Scouting the non-MSL teams in the Northwest suburbs
EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLIC
St. ViatorCoach: Quin Hayes (4th year, 103-47)
Last year: 26-7, (7-2, ESCC), lost in class 3A sectional finals
Key losses: Trey Calvin, Jeremiah Hernandez, Kevin Murphy
Returning players: Connor Kochera (6-4, Sr., G), Mike Huene, 6-7, Sr., C), Mike Campagna, 6-2, Sr., G), Jack Mahoney (6-2, Sr., F), Owen Hickey, 6-3, Sr., G).
Top newcomers: Connor Benson (6-4, Jr., F), Aidan Harrington (6-4, Jr., G), Jake Pasko (6-3, Jr., G)
Outlook: St. Viator will find out what life is like without All-Area players Trey Calvin (Wright State) and Jeremiah Hernandez (Kent State), who have led the Lions for the past three seasons. "You can't replace those two," St. Viator coach Quin Hayes said. "They are two D-1 basketball players that do not come around very often." St. Viator has another D-1 player on its roster this season in Connor Kochera, who has signed to play at William & Mary. Kochera's ability to spot up outside the arc will give opponents fits. He hit 40 percent of his 3-pointers and averaged 15 points per game last season. The Lions also return seniors Mike Huene, Mike Campagna, Jack Mahoney and Owen Hickey. They all logged tons of minutes last season which should give the Lions a very senior dominated squad. They will have to wait for Mahoney, who will be out at the start of the season recovering from a football injury. Juniors Connor Benson, Aidan Harrington and Jake Pasko should not only give Viator some depth, but some size as well. "We will have to be more patient offensively and let our offense work for us," Hayes said. "We need to play hard every night and play defense and rebound."
-- Dick Quagliano
CENTRAL SUBURBAN NORTH
Maine WestCoach: Tom Prokopij (4th season)
Last year: 13-16 (5-5 CSL North)
Key players lost: Dan Rice (St. Ambrose), Justin Scholler
Key players returning: F Sean Collins, sr., G Lucas Glaister, sr., F Kentrell Johnson, sr., F Dan Kentgen, sr., G Jared Pearson, Jr, G AJ Ross, sr., F Jacob Riedl, sr., F Isaiah Siem-Davis, sr.
Newcomers: F Emmanuel Ajose, sr., F Louis Allen, Jr, G Shoun George, Jr, G Semaj Johnson, Jr, F Devonta Mccrary, Jr, F Daniel Montes, Jr, G Daniel Prieto, Jr, F Roberto Villalobos, Jr, G Dominic Wims, Jr
Outlook: The top two scorers from a year ago are gone, but there is actually a lot back for Maine West to build on. "We're returning six of our top eight minute-getters from last season and we're bringing back a lot of experience and will be senior heavy," Maine West coach Tom Prokopij said. "I have high expectations for us because I believe in the leadership and maturity of this senior group. Every player on our roster understands his role this year." Seven seniors who got regular minutes return, as does junior Jared Pearson, who had a super sophomore season last year. Pearson averaged 9 points and 4 rebounds per game and is Maine West's leading returning scorer along with senior Dan Kentgen, also at 9 ppg and 4 rpg. "We had a very competitive summer, despite playing short-handed much of the summer," Prokopij said. "We've currently got guys banged up from the football season and we're still getting healthy. We're expected to be middle of the pack in our conference but we're going to sneak up on people."
-- Patricia Babcock McGraw
CENTRAL SUBURBAN SOUTH
Maine SouthCoach: Tony Lavorato, Jr. (17th season)
Last year: 23-10 (5-5 Central Suburban League South
Key players returning: None
Newcomers: G Casey Clark, sr., F Nick Ostojic, sr., G Sean Gallery, Jr, F Marko Anderson, Jr
Outlook: The losses don't typically stack up very high for Maine South. In fact, last year, for the sixth time in seven years, Maine South finished with a 20-win season (23-10). In contrast, however, there have been substantial losses from the 2018-19 roster. The players who contributed most to those 23 wins are gone. All gone. And that's probably one of the biggest losses Maine South has ever had. "For the first time in 13 years, the Hawks will begin the season with no returning starters," Maine South coach Tony Lavorato, Jr. said. "We return no one from a 23-10 season. With that said, we expect steady improvement throughout the year as the youth becomes more comfortable with varsity basketball. Chemistry and confidence will be the No. 1 goal as the Maine South system will be tested in a totally different way." Maine South features some height in 6-foot-7 senior forward Nick Ostojic and 6-5 junior forward Marko Anderson. Meanwhile, Casey Clark and Sean Gallery have shown promise at the guard spot.
