North Lawndale’s Steven Ross (3) celebrates after getting a four-point play against Morgan Park. Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

2017 Basketball Preview: The Twitter Previews

SHARE 2017 Basketball Preview: The Twitter Previews
SHARE 2017 Basketball Preview: The Twitter Previews

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. 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: Lost everything to graduation but new group can shoot, especially Connor Palesch, AJ Parnell. Team rebounding will be key.

Alcott: Leading scorer Khaleb Rouse returns for junior year. Pairs with senior Terrance Craft in backcourt. Goal is White-North title.

Ag. Science: “Thunder and Lightning” (Chris Calhoun and Kyle Rowan) returns. TJ Cummings added to staff. Intriguing program on the rise.

Antioch: Big goals in 3A and conference. D1 prospect Dan Flippone, a junior, posted big numbers last season and could have breakout year.

Argo: Rebound season on tap with 4 key guys back including 6-4 SR Tory Turner, who averaged 10 pts, 10 rebs and SR guard Jalen Cobb.

Aurora Christian: Most of 21-9 squad back, including 6-4 SR Jake Wolfe (Lipscomb). 6-6 Soph Will Wolfe, 6-0 frosh Jaehshown Thomas can play.

Back of the Yards: Third-year program. Went from 6 to 13 wins last season. 9 seniors this year, will be deep and experienced.

Batavia: Promising. 6-4 Eric Peterson is underrated, 6-5 sophomore Jayden Johnson has D1 interest. Will be a factor in a tough conference.

Bishop McNamara: Bumped up to Class 3A. Only G Will Washington back from last season’s 2A third place squad. Junior class needs to step up.

Bloom: The youth revolution has begun in Chicago Heights. Loaded w/talented freshman and sophs including Donovan Newby, Keshawn Williams.

Bloomington: One of state’s best. Moves up to 4A. 7 return from 3rd place finishers including 6-6 Chris Payton, Patrick Fisher, Chris Pugh.

Bradley-Bourbonnais: Should improve throughout season. Christian Straw, Jordan O’Neal return. Watch sophs Jason Hartsfield, Gabe Renchen.

Breese Central: Very good program bumped up to 3A, but should contend. PG Karson Fehrmann, 6-4 Simon Thomas, 6-8 Tyler Joest form solid core

Brother Rice: Should be tough. Marquise Kennedy, transfer from Crete-Monee, will make an impact. SR Brendan Coghlan poised for big season.

Butler: JR Teon Nesbitt (20 ppg) is a name to know. Deadly shooter, scorer. Third-year program making noise. Challenging non-con schedule.

Carmel: High expectations, a lot of minutes return including Johnny Roeser, shooter Evan Myers. Kamahri Wilson could be a star freshman.

Catalyst Maria: Program on the rise w/24 wins last season, won Green championship. Jonathan Brundidge, Isiah Gaston, Darren Johnson return.

Chicago Academy: Solid summer, hoping to compete for Blue-North title. Nathan Vale, David Porter Jr. make things run. Watch Andres Vazquez.

Christ The King: Conference title, state finals dreams behind guards Minosa Echols III, Levelle Kimble, Kenneth Lowe, Timothy Caldwell.

Clemente: Experience back, but scoring to replace. 6-4 SR Teshawn Stokes can play, one of city’s better scorers. Watch freshman Trey Spires.

Comer: JR Robert Pasquier SR Davion Hatcher return in strong backcourt. 6-5 JR Keonte Clanton is a force in the paint.

Conant: Jim Maley takes over, will put a new system in place. 6-9 Ryan Davis (20 D1 offers) is a force. Raj Mittal, Ben Schols also back.

Crane: 6-5 PG Jimarius Sneed back from injury. G Jalen Stanford/Hylan Harris tough. Robert Hobbs is a threat. In White-West now.

Crete-Monee: Should build off last year’s 19 wins. Very deep group led by Malik Hardmon, Tyrese Hunt, Joshua Evans. Mario Coleman takes over

Curie: The 6-9 Martin bros. are back. Three transfers (Maurice Commander, Marquise Walker, Jayden Gasby) will blend w/talented underclassmen

Danville: One of state’s best. 22-9 last season, played w/a real spark. Everyone back. Kendle Moore (Drake) is a star, can take over games.

