Prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner takes your questions at 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays. Submit them any time, however, and he'll be sure to answer.
It's that time of the week again, so here we go. Bring on the questions!
I have a few questions about boys basketball. It seems over the past several years there have been only one or two boys in the entire area average 20.0 points or more during a season. #1. Is that correct and which area cagers do you think will do it this year? #2. If an athlete averages 20 ppg and plays in 30 games that is 600 points, so how many players do you recall that surpassed 600 in a season during your years of covering the area?
#3. Any area boys exceed 700 points in a season over the past 25 years?
Hi Eagle Fan. Good questions.You are correct that there have been very few 20-point scorers for a season in recent years. There were two last season, both underclassmen. Conner Gross, from Bement, who recently hit the 1,000-point mark for his career, and Andy Webb, from Atwood-Hammond. Interestingly, the previous year the only boys' 20-point scorer from the area was also from the same Little Okaw Valley Conference, Tim Weaver, from Cerro Gordo. I think there are several reasons for this. For one, many of the top teams have multiple scoring threats. Centennial is a a great example. In the first seven games of the season, six Chargers have already scored in double figures. Michael Finke could be a 20-point scorer unquestionably, but it's not needed, so I'd guess his scoring average will be somewhere between 16 and 18 points per game. Another reason is the competitive balance. There appears to be a greater disparity between the top teams and the others. Most coaches are not going to leave their star players in with 30-point leads in the fourth quarter, so they have essentially 8 less minutes per game to score their points and that is going to affect the scoring average. As for the 600- and 700-point scorers, I've learned not to trust my memory. As soon as I start any kind of list like that, I'll be bombarded with names of others I "overlooked." When I have time, that would be an interesting project to research, though. Thanks for the questions.
Fred,I see Matt Daniels did a Blog about Cam Mammen today. From all the attention they have given him I would expect he would be offerred a full scholarship from Illinois. I know he wants to attend Illinois as a first choice. But Illinois State,Northern Illinois,Western Illinois ,Tulsa, Eastern Illinois and others are very interested.The cost of atttending College is very expensive and there are 4 other kids in his family,so cost has to be a priority. I believe he has shown he can play at the Division 1 level.I have coached over the years at Chicao Suburbs and Florida and have sent numerous players on to Division 1 Schools.I know with out a doubt where ever he ends up that school will not regret their decision..
Hi Tom. You certainly make some great points. I was reminded recently about former Champaign Central player J. Leman. I don't think he was on many major college "must-have" lists out of high school and he went on to have a terrific career. He stayed local and proved he could play at the Big Ten level. It makes you wonder now what all the programs didn't see in him at the time. Probably his size and the fact that it's difficult to rate a person's desire and heart. If you ask 100 prospects if they will work hard when they get to next level, I'm sure 99 will say "yes," I'm sure you will find that in reality, 99 who have the opportunity will not all put forth that effort. Leman was one who did. I suspect Cameron Mammen would, too, but who truly knows about these things. I don't follow recruiting like many of the diehards, but I have been aware that Illinois recently picked up two or three commitments from California and most -- if not all -- are best suited to play in the secondary or could be receivers, which would be the most logical positions for Mammen at the UI. I don't know what it all means or how it will play out, but he is in a good position as far as having some options to consider, if not now in the not-too-distant future.
What effect, if any, will all the conference shuffling have on the quality of high school basketball and any sport other than football? Or was that ever under consideration? Also, I know losing the IHSA football finals in odd-numbered years will hurt the C-U economy, but what about attendance at NIU from downstate schools? Do the wizards at the IHSA really think people south of I-74 will drive all the way to DeKalb in the numbers they came to C-U, especially for the 10 AM games? Thanks.
Hi Big Al. Your questions are good ones, but I don't think there are across-the-board answers that will apply to all situations. I think there are new conferences where the level of play will be improved from top to bottom in particular sports and others where you may notice adverse changes. for example, with the upcoming Okaw Valley Conference featuring among others SJ-O, Unity, Monticello, St. Thomas More and Maroa-Forsyth that will be a battle every league night in both boys and girls basketball. I could see it turning out that way in baseball, softball and volleyball, too. As for the state finals, I haven't been told this, but my belief is the IHSA thinks it will offset the loss of people who attend the small-class title games with an expected increase in the bigger-class title games. I really expected a situation where the 1A through 4A games would wind up at ISU and the other four up north, but for whatever reasons that didn't happen. At least it's for every other year. For now. Thanks for the questions.
That's a wrap for another week. Join us next week with more questions. Thanks to all who participated.