The DuPage Valley is a smaller conference with only six teams, but the conference boasts a lot of promising young talent in the 2024 and 2025 classes. We’re previewing those teams today.
All-conference guard Lane McVicar and Ty Westberg both graduated, but the backcourt play is still going to be strong. Senior Darrell Island and sophomore Sean Reynolds will be the focal points. Island is one of the more underrated combo guards in the area, coming off a junior year where he showed a knack for getting into the lane and finishing with his athleticism. Reynolds is a proficient sharpshooter who had a big freshmen season and showed that he could carry a heavy load when McVicar missed some time. He’s put in serious work to add strength and develop his off the dribble game, now able to take contact and get his shot in multiple ways. Expect a big jump for him.
They will be fairly young and inexperienced as a group. The sophomore class has a lot to look forward to, including a smooth 6-foot-1 guard in Jackson Kees who I think could be an impact player for years to come. With good range and a lanky frame, he will have a chance to make a nice role while he continues to get stronger and grow vertically. Shooting and drive-and-kicks will be key for this group.
A junior-heavy team should have a bit of a new look this year. Seniors Jahki Gray and Quentin Schaffer form a nice backcourt. Gray had a solid junior season and excels at breaking down the defense to create. Will Ashford (6-foot-5) and Nick Schroeder (6-foot-4) are both wings who are willing to play inside or out. Ashford has flashed his promise on both ends as an aggressive slasher, pull-up threat, and shot blocker coming over from the help side. He will be one of the more talented players in the conference. Schroeder plays hard and affects games as a shooter and rebounder.
After being called up half way through his freshman year, 6-foot-7 wing Jake Nosek is a budding star in the DVC. It’s hard to find the fluidity and guard skills that he has at his size after growing a few inches since the winter.
The graduation of all-state guard Jonah Hinton (Northwestern Missouri State) and transfer of scoring-machine Mantas Zilys (Vermont Academy) leaves a big hole for them. Some of the returners will need to pick up for the losses. Senior guards Owen Stephens and Simon Krugilakovas provide good energy and will be counted on for more scoring this year.
UIC baseball commit Pambos Nicoloudes is a strong forward that is willing to bang on the inside and do the dirty work that will be needed on both ends. I’d also look for junior Jack First to provide some face-up ability and a presence around the rim. This team will look completely different than last year but there are ample opportunities for new leaders to emerge.
Expect to see the signature zone and some quality guard play. Star football prospect Luke Williams is a defensive stalwart who has some takeover ability offensively. Cole Arl is also back in the starting lineup after providing a spark with his creativity off of the dribble. He is a sound ball-screen decision maker that plays with a good edge.
Fellow junior Bryce Welch looks to be primed for a big year. Over the summer, he stood out with his dribble penetration and change of pace. He forms a three-headed monster in the backcourt with a lineup of three legitimate point guards. 6-foot-9 senior Charlie Farrell will anchor in the middle of the zone and give that interior player to play off of on the offensive end. They will be a tough matchup.
They were on the younger side last year, but now they have one of the more experienced returning groups. Three-year point guard Mark Mennecke makes things happen on both ends and will go on scoring tears if necessary. He’s a high-level multi-sport athlete. Junior Luke Kinkade should emerge as one of the top players in the DVC. After showing his shooting range as a sophomore, Kinkade’s improved body and increased role should allow him to shine coming off of pindowns and curling to the lane for shots.
Senior Chris Srbinov has also improved and has some one-on-one ability that will be useful in the expected grind-it-out games in this conference. Division 3 programs have shown interest in him. Junior Colin Gerrity was dominant on the sophomore level last season and steps into a situation where his skill and shooting could complement some of the experienced guards. He’s got that toughness and confidence off of the dribble that allows him to play against size. They don’t have a ton of size, but their offensive pace and team-oriented defense will cause some problems.
6-foot-6 wing Jackson Langendorf could start the season at point guard with his capabilities to handle the ball and make plays for others. It makes sense after seeing Langendorf show so much versatility as a junior. Expect 6-foot-5 wing Treshawn Blissett to make some noise as a contributor on both ends. His upside is evident with great length, mobility, and instincts.
Shoi Rathi has some size for a two guard and is willing to mix it up on the inside. Now a senior, Rathi will be in a good spot to take a step forward. Juniors Elijah Whitaker and Matthew Sessom will add depth and give some activity on the wing. The Warriors also have a very deep and talented sophomore class that may contribute at some point this season.