winner is.... Our '99-'00 Class A Player of the Year is Leo's 6'9" DePaul signee,
"He creates shots for other people on the team
just with his presence," says Andre's coach Mike Manderino. What Coach Manderino is
referring to, is the constant double and triple teaming that Andre puts up with night in
and night out. With half the opposing team doubling down on Andre it's no wonder that Leo
guards Jamal Thompson & Will Washington find themselves with such good looks at the
Throughout his career Andre has been a dominating
force. As a freshman he started off at Brother Rice High School, playing some on
sophomores soon afterward being moved up to Varsity. Then, as a sophomore he transferred
schools, siting that "the bus ride to Brother Rice was to long" and Leo was
right down the street from his home. As a sophomore at Leo, Brown led his new team
downstate and along the way captured Class A All State honors, being the only sophomore on
the ballot. The following year Leo moved up in population and therefore changed classes to
the larger Class AA. In Class AA Andre continued his dominating ways, garnering All-State
honors once again, this time initiating the record as the only player to ever be both
Class A and AA All-State. That, however, wasn't the end of Leo's nomadic ways.
This year Leo was moved back down to Class single A
and they are doing better then ever. The Associated Press had Leo ranked #1 in their end
of the regular season voting. With the help of Andre's solid play, putting up 23 points,
13 rebounds and 2 blocks per game, Leo is sure to be a serious competitor for the Class A
title this year.
Now just think if Andre weren't being double and
triple teamed every night.
Levar Seals 6'3" Junior Guard Providence St. Mel-
An outstanding athlete, Levar can do so many things with the ball. He's jump shot
continues to improve, as it looked streaky at the beginning of the year and now is right
on stride from beyond the arc. Ideal at the shooting guard spot, Levar is a clutch shooter
that is putting up 23 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals a game this year. Only a
junior, many of the nation's top programs are on hot pursuit to get an early edge for
Levar's services. Among those are DePaul, Syracuse, Purdue, Arizona, Tulane, Wisconsin,
Marquette, USC and FSU. Look for his St. Mel Knights to get downstate next year as they
return all 5 starters.
Coach's Comments-Billy Garrett- He's definitely a big part of
the reason that we've had the success that we've had this year. He's a great player. Levar
is averaging 23 points against the toughest schedule in the state. Next year we will be
the best team in the country!
Clint Cuffle 6'7" Senior Forward Riverton-
Clint is a terrific is an athletic and versatile forward that can do it all. He averaged
an impressive 24 points and 12 rebounds for his 23-3 5th ranked Riverton Hawks. Forced to
do more of the Hawks dirty work because of lack of size, Clint has shown why he is truly a
great player. He sacrifices for the good of the team. Clint has signed on to play with the
University of Evansville for next season.
Coach's Comments-Jeff Koger- For the past three years Clint has
been a starter and he has given us 20 points and 11 rebounds. He's biggest strength is his
consistency. He's not a verbal leader but is building on that in the long run. All he
wants to do is win!
Pierre Pierce 6'3" Junior Guard Westmont-
Able to play either guard position with equal ease, Pierre is a hot commodity among
college recruiters. He's a scorer (averages 29 points) in that he can create shots when
there is nothing there. Yet he is a perfect point guard (averages 6.5 assists) because he
has a great handle on the ball and has no problem weaving in and out of defenders with his
rapid first step. DePaul and Illinois are among the colleges mentioned with Pierre's name.
Coach's Comments-Craig Etheridge- He is an outstanding player
that excels on both ends of the court. He is a fierce competitor that is willing to do
whatever it takes to win.
Barry Welsh 5'10" Senior Guard Abingdon-
Also, able to play both guard spots, however Barry will undoubtedly be a point guard in
college because of his height. Already committed to Indiana State, the Sycamores are
getting a terrific player that put up some nice all-around numbers this year. Averaging 20
points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds and 4 steals while leading his Abingdon Commandos to a 23-4
record was no small feat for the 4-year starter.
Coach's Comments-Jim Youngman- He is a great player. Has won a
lot of big games down the stretch for us. Some of his strengths are his ball-handling and
slashing. He could be a great playmaker if that's what he's focused on being.
Andre Brown 6'9" Senior Forward Leo-
Our '99-'00 Class A Player of the Year, Andre is a dominant offensive player with an
arsenal of moves that are nearly unstoppable. Also a terrific rebounder no rebound is safe
if it's in the area of Mr. Brown. Leading his Leo Lions atop the Class A rankings, Andre
has averaged 23 points and 13 rebounds all while being double and triple teamed.
Coach's Comments-Mike Manderino- He's lead us in scoring and
rebounding. He's been the MVP of the Batavia Tournament and the Lincoln Way Christmas
Tournament. He's the best big man that I've seen.
Ameer Watts 5'10" Senior Guard Rockford Christian
Ameer is a Khalid El-Amin type point guard that will kill you with his heart alone.
Averaging 22 points, 6 assists and 4 steals along with sensational outings that included a
triple-double and a 40-point game. He has the three P's. He can post, pop (shoot the
jumper) or penetrate equally well. Unsigned, Ameer's college list goes like so: Boston U,
Dayton, NIU, Notre Dame & Maine.
Coach's Comments-Frank Hood- He brings leadership and excellent
play. He's a very competitive player and he will do whatever it takes to win.
Dusty Bensko 6'5" Junior Forward Pleasant Plains-
A 'tweener, Dusty doesn't really have a position, however excels at multiple spots. He
is solid taking the ball to the hoop yet likes to bang with the big boys in the paint.
