The Fox All-Area Boys Basketball Team
Kelvin Balfour, West Aurora
This repeat all-area selection never took off so much as a practice drill, according to West Aurora coach Brian Johnson. The 6-foot-2 senior scored 499 points in 31 games (16.1 ppg) via 42% field-goal shooting (161 of 380). He sank 23 3-pointers and averaged 6.3 rebounds and a 1.9 assists per game. Defensively, he made 48 steals, deflected 45 passes and blocked 13 shots. Balfour excelled in the playoffs. He scored 18 points in an upset of 27-win Waubonsie Valley, finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds in a regional title victory over Plainfield Central and scored 19 in a loss to East Aurora. "It took Kelvin some time to figure out how to be our go-to player, but once he did he was very electric, especially in our run to winning a regional," Johnson said.
Brett David, Kaneland
New coach? New conference? No problem. This 6-foot-2 guard helped the Knights forge a winning record in their first season under a new coach in a new league. The senior scored 12 ppg while shooting 35 percent from 3-point range and 75 percent from the free-throw line. His 3.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game helped Kaneland win 16 games and finish 9-5 in the Interstate Eight Conference. First-year boys coach Ernie Colombe said David's intangible impact went beyond his offensive statistics. "Brett is also one of our top defenders," Colombe said. "He is a great kid and works real hard. Brett is extremely coachable and competitive."
Taaj Davis, Aurora Christian
This 6-foot-1, 170-pound point guard was a facilitator as a junior. He commandeered the whole facility as a senior. Committed to Vincennes University, Davis won the 2019-20 Fox area scoring title by pouring in 799 points in 31 games (25.8 ppg). He set a new Aurora Christian single-game record in a 102-58 victory over Bishop McNamara on Jan. 10 with 58 points on 23-of-32 shooting, 6 of 10 from 3-point range. The following night he rained 57 points on Chicago Christian in a 98-92 win. This season he shot 34.7% from the floor (277 of 600), 33.6% from 3-point range (72 of 214) and 79.9% from the free-throw line. He averaged 5.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists. Davis was the driving force behind Aurora Christian's run to a Class 1A Final Four berth. "Taaj is a special player," Aurora Christian coach Dan Beebe said. "He just has a will about him. He does everything he possibly can to keep us in the game and then take us over the top."
Thomas Ditsworth, St. Charles East
This 6-foot-3 senior's all-gas-no-brakes approach exemplified the collective attitude that drove St. Charles East to 24 wins and a share of the DuKane Conference title. Saints coach Pat Woods described Ditsworth as an unselfish, hardworking player with a high IQ "willing to do whatever it takes to get the W." Ditsworth averaged 10.1 ppg while shooting 54% from the field (119 of 218), 32% from 3-point range (11 of 34) and 77 percent from the free-throw line (74 of 95). He averaged 4.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.6 steals and blocked 13 shots.
Uchenna Egekeze, Huntley
A repeat all-area selection, most of this 6-foot-3 senior's talents translated to impressive statistics. The 1,000-point scorer and repeat all-area pick scored 504 points in 34 games (14.8 avg.). He also averaged a team-best 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.6 steals and blocked 29 shots. One talent is less obvious to the casual fan. "One aspect of his game that is underrated is that he always guarded the other team's best perimeter player and we basically put him on an island against that person," Huntley coach Will Benson said. Egekeze scored 21 points against Cary-Grove in a Jan. 28 home win that lifted Huntley into a first-place tie for the Fox Valley Conference lead at the time. He helped the Red Raiders equal the program record for wins (27) and secure the program's first regional title since 2014.
Nick Erickson, Hampshire
This 6-foot-7 forward helped Hampshire win 22 games and the first sectional semifinal in program history. Erickson led the team with 383 points in 33 games (11.6 avg) because he was effective both in the paint and on the perimeter. The senior shot 48% from 2-point range and sank 40% of his 3-point attempts (45 of 113). He contributed a team-best 37 deflections along with 25 steals and 75 assists. He paced the Whip-Purs with 5.5 rebounds per game, up from 3.2 as a junior. He also increased his scoring average by 3.2 ppg. "Nick did a great job of picking up his scoring this year," Hampshire coach Mike Featherly said. "He was able to play inside and knock down the 3 which made him a tough defensive matchup for opposing teams."
Beau Frericks, Cary-Grove
Named Captain of the Daily Herald Fox All-Area Team, this 6-foot-1 guard was a dynamic force for a team that won 31 games. The previous school record was 26. Committed to Lewis University, the senior scored 680 points in 34 games (20 ppg). He canned 46% of his field-goal attempts (229 of 498), including 38% from 3-point range (94 of 246). Frericks was the area's top free-throw shooter at 88.7% (126 of 142). He finished a three-year varsity career as Cary-Grove's all-time leading scorer with 1,540 points. This season he averaged 2.4 assists and 2.8 rebounds and nabbed 55 steals en route to a Fox Valley Conference title and the sectional final berth in program history. "It's pretty amazing to see what he was able to do with a target on his back," Cary-Grove coach Adam McCloud said. "I've never met a more fearless kid."
