2016-17 Basketball Preview: The Twitter Previews

SHARE 2016-17 Basketball Preview: The Twitter Previews

Benet’s Jack Nolan (21) moves past a Joliet West defender. | Patrick Gleason For The Sun-Times

Please send info on your team to mobrien@suntimes.com. I’ll tweet out a preview on every team that sends in the information on my Twitter account, @michaelsobrien. One big change this year: all Illinois schools are eligible, not just schools in the Sun-Times coverage area. Please include the following:



Cell Phone:

Outlook for this season:

Top Returning Players (Position, Height, Year in school):

Top Newcomers (Position, Height, Year in school):

Top teams in your conference:

Players on your team and in the conference to consider for the list of the area’s best:

Interesting story idea about your team:

The Twitter Previews

Addison Trail: Addison Trail: Returns 3 starters from 14-win team, 6-6 Goshen College commit Colton Noel, guard Jack Kalbas. Watch 6-5 Michael Williams.

Ag. Science: Solid backcourt with Jamal Henderson, Chris Calhoun. three starters back from conf. champs. 6-8 Myles Jordan provides size.

Antioch: 6-5 SR Reece Eldridge (a “Porzingis-type”), soph G Dan Filippone provide strong backbone. Hoping to win new Northern Lake conf.

Argo: “Retooling” year. Graduated all 5 starters. Will turn to JR point guard Jalen Cobbs and 6-4 JR Tory Turner.

Benet: Likely Super 25. Gene Heidkamp has molded Redwings into one of the state’s top programs. Jack Nolan, Liam Lyman, Justin Enochs return

Bloom: Young, promising. Jalen Lee is back, Austin Richie is in. 3 freshmen on varsity w/Dante Maddox Jr., Donovan Newby, Keshawn Williams.

Bolingbrook: One of the most talented teams in the state. Too much firepower to list it all. Added 6-6 Morgan Park transfer Malik Binns.

Bradley-Bourbonnais: Rebuilding season, no one back that played meaningful minutes. JR Christian Straw can score, some size w/6-5 Aaron Byrd

Brother Rice:Stocked with guards that can handle and shoot, conf. title the goal. Josh Niego, Mike Shepski, Brendan Coghlan lead.

Butler:The best Noble conf. team ever, featuring Marvin Nesbitt (Missouri-KC), soph shooter Teon Nesbitt, SR Faheem Muhammed. Tough sked.

Carmel:Johnny Roeser, one of state’s top sophs, leads talented soph group including Zion Kilpatrick, Lukas Galdoni, Evan Myers, Jalen Snell

Chicago Military:Small, but hoping to make noise in conf. SR’s Davion Mahon, Arthur Colson will lead for new head coach Marvin Jordan.

Clemente: 5 of top 6 back w/Richard Labon, Jamaul Perdue, Joe Rhymes. Teshawn Stokes came out of his shell this summer, has college interest

Conant: Peoria expectations after losing in super. All the pieces w/standout PG Jimmy Sotos (Bucknell), 6-9 Ryan Davis, 6-7 Mike Downing.

De La Salle: Three-year starter Stone Parker is the key. Four 6-7 guys w/Javion Caldwell, Davis Pinskus, Nick Martorina, Te’Jaan Ali.

DeKalb:Lost 4 starters from 25-win team. Reloaded with SR’s Cole Tucker, Darvon Sisson (6-6) and JR’s Mikey Vilet (6-4), Marcus Bobo (6-4).

DePaul Prep:Go watch Soph Perry Cowan this season. Nice mix of seniors led by Fred Nunez. Tough schedule, should be a fun team.

Dixon:New coach Nick Oraham takes over. No returning starters, squad is young. Soph Beau Bailey should be one of the top scorers in conf.

Downers Grove South:Likely preseason Super 25. Sharpshooter Denis Alibegovic, guard Tyree Spencer return. TJ Clifford is an unsung star.

Eisenhower: Lost top 5 players, will look to improve as season rolls on. 6-4 center Michael Basta leads, transfer PG Taron Windom will help.