-- Patricia Babcock McGraw
WEST SUBURBAN GOLD
LeydenCoach: Bill Heisler (14th year, 143-118)
Last year: 17-13, 6-6, WSC Gold
Key losses: Ocean Johnson, Kyler Britten, David Duwal, Daquan Harris
Returning players: JaQuet Hardimon, (Sr., F), Justin Timmerhaus,(Sr., G), Tyler Morgan (Sr., F), Luca Ferranteli (Sr., G), Noah Guadalupe (Sr., G)
Top newcomers: Mathew Espinoza (Jr., G), Mathew Braxton (Jr., F), Jonathan Chavez (Jr., C), Jiovanny Garcia (Soph., G)
Outlook: The Ocean may have slipped away, but the Eagles could still be flying high thanks to senior leadership. Leyden will find out what life is without three-year starter and two-time All-Area standout Ocean Johnson, who took his skills to Loras College. The Eagles lost four starters from last season but they are hopeful they can keep the winning trend alive. "After losing so much to graduation last year it is almost like starting over," Leyden coach Bill Heisler said." It has been fun to watch new leadership emerge and to redefine our roles for different guys. Our seniors are hungry to prove themselves. We have some athleticism and depth. Our success will depend on our ability to take care of the ball and hit some shots. " Leyden will lean on the experience that returns in JaQuet Hardimon (started every game last year), Justin Timmerhaus, who is leading returning scorer and Tyler Morgan. Timmerhaus will be sidelined for a couple of weeks as he recovers from thumb injury They according to Heisler, will be expected to produce on the stat sheet and give the Eagles leadership. "Our goal is to get better every day," Heisler said. "We have a lot of spots to fill after graduating four starters. We are focused on getting better, understanding our roles and being competitive in our league. I think we will be much better in February than we are right now."
-- Dick Quagliano
Christian LibertyCoach: Jeb Bennett
Last year: 5-24, 1-9 NAC
Key losses: Gabe Jimenez, Matt Merrill
Returning players: Breckin Aiello (5-10, Sr., G), Titus Bennett (5-8, Sr., G), Justin McHugh (6-3, Sr., F), Dylan Veigel (6-5, Jr., F), Rob Litzenberger (6-3, Jr., F/G)
Top newcomers: Ethan Oskroba (6-0, Sr., C), Mark Merrill (5-10, Soph., G), Dillon Baer (6-5, Soph., C), Tanner Aiello (6-0, Fresh., G).
Outlook: The Chargers are looking to make a 180-degree turn from last season. And with five players returning who averaged a collective 28 points per game, the Chargers could be on their way. "We are looking for a lot more success this year with a lot of our contributors back from last year. We learned a lot from last year. We played our best basketball and improved at the end of last season. We are hoping to pick up right where we left off," said coach Jeb Bennett. Breckin Aiello, who averaged 8.7 points per game, leads a group of returning players that includes Titus Bennett (7.2 ppg), Dylan Veigel (6.6 ppg), Rob Litzenberger (4.0 ppg) and Justin McHugh (1.6 ppg). "Had a great summer playing a lot of competition we have not seen before," Jeb Bennett said. "We need to be solid defensively and rebound well to finish defensive possessions. We do have more height than we have had in a while as well as a good balance between guards and bigs." The Chargers will start a front line that averages 6-foot-4 and will bring sophomore Dillon Baer, who is 6-5 off the bench.
-- Dick Quagliano
Schaumburg ChristianCoach: Kyle McVey
Last year: 4-21, 3-7 NAC
Key losses: Nishal Weems
Returning players: David Rodriguez, (6-0, Sr., G), Bimi Adenekan, (6-0,-Sr., F), Rishe Paridas, (6-0, Jr., G), Jonathan Devathala, (5-11, Jr., G), Aaron Onesimus, (6-0, Soph., G)
Top newcomers: Jason Alsum (5-11, Sr., G), Bruk Desta (5-10, Sr., G).
Outlook: The Conquerors are looking to get back on track after a disappointing season a year ago. They return five starters, two of whom are seniors, that combined for 20 points. They will be led by David Rodriguez, who averaged 14 points a year ago as a junior. Bimi Adenkan, who is the other returning senior, averaged 3 points last year. Juniors Rishe Paridas, who averaged 5 points and Jonathan Devathala, who averaged 4 points, will be joined by sophomore Aaron Onesimus, who also averaged 4 points. "We need to be consistent for four quarters," Schaumburg Christian coach Kyle McVey said. "Last year we were in almost every game at half and then would struggle to keep that same focus and intensity the second half." The Conquerors will bring a pair of seniors off the bench who did not play last year due to injuries. Jason Alsum and Bruk Desta will give Schaumburg Christian some depth. "Our bigs are super versatile and can play inside out which will allow us to stretch the floor and hopefully score a good amount," McVey said. "I believe we can compete at a high level in our conference and also give ourselves a chance against the bigger schools we play."
-- Dick Quagliano