Updated: December 19, 2012 1:12PM
Coach: Jim Nazos
Last year: 7-19, 3-9 in Upstate Eight River
Key returnees: Zach Strittmatter, Sr. F; Jake Pollack, Sr. G; Mike Rueffer, Sr. G; Micah Coffey, Jr. G.
Top newcomers: Ryan Olson, Jr. F; Jeremy Schoessling, Jr. G.
Outlook: Nazos moves from Wheaton North, where he spent the past 12 seasons, to direct the Bulldogs and succeed 27-year veteran Jim Roberts, who retired from coaching to spend more time with his family. Batavia returns almost everyone except team leader Cole Gardner, who averaged 16-plus points and just under 10 rebounds. Experienced returnees should help the Bulldogs move up in the league standings.
Coach: Brian Johnson
Last year: 17-11 overall, 5-5 Northern Illinois Big 12 East
Key returnees: Drew David, 5-11 Jr. G; Matt Limbrunner, 6-4 Sr. F; Dan Miller, 6-2 Sr. G-F.
Top newcomers: John Pruett, 6-2 Jr. F; Tyler Carlson, 6-2 Jr. G.
Outlook: The Knights lost a lot of firepower to graduation and will be without David for awhile after he underwent surgery to have a pin placed in a broken bone in his hand, suffered during the football season against Yorkville. He might return in time for the Plano Christmas Classic.
Coach: Phil Ralston
Last year: 15-13 overall, 8-4 Upstate Eight River
Key returnees: Connor Chapman, 6-5 Sr. F; Mike Trimble, 6-4 Sr. G; Pat McCaffrey, 5-9 Sr. PG.
Top newcomers: Nate Navigato, 6-5 Soph. G/F; Cam Cook, 5-10 Jr. PG; Justin Durante, 5-11 Jr. G; Chris Parrilli, 6-1 Jr. G; Kyle Brown, 6-5 Jr. F.
Outlook: Ralston is optimistic the Vikings will be competitive in the UEC River, despite losing four starters to graduation. Chapman, the lone returning starter, shot 61 percent from floor last year. Trimble and McCaffrey were both backups. Navigato is an inside-outside threat and Cook will challenge to start at the point.
Coach: Ben Bates
Last year: 12-17 overall
Key returnees: Seth McDonald, 6-1 Sr.; Jake Roehn, 6-3 Sr.; Cory Tellefson, 5-10 Sr.; Dakota Padilla, 6-0 Sr.; Daulton Murphy, 5-11, Jr.
Top newcomers: Kody Randa, 5-10 Soph.; Joey Emma, 5-9 Jr.
Outlook: New coach says his team “is back to being blue collar, playing smashmouth basketball and dictating on the defensive end of the court.”
Coach: Brett Moore
Last year: 20-11, 8-3 in Interstate Eight
Key returnees: Cody Dryden, Sr. 6-0 G; Jon McDermott, Sr. 6-2, F.
Top newcomers: Eli Wallace, 5-9 Jr. G; Malik Willis, 5-11 Jr. G; Collin Seyler, 6-1, Jr. F; Udo Agomo, 6-5, Soph. F.
Outlook: Four seniors — Devin Haws, Joseph Jones, Jose Martinez, Andrew DeBolt — who graduated from last year’s regional champs provided 73 percent of the team’s points and they will be hard to replace. Dryden and McDermott each scored 4 ppg as reserves. Moore will look for steady improvement from a young team.
Coach: Ron Ahrens
Last year: 12-18
Key returnees: None
Top newcomers: Oumaru Abdulahi, 5-8 Sr. G; Kevin Gbadebo, 5-9 Sr. G; Makur Puou, 6-10 Jr. F; Mangisto Deng, 6-7 Jr. PG; Akim Nyang, 7-0 Jr. C.
Outlook: With Puou, Deng and Nyang — the three South Sudan transfers eligible for varsity this year — Ahrens looks for his team to contend for the Northeastern Athletic Conference crown. “We will be a good team defensively,” he said.
Coach: Bill Sambrookes
Last year: 23-7 overall, 8-0 Little Ten
Key returnees: Bernie Conley, 5-7 Sr. G; Jared Madden 6-0 Sr. G; Zach Michels, 6-0 Sr. C; Mitch Ruh, 6-1 Sr. G/F; Mitchell Hemesath, 6-3 Sr. F; Michael Bayler, 6-2 Sr. F; Andrew Klambauer 5-8, Sr. G; Mack Carls, 6-1 C; Nick Gentry, 6-4 Sr. C.
Outlook: Royals should have another strong year and look to be a strong bet to defend their conference crown with last year’s five junior starters back for their senior year. They are led by third team all-state selection Conley, who averaged 14.2 points, and all-state special mention selection Madden, who averaged 11.3 points and 3.0 steals.
Coach: Rick Tollefson
Last year: 20-12, 7-1 Little Ten
Key returnees: Brett Anderson, 6-3 Sr. F; Joe Hughes, 5-9 Sr. G; Kenny Hume, 6-0 Sr. G-F; Grant Riehle-Moeller, Jr. G.
Top newcomers: Jack Clausel, 6-5 Fr.; Matt Eike, 5-10, Soph.
Outlook: A fourth-year starter and returning two-time all-conference player, Anderson averaged 21.4 points and 10.4 rebounds last year. Norseman will miss Adam Shorkey, though. He started as a freshman and was the team’s second leading scorer but moved to Iowa. “Last year we were averaging double-digit turnovers, hopefully we can protact the ball a bit better,” said Tollefson.
Coach: Joe Piekarz
Last year: 14-16, 5-3 Little Ten
Key returnees: Jaron Todd, 5-11 Sr. G; Kyle Lieving, 5-11 Sr. G; Garrison Govig, 6-9 Jr. C; Jake Bjorneby, 6-2 Sr. F.
Top newcomers: Garrett Post, 6-5 Jr. F; Nick Baldwin 6-1 Jr. G/F; Stephen Muetze, 5-10, Jr. G.
Outlook: The Timberwolves return four starters and add a junior class that won conference last year as sophomores, so IC will be looking to move up in the league standings. The T’Wolves’ height could give many league foes matchup problems.
Coach: Ron Hunt
Last year: 18-12 overall, 6-2 Little Ten
Key returnees: Srs. John Wathan, Jacob Alstadt, Daniel Reiss, Matt Grutza.
Top newcomers: Jrs. Marcus Alstadt, Reece Bode, Scott Thomas; Sr. Peyton Scheuermann.
Outlook: The Bobcats will count on their athleticism and speed to help them stay in games in what could be a competitive league behind Hinckley-Big Rock.