Jaden Henderson, Jacobs
In his third varsity season Henderson lifted the Golden Eagles to an 18-15 record with a team-high 468 points in 33 games (14.2 ppg). The 6-foot-4 senior guard shot 44% from the field (169 of 385) and 32% from 3-point range (59 of 185). He led Jacobs in steals (47), blocks (13) and rebounding (4.6 rpg) and contributed 45 assists. "He's is one of the best guards that we've had since we've been here at Jacobs," seventh-year coach Jimmy Roberts said. "He's a great kid, a hard worker and extremely coachable." Henderson completed his career with 955 career points.
Josh Hudgens, Burlington Central
This 6-foot-6 forward helped Central win 23 games this season and played a role in 77 victories over a three-year varsity career. The senior helped the Rockets to a third-place finish in their inaugural Fox Valley Conference season by scoring 416 points in 33 games (12.6 ppg). He shot 53% from 2-point range (128 of 243). The Rockets' tallest player showed a deft touch from beyond the arc, sinking 29 of 86 attempts from 3-point range (34%). "Josh's ability to score inside and outside made him difficult to guard," Central coach Brett Porto said. "Josh was able to really stretch the floor for us." Hudgens averaged 4.5 rebounds and led the team with 12 blocks.
Frank Jakubicek, Cary-Grove
This senior goes down in Cary-Grove history as the program's all-time leading rebounder (679) and second-leading scorer (1,153). The 6-foot-9 forward committed to Belmont averaged 14.8 points and 8 rebounds per game while leading the Trojans to the Fox Valley Conference title and the program's second sectional final berth. His 58% field-goal shooting (209 of 262) included 19 3-pointers. Defensively, he blocked 46 shots and had 27 steals. Jakubicek paired with 20-point scorer Beau Frericks to form one of the most potent 1-2 punches in area history. "It's been awesome having a dominant big man like Frank," Frericks said. "He takes double teams in the post and sometimes we spread out and play two-man ball. We've always been friends and it was great being on the same team."
Jayden Johnson, Batavia
This senior was named MVP of the Ken Peddy Windmill Classic after he set a tournament record of 115 points in 4 games and a new single-game record of 42 points. Also named all-tournament at York, the 6-foot-6 guard -- who recently picked up an offer from Illinois-Chicago -- scored 624 points in 32 games (19.5 ppg). He shot 54% from 2-point range (121 of 227), 38% from 3-point range (72 of 187) and 83% from the free-throw line (165 of 201). Johnson averaged 6.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists and made 29 steals. He completed a three-year varsity career with 1,503 points. "Every single year of high school he got better," Batavia coach Jim Nazos said. "This year he evolved into a complete player. He took the ball to the rim, he rebounded, he defended and did a lot of things for us."
Jake Lenschow, Burlington Central
A three-sport athlete who was named to the all-area football team last fall, Lenschow teamed with Josh Hudgens to lead an otherwise young squad to 23 victories and a third-place finish in the program's first season of Fox Valley Conference competition. The 6-foot-4 senior forward led the Rockets with 458 points in 33 games (13.9 ppg) while shooting 47% from the field (165 of 351), 30% from 3-point range (26 of 88) and 73% from the free-throw line (102 of 139). Lenschow also led Central in rebounds (6.2) and assists (2.4) per game. "Jake did a great job of scoring and rebounding the basketball for us," Central coach Brett Porto said. "He was extremely tough to guard and did a great job of getting a basket when we needed it the most."
Connor Linke, St. Charles North
The unanimous choice for DuKane Conference Player of the Year led St. Charles North to a school-record 24 victories, a share of the league title and the second sectional final appearance in school history. The 6-foot-9 center committed to Bradley led the North Stars in scoring (14 ppg), rebounding (10.2), and field goal percentage (62%). He sank eight 3-pointers in 20 attempts (42%). Linke was also one of the fiercest rim defenders in Illinois with 2.6 per game. "I believe there is not a better defender in the state as far as the impact he makes on that end," St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin said. "He's unselfish offensively. He's a game changer. And he's a true student athlete. He's one of the top students in this building and a perfect representative of our school community and St. Charles in general."
Tyler Miller, Crystal Lake South
One of the top scoring guards in the area over the past two seasons, Miller led the Gators to a 17-15 record by scoring 433 points in 32 games (13.5 ppg). He did so efficiently. The 6-foot-2 senior shot 47% from the field (147 of 314) and 42% from 3-point range (77 of 184). Miller was second on the team in assists (66) and steals (55) and managed 3.9 rebounds. He finished a three-year varsity career with 896 career points, 510 of which came via the 3-point shot. "Tyler was an incredible shot maker for us," Crystal Lake South coach Matt LePage said. "He was an integral part of our team because of his ability to shoot and open up things for other guys."
