Boys and Men’s 2022-2023 Hoops Preview

Spread the love


The Crusaders finished 24-7 last season and fell 60-49 to Bloom in a Class 4A regional championship game.

While almost every key player — aside from forward Jayden Watson, who transferred to Bloom — will be back from last year’s team, there will be a new coach leading the way. Conte Stamas, a veteran coach who has previous head coaching experience at Evanston, Lyons and Morton College, has succeeded Crusaders alum Bobby Frasor.

Stamas inherits a talented roster, led by senior point guard Ahmad Henderson, a Niagara recruit who averaged 15.2 points and 4.1 assists and was named to the All-State Third Team last season.

Also back are senior guard Nick Niego and senior forward Khalil Ross, who both made huge contributions last season. Look for seniors Ryan Gierhahn, Peter McShane and Jimmy Navarrete to make a difference on a team that is loaded with experience.
—Steve Millar


The Knights look to rebound after a tough 6-24 campaign in 2021-22. Chicago Christian lost its playoff opener  to Joliet Catholic.

Two returning starters will look to lead the way: senior guard-forward Adam Stuursma, who averaged 6.2 points and five rebounds last season, and senior point guard Joel Crowell, who averaged six points.

Senior guard Liam Crotty will be counted on for scoring. Chicago Christian coach Kevin Pittman said Crotty had a strong summer.

Senior guard Matt Stevens is a strong outside shooter, and 6-foot-3 junior forward AJ VanDellen will look to step up as both an inside and an outside threat for a Knights team that does not have a ton of size.

“No doubt about it, we need to be able to score more than we did last year,” Pittman said. “We have the ability to push the ball and score in transition and that’s what we hope to do.”
—Steve Millar


The bad news for opponents is that Nolan Sexton, who averaged 15 points per game last year and has been an all-South Suburban Red Conference player, is back for another two years.

The junior joins senior Isiah Mosley as players with the most seniority on a 17-12 squad, but the team lost Bakari Nelson, who transferred to Bosco Institute in Indiana.

Mustangs coach Jim Sexton, whose team lost to Brooks in a Class 3A regional opener last year, is counting on seniors Nate Haugabook and Alfredo Rivera, juniors Ulises Cardenas and Billy Buchanan, plus freshman Lonnie Mosley to help try to elevate the team to the 20-plus-win stratosphere.

Sexton is expecting his son Nolan Sexton to be among the top perimeter players in the area, and the coach is looking forward to the excitement Lonnie Mosley can bring to the table.

“We should have a high-scoring offense that shares the ball well and excels in transition,” Sexton said. “Our defense and rebounding are a work in progress, but we will overcome a lack of size with our toughness. We’re looking to win our first SSC Red title since 2017.”
—Jeff Vorva


The RedHawks went 13-14 in their first season under coach Brian Hynes, a former assistant who moved into the head coaching role last summer.

Marist ended last season with a 58-53 loss to Homewood-Flossmoor in a Class 4A regional championship game.

The RedHawks were hurt by transfers, losing their top two scorers from last season. Xavier Sulaiman, who averaged 17 points a game, transferred to Oak Lawn, while Leirre Collier left for Bloom.

Marist will be young this season but does have a pair of returning starters in seniors Mason Ross and Kaden White.

Forward Achilles Anderson, who got a lot of playing time as a freshman last season, is one of several sophomores expected to play big roles along with Marquis Vance and Keshaun Vaval. Watch for 6-foot-7 freshman Stephen Brown.
—Steve Millar


Expectations are high for the Caravan following a 28-5 season. Mount Carmel beat Bogan 70-37 for a regional title last season before falling 51-48 to Hyde Park in a Class 3A sectional semifinal.

Several key pieces are back from that team, led by one of the top point guards in the state in senior DeAndre Craig, who is committed to Denver. The Ciaravino brothers – senior Anthony and junior Angelo – are strong complements to Craig with their ability to shoot, rebound and defend.

“We will have great team leadership and a great bond,” Mount Carmel coach Phil Segroves said. “A nice summer trip to play in LA in late June helped bring our team together.”

Lee Marks, a junior forward who transferred from Homewood-Flossmoor, is a big addition. Also look for Darrion Gilliam and Asher Tomaszewski to make an impact after transitioning from football season.

Tomaszewski, a Kansas State football recruit, will likely miss some time with an injury from football, but will add some major size at 6-foot-4, 280 pounds.

