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Boys Basketball: Duneland Conference outlook

Updated: December 20, 2012 6:07AM



Chesterton

Coach: Tom Peller

Coach’s record at school: 115-101

Coach’s career record: 115-101

2011-12 finish: 9-13, 5-9

Key losses: Kemonte Price (10 ppg)

Key returnees: Chris Palombizio (6 ppg), Matt Holba (7 ppg), Cole Teal (10 ppg)

Outlook: The Trojans basically lost just one player from a veteran team that finished 9-13 and upset Crown Point in the opening round of the sectional last season. They have all the pieces for success. Holba is a formidable inside presence, Teal can score and Palombizio is a solid guard. They will be better — it’s just a matter of how much. This is a team that could vie for the conference title with Lake Central, or it could be a year or so away. It will depend on how the Trojans jell.

Name Yr. Pos. Ht.

Colin McEuen 11 G 5-9

Avery Beeks 10 G 5-9

Austin Norton 11 G 5-10

Matt Holba 10 C 6-7

Chris Palombizio 10 G 6-4

Cole Teal 11 G 6-3

Mike Thanos 10 F/G 6-2

Corey Rusboldt 11 G 6-1

Andrew Ralph 11 G 5-11

Jacob Andert 12 G 6-2

Donnie Johnson 12 F 6-2

Steffan Dines 11 G/F 6-1

Jacob Waslelewski 11 F/C 6-5

Tevin Dilos 12 F/C 6-4

Brandon Roeske 11 F 6-5

Crown Point

Coach: Clint Swan

Coach’s record at school: 81-51

Coach’s career record: 219-123

2011-12 finish: 11-10, 7-7

Key losses: DeJan Stefanovic (4.1 ppg); Sean Kelly (3.5 ppg); Zach Plesac (9.7 ppg)

Key returnees: Tom Bardeson (17.0 ppg), Braxton Rice (7.3 ppg), Bret Barclay (10.9 ppg)

Outlook: There’s lots of intrigue with this team, which rallied late last season with eight straight wins before losing twice in a row to Chesterton in the last regular-season game and then in the Michigan City Sectional opener. Bardeson, Rice and Barclay are a formidable trio. The Bulldogs’ biggest issue involves finding a steady point guard who can lead them. Swan said they’ll play that position by committee early to try to figure it out. Losing Plesac, who decided not to play this season, hurts.

Name Yr. Pos. Ht.

Alex Nickla 12 G 5-10

PJ Phelps 11 G 5-11

Noah Burkholder 10 F 6-6

Tom Bardeson 12 G 6-5

Braxton Rice 12 F 6-5

Nick Hanlon 11 G 5-11

Nick Jeffirs 10 C 6-5

Bret Barclay 11 F 6-5

Josh Berquist 10 G 6-1

Rade Kukobat 10 C 6-8

Zack Lambert 11 C 6-2

Lake Central

Coach: Dave Milausnic

Coach’s record at school: 102-69

Coach’s career record: 102-69

2011-12 finish: 21-3, 13-1

Key losses: Glenn Robinson III (22.0 ppg), Taylor Lenhert, Zach Gentz

Key returnees: Tyler Wideman (13 ppg, 7.5 rpg); Tye Wilburn (10 ppg., 3 apg.); Mike Miklusak (9 ppg. 5 rpg)

Outlook: The Indians are loaded — even without Robinson. Wideman, Miklusak and Wilburn are really good. Wideman makes Miklusak better inside and Wilburn is the best point guard in the Duneland in the preseason. Matt Meneghetti fills a role as a 3-point specialist for the Indians. This team is definitely the favorite to win the DAC again, though Merrillville could have something to say about that.

Name Yr. Pos. Ht.

Mike Miklusak 12 F 6-6

Ryan Burvan 10 G 5-10

Tyler Wideman 11 C 6-7

Tye Wilburn 11 G 5-11

Robert Ryan 11 G 5-8

Matt Meneghetti 11 G 5-10

Cory Dickelman 11 F 6-3

Tyler Ross 11 F 6-4

Joe Bannister 10 G 5-10

LaPorte

Coach: Tom Wells

Coach’s record at school: 111-110

Coach’s career record: 267-272

2011-12 finish: 8-13, 5-9

Key losses: Austin Alcorn, Carter Perry

Key returnees: Josh Fleming (17.8 ppg); Gage Ott (6.5 ppg), Zach Kiger

Outlook: Alcorn was an all-conference guard for the Slicers, so his departure stings a little. However, Fleming is their leading returning scorer. With Mrozinski, a transfer from New Prairie, and Gage Ott, their returning big man, LaPorte has more size than it’s had in the past. This is a team that will be competitive in the DAC, but it’s still probably going to have to fight to be .500 in a very deep conference.

Name Yr. Pos. Ht.

