2013-14 Men's Basketball Team Outlook
The Skyhawks come off another strong season in 2012-13 with 21 wins, but again as in 2011-12 the championships that were within reach eluded them. The Skyhawks finish second (8-4) one game behind Highland in the conference race and for the second straight year lost in the Region IV semifinal to the eventual Region IV champions in a single possession game. But the Skyhawks feel if they keep knocking on that door a little harder each year the door will open and the championship will happen.
This year the Skyhawks will have to replace four starters before they can open that door. The hardest to replace will be All-American guard Jalen Riley who will take his shooting skills to Division I East Tennessee State University. Right behind Riley will be All-Conference and All-Region center Daven Ottley who will take his power double-double (scoring and rebounding) to Sioux Falls University. Add to this both forwards Magd Owayed (Cardinal Stritch) and Cody Behrens (Ashford University) and it looks like a tall hurdle. But the Skyhawks replaced 5 starters leading into last year and they feel they can raise the bar again this year.
Leading the way will be returning starting point guard, Carlos Hendrix, to provide the leadership for the young Skyhawks. The sound key will be four returning sophomores, center David Newton, big forward Chris Fritsch, and small forwards Jacob Fisher and John Murphy. Each of these players have the potential to replace last year’s starters that have moved on to the four year level and that is the key to this year’s team knocking that door open. At the guard with Hendrix will be two freshman; Chris Stovall (Milwaukee King) and Tiger Greene (Willowbrook) that should provide more depth than last year. At the shooting guard are two sophomores, Eric Naples (West Carroll) and transfer Jahlil Smith, and freshman Jacoby Posley from Winnebago High School. The three spot should be a strength for the Skyhawks with sophomores John Murphy and Jacob Fisher both at the three spot to start the season. At the four the last two Sauk Valley Newspaper players of the year, Chris Fritsch (Sterling) and Steven Armoska (Rock Falls) will compete with Tramel Rideout (Auburn) for this key rebounding and defensive position. Fritsch will also compete at the center spot with returning center David Newton (Rochelle) and Florida freshman Jeff Casseus.
Hopefully the Skyhawks can jell a little quicker than last year’s 6-5 start and take that success into conference action. The conference should be tough again this year with Blackhawk, Illinois Valley, Kishwaukee and Carl Sandburg on the rise to compete with conference defending champions Highland and the second place Skyhawks. In Region play look for a dogfight as up start Malcolm X and traditional powers Kankakee and Kennedy-King take on the Skyhawks along with conference rival Highland for the Region IV crown. The Skyhawks plan to knock even harder this year on that championship door.