Scouting the Mid-Suburban East
Buffalo Grove BisonCoach: Keith Peterson
Last season's record: 11-5, 6-4, (MSL East)
Top returning players: Adidas Davis, sr., (G, 6-3); Alex Beihoffer, sr, (F, 6-2), Jacob Heinrich, sr, (G, 6-2), David Van Hoy, sr., (F, 6-2), Aidan Romanski, sr., (F, 6-4), Peter Baker, sr., (G, 5-10), George Shiakallis, sr., (F, 5-11).
Top new players: Josh Grote, jr., (G, 6-1), Kyle Grote, jr., (G, 6-1), Connor Woodin, soph., (G, 5-10)
Worth noting: The Bison will be finding out how life will be without all-stater Kam Craft, who transferred out of state. It will be a senior-dominated squad that lacks experience, but has good size. Peterson will be leaning heavily on Davis, who was the sixth man for last season's team. Beihoffer played some meaningful minutes last season while Heinrich led the JV team in scoring. Josh and Kyle Grote are the third set of twins in the last four seasons for the Bison. "This is a group of guys who will be experiencing different roles this season and they have really been excited about the opportunities," Peterson said. "They have been practicing really hard and with a lot of energy. We will be an older team with not a lot of varsity experience."
Hersey HuskiesCoach: Austin Scott
Last season's record: 13-3, 8-2 (MSL East)
Top returning players: Josh Cataldo, sr., (F, 6-3), Jack Genualdi, sr., (G, 5-11), Johnny Ryg, jr., (G, 6-2), Max Menninga, jr., (G/F, 6-4), Dylan Carlquist, sr., (G, 5-11), Jimmy Makuh, sr., (G/F, 6-4), Sam Fiore, sr. (F, 6-3), Brett Kersemeier, jr. (G, 5-11), Breyden Smith, sr. (G, 5-9)
Top new players: Jackson Hupp, fresh., (F, 6-5), Jared Ryg, soph, (G, 5-9), Carson Grove, soph., (F, 5-11), Michael Krafton, jr., (G, 6-1).
Worth noting: The Huskies will be big, just like they were last season. But they won't be as experienced, losing their top five players to graduation. Makuh and Carlquist, two of the standouts from the successful football team, will be leading the way. They should get help from Cataldo, Genauldi, Johnny Ryg and Menninga. "Our team will go as far as our desire to rebound, defend, and take care of the basketball," Scott said. "We have guys who love to compete and are easy to coach. That's all you can ask for as a coach." Scott is also high on freshman Jackson Hupp, who is the first Hersey freshman to play on the varsity since Dayton star Luke Fabrizius in 2005.
Rolling Meadows MustangsCoach: Kevin Katovich
Last season's record: 15-0, 10-0 (MSL East champions, MSL champions)
Top returning players: Cameron Christie, jr., (G, 6-6), Orlando Thomas, sr., (G, 6-2), Foster Ogbonna, jr., (F, 6-4), Ryan Schoessling, sr., (F, 6-2), Michael Brigham, sr., (G, 5-10),
Top new players: Mark Nikolich-Wilson, jr., (F, 6-6), Tsvet Sotriov, jr., (F, 6-7), Ian Miletic, fresh., (F, 6-5).
Worth noting: Rolling Meadows is coming off one its best seasons in school history. And the Mustangs could be even better. Christie, whose brother Max is already making an impact at Michigan State, has garnered a number of D-I offers. His backcourt mate Thomas is also drawing interest. Together they are one of the best backcourt tandems in the state. Ogbonna played well when he was inserted last year, and the Mustangs have even more size in Nikolich-Wilson and Sotriov. "We graduated 60 percent of our scoring, one of the best groups of seniors that we have ever had, and the best player in school history," Katovich said. "We do, however, feel pretty good about the group we are bringing back. This is also the tallest overall group we have had in a long time. We have a relatively young team but hope to improve each day as the guys learn new roles and how to compete at the varsity level."
Wheeling WildcatsCoach: Tom Antosz
Last season's record: 4-9, 3-7 (MSL East)
Top returning players: Aima Igiehon, sr., (F, 6-3), Elijah Hutchinson, sr., (F, 6-3)
Top new players: J Kaspar, sr., (G, 5-11), Josh Hutchinson, jr., (G, 6-4), Gavin Stanke, jr., (F, 6-0), AJ Marchetti, jr., (G, 6-0), Zach Zalewski, jr., (F, 6-4)
Worth noting: The Wildcats will be leaning heavily on Igiehon and Elijah Hutchinson, who are their only returning starters. Igiehon is a three-year starter and averaged 7 points and 5 rebounds last season. Elijah Hutchinson is coming off a season where he averaged 4 points but shot 37 percent from outside the arc. Wheeling's success will be how well and how quickly Kaspar, Josh Hutchinson, Stanke, Marchetti and Zalewski can get up to speed on playing regularly at the varsity level. "We are looking for senior leadership from our team captains," Antosz said. "They are the only returning players with experience so our team will need to learn to gel quickly. We will have a deep team this year and plan on utilizing a strong junior class."
Prospect KnightsCoach: Brad Rathe
Last season's record: 5-8, 3-7 (MSL East)
Top returning players: Owen Schneider, sr., (G 5-9), Alex Georgakas, jr., (G, 6-2), Frank Covey, jr., (F, 6-1), Owen Walter, sr., (F, 6-2), Dave Marshal, sr. (F, 6-2), Marcin Jacek, sr., (F, 6-4), Alex Kazuk, sr., (G, 6-0)
Top new players: Jake Paris, jr., (G, 5-10), Adam Koury, jr., (G, 5-10), Christian Philippas, jr., (G, 5-11), Jack Friar, jr., (G, 5-8)
Worth noting: The Knights could get off to a slow start with four players coming off the schools' successful football season. The Knights will have Schneider, a three-year starter, who averaged 11.2 points last season and has garnered interest from D-II and D-III schools. Rathe takes over for John Camardella, who stepped down after last season. "We will change some things up but still try to implement the same work ethic and mentality that earned us 10 division titles in 14 years," Rathe said. "Our backcourt is our strength. Owen (Schneider) has handled the ball for us for two seasons already. We have a team full of strong, competitive kids. We have to play with an edge."
Elk Grove GrenadiersCoach: Nick Oraham
Last season's record: 0-15, 0-10 (MSL East)
Top returning players: Josh Mottley, jr., (G/F. 6-2), Garrett Ewen, jr., (G, 6-0), Jaden Alberson, sr., (G/F, 6-2), Joe Martorano, sr., G/F, 6-1 ()
Top new players: Bronson Bartuch, jr. (G, G, 6-0), Bartek Sarat, jr. (F, 6-4), Edgar Garay, jr. (G/F, 6-0), Pablo Castillo, jr., (G/F, 6-1), Kevin Periaswamy, sr. (F, 6-4), Jake Wiszowaty, sr. (F, 6-4)
Worth noting: Elk Grove is looking to turn things around with a veteran, yet young group. Mottley averaged nearly 7 points per game while Ewen averaged 4.5 points per game. However, they are both juniors. The Grenadiers also will have back Periaswamy, who was injured last year, and Wiszwaty, who is also back out, which will give Elk Grove some size upfront. "We have a lot of experience returning but we could have as many as four juniors starting," Oraham said. "We have a couple of big players who didn't play last year back out this year and they will help on the glass and alter shots around the rim. We will try to play a faster, more up-tempo style this season. Our junior group has had some success and they haven't played with their full complement of players since they entered high school."
-- By Dick Quagliano,
Daily Herald Correspondent