Coaches and/or athletic directors, please send info on your team to email@example.com. I’ll tweet out a preview on every team that sends in the information. You can follow along on Twitter @michaelsobrien or read the previews here. All Illinois schools are eligible, not just schools in the Sun-Times coverage area. Please include the following:
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 2021-22 Twitter Previews
Ag. Science: Tied for White-South title in 2019 and 2020 and looking to win it outright this season. Senior Justin Sadder averaged 18 points last season and senior Shawn Frison is an excellent shooter. Sterling Chears, Vijay Barner are the top newcomers.
Antioch: Former DePaul Prep assistant Sean Connor takes over as coach. Five juniors that played varsity last year return in Nathan Young, Kyle Glassman, Joe Neumann, Jake Mallek, Jordan DeVaughn. Watch 6-3 freshman Marshall Gehrke.
Bartlett: Soph Kelton McEwen, senior Ian Smith and 7-2 senior Conrad Luczynski are returning all-conference players for the defending Upstate Eight champs. Luczynski is believed to be the tallest player in the state.
Bishop McNamara: A long football run could make an impact. All 5 starters back including junior Jaxson Provost, Nolan Czako, Frank Fouts, Al Smith, Colton Provost. Not big, but can run, score and guard full court.
Brother Rice: Junior Ahmad Henderson, one of last season’s breakout stars, returns. He will have an increased scoring roll. Nick Niego could have a big year and 6-5 Khalil Ross and Jayden Watson provide skilled length. Majority junior group will be together the next 2 seasons.
Chicago Academy: Four senior starters return, led by guard Anthony Zepeda. Keep an eye on point guard Noah Salman. This group has finished 9-1 and 17-6 the last two seasons. Will push for promotion.
Chicago Christian: Finished above .500 the last 6 seasons and streak should continue. Evan Ortiz is the only returning starter. Junior Brock Brown could be one of the conference’s stop shooters. 6-4 junior Luke Jelderks is an excellent rebounder. Heading to Orlando for xmas.
Comer: A young team with good size and speed. Senior leader Curtis Smothers averaged a double-double last season. He will team with junior Tyrone Price to try and win a Noble League championship.
Deerfield: Five seniors return who started games last season, led by All-conference point guard Luke Woodson. Big things expected from seniors Oliver Nitsun, Aidan Galvan and Sam Schecter. Cooper Venamore is the glue guy. Watch for junior Jacob Cohn and 6-7 freshman Drew Rodgers.
DePaul Prep: This group waited its turn behind last year’s accomplished seniors. 6-9 Dylan Arnett is a Milwaukee recruit. Guard Trevon Thomas will open some eyes. 6-6 guards Payton Kamin and Jaylan McElroy are intriguing sophs.
Dyett: Went 8-1 last season and are ready to win the White Central again. Eagles have won 20+ games every season since reopening in 2016. Tavarius Vinson, a 7-1 senior, leads the way. Keep an eye on newcomers Vijay Wallace, DeAndre Nobles, Malik Johnson and Neveah Clinkscales.
Eisenhower: Young and inexperienced with just one starter returning. Will have highs and lows with some very talented sophs including Zion Carr, Darrion Pippen, Ayipey Salinas, AJ Abranms. Seniors Alonzo Powe, Amarrio Mizelle, Aaron Bey expected to provide leadership.
Elk Grove: Young and undersized with only 2 seniors on the team. Will try to play half court. Having a successful fall. Top returners are Josh Mottley, Jaden Alberson, Joe Martorano, Garrett Ewen. Left York holiday tournament and will play at Maine East’s tournament this season.
Evergreen Park: An up-tempo offense that will rely on creating offense from defensive pressure. Sophomore Nolan Sexton averaged 16 points and shot 40% from three as a freshman. 6-4 senior Malik Kelly averaged a double-double last season and will lead the way.
Fenwick: Coach Tony Young has a solid returning core with 6-3 senior Denium Juette, 6-5 senior Gabe Madej and 5-11 senior TJ Stephenson. Damion Porter Jr., a 6-3 freshman, is the top newcomer.
Francis Parker: Slightly undersized but looking to compete in the ISL. Young with just two seniors, Jackson Antonow and Sam Laser, in the starting five. Sophs Sam Forst and Connor Elligan are the top newcomers.
Grant Park: Soph coach Matt Russell takes over a varsity group that graduated 90% of its scoring. Top returners are forwards Sawyer Loitz and Wes Schneider. Could be a breakout season for 6-6 junior John Kveck.
Grayslake Central: Deep roster with good mix of returners and exciting newcomers. Nathan Ulrichs, Dennis Estepp, Brendan Whalen lead the way. Juniors Kai Taylor, Michael Monahan and Jake Gibson will make an immediate impact.
Hersey: Athletic, deep team of versatile, multisport athletes who compete hard at both ends. Should grow into a solid defensive team. Look for youth to help carry scoring load.