De La Salle: Deep, tall. Jamari Norwood, 6-7 Dave Pinskus return. Watch 6-8 Javion Caldwell. 6-7 Barlow Alleruzzo IV has transferred in.

DeKalb: Mike Vilet, Marcus Bobo return for 3-time defending conf. champs. Watch JR Jordan Williams. Monster non-con schedule on tap.

Deerfield: Alex Casieri (3yr starter), Zach Rothenberg, Danny Siegel all return. Watch soph Brandon Lieb. Contenders in wide-open CSL North.

DePaul Prep: Still young. Strong chemistry. Perry Cowan, Pavle Pantovic, Lance Mosley return. Several promising freshmen will play

Dixon: Promising summer, schedule gets tougher this season. Strong JR guard combo of all-conf. selection Beau Bailey, Derian Duncan.

Downers Grove North: D1 prospect Sema’j Henderson, JR Eddie Boston, SR Keenan Davis key guys looking to build on 19 wins and win conference

Downers Grove South: New team, just one starter back. Young overall but high hopes for talented junior class. Wes Hooker, Justin Eagnis lead the way. Keep an eye on 6-8 JR JT Jablonski.

Eisenhower: Rayshawn Schandon (6-7, 300-pound center) clearly a load. High hopes for talented JR class including Shamar Fuller, Eddie Moore.

Elmwood Park: Contenders in the MSC Red. Much deeper this season w/Ivan Salazar, Danny Wnuk, Jack Gavin, Jordan Diaz, soph Kris Amon.

Fenwick: Super 25 team led by solid vets AJ Nixon, Billy Bruce, Mike O’Laughlin, Damari Nixon. You know all about soph sensation DJ Steward.

Foreman: 8 back from regional champs. JR PG Romante Walker is underrated, can score and distribute. 6-4 Damari Hendrix back from injury.

Fremd: Ryan Martin is the only starter back from last season’s kinda awe-inspiring group. Clearly a program to keep an eye on every season.

Geneva: Scott Henning takes over. Young, talented. JR Jack McDonald opened eyes last season. Everyone is talking about 6-7 soph Nate Santos.

Glenbard East: Talented group should contend for Upstate Eight Valley title. Soph Alijah Nelson is a great student, very promising player.

Glenbrook South: Phil Ralston takes over. SR Yianni Mavrakis, Will King, Jimmy McMahon lead the way. Program building for the future.

Grayslake North: Brothers James Connolly, Ryan Connolly lead young but experienced squad. Watch sophomores Jason Donohue, Jamon Thomas.

Highland Park: Three-year varsity players Ziv Tal, Tyler Gussis back with Noah Shutan, Daniel Michelon. Will compete in CSL North.

Hillcrest: Quickest team in years led by Robert Harvey, Jalen Hughes and Lemont Bishop. Look out for freshman Kenton Wright.

Hinsdale South: Poised for third consecutive year of major success behind 6-5 SR Zion Griffin, Robert Barnes. Deep junior, sophomore class.

Hope: “Grind” season. Undersized, young, scrappy. Low school enrollment hurting. Plenty of sophs will play, including Hezekiah Brewster.

Hope Academy: Bumped to 2A, return to Peoria is the goal. Javion May, Javari McClendon lead the way. Keep an eye on soph Jamari McClendon.

Hubbard: 4 key players return from group that went undefeated in regular season, won conf. and Blue Division. Jarquis Medley leads the way

Huntley: Could challenge for Fox Valley title. 8 seniors including Cory Knipp, Chris Costantino, Andrew Fulcer. Soph guard Ryan Sroka has a bright future.

Illiana Christian: Last year in Illinois, moving to Indiana. 6-4 Josh Harris, Collin Flipse set the pace. Promising young talent in program.

