Boys basketball: Scouting the Mid-Suburban League
Coach: Kevin Geldon
Last season's record: 14-18, 5-5
Top returning players: Kyle Grote, Sr. (G, 6-0); Josh Grote, Sr. (G, 6-1); Connor Woodin, Jr. (G, 5-10); Kasanai Gonzalez, Sr. (G, 5-9); Jack Bank, Sr. (G, 6-0); Gavin Lee, Sr. (F, 6-2); Cayden Krida, St. (G, 6-3)
Top new players: Luke Anam-Ndu, Jr, (G, 5-11); Joe Harris, Jr, G, 5-11); David Hill, Jr (F, 6-2); Justin Brosnahan, Jr (F, 6-0)
Worth noting: Geldon takes over a team that will be challenged due to its lack of size. But the Bison will make that up with quickness... Josh Grote and his seven-point average returns along with his brother Kyle. Woodin also averaged seven points last seasona and will be paired with Anam-Ndu in the backcourt… "Not a lot of returning varsity experience but seniors and juniors who are ready for the opportunity. Size will be a concern all year but shooting and perimeter defense should be a strong spot," Geldon said.
Coach: Nick Oraham (5th season)
Last season's record: 5-27, 0-10
Top returning players: Bronson Bartuch, Sr. (G, 6-0); Josh Mottley, Sr, G/F, 6-2); Garrett Ewen, sr. (G, 6-0)
Top new players: Lucas Rogers, Jr. (G); Nate Govert, Jr. (G)
Worth noting: This could be the season the streak ends. Elk Grove has lost 60 consecutive MSL East games… But with Bartuch, who averaged over 19 points per game along with Mottley, who has been a four-year varsity player, and Ewen, who has been a three-year varsity player, the Grenadiers feel they have hopes…"We are undersized and our guys work extremely hard. We have some guys that can really fill it up in a hurry," Oraham said.
Coach: Austin Scott (5th season)
Last season's record: 8-22, 4-6
Top returning players: Jackson Hupp (F, 6-7); Johnny Ryg (G, 6-2); Quinn Mullen, (G, 6-1); Jared Ryg (G, 5-9); Max Menninga Sr. (W, 6-5); Brett Kersemeier, Sr (G, 5-11); Carson Grove, Jr (G, 5-10); Charlie Shiffman, Sr. (G, 5-10)
Top new players: Will Nolan, Jr (F, 6-6)
Worth noting: The Huskies are looking for a complete reversal of fortunes after struggling a bit a year ago… Leading that charge will sophomore Jackson Hupp, who is already drawing lots of recruiting interest. Hupp led the team in scoring last year averaging 8.9 points…The Huskies also have a ton of experience back. Johhny Ryg was all-conference while Mullen led the team in 3-point percentage and free throw percentage…The Huskies also get back Menninga, who was injured just nine games into the season last year. Hersey will also benefit from a winning spirit from football players Kersemeier and Grove while Nolan will add some additional size to an already long team. Shiffman, who came over from a winning soccer team, should also be a key contributor… "Our team culture has been solid over the last few years, and with a lot of players returning, it should be able to grow stronger during this season. Our greatest strengths are depth, athleticism, and versatility. How well we utilize those strengths will come down to our discipline at both ends of the floor," Scott said.
Coach: Brad Rathe (2nd season)
Last season's record: 18-12, 8-2
Top returning players: Alex Georgakas, Sr. (G, 6-2); Charlie Gilmer, Sr (F, 6-0); Nolan Murray, Sr (5-11); Jake Parisi, Sr. (G, 5-10); Adam Koury, Sr. (G, 5-10); Christian Philippas, Sr (5-11); Jack Friar, Sr. (5-8)
Top new players: Myhkia Johnson, Sr. (G, 5-11); Ben Schneider, Soph (G); Frankie Poshnjari, Jr (F); Drew Terpins, Jr. (G); Cole Chapman, Jr. (F)
Worth noting: The Knights will lean heavily on Georgakas, who averaged 14 points last season and scored better than 20 points in five of his final six MSL East games. Gilmer also played a ton of minutes last season and had a 16-point game against Hersey…The Knights will look to count on Johnson, who transferred from Maine West while Parisi and Murray should also be key contributors. Schneider along with a junior class that was 22-5 and MSL East champs could also be a huge help… "Our first goal is to win the East. So those 10 games are at the top of our list," Rathe said.
