Big year expected for Bolingbrook boys' basketball team
With one player already committed to a major college and several others drawing attention from recruiters, there are high expectations for Bolingbrook boys basketball this season.
“We are currently ranked in the top 10 of every major preseason poll.,” Head Coach Robert Brost told the Will County Gazette. “We have several quality players back from last year.”
Senior Nana Akenten, who earned special mention on last season's Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Class 3A/4A All-State Team, already has committed to play hoops at Nebraska. Brost said Joseph Yesufu, Kaleb Thornton, Malik Binns and Brandon Lawani also have various scholarship offers.
Bolingbrook made the regional final last season for the fourth straight year.
Four returners will help guide Plainfield Central past last season's 3-22 record.
The key returners are Zach Bonomo, Sedrick Books (per-game averages: 5 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists), Michael Hood (4 ppg, 2 rpg), Kameron Williams (4 ppg, 2 rpg) and Ryan Zydek.
“We are a versatile, competitive team that expects to have a chance to win every game we play," Head Coach Steve Lamberti told the Gazette. "Our seniors are scrappy and will help lead our juniors the right way.”
With seven players returning from last season's sectional-championship squad, expectations are high.
“They are solely based off of our goals as a team," Head Coach Nicholas DiForti told the Gazette. "These have been established by our coaching staff and players. That being said, the expectations are high and each player's role performance is paramount.”
Senior Trevian Bell was placed on last season's IBCA Class 3A/4A All-State Third Team, while senior Teyvion Kirk received special mention.
Last season's top six players are gone, with the top two returning scorers being Justin Wilson (87 points) and Brady Miller (55).
“We are in a rebuilding year and are going to experience many ups and downs because of our inexperience,” Head Coach Bob Krahulik told the Gazette. “But we are looking to compete each and every game and ultimately be playing our best basketball at the end of the season.”
Senior guard Stephon Harris leads four returning letterwinners from last season's 13-14 team. Harris averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds a game last season. Three-year starter Derek Dorsey also returns, as do seniors DJ Dorsey and Kijana Caldwell.
“This season can go either way; a lot of teams are picking us to do well in (the Southwest Prairie Conference),” Head Coach Stephen Szymanski told the Gazette. “We have a very tough schedule in and out of conference, and we look forward to the completion.”
Two of last year's starters, guard Jaylen Jones and forward Elijah Winston, return this season. The Panthers went 19-10 last season and earned a berth in the sectional final.
“We will also count on several underclassmen to help make solid contributions to this year’s team,” Head Coach Matt Borrowman told the Gazette. “Expectations are always the same in Panther Country: Compete for an SPC title, win a regional and make a long run in the IHSA playoffs.”
Two of last year's starters, Blaise Meredith and Alex Filo, are back for what looks to be a rebuilding season, Head Coach Todd Sutton told the Gazette.
“We are a good defensive team," Sutton said. "Rebounding will be a priority. Our shooting is not as good as last year, but our defense is much better. We will compete hard every night and be in every game.
Head Coach Branden Adkins told the Gazette that this year's team, which is coming off a 15-13 record in 2015-16, has speed and a solid perimeter game that could make up for a lack of size.
There is no shortage of returning talent for the Huskies this season.
All five starters from last year's 23-5 team are back, led by DuPage Valley Conference Player of the Year Mitch Lewis and all-conference picks Chris Johnson at forward/center and Winston Elston at point guard. Cam Hardy, a three-year starting defensive specialist, and Tyler Carslon, a long-range shooter, round out the returning starters.
“Seniors Derek Amend and Scott Smith will provide some toughness and depth both offensively and defensively,” Head Coach Jeff Powers told the Gazette.
All-State Fourth Team selection Jamal Thomas, who averaged 18.8 points, 5.8 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game last season, leads a group of seven letterwinners from last year's 24-4 team.
Also back are James Connolly (9 ppg), Jon Smithson, Jack Van Reck, Joey McHugh, Cole West and Chris Kelly.
“We have a solid group of seniors who will be counted on more this season, along with a few underclassmen and a handful of juniors that will compete for playing time,” Head Coach Todd Grunloh told the Gazette.
Note: Not all teams returned information requests from the Gazette for this article.