Scouting the Fox Valley
Burlington CentralCoach: Brett Porto (13th season)
Last season's record: 16-1, 9-0 (FVC champion).
Top returning players: Gavin Sarvis, sr. (G-F, 6-2); Zac Schmidt, sr. (G, 6-2); Carson Seyller, sr. (F, 6-1); Nick Carpenter, sr. (F, 6-3); Drew Scharnowski, jr. (F, 6-5); Matthew Lemon, jr. (G, 5-9); Trestan Wagner, sr. (G, 5-10); Nolan Milas, jr. (G, 5-10).
Top new players: Jake Johnson, fr. (F, 6-4); Nick Gouriotis, jr. (F, 6-4); Mason Erickson, jr. (G, 6-1); Michael Person, so. (F, 6-3); Caden West, fr. (G, 5-10).
Worth noting: The Rockets were mostly unchallenged in their FVC games last season, with an 11-point win over Jacobs in the FVC Tournament as their closest league game. ... Burlington is long and athletic all over the floor and returns its five starters, led by Sarvis (14.5 ppg.), Seyller (11.1) and Carpenter and Schmidt (both 10.6). ... Porto's teams always make things difficult for opponents with their aggressive defense. ... Sarvis and Seyller were Northwest Herald All-Area first-team selections, Schmidt made the second team and Carpenter was an honorable mention. ... Scharnowski is the other returning starter. ... In their two seasons in the FVC, the Rockets took third and won the league, as well as the tournament.
Cary-GroveCoach: Adam McCloud (sixth season).
Last season's record: 9-3, 6-3 (third in FVC).
Top returning players: Mikey Clarke, sr. (G, 6-1); John Mau, sr. (G, 6-2); Calvin Slimko, sr. (G, 6-3); Kyle Ochwat, sr. (G-F, 6-4).
Top new players: Zach Bauer, jr. (C, 6-5); Jake Hornok, so. (G, 6-2).
Worth noting: The Trojans will have four new starters in the lineup to go with Clarke, an All-Area second-team selection who averaged 10.7 points a game. Clarke was a prominent reserve for the Trojans' 31-3 team in 2019. ... "We're looking forward to a full season of hoops and to being competitive in March," McCloud said.
Crystal Lake CentralCoach: Joe Capalbo (second season).
Last season's record: 3-8, 2-8 (tied for eighth in FVC).
Top returning players: Cam Keilman, sr. (G-F, 6-6), Davion Lewis, sr. (PG, 5-9).
Worth noting: Keilman is a big man with some versatility who saw a lot of time last season. ... The Tigers will have a lot of new players in their rotation this season, although Capalbo hopes that can have a positive effect. "They're excited to compete and feel like they have something to prove," Capalbo said. "After a short and frustrating year last year, this group is ready to take advantage of this opportunity. We are looking forward to surprising a lot of teams this season."
Crystal Lake SouthCoach: Matt LePage (10th season).
Last season's record: 6-7, 4-5 (tied for sixth in FVC).
Top returning players: Cooper LePage, jr. (G, 6-2); Isaiah Kirkeeng, sr. (F, 6-5); Arnav Jain, sr. (G, 6-1); Nate Van Witzenburg, jr. (G, 5-9); Brady Schroeder, jr. (F, 6-3); Cam Miller, jr. (G, 6-2); Zach Peltz, jr. (G, 6-3); Nate Stewart, jr., (G, 6-2).
Top new players: Colton Hess, so. (F, 6-4).
Worth noting: The Gators could be near the top of the FVC as they return several of their key players. They have three starters back in LePage (12.1 ppg.), Kirkeeng (11.1) and Jain (10.5, 28 3s). Kirkeeng and LePage are third-year varsity players. ... Matt LePage thinks the Gators' experience, depth, chemistry and guard play will be strengths. ... "We expect to compete at a high level and improve as the season goes on," LePage said. ... LePage welcomes former Crystal Lake Central head coach Rich Czeslawski to his staff as an assistant this season.
Dundee-CrownCoach: Lance Huber (19th season).
Last season's record: 4-6, 4-5 (tied for sixth in FVC).
Top returning players: Kennon Cook, sr. (F, 6-3); Jason Huber, sr. (G, 5-11); Gabe Rivera, sr. (G, 5-9); Hunter Guyon, sr. (F, 6-4); Zach Ryza, sr. (F, 6-4); Ryan Schultz, sr. (F, 6-0); Drew Randl, sr. (F, 6-1); Dakota Jackson, sr. (G, 6-0).
Top new players: Zach Randl, so. (G, 5-10); Tyler DiSilvio, jr. (F, 6-4); Josh Valera, jr. (G, 5-8).
Worth noting: Cook (11.8 ppg., 7.1 rpg.) is a third-year starter who is tough to stop while driving to the basket. He led the Chargers in most statistical categories. He was an All-Area second-team pick. ... Huber, the coach's son, averaged 8.4 points per game and was D-C's best outside threat. ... Guyon and Rivera both played big minutes last season and coach Huber thinks Schultz, Jackson, Ryza and Drew Randl will give the Chargers some depth. ... "We have a nice group of players and my hope is we play good basketball all year long and our best basketball at the end," Lance Huber said. "It's good to be back and having a somewhat normal season. I believe last year (shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic) made many people grateful for many things we took for granted."