Evergreen Park:Conference title is the goal. 7 seniors return including 6-10 Mike Drynan, 6-3 Kyree Hannah, guards John McDonald, Dan Smith

Fenger: New coach is Stephen Collum. Young, hope to contend in Blue-South. Watch freshman Donovan Taylor.

Fenwick:Likely Super 25 w/standout seniors Jamal Nixon, Jacob Keller. Last season’s soph team was 25-0, beat Simeon and Morgan Park.

Foreman: Brian Rose takes over program. 6-6 SR Greg Kester returns. High hopes for sophmore guards Roshankie Walker, Ramonte Walker.

Glenbard East: Promising. 6-3 SR Mike Finley (15 pts, 8 rebs) is back, along w/PG Kenny Adams. Depth and experience, conf. title contender.

Grayslake North:One of last season’s fun stories. SR Jamal Thomas, JR James Connolly return from 24-4 squad. Watch frosh Ryan Connolly.

Harlan: Walter Woghiren (former Morgan Park asst.) takes over the program. Marshawn Moore top returner, watch 6-6 JR DeMarcus Gilmore.

Harvest Christian: Made noise this summer w/talented transfers Andre White (Loyola), JJ Flores (Huntley), Brennen Woods (Hampshire).

Hillcrest: Super 25. Returns 7 from 23-6 group. Led by SR Marcus Garrett, JR’s Jalen Hughes, Bobby Harvey and athletic soph Isaac Stanback

Hinsdale Central: Strong group of seniors, including Chris Eck, Thomas Misiunas and Fred Hoiberg’s son Jack. Focus will be defense.

Homewood-Flossmoor: Lost some to graduation, transfer, but core intact with 7 SR’s including Jeffrey Boyd, Nick Holmes, Jarret Tribble.

Hope Academy: Jordan Doss, Javion May, Javari McClendon back from 20-8 squad that lost in sectional final. Class 1A state contender.

Huntley: Young and not much size, but really good chemistry will help. Matt Seng, Michael Parks, Stephen Browne the top returners.

Illiana Christian: Lost some guards, good size back from team that went 21-7. 6-5 Bo Hofstra, 6-8 Sam Vree, 6-0 Ethan Beezhold lead the way.

IC Catholic: Extremely deep, fast. Guard heavy, lacking size. Big things expected from 3-yr starter Austin Reed. Could be a force in 2A.

Jacobs:High expectations w/several starters back including 6-9 SR Cam Krutwig (Loyola), SR Mason Materna, JR’s Ryan Phillips, Nik Balkcom

Johnsburg:New gym, new conference. Lost starting guard to football injury. Hoping to compete with SR Warren Nusser (6-5), Bryce Jordan.

Joliet Catholic: Senior dominated, plenty back from 21-win squad. Junior Aidan Tyrell, transfer Dexter Spencer will fill gaps. Decent size.

Joliet Central: Three starters back, including very underrated Jose Grubbs and football star JoJo McNair. Jason Bingham is back from West

Joliet West: Spotlight season. Trevian Bell, Teyvion Kirk, Elijah Ward, Eddie Creal, Tabyous Casterberry return. Rough sked. 4A title hopes.

Juarez: Most experienced team in 3 years. Shooting for a top 2 finish in Blue West led by Jordan Lowery (17 mpg) and Charles Parker.

Julian: Troy Caldwell takes over, hopes to bring program back to prominence. Good experience back, high hopes for 6-4 soph LeAndre Townsend.

Kenwood: Super 25. Two starters (Manny Patterson, Dave Hunt) back for Red Central champs. Deep and talented, city/state title contenders.

Lake Forest:Should be solid. Guard-led for a change. 3 starters back, SR’s Justin McMahon (top-notch PG), Brian Stickler, Reed Thomas.

Lake View: Most everyone back, White North title the goal. 6-4 Jaylin Brown, 6-6 Ronald Brown, 6-3 Tomas Teklegergis lead. Tougher sked.