“(Tomaszewski) will surprise people with his athleticism,” Segroves said.
—Steve Millar


Oak Lawn has won 24 or more games in a season just three times in program history, and two of those came in the past three seasons.

Coach Jason Rhodes’ team posted a 25-7 mark last year, including a 12-1 showing to win the South Suburban Conference Red. That’s the second-most wins in school history behind the fabled 1970-71 team, which won 30 and finished second in the state.

Nine seniors, four of whom are now playing college hoops, graduated. But the Spartans picked up a huge X-factor transfer in Xavier Sulaiman, a 6-foot-3 guard from Marist who was an Illinois Basketball Coaches Association All-State special mention.

Others who figure to help keep the winning going include Ayham Salah, who was all-conference last year and averaged 9.5 points per game. He is hoping for an all-conference trifecta this school year as he earned the honor in football and looks to keep it going in basketball and baseball.

The newcomer list includes freshman Jack Dempsey, who hopes to pack a punch for the Spartans.

“We have a fast, athletic starting group that can get up and down the floor and attack on both ends,” Rhodes said. “Our goals are to compete for conference and regional championships, which this group is capable of doing.”
—Jeff Vorva


The Vikings went 9-24 last season with an extremely young team, as several freshmen got starting experience.

St. Laurence won its playoff opener against Hinsdale South then just missed pulling off the biggest shocker of the year, falling 43-41 to Simeon — which went on to finish fourth in state in Class 3A — in a regional championship game.

The playoff success showed major progress and gave reasons to believe the lumps the Vikings took with such an inexperienced team last season will pay off this year.

Sophomore guards EJ Mosley, Khalil Jones, Jacob Rice and Zerrick Johnson will lead the way. Mosley averaged 11.2 points last season. Coach Byron Burt says all four are receiving interest from Ivy League schools.

Another sophomore, forward Caleb Lindsey, is expected to make a big impact this season, while seniors Jacob White and Danny Fitzgerald should be valuable newcomers.

Despite his team still being young and expecting to start five sophomores, Burt has lofty goals.

“I think our biggest strength is how together we are,” he said. “I have never coached a group this unselfish and this talented all in one. The expectations are high. We’re aiming to have our first 20-plus-win season with a trip down state this year in 3A.”
—Steve Millar


Although the Mustangs will be loaded with underclassmen, there’s already a feeling of state-or-bust for what is on paper one of the state’s most talented teams.

St. Rita went 23-12 last season, beating Morgan Park 72-61 for a regional championship and advancing to a Class 4A sectional final before falling to Kenwood.

Back are the Mustangs’ star 6-foot-9 twin towers, juniors Morez Johnson and James Brown. Johnson is committed to Illinois and Brown has offers from major programs including Illinois, North Carolina, Duke, Michigan, Michigan State and Missouri.

St. Rita picked up a major addition with the transfer of junior guard/forward Nojus Indrusaitis from Lemont. Indrusaitis has received offers from the likes of Illinois, Iowa, Maryland and Missouri.

Senior guard Nashawn Holmes, a Homewood-Flossmoor transfer, is another big addition. Senior guard Jordan Chandler and sophomore guard Melvin Bell — the latter who is injured but is expected to return in January — add to a deep roster.

The Mustangs were listed in the national preseason rankings of multiple media outlets.

“We’re humbled by it, but at the same time we try to ignore it,” St. Rita coach Roshawn Russell said. “We know we still have to do our part. You can be ranked in the state, ranked nationally, but at the end of the day you have to perform.”
—Steve Millar


The Eagles struggled in their first season under coach John Daniels, going 7-23 and dropping its playoff opener to St. Rita.

Sandburg hopes for improvement with a year under its belt in Daniels’ system.

Senior guard Om Shukla and senior forward Jimmy Prendergast, who both averaged four points per game last season, are returning players with experience, while junior guards David Vargas and Paulius Mizeras will be counted on to step up.

“We will be better at defending,” Daniels said. “Our goal is to have a winning record and compete in conference and in a regional.”
—Steve Millar


The Astros have plenty of returnees from a team that went 11-17 and lost in the first round of the regionals.

Seven players are back, starting with guards Kylan Rogers, Payton Crim, Jamari McGee, Kyan Owokinarian and Miftar Kugo.

