Maroons must retool roster after losing four of five starters

Maroons must retool roster after losing four of five starters

CHAMPAIGN — Tim Finke no longer wears the Champaign Central maroon and white, trading in those colors for the Grand Canyon purple, black and white.

Also gone from coach Jeff Finke's program is A'Kieon Gill, a News-Gazette All-Area first-team pick with Tim Finke, while other senior contributors like Jaden Aikens and Jonte Coleman also won't be hitting the Combes Gymnasium floor later this year.

That's four Maroon starters graduated and gone from a team that went 20-9 last season and won the program's third straight Class 3A regional title.

The fifth starter? Highlight machine Khailieo Terry.

By default, the rising sophomore entered Central's summer events as the playing time leader. As a freshman, he thrilled various crowds with jaw-dropping dunks and general athleticism playing in the post.

During the Maroons' June workouts, though, Jeff Finke pulled Terry out from under the hoop.

"He needs to become a wing with his size," Finke said of the 6-foot-4 athlete. "Once he's got that skill set, he's going to be really good. He's learning the game from the defensive end (too)."

Terry was far from alone in Central's offseason efforts. Finke said the majority of his present roster sported 100 percent attendance, with returnees Sam Beesley and Jalen Booker among those who stood out to the fourth-year leader.

"We have a lot of new guys ... in varsity that weren't there last year," Finke said. "There are a lot of younger guys that have stepped up."