Hoffman Estates: Returning a lot of experience. Twin guards Mike and Nick Vuckovic will pace the Hawks offensively. Good size on the wing with 6-4 seniors Darien Irvin and Luka Sparavalo. DJ Wallace, a 6-7 junior, will open eyes with skill and athleticism.
Hubbard: Basically the same team as last season. Guards Arion Johnson, Jumario Johnson and Asean Johnson all return. They are not related. Arion is a terrific shooter, Jumario is an athlete with potential.
Johnsburg: Implemented Loyola Marymount’s 1990’s system last year and averaged 73 ppg. Should get faster and better this season. Junior Dylan Schmidt (averaged 19), 6-6 Jacob Welch, Ian Boal, Luke Conroy, Joe Wolff, Jake Metze are the top returners.
Lakes: Young, but 3 juniors played meaningful minutes last season. Good athleticism and strong outside shooting. Will need to develop depth. Senior guard Ethan McGruder and 6-6 junior Brock Marino are the top returners. Juniors Tyson Dewey, Cade Primack will have major roles.
Legal Prep: Senior guards Davon Gram and Tyler Ford lead a team hoping its team defense will make it a CPS White-West contender. A lot will depend on juniors Anthony Wilson and Jaquan Smith and the development of sophs Wayne Flowers and Jamal Craig.
Lincoln-Way East: Rich Kolimas is starting his 22nd year as coach. He has a talented, but young team with only two seniors. Good size with 6-6 George Bellevue, 6-5 Kyle Olagbegi, 6-6 soph Mac Hagemaster. Keep an eye on 6-2 junior Tylon Tolliver, an excellent scorer.
Loyola: Good group of seniors with depth. Looking for 5th straight regional, third Sweet 16. Should grow into a good defensive team. Max Garcia is the only returning starter. 6-5 Connor Casper can score on all 3 levels. Junior Alex Engro, a scorer, should have a breakout season.
Manteno: Won 3 of their final 4 games last season with two freshmen starting. 6-3 senior Manny Carerra will be a matchup problem for many teams and 6-4 soph guard Nicky Johnson should take a major step forward after a good summer.
Marist: Brian Hynes takes over as coach. Young team. Juniors Xavier Sulaiman, Leirre Collier, Mason Ross will lead the way with senior Sebastian Drag. Two freshmen will be on varsity, 6-3 forward Achilles Anderson and guard Marquis Vance.
Marmion: Four-year starter Sean Kavanaugh leads a group heavy on juniors and sophs. Soph Trendell Whiting could make a big leap this season. 6-5 Trevon Roots, 6-4 Jabe Haith provide length and athleticism. Former Indian Creek coach Joe Piekarz takes over.
Metamora: Returns all the starters from 15-4 squad. Should be deeper this season. Shot 41% from three last year and expecting to be better. 6-6 D1 prospect Ethan Kizer leads the way. Luke DeFrance, Drew Tucker, Zack Schroeder, Tyson Swanson round out the lineup and can all shoot.
Momence: In the mix for River Valley title in first year back after leaving in 2005. Starters Jaden Walls, Haven Roberts, 6-7 James Stevenson Jr. return.
Montini: Connected group that could surprise. Versatile 6-4 senior Andrew Stokes, Estevan Moreno (Notre Dame baseball commit), Vincent Burger and Ned Kalata will play big roles. Emory Marshall, a junior from St. Joseph, has transferred in.
Mount Carmel: Will compete for CCL title behind star guard Deandre Craig, much improved 6-6 Elijah Jointer and guard Eddy Lyons. Myles Griffith also returns. Ciravino brothers, Anthony and Angleo, could be the difference-makers. Deep, with the best freshman class in a decade.
North Lawndale: Could be much better than people realize. Talented junior guards Damarion Wyatt and Ronald Chambers return. 6-6 junior Aidon Parker and 6-5 senior Vincent Mayes provide size. Keep an eye on 6-2 sophomore guard Tyshaun Moore.
Oak Park: First full season under coach Phil Gary, who says the Huskies will look to play in transition more. Senior Justin Mullins (6-5) and junior Sam Lewis (6-6) are skilled and experienced. 6-9 senior John Vincent and guards Max Murray and Raimon Yarbrough also return.
Oswego: All-conference guard Max Neisman and 6-6 football recruit Deakon Tonelli return along with five other seniors and a strong junior class. Caleb Wright, Kyle Zeck, Fabiain Cruiel, Mark Melton will all contribute. Soph Jordan Brooks should make an impact.
Oswego East: A competitive and experienced group returns. Leaders Patrick Robinson and Mekhi Lowery have a solid group of players around them including seniors DeVon Oregon, Darren Oregon, and Gavin Garcon. Juniors Ryan Johnson, Tyler Jasek and Joey Patti will provide depth.
Payton: Will be competitive each night and challenge in the White-West. Seven returning seniors including point guard Julian Villegas. Strong junior class includes 6-6 forward Nate Raub.