Forward Manny Orozco and 6-foot-6 center Robinson Hale are also veteran players in the mix.

Newcomer Peter Primbas is a freshman guard who hopes to make an impact.

“We have a good group of young men,” Shepard coach Tony Chiuccariello said. “Outside of Robinson we are exceptionally small for a varsity team, but we will make up for that by playing fast, hard, smart and selflessly.

“We have worked hard all summer and fall to get better each and every day.  We will continue to get better each practice and by February we will be a much better team than we were in November.  I like these young men.”

The Astros opened play this week with games against Perspectives Charter, Marist and Andrew in the District 218 Tip Off Classic.
—Jeff Vorva


In an up-and-down 2021-22 season, Stagg was 8-8 midway through January but struggled down the stretch to finish 11-17. The Chargers lost their playoff opener, 68-61, to Morgan Park.

This season, junior guard Connor Williams is a key returner after starting every game as a sophomore. Senior guard Alex Czaja and junior guard Lebarion Gilmore also have a good deal of varsity experience.

“I think that we have a lot of guys who can really score and shoot the basketball on our team,” Stagg coach Marty Strus said. “We are still very young so I expect us to play with a lot of energy, but we’ll need to grow up quickly to compete in our conference.”

Strus hopes for contributions from a quartet of forwards in senior Saleh Mustafa, juniors David Ortiz and Yousef Jarad, and sophomore Domas Narcevicius.

Stagg would like to make program history.

“We hope to reach the goal of winning a conference championship, which has never been done in school history,” Strus said.
—Steve Millar


Time for some new faces to take over for the Bulldogs this season.

Coach Kyle Rathbun watched five starters and his first man off the bench graduate, including all-South Suburban Conference players Deven Jiles, Greg Miller and Ladarius Kelley from a team that finished 17-13 and lost in the first round of the Class 3A regionals to Kankakee.

Top returning players include several who saw significant varsity minutes last season, including senior guards Donnie Burton, BJ Sutton and Eddie Hrebic. Senior 6-6 forward Sam Cain and forward-guard Nikolas Dixon are also back.

Last year’s JV team won the conference and Rathbun is eager to see how some of those players mix in on the varsity.

Seniors Kaleb Vance and James Smith are a pair of 6-6 forwards who hope to break into the lineup. Junior guards Cameron King, DJ Newman and Raeshon Edwards are also hoping to make it in the regular rotation.

“There are opportunities for newcomers to make an impact,” Rathbun said. “We have a lot of depth with numerous individuals willing to contribute. Even with so much turnover, our goal is still to win conference.”
—Jeff Vorva



Is this a basketball team or a chess team at St. Xavier University?

The Cougars have a King –—first name Jaeden — and a couple of Bishops — Kevin and Drew — among their top four scorers this year through seven games.

SXU, 17-14 last year including a season-ending 46-44 loss to Roosevelt in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference quarterfinals, opened this season 5-2. They started 0-2 with losses to nationally ranked Marian (Indiana) and Grace College before reeling off five straight.

That streak included piling up 104 points against Indiana-South Bend and 98 against Governors State.

King, a 6-foot-6 senior from St. Paul, Minnesota, and a Tiffin University (Ohio) transfer, has made himself right at home in Chicago, averaging 19.7 points per game and 7.1 rebounds per contest.

Kevin Bishop a 6-foot-6 junior from Cleveland, is averaging 16.7 points, TJ Babikir, a 6-1 senior from Kansas City 8.6 points, and Drew Bishop, a 6-1 senior from Dexter, Michigan 8.4.

None of the four leaders were with the team last year.
—Jeff Vorva


Moraine Valley can show off plenty of firepower, as witnessed by scoring 117 points in a game against Harry S. Truman College on Nov. 15.

The Cyclones opened the season 4-2. They were 19-10 last season and finished the campaign losing 83-73 in the Region IV Division II semifinals.

Coach John Chappetto welcomes back last season’s leading rebounder and All-Conference and All-Region IV first team guard-forward Anthony Taylor (Richards). The 6-foot-5 multi-talented player is expected to be a force again this year.

Trace Williams (Homewood-Flossmoor) is a 6-1 starting point guard. At 22 years old he is slightly older than the rest of the group and in his third season with the Cyclones. Kobe Adams (Oswego), also in his third season and a 6-3 All-Conference and All-Region second team guard, has some firepower.