Zach Kiger 12 F 6-3

Charlie Minich 12 G 5-11

Mitch Mrozinski 12 F 6-3

Aaron Vaughn 12 F 6-3

Blake Arnett 11 G 5-10

Miles Browder 11 G 6-2

Josh Fleming 11 G 5-11

Arthur Hurt 11 G 5-7

Gage Ott 11 F 6-5

Tyler Littlejohn 10 G 5-9

Merrillville

Coach: TJ Lux

Coach’s record at school: 16-7

Coach’s career record: 16-7

2011-12 finish: 16-8, 9-5

Key losses: Ed Seay, John Mosley

Key returnees: Jake Raspopovich (4.0 ppg, 4.1 apg); BJ Jenkins (14.2 ppg, 2.4 apg); Zoran Talley (13.8 ppg); Jelani Pruitt (11.4 ppg)

Outlook: The Pirates should battle it out with Lake Central for the top spot in the DAC. They only lost one starter, John Mosley, who came into the lineup when Seay went down with a knee injury. Raspopovich was good enough during the summer to get an offer and sign with Texas Pan-American, a Division I school. BJ Jenkins is solid and so is Talley and Pruitt. The Pirates don’t have tremendous size, but they have plenty of really good guards and enough slashers to have a really good season.

Name Yr. Pos. Ht.

Jake Raspopovich 12 G 6-1

Jalen Wilbert 12 G 6-1

KV Myricks 12 G 5-11

BJ Jenkins 12 G 5-11

Michaud Cherry 11 G 6-0

James Wright 11 F 6-3

Jamard Owens 12 F 6-0

Zoran Talley 12 F 6-3

Isaiah Wilson 12 F 6-2

Jelani Pruitt 12 F 6-4

Devin Taylor 12 F/C 6-6

Breon Hill 12 C 6-3

Darion Williams 12 F 6-2

DJ Wilkins 9 G 6-2

Michigan City

Coach: John Boyd

Coach’s record at school: 35-31

Coach’s career record: 182-100

2011-12 finish: 12-11, 9-5

Key losses: Taylor Lavery, Jabbar Washington, Thomas Carlock

Key returnees: Ryan Taylor (10.2 ppg, 4 rpg)

Outlook: All three of the Wolves players that graduated are in junior college now. One of their bigger losses before the season even started came when Matt Bush, who had retired from Morgan Township and started with Boyd as an assistant, took over at Purdue North Central after the sudden retirement of Jim Black for health reasons. Hard to say where the Wolves will fall in the DAC with so many new faces. Most coaches who played them in the summer said they could be pretty good. They certainly have some size.

Name Yr. Pos. Ht.

Ryan Taylor 12 F 6-6

Lacy Johnson 12 F 6-5

Corey Workman 12 F 6-5

A’Seante Clark 12 G 6-0

Donevan Wilson 11 F 6-3

Keenan Simmons 11 C 6-6

Michael Smallwood 11 F 6-4

Lucas Dauer 11 G 6-0

Juwann Garrett 11 G 5-9

Shane Barron 10 G 6-2

Portage

Coach: Rick Snodgrass

Coach’s record at school: 26-84

Coach’s career record: 288-324

2011-12 finish: 1-22, 0-14

Key losses: David Jercha (12.3 ppg), Tyler Gonzalez (7.5 ppg)

Key returnees: Luke Kizer (5.7 ppg), Jacob Bears (3.0 ppg), Jordan Zollazo (5.1 ppg)

Outlook: The Indians had it rough last year, getting just one victory (over Hobart). The Brickies repaid them with a 14-point win in the opening round of the sectional. They’ll be better, but so is every other team in the DAC. Collazo, a sophomore, is a pretty good point guard. He played in 10 games last season before getting hurt. The Indian’s don’t have much size — their biggest player is 6-foot-3. They’ll have to be patient and try to control the games with guard play. Getting rid of the double round robin next year should help them get some wins out of conference.

Name Yr. Pos. Ht.

Jordan Collazo 10 G 5-8

Pete Psomadelis 11 G 5-9

De’Juan Nelson 11 G 5-8

Michael Diaz 10 G 5-8

Joey Roman 11 G 5-8

Gage Pearman 11 F 6-2

Luke Kizar 11 F 6-2

Michael Lattanzi 11 G 6-3

Jordan Simpson 10 F 6-3

Jacob Bears 11 F 6-2

David Clegg 11 F 6-3

Valparaiso

Coach: Joe Otis

Coach’s record at school: 47-22

Coach’s career record: 343-211

2011-12 finish: 12-9, 8-6

Key losses: Drew Boetel (7.9 ppg)

Key returnees: Bret Boetel (5.6 ppg), John Mosser (10.8 ppg), Tyler Doane (6.1 ppg)

Outlook: The Vikings lost by a point in the sectional opener to eventual champion Merrillville last season. The good news is that almost every player from that team, aside from Drew Boetel returns. Expect Bret Boetel to be one of the better point guards in the conference and look for Mosser, who grew an inch and put on about 20 pounds in the offseason, to be more of a force. Otis is excited because he believes this team can score — something the Vikings struggled with last year.

Name Yr. Pos. Ht.

Jacob Hamer 12 G 5-10

Tyler Doane 12 F/G 6-0

Justin Osburn 11 G 5-10

Bret Boetel 11 G 6-0

Brody Wilson 12 F 6-3

Zach Meyer 12 F 6-2

Quentin Palmer 12 F 6-5

John Mosser 12 F 6-7

Alex Healy 11 F 6-2



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