Coach: Kevin Katovich (21st season)
Last season's record: 28-6, 10-0 (1st place, MSL East, regional champs)
Top returning players: Cameron Christie, Sr (G, 6-6); Mark-Nikolich Wilson, Sr (F, 6-7); Foster Ogbonna, Sr (F, 6-5); Ian Miletic, Soph (F, 6-5); Tsvet Sotirov, Sr. (F, 6-7); Jake Repak, Sr (G, 6-0); Jack Duffer, Soph (G, 6-0); Jaxxon Handy, Sr (G, 6-0); Zack Deluca, Sr (G, 6-0)
Top new players: Jaeden Warrener, Soph (G, 5-11); Reggie Rogers, Sr (G, 6-0); Nasir Castle, Jr (G); Joey Freiburger, Jr (F, 6-3); Ethan Little, Jr. (G, 5-8)
Worth noting: Rolling Meadows is the heavy favorite to win its fourth consecutive conference title. And although that's their first goal, the Mustangs have their sights on a long state playoff run…. The Mustangs return four starters as well as their next three off the bench from their regional championship team… Christie, who officially signed with Minnesota last week, leads the way with his 25-point average. But this is not just a Christie-dominated team….Nikolich-Wilson, who averaged 10 points, Ogbonna with seven points and Sotirov with six points are also back. All three are beginning to draw considerable college interest as well… Miletic is also drawing interest for his play while Repak and Duffer should also be major contributors… "We have an experienced group that works incredibly hard. The conference is always tough, and we have scheduled nonconference games that should offer some possibly exciting matchups," Katovich said.
Coach: Tom Antosz (3rd year)
Last season's record: 12-18, 3-7
Top returning players: Josh Hutchinson, Sr. (G, 6-5 Senior Guard); AJ Marchetti, Sr. (G, 6-1); Gavin Stanke, Sr. (F, 6-0); Zach Zalewski, Sr. (F, 6-6)
Top new players: RJ Gamble, Sr. (G, 6-0); Brent Collar, Soph (G, 6-2)
Worth noting: This is a team that Wheeling has waited patiently for. It is a senior-dominated and loaded with experience…Hutchinson averages 9 points and 3 rebounds while Marchetti is one of the area's top all-around athletes. Stanke and Zaleweksi both started last season for the Wildcats…Gamble transferred in from St. Viator and has a pair of D-III offers while Collar is a highly regarded underclassman…Depth could be an issue as the Wildcats look for some consistency off the bench… "This is a senior led team with a lot of grit and a fight to win," Antosz said.
Coach: Bryan Tucker (14th season)
Last season's record: 29-5, 8-2 MSL West champs, MSL champs, third in state in 4A
Top returning players: Jake Feightner, Sr (W, 6-3); John Gurskis, S (W, 6-2); Donovan Nichols, Sr (G, 6-0); Ryan Shomaker, Sr (G, 6-1)
Top new players: Julius Laquian, Sr (G, 5-9); Dillon Schmidt, Sr (G, 6-3); Connor Baird, Jr (W, 6-0); Gabriel Gueyikian, Jr (G, 5-7); Alec Schmidts, Jr (W, 6-4); Jack Ward, Jr (W, 6-3); Nick Peipert, Soph (G, 6-1)
Worth noting: Barrington is coming off of its finest season as a basketball program. Unfortunately, the Broncos graduated 11 seniors, including their top players and will be looking for a quick rebuild…This year's squad doesn't have the size of teams in the past. But look for Feightner, Guskis and Schmidts to be some of the players battling upfront. The Broncos should get some help from Laquain, who transferred in from Denmark and Schmidt, who came over from St. Viator… "We are young and inexperienced., but a hard-working group. We will have to grow up fast in a very talented league," Tucker said.
Coach: Matt Walsh (3rd season)
Last season's record: 17-13, 5-5
Top returning players: Camden Lathos, Jr (F, 6-6); Yusuf Cisse, Jr. (G, 6-0); Austin Potocnic, Jr (G, 6-1); Shreyas Talluri, Jr (G, 6-3)
Top new players: Isaiah Rhodes, Jr (F, 6-3); Bradley Biedke, Soph (F, 6-5)
Worth noting: Conant is going into this season's campaign without a senior. That's not just for the starting lineup, but for its entire roster… "Without any seniors on the team we will rely on our 4 returning juniors from last year who will provide leadership for us. As always, we will focus on being defensive-minded team that will work to improve throughout the season," Walsh said… The Cougars will lean heavily on Lathis, who was the team's leading scorer and rebounder last season. Cisse was an all-conference selection while Potocnic and Talluri saw significant minutes last year as sophomores. Rhodes and Biedke will give Conant some serios inside size.