IC Catholic: Smart, gritty, SR dominated squad looking to contend for Metro Suburban Blue, compete in 2A. Kevin Cheng, Alex Meurer leaders

ITW Speer: Everyone is back from 3rd place conference finishers, led by SR PG Patrick Walls, averaged 18 pts and is getting D2 looks.

Indian Creek: Plenty back from 24-win group including 6-5 PG Nolan Govig, one of DeKalb County’s best. 1A team with 4 starters 6-3 or over.

Jacobs: Ryan Phillips, Nik Balkcom, Ajani Rodriguez among 5 SR’s that will start. Watch 6-6 Kameron Mack. Team that knows how to win.

Joliet Catholic: Young squad from the City of Champions. Future is bright with sophs Christian Knapczyk, Jake Bumstead, JR Gunther Nusbaumer

Joliet Central: Should be very competitive. Cam Blackmon, Ryan Saunders, Don Joachim bring experience. 6-5 soph Kee Hargrow has potential.

Joliet West: 3-year varsity player Michael Smith, SR Charles McKinney lead well-balanced, super gritty group. JR’s Jamonte Benton, Keaton Gregory will contribute.

Kankakee: New coach Chris Pickett has a good stable of guards and one of the southland’s interesting prospects, 6-8 JR TJ Wicks.

Kenwood: Loaded with younger talent. Senior’s Robert McGee, Nas Turner lead. Stewart twins and Artese Stapleton are ones to watch.

La Salette: New associate member of IHSA. Has won 20+ last three seasons. Starters avg. 6-6, led by 6-7 Joel Adese, 6-11 SO Yves Nkomba.

Lake Forest: Tall, senior-heavy group emphasizing defense. Starters Jed Thomas, Mead Payne return, 6-5 G Ben Gibson had a great summer.

Lake Forest Academy: SR’s Matey Juric, Andrew Amft Reyes, Ben Canady provide solid core. Brandon Weston may be one of area’s best freshmen.

Lake View: Young, quick, guard-oriented. Goal is to win White-North. Frank Graziano, Josh O’Brien, Angelo Gomez are the top returners.

Lake Zurich: 5 guard lineup will run and shoot the 3. Ryan Kutsor (15 ppg), Peter DiCerbo return. St. Viator transfer JR Cison adds a lot.

Lakes: Young, guard-oriented. Will be competitive in Northern Lake conference. High hopes for sophomore guard Leighsean Triplett.

Lane: 4 starters, 85% of offense is back. Should be one of the best teams in White w/6-6 Calvin Keyes, Zach Krysztopik, 6-6 Vuk Djuric.

Larkin: Possible Super 25 team with talented 6-10 SR Jalen Shaw and excellent backcourt of Anthony Lynch, Kindrell Morris, Pierre Black.

Latin: Potential for a big season. All starters and several key subs return, will be very deep. Nice size with 6-4 JR Ysrael Hernandez, 6-6 JR Jackson Tanner, both college prospects.

Legal Prep: Defensive-minded Blue-West contenders. Impressive length with 6-5 Sean Johnson, 6-6 Johnathan Odeon, 6-5 Decorian Nunn.

Lemont: Intriguing mix with nice size. 6-10 SR Paul O’Leary, 6-7 JR Nate Ferguson, 6-4 Jerry Radomski. Experienced guards return as well.

Libertyville: Intriguing team possible Super 25. Drew Peterson among state’s best. He’s surrounded by experience and talented junior class.

Lincoln-Way Central: SR’s Chris Robinson, Luke Handley, Andrew Hancock return. Keep an eye on newcomers EJ Charles, Sean Curran.

Lincoln-Way East: Possible Super 25 led by 6-6 SIU recruit Sam Shafer, senior guards Joey Buggemi, Zach Parduhn. Some size, a dangerous team

Lindblom: Leading scorer, three-year starting PG Jalen Carter will be asked to do even more. Talented JR’s SO’s have to step up.

Lockport: Solid shooters, good depth in the backcourt. JR Jake Karli shot 41% from 3 as a soph. 6-6 Zach Pytlewski can play, 6-4 soph Tommy Ferriter is one to watch.

Longwood: Small, scrappy defensive squad led by high-flying 6-2 SR Charles Campbell, JR’s Patrick Ben, Nurell Lacey.