Lake Zurich: Bears have become a solid threat every season. Michael Bens, Ryan Kustor return. Freshman Will Tucker is one to watch.

Lakes: Good mix of returners, newcomers. Will be competitive in new Northern Lake County conf. SR Kyle Rohr top player, watch SO Brad Cherry.

Lane: Red North title goal. Marques Barnes, 6-6 Calvin Keyes are college prospects, high hopes for 6-3 JR Michael Thomas. Long team overall.

Larkin: Lost star Christian Negron for season w/injury. Still recovering from that devastating blow. 6-9 Jalen Shaw and Anthony Lynch lead.

Latin: Soph Ysrael Hernandez, last season’s leading scorer, returns. Watch 6-6 soph Jackson Tanner, played well at Pangos. Conf. title goal.

Libertyville: Should improve on 16-win season behind 6-7 Drew Peterson, a high-major prospect. Only 3 seniors, young team overall.

Lindblom: Up to Red Central. PG Jalen Carter the only returning starter but a big year is expected from D1 prospect Isa Maguire, a 6-10 JR.

Lockport: Much improved w/depth, size. strength. SR Matt Smietanski (D3 interest) and 6-6 JR John Meyer lead the way. Watch soph Jacob Karli

Longwood:White South underdogs. SR Terrance Lacey returns, transfers Jenzel Steward (Hyde Park), Zach Henderson (Bogan) join.

Loyola:Best team since ’14 sectional champs. Won Morris Shootout. Starters Ramar Evans (Maryville), Julian DeGuzman, Matt Lynch return.

Luther North:Almost everyone back from 19-9 squad. Conf. title possible, hopes for deep run in 1A. JR Tyrell Pettis, SR Joey Hoffman lead.

Lyons:Should be much improved after a tough season. Three starters back, some size. Could play 5 Niego’s w/Connor, Noah, Nolan, Kyle, Grant

Maine South: 4 cons. 20+ win seasons. Milos Liljak, Nick Foldvary return, young group overall. 6 of top 10 are jrs/sophs. Upgraded schedule.

Marian Catholic: JR’s Chase Adams/Brandon return as starting guards. Size w/6-8 TeeAaron Powell and another Ulis! 5-10 Ahron is a freshman.

Marian Central:Competitive in ESCC. 6-8 SR Sam Ohlrich impressed when healthy last season. Jack Moscinski, AJ Golembiewski play big roles.

Marist:Intriguing team. JR PG Maurice Commander is the real deal. Fellow G Morgan Taylor has 6-8 Justin Brown, 6-7 Bobby Hawkinson as well

Morris: Four starters back. Deep football run may delay things, 8 of 12 play football. Matt Shaw (14 ppg, 40% from three) leads the way.

Morton: 4 key returners, should be very interesting team. Soph Detalian Brown is one to watch and don’t worry, there is a Belcaster (Vinny).

Nazareth: New coach Sean Pearson aiming for conf. title. Christian Payne, Josh Oglesby lead. Freshman Tagen Pearson will contribute.

Niles North: Just 3 SR’s, but very talented. JR Damaria Franklin is exciting. Three sophs will play and keep an eye on freshman Aquas Smart.

North Lawndale: Super 25 team led by Carlos Hines, Martrell Barnes. Added 2 transfers, Steven Ross (Marian Cath), David Forrest (Foreman).

Northtown: Favorites in Chicago Prep w/JR CJ Casey, 6-5 SR Jeremiah Paprocki and soph Jalen Lee. Robert Blaylock can shoot the lights out.

Northridge Prep: Undersized, hope to challenge for conf. title. Led by Joe Thursby, Kiko Mason, Sam Thorton. Watch soph Jonathan Evans.

Notre Dame:Possible Super 25 squad. Tons of size experience w/6-6 Chris Heinechen, Matt Stritzel, 6-7 Jeameril Wilson, 6-9 Sean Johnson.

Oak Forest: 61 wins the last 3 years and six grads playing college ball. But only one starter (6-4 SR Jake Jones) returns this season.