With his team having only 2 losses Dusty has averaged 23 points, 8 rebounds and three
assists while shooting 61 percent from the field. Although Dusty would make a solid D1
basketball player his future is probably on the baseball diamond as he is expected to be
drafted in the next baseball draft.
Coach's Comments-Cliff Cameron- He's meant an awful lot for us.
He's such a competitor and hates to lose. He's a very good passer and I don't have to
worry about him making bad decisions. However, his first love was baseball. But there is
still a possibility of both (baseball and basketball at the next level), even though Dusty
is expected to be picked in the major league baseball draft next season.
Rhet Wierzba 6'4" Senior Guard Farmington-
Rhet started off the season with a bang, picking up right where last year's star Seth
Nelson left off. Then, unfortunately Rhet was kicked in the face during a scramble for a
loose ball and forced to miss 6 games. When Rhet returned from the injured list he
continued his old ways and finished the regular season averaging 22 points, 6 rebounds, 5
assists and 3 steals. Rhet is an outstanding student as well (scored a 32 on the ACT and
has a 4.0 average) and should be picked up soon enough by some college.
Coach's Comments-Tom Wierzba- Rhet is our team leader both on
and off the floor. With his presence on the floor he makes our other players better - this
I feel is the true quality of a good player. His scoring average was 22.4 pts. per game
(consistency was the key with a low of 17 and a high of 31). Before his injury, Rhet led
our team in scoring, assists, rebounds, steals and charges take. So you can see he has
been a complete player for our ball-club.
Bryan Boerjan 6'8" Junior Forward Rock Falls-
Bryan is a post player as he is adept at scoring and rebounding down on the low blocks.
However, he has taken his game to new lengths this season adding a smooth jumper to his
arsenal. Averaging 15 points and 9 rebounds for the defending state champions, Bryan
certainly has a bright future ahead of him. Colleges look out for this young man.
Coach's Comments-Thom Siegel- He has continued to improve his
all-around game as the season has progressed. He started the year mostly on the low blocks
until he got more comfortable outside the lane. Early on he was getting doubled down on
hard because teams didn't respect our outside shooting. Since, Christmas, his numbers and
confidence have steadily improved.
Tyler Hackstadt 6'3" Senior Guard Okawville-
Tyler is a a returnee from last year's AP All-State team. However, various injuries have
kept him from fulfilling his full potential this season. As of now current colleges that
seem to be interested in him are Drake, Michigan St, Evansville, SW Missouri State and
Coach's Comments-David Luechtefeld- Unavailable for comments.
Mitch Koester 5'11" Senior Guard Teutopolis-
Averaging 20 points per game this season helped Mitch break one of his many school
records. Koester is not only the Wooden Shoe's all-time leading scorer but he is also
second in assists and broke his own mark of 132 three-point field goals made in a season
with his total this year of 212 three-pointers.
Coach's Comments-Ken Crawford- Mitch is going to Purdue on a
baseball scholarship. He loves basketball to death but this is going to be his last year.
Brandon Krug 6'6" Junior Forward Dwight-
Brandon is a quick power forward that is able to do so much on the floor. This season
the Dwight forward averaged 21 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals per game. Only a
junior and with loads of potential, Brandon is currently being recruited by NIU, ISU,
Bradley, Indiana State and Wis.-Milwaukee. His recruiting/profile will undoubtedly
increase as he is scheduled to play with Larry Butler's Illinois Warrior team this summer.
Coach's Comments-Eric Long- He was a nice player for us last
year, but his game has really exploded this year. One of the things that makes him so
tough is the fact that he has a 6'11" wing span. This allows him to play more like he
is 6'9" instead of 6'6". He has tremendous athletic ability as evidenced by the
fact that he has over 35 dunks this season. Although he plays in the post for us, his
future is really at the 3 or 4. He is the best pure shooter from the 3 we have and is very
comfortable taking the ball to the hoop. We also use him to help us bring up the ball on
the press. He is a great kid with outstanding work ethic.
Phil Snheider 6'5" Senior Forward Nokomis-
Phil is a small forward type that is capable of going in with the big boys down low.
While leading his Nokomis team to a 22-7 season record. Phil finished with such grand
stats as 19 points and 9 rebounds per game.
Coach's Comments-Steve Kimbro- He's been our leader offensively
for the last two years. He's an outstanding athlete and individual. He always finds the
open players on the floor and that just makes us a better ball club.
Jake Sottos 6'0" Junior Guard Monmouth-
Second year starter, Jake Sottos is a sharp shooting point guard. This year he has
played very impressively for Monmouth in big games. Averaging 25 points, 8 assists, 8
rebounds and 2 steals Jake is getting looked at by Western Illinois the most but his
recruiting is sure to increase if he continues to perform like he has this year as a
Coach's Comments-Chuck Grant- Jake has been a big part of our
success. When we played Abingdon I think he did a great job with 16 points and 10 assists
against Barry Welsh. He's a legitimate D1 player.
Eric Ottens 6'7" Junior Forward Fulton-
Team co-captain, Eric Ottens, averaged an impressive 20 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists
and 2 blocked shots per game for his 24-1 Fulton team. Ottens is able to play any position
on the floor for his 13th ranked Steamers. Colleges that are currently interested in Eric
are Marquette, Illinois State, Iowa State, Wisc.-Green Bay and NIU.
Coach's Comments-Barry Bauer- Eric is a 6'7" junior who
plays G/F/C for us. He is a great post player, is our second best ball handler, and second
best three-point shooter. He has been amazing in the post few weeks.