Loyola: Kevin Cunningham is a proven threat. SR Pete Mangan poised for breakout. 6-6 sophs Jordan/Bennet Kwicienski are D1 prospects.

Lyons: Significant experience back with Nolan Niego, Tyrese Shines, Lazarius Williams. Energetic young group joining the varsity, expecting to improve as season progresses.

Maine West: Program on the rise, looking for first conf. title, regional win in 20 years. 7 SR’s back, led by Julian Dones, Milos Dugalic.

Marist: Morgan Taylor, David Daniels back from last season’s ranked squad. Jack Ellison, 6-5 transfer from Chicago Christian, will add size.

McHenry: Could take a big step forward. Gavin Markgraff, Gio Calabrese 3yr starters. Maki Mohr back, watch 6-4 Brian March, 6-6 Jacob Evans.

Momence: I need to see the Indians this season. 6-7 JR Lamarius Lillard has tongues wagging. Older brother Lamar Lillard can play too.

Morris: Won’t be flashy. Disciplined, physical. 6-5 SR Tyler Spiezio is a matchup problem JR Jacob Overbeck, soph Jack Walker can shoot.

Mount Carmel: 4 seniors back to mix with a good group of juniors and sophs including talented 5-9 soph Davihon Morris, Dwyane Wade’s nephew.

Naperville North: Bit of an unknown, but promise. 6-7 JR Tom Welsh, 6-7 Chris Johnson back along w/a talented but unproven senior class.

New Trier: Will be a threat. Experienced guards and look at the size…6-9 JR Ciaran Brayboy,6-8 JR Spencer Boehm,6-5 SR Griff Ryan.

Newark: Goal is to get back to Peoria, finished 4th in 1A last season. Dylan Patrick, Beau Brown return. High hopes for newcomer Rhys Pepino

Niles West: Mike Wasielewski takes over. Talented junior class will add depth. SR Clyde Singleton, JR Kevin Guillaume lead the way.

North Boone: Matt Yarc takes over. Deep, athletic, w/10 players back. Plan is to shoot the 3. Korey Yarc, Mason Yunk, Brian Morris lead.

North Chicago: Leading scorer Pierce Coleman returns. Multi-dimensional player that shoots well, can score in post. SR Tyrek Cooper is a game-changing shooter, good defender. Nice young size with 6-8 Achan Clinton, 6-5 Ricky Irby.

Northridge: Former Loyola U coach Will Rey enters 14th season. Contenders in ISL behind Joe Thursby, Jon Evans, Brendan Conroy, John Kane.

Northside: Matt Rollins takes over squad expecting to be a contender in the Blue-North. Benjamin Rosengard, Danny O’Connor back. Sophs were unbeaten last season.

Notre Dame: Kevin Clancy replaces Tom Les. New squad as well, led by 6-9 SR Dusan Mahorcic, 6-3 soph Jason Bergstrom, frosh Anthony Sayles.

Oak Forest: 4 consecutive winning seasons is best run since mid-80s. Lots of questions this season, could be tough to keep that streak alive

Oak Lawn: 6-2 SR Adem Osmani does it all. 2nd in class academically, expected to lead in pts, rebs. Two good sophs. Conf. title contenders.

Oak Park: Reloaded after 24 wins, conf. title. Pieces fit nicely w/guards Isaiah Fuller, Dashon Enoch, wings Malachi Ross, Charlie Hoehne.

Orr: 8 SR’s back from 2A state champs, could be state’s best team regardless of class. So tough and athletic. Chase Adams has transferred in.

Oswego: 6-4 JR Dylan Eniger is the only starter back. Plenty of sophs will play including 6-9 Connor McCance. Watch 6-5 JR Marco Wilson.

Oswego East: New coach Ryan Velasquez likes his talent. SR AJ Hughes, 6-4 SR Trent Taylor returning. Keep an eye on 6-5 soph Sam Schultz.

Palatine: Four starters back for MSL West contenders. Johnny O’Shea, Cortez Hogans are big-time football and basketball players.