Oak Lawn: Experienced. Competitive in South Suburban Red. SR Rashad Johnson is underrated, has school record for 3’s in a game and season.

Oak Park:Possible Super 25. 5 of top 7 return. SR’s Cameron Gross, Jared Scott, soph Dashon Enoch all impressed last season. Size and depth

Orr: 6-5 JR Raekwon Drake is one of the state’s truly fun players to watch. Plenty of young talent, big city and state title goals.

Oswego:Talented starters Jaylen Jones, Elijah Winston return from sectional final squad. Several freshmen, sophs expected to contribute.

Payton: Two leading scorers gone, but plenty happening. New gym, moving up to White North after winning first conference title.

Peoria Quest:Went 35-11 this summer. 2 top scorers, top rebounder back. SR Chaz Sardin, Jaylon Huff lead. Big expectations in Class 1A.

Perspectives-MSA:Lost Marquan Williams to Seattle, 6-7 Jaquan Lawrence to Bogan. Sharpshooter Stephon Jones, scorer Dre Lightfoot return.

Phoenix Military: Up to Blue West. Scoring machine Greg Boyle, 6-6 soph Khalid Herron return. Frosh Jacorie Franklin will contribute.

Plainfield East: Small, athletic and fast. Skilled by inexperienced. SR PG Vinny Tarello runs the show. High hopes for soph wing Collin Reed

Prospect: Will crack Super 25 eventually. Experience, size, chemistry, shooters. Frankie Mack, 6-6 Matt Szuba lead, watch JR David Swedura.

Prosser: New coach. Expecting big seasons from Jaquan Martin, Jakeenan Martin, Justin Slowikowsk. Added William Bynum from Evanston.

Providence: 2 starters return in 6-1 Jake Schutter, 6-3 Mike Drew. Good soph class led by Adam Taylor. Expect them to be tough by March.

Raby: Interesting group w/smooth PG Tywon Henderson and fellow JR’s Jaylin Washington, Bobby Frierson. Watch out for soph Miante Atkins.

Reavis: Very solid, exp. and some size. Could win SSC Red behind Brantrell Seymore (17 pig last season), 6-5 Marc McClinton, Sami Hajjar.

Rich Central: Four-year starter Glen Abram and 6-5 Bijhan Merrill return. PG Cameron Greer is steady, watch smooth sophomore Chance Love.

Ridgewood: Won first ever sectional last season. Zach Rzewnicki is one of the area’s underrated stars. 8 seniors back, should be very solid.

Riverside-Brookfield:Starters Jalen Clanton, Henry Trelenberg return. Sharpshooter Ryan Cicenas is one to watch. New gym floor this season.

Robeson: White Central title is the goal. Malik McToy leads the way. Size w/6-6 Shamond Garrett (freak athlete) and 6-6 Zach Chamber.

Rockford Jefferson: Fast team led by talented guard Quillin Dixon and 6-4 My’Quion Garrett. Freshman Corzanos Maxwell will contribute.

Romeoville: Very talented, young. DeAndre Heckard, Dontia Johnson, Michael Salter return. Watch Kahlil Blakney, frosh Destin Whitaker.

St. Benedict: New coach, no starters back but had a positive offseason. High hopes for Anthony Bradley, Jimmy Tran, Dallas Hilton.

St. Charles East: Young. Will play fun, fast-paced style. Led by 6-5 Justin Hardy. Lots of shooters including Zach Robinson, Nate Ortiz.

St. Ignatius:Hard to gauge. Matt Monroe takes over program. SR’s Trey Mack, 6-11 Robbie Lindland back. Talented JR class will contribute.

St. Patrick:Possible Super 25 w/several key guys back in Jalen Nelson, Laurence Merritt, Keishun Thomas, Xavier Pinson. Also some size.

St. Viator: Young. Most difficult sked in school history. 6-8 Addison Lubert, Marc Clark, Drew Soukup back. Watch soph Jeremiah Hernandez.

Sandburg: Returns SR Chris Toth, JR guards Jason and Jake Pygon plus 6’7 transfer Barlow Alleruzzo. Had a successful summer.

