with his combination of size, agility and his uniqueness as a lefty."
John Smyros FremdFremd's biggest issue coming into this season was who would run the Viking offense and Smyros stepped into the job quite well. This Enzone was the playmaker for Fremd, running the Viking offense to perfection, leading them to a MSL West, MSL and regional titles and 22 wins on the season. Smyros averaged 2.2 assist while scoring nearly 9 points per game. "John is a rock solid point guard who ran our stuff very well this season," Fremd coach Bob Widlowski said. "It all started with John. He led us at the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. He has improved in all aspects of the game through hard work in the offseason." Smyros had a huge game in the sectional final against Waukegan, scoring 14 points. "John took care of the point position all season for Fremd," Widlowski said. "He has been a key contributor to our success this season. His quiet, lead-by- example style, has set the pace for us this season"
Heze Trotter Schaumburg Trotter has been a 4-year starter for the Saxons and is a repeat selection to the all-area team. He has been the heart and soul of Schaumburg basketball during his tenure. In his first season, Trotter was a member of a team that won 6 games. This season the Saxons won 23 games and a regional title. "Heze is an extremely smart player who brings great energy," Schaumburg coach Wade Heisler said. "He brought a confidence to his teammates that will be hard to replace. He set a goal his freshman year to bring Schaumburg basketball back to a winning record and worked hard to meet it." Trotter averaged 12.3 points per game along with 3 assists and 6.3 rebounds. He also cracked the 1,000-point mark for his career. "Heze brings an incredible energy every day to practice and to the game," Schaumburg coach Wade Heisler said. "He is extraordinary on the glass, can slash and score and brings a confidence that makes his teammates better." Trotter, who also has been all-area in football the last 2 years, will play that sport at Missouri Western.
Ben Zellmer Prospect Zellmer is the epitome of how hard work can pay off. He began his career as a freshman "B" player and barely touched the floor last two seasons. Inspired by his lack of playing time as a junior, Zellmer went to work hard on his game and it paid huge dividends for him and his team. "He went from a B player as a freshman, to not playing much as sophomore and junior year, to becoming one of our leading scorers, defenders and rebounders in a single season. His work ethic is a testament to what can happen when you dedicate yourself to your craft," said Prospect coach John Camardella Zellmer was second on his team in scoring (10.9 points per game) and rebounds (3.0) and was third in assists (1.9). He picked up some of the scoring slack when teammate and all-area selection Jon Kreidler was out with an injury. "Ben worked as hard as anyone in our program over the last year," Camardella said. "He has set a new standard for future players in our program who are looking to improve over the course of a high school career."
Kyler Britten (Leyden, Sr. G), Matt Hanushewsky (Hersey, Sr. G), Dan Kentgen (Maine West, Jr. G), Jeremy Kim (Wheeling, Sr. G), Sam Murray (Prospect, Sr. G), e G Michael Nowakowski (Buffalo Grove, Sr. G), Elk Grove (Ryley Rathman, Sr. G), Dan Rice (Maine West, Sr. C), Rocco Ronzio (Hersey, Sr. G), Jake Schoffstall (Fremd, Jr. G), Luke Seiffert (Palatine, So. G), Ben Storm (Palatine, Sr. G), Tom Trieb (Buffalo Grove, Sr. F), Anthony Wachal (Conant, Sr. G), Javonte Warrener (Rolling Meadows, Sr. G), Brandon Zettek (Wheeling, Sr. F), Kayman Hopkins (Frem, Jr. F), TJ Johannesen (Prospect, Sr. G), Devon Ellis (Conant, So. F) Rundra Patel (Hoffman Estates, Sr. F)