The Central Suburban league has been one of the deeper conferences in the state the last few years. Today we are looking at some of the teams in the conference.
They lost a good senior class, including their tough point guard Luke Woodson (Drake football). But there are reasons for optimism. Senior guard Miles Cohan projects as a kid who takes a nice leap with an increased role. 6-foot-7 center Drew Rodgers was impressive as a freshman and has the athleticism and rim presence to control the paint on both ends.
Rodgers and junior guard Charlie Robin, an improved athlete who plays hard and can shoot it, both gained valuable experience at the Maccabi games over the summer. Look for a comeback year for senior Jacob Cohn as well. They under levels are deep and heavy with talent. 6-foot-5 freshman wing Jake Pollack is a name to look out for over the next few years once he gets to the varsity level.
They will have a new look with the retirement of their long-time coach and loss of an 18-point scorer in Julian Triffo (North Central). Senior guard Kaden Karstens saw big minutes a year ago and is the expected leader of the group. Junior Ethan De La Navarre was a defensive specialist as a sophomore but has rounded out his offensive game nicely.
There’s a lot to like about freshman point guard Panayiotis Sotos. Smart beyond his years and his good length and playmaking ability, I’d expect him to make an immediate impact for MS.
Active two-way forward Prince Adams returns for a final season. He continues to add layers to his offensive game and remains a switchable, disruptive defender. The transfer additions are significant. Josh Thomas (Stevenson) plays at a different elevation than other kids. His interior finishing, rebounding, and shot-blocking will be a welcome addition on the wing.
St. Viator transfer point guard Hunter Duncan can make almost all of the passes in the book. He’s got the athleticism to push the pace and will be key to determining if the front court players can thrive. I like Nikola Raic’s bruising play style. The Libertyville transfer is underrated but highly productive and athletic in the lane.
Combo guard Ephraim Chase is going to guard and get to the rim and Brandon Watson brings needed playmaking. They will be tough if everything clicks.
Coming off a Sectional championship, the Titans look stacked again despite losing two All-State players in Nick Martinelli (Northwestern) and Cooper Noard (Cornell). I still don’t think three-year guard RJ Davis gets enough recognition for his defense and floor spacing. Now stronger and more aggressive off the dribble, he will step into a leadership role. Gaven Marr, the only other returning starter, has grown and has a new confidence about his game. He had a big summer with All-In.
The junior duo of Nick Taylor (6-7) and Nate Kasher could take the biggest jump after they played roles as sophomores. Taylor combined relentless effort with athleticism, defensive focus, and face-up attacking ability. Kasher will be their best shooter and a tough, poised shot creator and distributor.
All four of the above players can really guard the ball. Sophomore Anestis Hadjistomolou is one of the more high-IQ, skilled guards in the class. He’s physically and mentally built to contribute in a big way and will be the guy advancing the ball up to their many weapons. Another deep run is feasible.
It’s a lot of fun watching this team play with the way they share the ball, guard as a unit, and move. Senior Ryan Cohen is among the best two-guards in the state. The two-time all-conference selection shoots it well from three, rebounds out of his area, and is an efficient interior scorer when he puts it on the ground. D2s and some LM programs should be all over him.
Crafty point guard Josh Fridman missed some time in the summer but is back after a breakout season as a sophomore. A defensive pest and shifty scorer, he should have a big year alongside Cohen. Look for fellow junior Owen Giannoulias to take a similar step forward. He will allow Fridman to play off the ball at times and is a savvy and competitive decision-maker.
There’s a lot of depth in the 6’0 to 6’4 range that can stroke it from three and create shots off of hard cuts. Junior Brandon Wilensky should have a nice year in a complementary role. They are a team with serious sectional title chances with the way they play.
It all starts with sophomore guard Reid Olson, an all-conference player a year ago. He continues to prove to be more than a shooter with deep range. It looks like he’s added good muscle since last winter and has the passing IQ and touch on his floaters and runners to counter the overaggressive defenses and face guards he’ll see.
They are another team boosted by some transfers. Evanston transfer Yaris Irby was up as a freshman last year and provides a pitbull mentality defensively as well as additional playmaking to take pressure off of Olson. Gio Williams also moved in and can heat up offensively for stretches.
There is some young size that is raw, but workable for a team that will lean on it’s backcourt. Olson is a force creator on offense with his shooting and Irby can really go. They have a bright future.
Cornell commit Jake Fiegen is the best shooter in Illinois and brings an infectious hard-nosed mentality to this team. He’s continued to bulk up and has shown physicality shutting down guards, creating space off of the ball with bumps, and getting to and above the rim in traffic more often. Defenses will key on him, but his ability to make contested shots and make the right plays as a passer should limit that effect on their offense.
6-foot-11 center Tyler Van Gorp steps in place of All-State big Jackson Munro (Dartmouth). The mobility, rim-protection, and soft touch are starting to come together for him. Sophomore guard Colby Smith is a talented scorer who can create off of ball screens or in space. He could emerge as the second option as the year progresses.
I like how point guard Evan Kanellos controls the tempo and looks to get everyone involved. A UChicago soccer commit, Kanellos has the stamina to pick up and defend all game. They have depth and shooting in the backcourt with seniors Jun Yoshitani and Ari Schencker, junior wings in Ian Brown and Logan Feller, and some additional size in Cooper Munro. They will be deep and hard to guard as usual. Another CSL team that could go into March.