Baptism By Fire
The new look 2016-17 Cavaliers bring a lot of new faces to campus, with nine incoming freshmen. The most freshmen since the 2015 Region IV Championship team. These players will be given the opportunity to produce right away. "With nine freshmen, it's a pure baptism by fire," said Head Coach Chris Gardner, who trusts group to grow through game experience, along with the help of three sophomores.
Coach Gardner will look for sophomore leadership from 6'7" forward Latrell Tidwell (Cincinnati, Ohio) to help guide the troops. Tidwell brings back versatility and the most experience, having appeared in all 32 games (28 starts) and averaging 9.8 points and 5.8 rebounds in 24 minutes per game last season.
Sophomore forward Simenon Lepichev (6'10"; Sofia, Bulgaria) brings back his outside shooting skills and an improved inside presence that earned him recognition as a Region IV All-Tournament Team performer.
Sophomore center Grant Billings (6'9"; Bonfield, Ill.) is an athletic kid who was arguably Gardner's most improved player. "Grant started taking care of small details on the court and not only did he flourish within his opportunities, he gained a great deal of confidence," Gardner said. "It will be very interesting to see how he continues to grow."
The freshman class brings guard play, length, shooting and some size. The point guard battle will be between local product Gerald Duckworth (Bourbonnais, Ill.), Curtis Dilworth Jr. (Chicago) and James Brown (Cedar Rapids, Iowa). Kwan Clements (Fitchburg, Wis.), Tylen Williams (Country Club Hills, Ill.) and Deandre Enoch (Oak Park, Ill.) bring strength and athleticism to the wing position. Stashaun McAfee (6'5"; Chicago) brings a defensive presence on the wing and has shown the ability to shoot the ball from deep in the preseason. Local 6'6" forward Dante' Emerson (Bourbonnais, Ill.) is a hybrid who can play inside and outside. Rounding out the freshmen class is the team's oldest player Jobie Tyree Mosley (Manteno, Ill.). "Mosley might be one guy in the freshmen class who can score from anywhere on the court in a variety of ways," Gardner said. The combined efforts of this class should make for an interesting and promising season for the Cavaliers.
For more team information, phone Gardner at 815-802-8609 or email email@example.com. Visit the NJCAA website for Region 4 information.