Among the seven freshmen, the area is well represented with Davion Lawrence (Oak Lawn), brothers Nicco and David Reyes (Oak Lawn), and Malik Kelly (Evergreen Park).

“We have some size and depth at guard,” Chappetto said. “It’s a nice group of kids. We’re pretty cohesive. We have more guys who like defense.”
—Jeff Vorva


Trinity scheduled three Missouri Valley Conference teams this season — exhibition games against Illinois-Chicago and Valparaiso, and one that will count against Indiana State in Terra Haute, Ind., on Sunday.

Coach Jason Hawkins, who has been coaching the NAIA school in Palos Heights since 2018-2019, believes playing a few levels up will help.

“It lets us know where we are at as a team,” he said. “It’s a test of how we respond to a physical team, a challenge and a big crowd.”

The Trolls finished 11-19 last year and did not qualify for the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference playoffs.

They opened this season winning three out of five games, with sophomore Lake Zurich product John Cison leading the way averaging 21.8 points per game, and Philadelphia junior Saeer Miller averaging 19 points.

“We’re starting two sophomores, two freshmen and one junior,” Hawkins said. “Our defense has to improve. One of the biggest challenges for the freshmen is the physicality of the game. They have to learn to be a little bit tougher.”

Brady Loerop, a 6-foot-6 sophomore from Chicago Christian, is starting and averaging 14.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.
—Jeff Vorva

Local News


Mount Carmel, Marist and Oak Lawn among 84 teams at Riverside-Brookfield shootout

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent   High school boys basketball does not stop in March and pick back up in late autumn. For many players, playing hoops is a year-round commitment. AAU ball is a big reason for, that there are summer camps, shootouts or other events at most schools during the summer. The…

Peggy Zabicki

Dog lovers to celebrate ‘Fur of July’

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 . I’m starting out with some fun news. The West Lawn Dog Park Advisory Council will be hosting a Fur of July Pet Parade on Saturday, June 29 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at West Lawn…

Mary Stanek

Fourth of July not happy for everyone

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place •  (773) 517-7796 . Happy Fourth of July. Cannot believe I am already saying that, time sure goes. Hope it is safe and quiet for everyone and especially all of our house pets. For us its shutting…

Kathy Headley

St. Rita’s transformation is worth a look

Spread the love

Spread the love. Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 . St. Rita of Cascia Church, 63rd and Fairfield, continues to undergo its transformation from the sunflowery/harvest golds and browns of the 1960s and 1970s to the calming pastels of the 2000s. Since the basilica-style church…

Alyssa Naeher clears a ball at North Carolina on June 23 in a 3-1 Red Stars loss. IMAGN photo

Loss to Courage brings Red Stars’ winless streak to five games

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The Chicago Red Stars historic start to the season is all but forgotten. In the last five matches, the Red Stars have failed to win, with the latest setback being a 3-1 loss on the road to North Carolina on June 23 in an NWSL battle. The Red Stars…


Summer League Basketball | Illinois powers compete at Riverside-Brookfield Shootout

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent School’s out for the summer, but high school athletes across Illinois are remaining active during the summer sports season. This includes basketball players, who can be found at camps, open gyms, camps and even weekend tournaments. Among the more high profile hoops action in the area was the Riverside-Brookfield…

Dana Rettke, a graduate of Riverside-Brookfield High School, will play on the U.S. women's volleyball team at the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

Dana Rettke and Ryan Murphy heading to Paris Summer Games

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Area fans of the Summer Olympics will have extra reasons to cheer athletes from the United States in the upcoming Paris Games. Dana Rettke of Riverside is a member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team and Palos Heights native Ryan Murphy will represent the country in swimming. Rettke, a…

Kathy Headley

Hope Church feeds the hungry at Marquette Park

Spread the love

Spread the love. Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 . Last week on the way to our CAPS meeting at the Marquette Park Fieldhouse, I stopped in at the Tuesday Community Dinner hosted by Hope Church every week in the auditorium. Pastors Ben and Jordyn…

Ray Hanania

What about the needs of Americans?

