Prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner has answers for everything: recruiting, playoff basketball, wrestling sectionals. Just ask him during his Tuesday chat (12:30 p.m.). Submit questions any time.
Welcome to another of our weekly high school sports chats. We'll turn right to the questions and comments.
What area boy basketballs teams have been suprising you so far this season? What would you consider to be the top 10 area boy basketball teams? Do you see any potential college basketball players that are currently under the radar?
Clearly, the most surprising area boys' team is Shiloh. This is a program that had seven consecutive sub-.500 seasons, winning 26 games total in that span. This season, with a predominantly underclassmen group, the Raiders are 19-6 and recently won the LOVC Tournament. Coach Charlie Carver's team is also unbeaten in league games and has three remaining, including a key showdown in Hume next Tuesday against Arthur-Lovington. I think I would also include Westville in the surprising category. The school was coming off a 13-win season and hasn't reached the 20-win mark in 19 years. With four regular-season games remaining, the Tigers are 18-5 and --- like always under coach Jeff Millis -- are as fundamentally sound and disciplined as any team in the area, With three starters underclassmen, I think this is a program that will remain strong and continue to build. A couple other schools that are definitely on the radar are Ridgeview and Schlarman Academy. Ridgeview is 17-7 and just a couple years removed from a one-win season. Schlarman, in Gary Tidwell's first year as head coach, already has 15 wins, which is more than any previous team at the school in the past decade.
As for the area's top 10, we try to update that about every week to 10 days. Here's what we had the last time we published the area rankings.
1. St. Joseph-Ogden (1) 17-2■ Unbeaten in SVC games2. Monticello (2) 17-2■ No. 1 seed in Okaw tournament3. Centennial (3) 17-5■ Alone atop the Big 12 Conference4. Prairie Central (4) 12-7■ Hawks face tough 3A postseason5. Bismarck-Henning (5) 18-5■ Alone atop the Vermilion Valley6. Westville (6) 17-5■ VVC contender has one league loss7. Salt Fork (7) 19-3■ VVC contender has one league loss8. Schlarman (8) 15-8■ VVC contender has two league losses9. Cissna Park (9) 14-8■ Tough schedule preparing CP10. Shiloh (10) 16-6■ Area’s most improved team from ‘12NEAR MISSES: Arthur-Lovington, Arthur Okaw Christian, Heritage, Ridgeview, St. Thomas More
As for college players under the radar, I don't know if you could include Centennial's Dedric Byrd as under the radar after watching him, but he may not have the name recognition among fans like teammate Michael Finke, but Byrd will certainly get offers somewhere. At times, I've been super impressed with Danville's Denzel Smith, though he has not been as consiistent as I'd like to see for the top-tier players. I really liked Cissna Park's Cole Hasselbring, too, and I can see him fitting in somewhere in the future as well.
If I were updating that today, I'd move Centennial ahead of Monticello and Cissna Park would also vault up among the top five, for sure.
Fred,There will be a College Football signing at Urbana High School tomorrow at 1:45 P.M. It is for Students ,Faculty and Administrators. Cam Mammen -Malone University,Jeff Spires-Malone University,Mikshadd Townsend Lindenwood College and Tanner Laznik Lindenwood College. For Friends & Relatives or anyone else there will be another Mock Signing at Stone Creek Church in Urbana at App'x. 8:15 P.M. in the Cafe. This will be for Cam Mammen and Jeff Spires. Everyone invited no security or time restrictions there.
Hi Tom. It's unbelievable to me how many area athletes are signing letters of intent tomorrow.Besides urbana, I know of signings at Centennial, Monticello, St. Thomas More and Argenta-Oreana. in fact, there's so many, we're not going to be able to get photographers everywhere. I don't know if there's more than in the past, but on the first day of signings, there will certainly be more. In years past, it seems like it was more spread out of quite a few days. It's good, too, to see so many different athletes from Urbana getting the chance to play at the next level after the history-making season they had last fall. It's neat, too, that after Cameron Mammen committed to Malone last week, the school was able to look at film of Jeff Spires and make an offer to him as well. It reinforces a point I've made dozens of times that there's truly a place for people who want to play a sport in college if they don't get hung up on the Division I aspect of things. If you're a good high school player and are willing to go a state or two away, usually you can find a college home. I'm happy, too, that Urbana was able to work a second signing celebration ceremony in for friends and family unable to attend the one at school. I know of at least one school Wednesday that is doing the signing at 7:45 a.m. so that it can avoid major conflicts for folks with jobs. There are usually ways to work around these things, if peopole are interested. Of course, that being said, it's easier to work around when you're talking about one family's schedule as opposed to multiple families which is the situation with so many Urbana football players signing. There might even be a fifth signing, too. I understand that Alex Lynch is close to a decision and he might join in as well. Best of luck to all of those who have the opportunity to go on and play.
That's a wrap for this week. We'll be back to tackle more prep-related questions next Tuesday. Thanks to all who participated.