Boys basketball: Scouting the DuKane Conference
Coach: Jim Nazos
Last season's record: 21-11, 8-6
Top returners: Jack Ambrose, sr., F, 6-4; CJ Valente, jr., F, 6-4
Key newcomers: Ben Fiegel, jr., F, 6-3; Isaac Wit, jr., F, 6-3
About the Bulldogs: Batavia is going to have to develop a new identity and slew of production with the graduations of Trent Tousana, Ethan Ivan, Austin Ambrose and others. Jack Ambrose figures to be the likeliest candidate for a breakout season, while Batavia will employ the typical deep bench it always does as a number of it comes from the football team, including Grant Wardynski, Ben Fiegel and more.
Coach: Scott Hennig
Last season's record: 16-15, 5-9
Top returners: Mick Lawrence, sr., G, 6-0.; Jimmy Rasmussen, sr., G, 6-1; Tommy Diamond, jr., G, 6-3
Key newcomers: Luke Matan, jr., F, 6-4; Jack Hatton, so., G, 6-1; Hudson Kirby, so., F, 6-3
About the Vikings: Geneva is returning two standouts from its team a season ago, headlined by Lawrence and Rasmussen, who are both three-year starters. Lawrence and Rasmussen averaged a combined 21 points per game last year, so they'll be looking to continue that production. Geneva employs solid size up and down the roster and also brings back KJ McNeive and Tommy Diamond from last season. Hatton is an athlete Hennig recommends to keep an eye on.
Coach: Kevin Tonn
Last season's record: 15-17, 6-8
Top returners: JJ Hernandez, jr., 6-5, F; Luke Bonnema, sr., F, 6-4; Zion Reed, sr., G, 5-8
Key newcomers: Josh Abushanab, fr., G/F, 6-4 Maharri Thatch, fr., G, 5-11; Eddy Redento, sr., F, 6-6
About the Panthers: The Panthers will be powered by Hernandez, who was an all DuKane Conference selection as a sophomore last season. Bonnema, Reed and Redento are also going to be relied heavily upon as the Panthers keep up the solid momentum built from last year. Abushanab, Thatch and Schrager will be important depth pieces.
Coach: Billy Pitcher
Last season's record: 22-8, 10-4
Top returners: Cam Cerese, jr., G- 6-2; Tommy Rochford, jr., F, 6-5; Josh Gerber, sr., G, 6-1; Dennasio LaGioia, jr. G, 6-1
Key newcomers: Pavle Magazin, jr., F, 6-8; Jeremy Zakic, jr., G, 6-1; Matt Geraci, jr., G, 6-1
About the Lancers: Lake Park did graduate its top three scorers from last year's team, so replacing that production will be key to watch early. However, they appear in great shape to maintain a 20-win regular season for a fourth consecutive season. Cerese and Rochford are returning starters, while LaGoia will elevate to a starting role after coming off the bench last year. Lake Park has big guards and shooting ability will be plentiful.
St. Charles East
Coach: Pat Woods
Last season's record: 4-25, 2-12
Top returners: Jack Borri, sr., G, 6-1; Eddie Herrera, sr., G, 6-2; Steven Call, sr., G, 6-1,
Key newcomers: Bradley Monkemeyer, so., 6-3, Jacob Vrankovich, jr., G, 6-2
About the Saints: St. Charles East is looking to move forward from a rebuilding year and it could surprise some come DuKane Conference play. The Saints bring back three starters in Borri, Herrera and Call and will be working in a solid rotation as it progresses with an up-tempo style of play when it saw a deep postseason run three years ago. Keep on eye on Call, who earned the team's most improved player award last season. Trenton Bush and Drew Clarke are others who could earn some minutes.
St. Charles North
Coach: Tom Poulin
Last season's record: 16-15, 8-6
Top returners: Mason Siegfried, sr., G, 5-11; Colin Ross, sr., F, 6-0, Cam Ring, sr., G, 6-0, Steven Litteral sr., C, 6-6
Key newcomers: Parker Reinke, jr., F, 6-5; Daniel Connolly, jr., G, 6-2; Luke Holtz, jr., C, 6-5
About the North Stars: St. Charles North graduated eight seniors from last year's team, so replacing all that production is going to be North's early test. Mason Siegfried is back to handle point guard duties and should be a stabilizing force while the rest of roles get figured out. North does showcase some size with Litteral, Reinke and Holtz in the fold, so rebounding could become a strength.
Coach: Dave Brackmann
Last season's record: 7-23, 3-11
Top returners: Troy Janiak, sr., G, 6-1; Jack Speers, jr., G, 6-1
Key newcomers: Ryan Arakawa, jr., G, 5-9
About the Falcons: Wheaton North experienced a bit of a down season last year, but could rebound in a competitive DuKane Conference. The Falcons graduated a bit of senior experience last year with Noah Froebe and others leaving the mix, but Janiak and Speers should help stabilize the losses.
Wheaton Warrenville South
Coach: Mike Healy
Last season's record: 32-3, 14-0
Top returners: Braylen Meredith sr., G, 6-5; Colin Moore, sr., G, 6-0 Jake Vozza, sr., G, 6-1
Key newcomers: Max O'Connell, jr., G, 6-1; Luca Carbonaro, so., G, 5-10
About the Tigers: WW South will have to replace a ton of high-quality minutes from last year's supersectional berth. That Tigers team took the conference by storm and was one of the most consistent teams around. Gone are the likes of Matt Sommerdyke, Rourke Robinson, Danny Healy and more, but Meredith does come back with extensive minutes, as does Moore and Vozza. As long as the Tigers stay true to their tough rotations and defensive-minded system, WW South should still maintain as one of the top teams.