HampshireCoach: Mike Featherly (third season).
Last season's record: 0-12, 0-9 (10th in FVC).
Top returning players: Kevin Dela Paz, sr. (G, 5-5); Adam Ugochukwu, sr. (F, 6-3); Miles Wiggins, sr. (F, 6-3); Matt Dumoulin, sr. (G, 6-0); Joey Pearsall, sr. (F, 6-1); Tyler Mella, sr. (G, 6-1).
Top new players: Chase Anderson, jr. (G, 5-10); Joey Costabile, jr. (G, 6-0); Gavin Khounnoraj, jr. (G, 5-7); Sam Ptak, jr. (G-F, 6-0); Tristan Villarreal, jr. (G, 5-11); Jeffrey Cruickshank, so. (G-F, 6-1); Gage Homola, so. (F, 6-4); Nick Louis, so. (G, 5-9); Daniel Luckett, so. (G, 5-10); Ryan Regalado, so. (G, 5-8).
Worth noting: Hampshire advanced to the 2019 Class 3A Boylan Sectional championship game that was canceled when the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the remainder of the season. The Whip-Purs graduated most of their experienced players from that team and went winless last season. ... Featherly is excited about the group coming back and appreciates their attitude and willingness to work. "Our focus this year is to grow as a team everyday," he said. "The conference is going to be extremely competitive and we look forward to competing on a nightly basis."
HuntleyCoach: Will Benson (eighth season).
Last season's record: 10-3, 7-2 (second in FVC).
Top returning players: Aiden Wieczorek, sr. (G, 6-1); Ben Ahmer, sr. (G, 6-0); Adam Guazzo, sr. (F, 6-2); Nate Ary, sr. (G, 6-0); Noah Only, jr. (G-F, 6-3); Chet Andrews, sr. (F, 6-5); Ian Ravagnie, jr. (G, 6-4); John Kramer, sr. (G, 5-11).
Top new player: Oliwier Dzik, jr. (G, 6-3).
Worth noting: Wieczorek averaged 11.8 points a game and often was the player guarding opponents' top guards. He was a Northwest Herald All-Area first-team selection. ... Ahmer was one of the area's most dangerous shooters with 35 3-pointers, the most by any returning player. He is a third-year varsity player. ... Guazzo, Ary, Andrews, Ravagnie and Only all figured into the rotation last season. ... Dzik attended Loyola Academy last year and transferred to Huntley this year. "He fits in well with our kids and how we like to play," Benson said.
JacobsCoach: Jimmy Roberts (ninth season).
Last season's record: 8-5, 6-3 (fourth in FVC).
Top returning players: Nick McCoy, sr. (G, 6-2); Jackson Martucci, jr. (G, 6-2); Grant Stec, so. (F, 6-6); Adam Orencia, sr. (G, 5-11).
Top new players: Isiah Jackson, sr. (G, 6-0); Brett Schlicker, jr. (F, 6-2); Nathan Jones, jr. (F, 6-2).
Worth noting: The Golden Eagles lost most of their starting lineup to graduation, most notably point guard James Hayes (10.4), guard Zach Leahy (12.9) and guard Robert Pennel (23 3s). ... McCoy is a good shooter and Stec got some time as a freshman and gives the Eagle some size. Martucci also was in the rotation last season. ... Roberts hopes Jacobs can remain one of the teams in the top part of the FVC.
McHenryCoach: Chris Madson (fifth season).
Last season's record: 4-9, 2-7 (eighth in FVC).
Top returning players: Anthony Fowler, sr. (G-F, 6-1); Jack Waters, sr. (G, 5-9); Dillon Maciaszek, sr. (G, 5-9); Kayden Shatzer, sr. (F, 6-3).
Top new players: Zach Maness, jr. (G, 5-11); Max Smits, jr. (F, 6-4); Cooper Cohn, jr. (G, 5-11); Marko Visnjevac, so. (G, 5-8); Hayden Stone, so. (F, 6-3).
Worth noting: Fowler averaged 11.8 points and is one of the top returning scorers in the FVC. ... The Warriors will have to lean on several of their upcoming varsity players. Madson referred to his team as a "young, competitive group."
Prairie RidgeCoach: Ryan Smith (fourth season).
Last season's record: 7-4, 5-4 (fifth in FVC).
Top returning players: Mason Loucks, sr. (G, 5-9); James Muse, jr. (F, 6-4); Zach Lindquist, sr. (G, 6-1); Jackson Otto, sr. (G, 6-2); Drew Rightmyer, sr. (G, 6-1).
Top new players: Cade Collins, jr. (F, 6-3); Tyler Vasey, jr. (G, 6-0); Sam Loeding, jr. (F, 6-2).
Worth noting: Muse and Loucks are returning starters, but Smith likes that there are others ready to step into starting roles. Muse led the Wolves with a 9.3-point average. ... "We executed at a high level over the summer and continue to take steps in the right direction," Smith said. "We have a skilled group where each player can universally play any spot on the floor. If we shoot the ball well and defend in the half-court, I believe this team has the potential to be very successful."