Payton: Quinn Peterson’s top 6 players are juniors and sophs. Some size w/6-5 Charlie Pillsbury, 6-5 SO Liam Dillon. Should compete in conf.

Plainfield Central: New coach Gregg Bayer has a lot of new faces. SR Matthews Morganfield top returner, keep an eye on JR Maurice McCullum

Plainfield East: Only 3 seniors on the team. Undersized but athletic and deep. Chicago State recruit Collin Reed, BJ Robinson, Yamani Shareef top returners. Michael Fowler is the new coach.

Plainfield North: Always sneaky good, looks to be the same this season. An awful lot of size including 6-4 Brady Miller, 6-5 Carter Thurman.

Plainfield South: Tim Boe’s squad is fast, athletic and more experienced. Starters Diamond Presniakovas, Anthony Marmolejo are juniors now.

Pontiac: Durrell Robinson takes over. Everyone thinks they are young, Indians really are. 2 juniors, 2 sophs, 2 freshmen listed on info.

Prosser: Two leading scorers (Will Bynum, Devion Collins) return, 5 SR starters. Watch 6-10 SR Treyon Johnson. Tough super conference sked.

Proviso East: Possible Super 25, led by SR Quinlan Bennett, Jordan Morris. Picked up firepower with St. Pat’s transfer Jeremiah Jones.

Proviso West: New coach Anthony Longstreet returns leading scorer Ronnie Allgood, slashing scorer Izzayah Saddler. Robert Covington’s brother Deveon Bryant is a deadly three-point shooter.

Quest: 61-30 in 3-yr history. Lost a lot, butTerrell Walker, Jimmie Richardson, Avierre Ross ready to step up. Good soph class

Reavis: Senior-led group with three-year starter Sami Hajjar, Peter Sedlacek in backcourt. Good shooters, should make noise in SSC Red.

Rich Central: Last season’s playoff run inspired confidence. 6-3 Chance Love opened eyes this summer. 6-6 Jace Lee adds some rim protection.

Rich East: Craig Hodges’ team is talking Peoria. JR Ramone Woods, SR Antron Washington, SR Vashawn Sims all gifted scorers. Some size too.

Richmond-Burton: Sharpshooter Mark Marzahl, 6-4 Shane Byrne set the tone. Sophs were very good last season, should add plenty.

Ridgewood: Holes to fill. SR’s Dom Devivo, Michael Barnas, Pzemak Kowalewski will step up. 6-5 sophomore Kevin Czysweski could be good.

Riverside-Brookfield: Mike Reingruber takes over. Shooter Ryan Cicenas leads deep, experienced squad hoping to rebound from strange 2016-17.

Rochelle: 3-yr guards Angel Aguirre, Riley Lodico return. 6-8 JR Johnny Beck is talented. Hubs had a nice summer, are conf. title contenders

Rockford Jefferson: Big expectations with Quillin Dixon, My’Quion Garrett back and transfers Terry Ford, Jyaire Robinson added to the fold.

Rolling Meadows: Gio Carillo and Ryan Carney lead guard oriented Talented 6-3 freshman PG Max Christie should have an immediate impact.

St. Charles East: Possible Super 25. Small, will play fast. Tons of shooters. 4 starters back, 6-5 SR Justin Hardy could be a breakout star.

St. Francis: Finished strong last season, looking to win sectional w/all starters back, led by Michael Cascella, Matt Cooney, Andrew Harvey.

St. Ignatius: Should be improved w/5 key guys back including Carter Higginbottom, Christian Davis. Size w/6-7 Dariusz Muta, 6-4 Luke Nauman.

St. Joseph-Ogden: All-time leading scorer Brandon Trimble graduated, Jordan Brooks, Jack Cook return along w/some decent size. Great program

St. Laurence: Jim Sexton takes over. 6-5 Zion Fortune, Isaiah Harvey, Timmy Molloy mix well with a promising group of sophomores.

St. Patrick: Last year’s top 8 gone, but senior class won ESCC as sophomores. JR Robert Stanford and soph Joe Fanning have high ceilings.

