2014-15 Men's Basketball Team Outlook
The Skyhawks are coming off their third straight 20-win season that ended last season with a single possession loss to top-seeded Kankakee in the Region IV seem-finals. Now the Skyhawks face the challenge of reaching the next level with only one of their top six scorers returning, and their smallest number of players to start a season in the last 20 years. " We will need to stay healthy, be in great shape, and be intrinsically motivated to compete every day, but this group just might be able to accomplish something special; they already have great chemistry and leadership, and they will compete," stated Coach Damhoff entering his 29th season.
The key to the Skyhawk's success this season could be their three returning sophomores. Chris Stovall was a part-time starter for the Skyhawks at point last year and will play both the 1 and 3 positions this season. Tramel Rideout, who started the second half of the season at the 4 sot last year, will move to the 3 spot this year. This year's captain, Rideout, will give the Skyhawks the 'toughness' that is needed to be successful at the college level.
The third returning sophomore, Jacoby Posley, was the Skyhawk's leading scorer last year starting at the shooting guard position. Posley was named to both the Arrowhead All-Conference Team and the Region IV All-Region Team. Posley will be counted on as the Skyhawks offensive cornerstone and should be much improved on the defensive end. Helping the Skyawks maturity and experience will be two transfers at the power positions. At the five position, Jansen Hight (Southern Indiana/Wabash) will use his strength and quickness to be a major part of the Skyhawk's rebounding effort and best block efforts. The second transfer, Sheldon Cooks (Madison), will bring his height and scoring ability to the four position.
Six freshman will join the Skyhawks this season and two of them are talented point guards. A.J. Sharp, the All-Conference point guard ad starting quarterback for the State-Champion Newman Comets, will bring leadership and scoring skills to the Skyhawk effort. The second freshman point is Marvie Keith Jr. from Crete Monet High School. Keith has strong offensive skills that will contribute to the Skyhawks full-court and half-court scoring punch and execution. At the wing positions James Trice (Racine Case) and Lamont Hawthorne (Decatur Central, IN) will bring scoring punch and athletic talent that is needed for the Skyhawks to be successful. The last two freshman look to contribute heavily oat the power positions. Malik Minor, forward/center for Auburn’s super sectional team, brings a tough defensive attitude and has the forward skills to score both inside and out. The 6’8” freshman A.J. Dollmeyer (Polo High School) will be a big factor inside for the Skyhawks before the season is over.
Small in numbers, the 2014-15 Skyhawks look to be a factor in both early season action, and the traditional Highland Christmas Tournament. As the New Year starts, the Skyhawks look to be in position to compete for the Arrowhead Conference Championship with a strong group of contenders; defending champions Highland, Division 2 national qualifiers Carl Sandburg, always strong Kishwaukee, Black Hawk, Black Hawk East, and Illinois Valley. When the regular season ends, the Skyhawks will host the Region IV Division I Championships and on Sauk Valley’s 50th Anniversary, anything short of a Championship will be the goal.