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Ray Hanania . It’s amazing how America is being forced to accept migrants, undocumented and foreigners who enter this country illegally by ignoring our immigration laws and system. These illegals are given all kinds of benefits, including housing, shelter, food, funding and even “documentation services” including getting driver’s licenses from Gov.…

Rich Miller

Far right gets what’s left of GOP

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Rich Miller . As you’ve probably heard by now, Illinois Republican Party Chair Don Tracy announced his resignation last week, apparently effective the day after the Republican National Convention concludes on July 18. The announcement came after far-right activists forced out the state party’s vice chair, Mark Shaw, and the resignation…


Communities, commission push Pritzker admin for more prison plan details

Communities, commission push Pritzker admin for more prison plan details

By DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois Jimmy Soto spent more than 42 years wrongfully imprisoned in Illinois Department of Corrections facilities. In 2020, he was moved to the “F-House” at Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, a condemned unit, not because he was being punished, but because it was where the facility was housing individuals…

Elections board urged to dismiss complaint that Bailey illegally coordinated in 2022 campaign

Elections board urged to dismiss complaint that Bailey illegally coordinated in 2022 campaign

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois A hearing officer is recommending the Illinois State Board of Elections dismiss a complaint that alleged conservative radio host and political operative Dan Proft illegally coordinated with former Republican state Sen. Darren Bailey during his 2022 campaign for governor. Proft, a one-time gubernatorial candidate himself, is behind an…

State highway shootings decline as critics sue over ‘dragnet surveillance’

State highway shootings decline as critics sue over ‘dragnet surveillance’

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois Illinois State Police say an automated license plate reader program has helped the agency identify witnesses or suspects in 82 percent of highway shooting cases this year, including all eight that resulted in a death.  But as the state looks to further expand its network of more than…

Just weeks before Republican National Convention, Illinois GOP chair announces resignation

Just weeks before Republican National Convention, Illinois GOP chair announces resignation

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois Halfway through the 2024 election cycle and just a few weeks away from the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, Illinois GOP Chair Don Tracy on Wednesday announced his resignation as head of the state Republican Party. Tracy, who’d held the job since February 2021, explained his resignation in…

As Illinois session ends, lawmakers’ attempt to reinstate wetland protections fails

As Illinois session ends, lawmakers’ attempt to reinstate wetland protections fails

by JENNIFER BAMBERG Investigate Midwest In 2006, 19-year-old Jessica Whinston inherited 20 acres of land that her grandparents once farmed in Quincy, Illinois. The land had sat dormant since the 1980s and was overgrown, but Whinston and her husband Bradley worked to turn it into a productive farm. The couple were eventually able to…

Elections board dismisses illegal campaign coordination complaint, declines to clarify law

Elections board dismisses illegal campaign coordination complaint, declines to clarify law

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois CHICAGO – State elections officials on Tuesday indicated they were unlikely to step in to clarify what constitutes illegal campaign coordination after voting to dismiss a complaint alleging such coordination in the 2022 campaign for governor. At their monthly meeting in Chicago, Illinois State Board of Elections members…

Illinois’ ban on ‘bump stocks’ remains in place despite U.S. Supreme Court decision

Illinois’ ban on ‘bump stocks’ remains in place despite U.S. Supreme Court decision

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois SPRINGFIELD – An Illinois law banning the sale and use of “bump stocks” and other devices that increase the firing power of semiautomatic weapons remains in place, at least for now, despite a U.S. Supreme Court decision Friday striking down a federal ban on such items. “Illinois law…

Lawmakers pass on oversight vote for Pritzker’s prison closure, rebuild plan

Lawmakers pass on oversight vote for Pritzker’s prison closure, rebuild plan

By HANNAH MEISEL & DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois SPRINGFIELD – For the last two decades, each time a governor has moved to close a large state-run facility like a prison or mental health center, a legislative oversight panel has voted on the plan. That changed on Friday – at least for now –…

‘We don’t really know what we’re voting on,’ top Dem says of Pritzker’s prison plan

‘We don’t really know what we’re voting on,’ top Dem says of Pritzker’s prison plan

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois LINCOLN – On the eve of a scheduled vote to advise Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration on plans to close and rebuild a pair of dilapidated state prisons, hundreds filed into a junior high school gymnasium Thursday evening clad in matching green T-shirts. Printed on the shirts was a…

Illinois child tax credit: who gets it, how much is it?

Illinois child tax credit: who gets it, how much is it?

By ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois In the final hours of their spring legislative session, Illinois lawmakers approved a tax credit of up to about $300 for families with young children.  The credit is available to Illinoisans with children under age 12 who qualify for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC. Although…