Coach: Bob Widlowski (21st season)
Last season's record: 20-10, 5-5
Top returning players: Ryan Sammons, Sr (G, 6-3); Mark Braun, Sr (F, 6-2); Cam Kuhl, Sr (F, 6-3); Caiden Suchy, Sr (F, 6-4); Tyler Kaspar, Sr. (G, 5-7); Scott Nance, Sr (F, 6-4); Bobby Panzino, Sr (G, 5-10); Cam Seaver, Sr (G, 6-1); Alex Skaria, Sr (G, 6-0); Nick Tangney, (F, 6-3)
Top new players: Ryan Cox, Jr (G, 6-3 ); Mike Barszczak, Jr (F, 6-3 ); Dan Ko, Jr (F, 6-0 ); James Moffett, Jr (G, 6-1 ); Aakarsh Sehgal, Jr (F, 6-3 ); Erik Stanson; (G, 6-1 ); Arman Khan (G, 6-1); Sam Hirsch, Soph (F, 6-2); Jordan Williams, Fresh (F, 6-3 )
Worth noting: This is a typical Fremd team. First, senior dominated. Then, have a star in Sammons, who was all-conference last year and is getting some collegiate looks. Add in eight to 10 role players who will keep coming at you in waves off the bench. Then finish off with tough, hard-nosed basketball, playing teams the full length of the court… "We have a nice mix of returning players with newcomers. We look forward to an extremely competitive MSL West. Every team will have to bring their best on every night," Widlowski said.
Coach: Peter McBride (2nd season)
Last season's record: 24-7, 5-5
Top returning players: DJ Wallace, Sr. (F, 6-9); Jacob Atkins-Mirich, Sr (G, 6-0); Kentrell Branch, Sr (F, 6-2)
Top new players: Trendell Whiting, Jr (G, 6-1); Nathan Cleveland, Soph (G, 6-2); D'marion Dunn, Jr (G, 6-2); Adell Bosnjak, Sr (F, 6-5)
Worth noting: Hoffman Estates had its first 20-win season since 2004. So the Hawks would like to show that last season was not a fluke…"We are excited about the upcoming season. This is a group that enjoys playing together and is committed to playing selfless basketball on both ends," McBride said…The Hawks return DJ Wallace, who averaged 11 points, eight rebounds and two blocks last season. Wallace's play this summer has had stock soar with recruiters…Atkins-Mirich and Branch saw some action last season and should be key contributors. Whiting and Dunn are both transfers with Whiting coming over from Montini while Dunn transferred in from Larkin. Cleveland is a terrific athlete and should be a huge help while Bosnjak will give the Hawks more needed size.
Coach: Eric Millstone (15th season)
Last season's record: 19-13, 6-4
Top returning players: Tyler Swierczek, Sr (F, 6-4); Grant Dersnah, Sr (F, 6-5); Sam Millstone, Sr (5-11); Connor May, Jr (F, 6-6); Tommy Elter, Jr (G, 6-3); Quinn Golletz, Sr (G6-4); Sammy Hamilton, Sr (G, 5-11); JD Wardle, Sr (F, 6-0); Michael Tokar, Sr (G, 5-10); Tony Iliopoulos, Sr (G, 5-10).
Top new players: Andrew Jordan, Sr (G, 5-11); Michael Babendir, Jr (G, 5-10); Ian Dow, Jr (G, 5-10); Gibson Lindell, Jr (G, 5-9)
Worth noting: Expect Palatine to get off to a very slow start with five of its top eight players making the transition from football to basketball. But when they are ready, so will the Pirates…Swierczek has a handful of DIII offers and is coming off a season where he averaged 13 points and converted 38 percent of his 3-point attempts. May averaged 11 points per game and has drawn interest from some DI and DII programs…Millstones is a solid playmaker and is coming of a year where he averaged seven points while Elter came off the bench as a sophomore last season…The real key will be when Dersnah is able to return. Dersnah, who played quarterback on the football team, broke his leg in the third week of the season. Meanwhile, the Pirates still should have enough depth to be in every game. "We have a lot of experience and production returning, but we also have senior role players who benefitted from their junior season because they approached each day as an investment. Because of that, we have guys who know how they fit in within the framework of the team," Eric Millstone said.
Coach: Jason Tucker (1st season)
Last season's record: 15-13, 1-9
Top returning players: Jordan Tunis, Soph (G, 6-0)
Top new players: Edvin Bosnjak, Sr (F, 6-8); Javonte McCoy, Soph (G, 6-0); Matthias Mackrie, Sr (G, 6-0); Tyler March, Jr (F, 6-6); Clark Easley, Sr (C, 6-7)
Worth noting: It will take some time, but Schaumburg could be a force to reckon with. New head coach Jason Tucker will be looking to get his brand of basketball incorporated into the young and inexperienced Saxons… Tunis is the lone returning starter. But the Saxons are huge upfront with Bosnjak, who is getting some solid collegiate looks, along with March and Easley. "We're an inexperienced group that is going to get better weekly. We are very excited about our group, and we are looking to build a new culture and grow our program," Tucker said.