Our prep sports coordinator, Fred Kroner, chats at 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays. Ask him anything that's on your mind about high school sports.
Here we go with another of our weekly prep chats. Lets get to the questions.
Fred,I don't see as good as I use to but wondering how an Athlete such as Cam Mammen didn't make it in the paper or TV on his note worthy award of winning the Number One Wrestler in Class 2 A in the State of Illinois?Also heard you were a finalist as Sports Writer but no cigar. Cam still has my vote for Greatest Athlete to ever come out of Urbana but I have been here only as far back as the 70's.
Hi Tom. I learned about Cam Mammen's award on Sunday, but was out of town visiting my grandson and didn't want to run the item in the paper until I had found out if others from our area also received recognition. I tracked down that information yesterday when I returned home and we have an item set for the Wednesday section on Cam and another on individuals from Mahomet-Seymour who were also recognized last weekend. I would put Cam in the top group of athletes at Urbana from the past 40 years, but I'm not sure I'd say he is No. 1. There are a whole bunch who qualify to be in the conversation. Tyke Peacock comes to mind for what he did in basketball as well as track and field, the latter on an international stage. Darren Hursey was as good as any baseball pitcher I've seen at the school and was a starting quarterback in football as well. Though her career here was one year, track and field runner Melissa Straza still has the best 3,200-meter time ever run by an area girl ... and the closest time to her is 15 seconds off the pace. Those are just a few individuals who come to mind. I'm sure there are plenty of others.
How is Bob A doing?
Hope to see him back to work soon since he does a great job covering the football program
Hi Brian. Bob has been as thorough and precise with his Illini football coverage over the years as I could imagine any beat writer in any community. It's no wonder he has won so many awards. I don't have an answer as to when he will be back, but I know the important thing is for him not to rush and try to get back too soon. No two individuals are the same. What might be an ideal timetable for one person, very well might not apply for another. Join us in wishing Bob nothing but the best and a speedy recovery. We miss him and look forward to his return.
Heard that the Shiloh players who started this past season have an undefeated AAU team this spring. I know it's still early to project for next year, but given their record last season, in addition to added muscle and height(heard that Donithan is projected to be 6'6-6'7 when he's done growing), how are you feeling about Shiloh for this next season? They did well against 1A opponents, how do you think they'd do against 2A teams?
Here is the perfect example of "seeing is believing." Before I had the chance to see Shiloh play last December, I had heard so many good things, but I can't honestly say I was a confirmed believer. After watching the Raiders around Christmas-time and again during the postseason, I can understand why people were so lavish in praising the team's potential. Andrew Donithan, who wound up on our All-Area second team, and Cyrus Furguson are a good returning nucleus and they will just be juniors in the fall. There's a good supporting cast with them as well. The biggest difference I see, in general between most 1A teams and most 2A teams is depth. I think there are a lot of 2A teams that Shiloh could compete with 5-on-5, but when you factor in fouls, injuries, off-games, the bigger schools have an advantage in the overall picture. Shiloh will be better off by the things it does as preparation, the off-season games and scheduling tougher schools during the season. It's not always about the record, but what teams and individuals have done to put themselves in position to be successful. Whether they are 18-10 in the regular season or 27-1 is not nearly as important as if they have done the things necessary to succeed once the tournament series starts. That's what is most important about what is going on right now.
Who are the finalists for the central basketball job
Hi Brian. I wish I knew. Nothing has been confirmed. I don't even have the exact number of finalists that returned for a second interview. Is it two people? Four people? Five? For obvious reasons, very few individuals want to have it out in the public that they are looking for other jobs. It's not good PR with their current employer in the event they are not hired. While I have no confirmation, I have to believe that a potential finalist could be former Rantoul athlete Sean Taylor. I think he makes a lot of sense. He has family in the area and -- as people get older -- it becomes more important to be closer to family, especially when the person who could be relocating has young children. Taylor is a proven winner (state championship at Shelbyville) and has handled the scrutiny of coaching in a community like Quincy, where basketball coaches are constantly undetr the microscope. If not Sean Taylor, I think Jeff Finke would be an excellent candidate. While he has a strong background in coaching at youth and AAU levels, it would require a transition to what's required at the high school level in terms of paperwork, media and under behind-the-scenes details that often go unnoticed by all except the head coaches. Plus, there would be some logistics to work out. I assume he wouldn't want the job unless he could coach his son, UI recruit Michael and the IHSA is not going to sign off on that unless the family moves. Those are two names on my personal radar, but since I'm not on the Central interviewing committee, I can't say for sure what the thinking is there. Hopefully, we will find out very soon.
Thanks Tom. I'm glad there's someone in my fan club! Usually, the feedback we get is when someone has a complaint or is unhappy.
Fred,Good job i knew you could be counted on as always. You are still #1 High School Sportswriter in the Country.
That's a wrap for this week. We'll return next week to see what other prep topics are on folks' minds.