Chase Monkemeyer, St. Charles East
This senior's steady, consistent performances helped St. Charles East win 24 games and a share of the DuKane Conference title. The 6-foot-4 forward led the Saints with 405 points in 32 games (12.7 ppg). He shot 48% from the field (142 of 293), 37% from 3- point range (49 of 129) and 72% from the free-throw line (72 of 99). The tenacious defender also averaged 4.4 rebounds and finished the season with 38 assists and 34 steals. Monkemeyer led the Saints to a regional semifinal win with 23 points and 8 rebounds against Streamwood. "Chase is a workhorse," St. Charles East coach Pat Woods said. "He was our silent leader throughout the season. He is great at letting the game come to him and always puts the team first. He was willing to do whatever it took to help the team win."
Josh Preston, Geneva
This three-year veteran with two regional titles and a sectional under his belt was the steadying force Geneva needed after heavy graduation losses from the 2018-19 supersectional team. Committed to the University of Chicago, the 6-foot-5 senior forward led the Vikings to 19 wins and a regional final appearance by averaging 14 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists per game. He scored 18 points against Batavia in a 54-48 road win on Feb. 14 to forge a split of the season series. "Josh was our leader this season," Geneva coach Scott Hennig said. "He really elevated his game this season, improving his ballhandling and perimeter shooting. He is one of the best passing post players I have seen at the high school level."
Luke Scheffers, St. Charles North
Like a math prodigy working on a Rubik's Cube, it's not a matter of if this four-year varsity point guard will solve an opposing defense. It's usually a matter of when. The 6-foot-1 senior triggered the DuKane Conference co-champions' crisp ball movement. He averaged 4 assists for a team that advanced to the second sectional title game in program history. He scored 366 points in 33 games (11.1 ppg) and averaged 4.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. "I wouldn't trade Scheffers for anyone's point guard," North Stars coach Tom Poulin said. "When other teams press and trap, he handles the pressure well and gets us high-percentage shots."
Ryan Sroka, Huntley
This three-year varsity performer was the leading scorer for a team that tied the school record for wins (27) and won a Class 4A regional championship. The 6-foot-5 senior scored a team-best 523 points in 34 games (15.4 avg.) while shooting 36% from 3-point range (67 of 186) and 83% from the free-throw line (67 of 81). He averaged 6.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals. Sroka's length and athleticism allowed him to guard any position. Huntley's primary ballhandler, his success ws derived from his work ethic. Said Huntley coach Will Benson: "You could walk into our practice at any point and whatever we were doing -- individual drills, defense, rebounding, team stuff -- Ryan was working as hard if not harder than anyone else."
Jakobe Strong, Streamwood
Strong bookended Streamwood's 15-win season with memorable performances. In the Nov. 25 season opener at Wheaton Academy, the 6-foot junior guard sank a 3-pointer as time expired to cap an 18-point comeback win. In a season-ending loss to St. Charles East in a regional semifinal, the all-Upstate Eight pick led all scorers with 33 points. "Jakobe stepped up in that game," Streamwood coach Kent Payne said. "He plays well in big games." Strong scored 441 points in 30 contests (14.7 ppg). He shot 52% from 2-point range (108 of 208) and 30% from 3-point range (48 of 162). His 6.4 rebounds per game led the Sabres, and he finished tied for the team lead with 3.4 assists per game.
Collin Woods, Hampshire
This four-year varsity performer and repeat all-area pick shared the ball as well as he scored it. The 6-foot-5 senior guard was Hampshire's second-leading scorer with 317 points in 30 games (10.6 ppg). He shot 48.4% from the field (118 of 244), 37.5% from 3-point range (18 of 48) and 71% from the line (63 of 89). He contributed 87 assists and 96 rebounds. Defensively, Woods made 44 steals and deflected 28 balls. "Collin played unselfishly all year," Hampshire coach Mike Featherly said. "His scoring was down from last year but he did a great job of distributing the ball. He made some big shots for us in our playoff run." Woods scored 12 points in a 62-59 sectional semifinal upset of Boylan in Rockford.
Aurora Central Catholic -- Donovan Grunloh, sr., F
Aurora Christian -- Danny New, so., G
Bartlett -- Conrad Luczynski, so., C
Batavia -- Kyle Neibch, so., G
Burlington Central -- Zac Schmidt, so., G
Cary-Grove -- Clark Cunningham, sr., G; Ryan Weaver, sr., G
Crystal Lake South -- Damir Glamoc, sr., G
Dundee-Crown -- Kyle Huber, sr., G
Elgin -- Jeffery Lomax, jr., F
Elgin Academy -- Cameron Agno, sr., G
Geneva -- Nathan Valentine, jr., G
Hampshire -- Jackson Milison, sr., F
Harvest Christian -- Matt Ellett, jr., G; Ben Lothery, fr., G
Huntley -- Ryan Crosby, sr., G
Jacobs -- Andrew Balkcom, sr., G
Kaneland -- Will Cushman, sr., G
Larkin -- Damari Wheeler-Thomas, so., G
St. Charles East -- Sean Sullivan, sr., F
St. Charles North -- Christian Czerniak, sr. G; Thomas Kellen, sr., G; Ethan Marlowe, so., F St. Edward -- Erik Hill, jr., G
South Elgin -- Lance McVicar, so., G
Streamwood -- Lorenzo Coney, sr., G; Zach Marquez, jr., G
West Aurora -- Axel Motola, sr., F