Schurz: Hoping to win conference. Very big things expected of 6-4 JR Jaland Mitchell and 5-6 SR Malik Mables.

Stagg: Possible Super 25 at some point. John Contant (possible breakout star), Josh Strama, Tom Kazanecki return. Watch soph Martin Macenis.

Stevenson: Super 25 team. 6-6 Justin Smith (Indiana) a top POY candidate. SR’s Aidan O’Connell, Willie Herenton, Eric Zalewski return.

Taft:Back in Red North. SR’s Izaiah Sanders, Stefan Domic return. Big things expected from 6-6 newcomer Piotr Gago. Conf. title the goal.

Thornton:Alonzo Verge is in Harvey. Big year ahead for the Wildcats. 6-8 JR Orlando Allen is multi-talented. Watch SR Christian Andersen.

Tilden: Good size returns. 6-4 David Nichols leads the way. Terrence Boykin (son of rapper Bump J) will likely start at PG as a freshman.

Tinley Park: Young team, may have growing pains early but nice potential w/good young guards. Chris Edwards, 6-5 Brelyn Moore lead the way.

U-High: 4 starters back from reg. champs. Jameel Alausa (Yale) becoming a known force but watch out for 6-6 SR Oliver Maciak.

UP-Englewood: Could open some eyes, hoping to win White South. Jayden Gasby, Fred Cleveland can both play. Watch freshman Anton Bloxton.

UP-West: 6-2 captain Kenneth Williams runs things along w/JR Larry McCoy. Watch guard Robert Henry and Jirah Graham.

Vernon Hills: Interesting group w/athletic PG Jack O’Connell and fellow SR’s Jack Forester, Chris Mariella. Watch freshman Dylan Webb.

Vocational: Lost 9 from last season but has plenty of young, coachable talent w/junior Lester Reed, soph Jacquan Binion, soph Malik Tiffith

Von Steuben: Bounce back year on tap behind Ralphy Cruz (averages a triple double), Edward Nwakaego, Justan Mcnair. Watch SR Donovan Maxey.

Waubonsie Valley:New coach Jason Mead (from Dixon) takes over the program. Rebuilding year. Keep an eye on 5-10 soph guard Eric Cannon.

Waukegan:Possible Super 25 thanks to top-notch SR Carson Newsome (Wis-Milwaukee) and soph class of Bryant Brown, Jordan Brown, Ja’Dyn Brown

Wells: Experienced team. Junior Antwone Lampkin billed as the “Charlie Moore of the Blue Division.” Sked upgraded, conf. title the goal.

West Aurora: Second year for coach Brian Johnson, nearly everyone is back. JR Camron Donatlan could be a star, leads talented junior class.

West Chicago: Drake recruit Tai Bibbs, 6-3 Devonte Pascal lead an intriguing squad. Watch JR Alan Mahmic, scored big for sophs last season.

Westinghouse:Finally a veteran squad w/7 SR’s. Coreyoun Rushin is a difference-maker, Dexter Reed lockdown defender, Jocke Fields solid G.

Westminster Christian: 11 consecutive winning seasons. 4 starters back from 19-win squad. 6-5 JR Ben Versylus can play, team has size.

Wheaton North:Promising. All 5 starters back from 18-win squad. SR’s Luke Anthony, Rowan McGowen lead the way. Watch 6-6 JR Josh Sorenson.

Wheeling: Experienced backcourt of TJ Best, Jalen Dennis returns, inexperienced elsewhere. Watch soph Michael Best. MSL East has improved.

Woodstock:Avg. 17 wins the last 4 seasons. Lost 4 starters, could be competitive in conf. SR’s Matt Shook, Josh Turner, Blake Brainard lead

York: Young w/four sophs in top seven. 6-4 Jordan Gray, 6-2 Nick Trapani top returners. Trying to win fifth consecutive regional title.

Yorkville: Drastic improvements expected. 7 seniors back from 11-win team. 3-yr starter Austin Avery leads, some size w/6-6 Jason Lewan.

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