St. Teresa: SR Isaiah Bond, soph Michael Less headline good mix of experience/youth. Will compete in conf., could make noise in playoffs.

St. Viator: Leading scoreer Jeremiah Hernandez is worth watching. Peter Lambesis also back. High hopes for newcomer, JRPG Treyvon Calvin.

Schurz: Should be in super conference. 6-4 Jaland Mitchell averaged 18 pts, 9 rebs last season. One of area’s truly underrated players.

Springfield Lanphier: Looking pretty loaded. 3A title contenders with SR PG Cardell McGee, and size. 6-5 PJ Edwards, 6-6 Karl Wright.

Stagg: Upside potential. 6-5 JR Martin Macenis could be one of south burbs best. Josh Blim, John Mahoney provide experienced backcourt.

Sterling: Huge. Looking to raise the bar. 6-7 Daniel Pontnack, 6-6 Tyler Willman, 6-9 Aidan Shore. Micah Kendrick, Sean Gingrich top guards.

Sullivan: Jason Tucker takes over. Everyone back from 7-19 squad. Brandon Akien, Jamar Woodland can score, watch 6-5 transfer Jacob Brown.

TF South: Townsend Orr is the new coach. Strong backcourt with Eric Blair, De’Kwan Turner. High hopes for 6-8 junior London Denman (good passer, post moves).

Thornwood: Should be exciting. Transfer Jalen Chavers is opening eyes. Sam Moore, Zachary Carr return. Good guard play, disruptive on defense.

Timothy Christian: 6-6 Brandon Orange returns for squad opening a brand new 1,200 seat gym on Dec. 1 against rival Chicago Christian. Jim Cornelison will be there to sing the anthem.

Tinley Park: Guard heavy team, led by SR’s Josiah Bickhem, Jason Cook, Mark Cross. Newcomers Solomon Wilson, Kameron Holmes should help.

UP-Englewood: Wayne Carter takes over. High expectations for Eddie Anderson, DeVonte Williams, Keenen Davis, JR Shawn Faulkner will help.

Vernon Hills: Core of Luke Perlin, 6-4 Payton Foster, Derrick Jones returns. Good SR role players as well. Perlin could have breakout year.

Waubonsie Valley: Undersized, young. Year 2 in coach Jason Mead’s system should bring improvement. JR guard Eric Cannon is underrated.

Waukegan: Big expectations, Super 25 team. 3 starters back in 6-4 JR Bryant Brown (poised for breakout season), Ja’Dyn Brown, Jordan Brown.

Wells: Antwone Lampkin moved to PG, is now “Tyler Ulis of the White-West” watch 6-10 soph Lavell Lundy, 6-7 Terrell Wolf (Tony Allen’s son).

West Aurora: Blackhawks ready to make some noise again. Camron Donatlan, Jared Crutcher lead the way. Traevon Brown transferred in from East

West Chicago: Young, starting three juniors. Everybody can shoot, especially Jason Gimre. Senior guard had 67 three’s last season, shot 38%.

Westinghouse: Rafie Fields takes over. Under the radar group could surprise, led by Corinthian Fields, shooter Elijah Crump, Cinque Simmons.

Westminster Christian: Aiming for 13th consecutive winning season. 6-5 Ben Versluys, Jordan Warrener are talented, depth is the big worry.

Wheaton North: Should have had more attention last season. Lost all 5 starters but could be good again w/6-7 Deng Reng, 6-6 Josh Sorenson.

Wheeling: On the rise, 11 wins last season was most since 2008. All the starters are gone, but Phil Bucko, Michael Best contributed last year and will provide a solid base. 6-2 freshman Joe Jordan will start from day one.

Willowbrook: Possible Super 25. Six top players back from 24-5 squad that was one of best in school history. 6-6 Ethan Schuemer is a talent.

Woodstock: Should be competitive in the Kishwaukee River. SR Mikey Gardner leading returning scorer. Evan Bridges one of area’s top shooters

Yorkville: Top scorers Javell Moore, Logan Habada return. Tremendous defensive team. Naz transfer Christian Payne, strong sophs will help.

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