Perspectives-Leadership: Goal is to win the White-South and move up to the Red for the first time in school history. Jaquwan Payton, Jabari Sanders and Daniel Winters return from 8-2 squad. Newcomers Matthew Neal, Tim Handy, Jalen Hudson-Kittler will contribute.
Plainfield Central: Returns 7 players including junior guard Bryce Shoto and senior guard Donovan Brown. There’s a trio of big men in 6-7 Luke Cervelli, 6-5 Colin Bailye and 6-5 Marquese Dotson. Group has a high basketball IQ and a good worth ethic.
Plainfield South: Seniors Zander Tubbs, Tim Ward and junior NOlan Gerdich are all straight-A students and keys to the Cougars’ success this season. Senior Kenyi Callahan is a great rebounder and defender, fuels the team’s intensity and defensive attitude.
Pontiac: Young but talented. Senior Kodi Davis returns along with 6-5 junior Logan Barnett, last season’s leading scorer. Michael Kuska, who started as a freshman last season, leads a talented sophomore class. Future is bright.
Richards: All-conference guard Santiago Rios returns along with Ladarius Kelley, Monte Storey and Travis Garmon. Two transfers from Corliss, Deven Jiles and Lavelle Nash, will step in and help immediately.
Riverside-Brookfield: Could be a big year. Bulldogs return the four leading scorers from 11-2 squad. Excellent shooting team, small but skilled. Seniors JP Hanley, Joevonn McCottry, Cory Baker, Joe Gilhooley lead the way. High expectations for 6-5 soph Will Gonzalez.
Rolling Meadows: Cameron Christie moves into the spotlight. The 6-5 junior has Orlando Thomas, Foster Ogbonna and Lukas Paisley back with him. Keep an eye on 6-6 Mark Nickolich-Wilson, 6-6 Tsvet Sotirov and 6-5 freshman guard Ian Militec.
Romeoville: Young and athletic, led by junior guard Troy Cicero Jr., a Joliet Central transfer. Expect breakout seasons from soph Meyoh Swansey, freshman Keshaun Vival. Jordan Armstrong, Jacob Fruty, TJ Lee, Jaquise Warren, Kedrick Howard, Corey Jones are key contributors.
St. Edward: Top newcomer Michael O’Brien, a 6-0 junior, will clearly lead the Green Wave to glory. My unrelated namesake is surrounded by four returning starters in Jacob Breier, Robert Wilson, Ben Zielinski and Kaden Dawson. Should be Metro Red contenders.
St. Francis: Rock solid backcourt with two three-year starers, 6-3 seniors Sebastian Miller and Brendan Yarusso. Jack Brennan, Sean Kilian, Nik Rowlan, Colin Kiesler return and football players TJ McMillen and Blake Lawson join the team after a season off.
St. Viator: Lions will play at a faster pace according to second-year coach Michael O’Keefe. Eli Aldana (15 points, 4.5 assists) was one of the most productive sophs in the state. He’ll be joined by fellow juniors RJ Gamble, Dillon Schmidt and Hunter Duncan (La Lumiere transfer).
Sandburg: New coach John Daniels takes over. The Eagles will be led by senior point guard Ty Binns and scorer Ryan McPolin. Junior Om Shukla is an excellent shooter and sophomore Paulius Mizeras is one to keep an eye on.
Tinley Park: Possibly the most talented team coach DJ Brown has had in his 15 years. Guards Keon Richardson and Malachi Haythorne are joined by 6-7 Westinghouse transfer Martell Webb and 6-6 Brother Rice transfer Nick Harrell. Keep an eye on 6-7 junior Amarion Johnson.
Vernon Hills: Took some lumps in February but earned experience. Senior point guard Max Brusso is the spark plug. 6-5 forward Erik Rimas is a three-year starter and physical presence. Justin St. Louis, Nick Heiser, Milan Raval round out the hard-working returning core.
Vocational: Expecting to make a splash in the Public League. Four returning starters, led by 6-4 senior Lashawn Pollard who averaged 15 and 14 last season and should improve. Point guard Coyne Turner and 6-5 Travon Franklin are keys. Keep an eye on soph Valentino Code.
Wheeling: 6-3 senior Aima Igiehon is the only returning starter for second-year coach Tom Antosz. Keep an eye on 5-11 senior guard JJ Kaspar, 6-3 senior guard Elijah Hutchinson and his brother, 6-4 junior Josh Hutchinson.
York: Returns two three-year varsity players in Drew Kircher and Nick Hesch along with sixth-man Alex Sherman. 6-5 junior Adam Hardek and 6-5 senior Aiden McGovern provide some size. Braden Richardson and AJ Levine are promising sophomores.
Yorkville Christian: Duke recruit Jaden Schutt and the Mustangs have their sights set on the Class 1A state title. That’s just fun to type again. Champaign in March. Brayden Long, KJ Vasser, Tyler Burrows, Jehvion Starwood and Elijah Fisher all return as well.