At a glanceCOACH Tanner Mitchell2011-12 RECORD 15-12 (6-6 in West Suburban Gold)FIRST GAME Nov. 20 vs. Hinsdale Central at Hinsdale South Thanksgiving tourneyTOP PLAYERS Jerry Stoltz sr. G Marcel Phillips jr. G Barret Benson fr. C Joe George sr. G Pierre Andresen sr. F Evan Leake sr. F/C DJ Deolitsis sr. G Justin Ward sr. F
17, 11 Points and rebounds averaged in 2011-12 by all-conference performer Brock Benson to lead the Hornets in both categories. That production will need to be replaced with Benson now at Hope College.
WHAT TO WATCH Coming over from Lemont high school, Tanner Mitchell takes over the Hinsdale South program.
“I’m really excited,” said Mitchell, who played basketball at Sandburg high school and Carthage College. “It was always one of my goals professionally to be a varsity coach, and to get an opportunity like this at a school district like this is awesome.”
What he inherits is a Hornets team that is coming off a 15-12 campaign last winter.
“From what I saw in the summer to now, we’ve had some changes,” the coach said. “We had some football kids and seniors come out and a transfer came in who will be a very good player. I’m excited for the year, I think we can be competitive in all of the games we play.
“We can shoot the ball, we have some height and we have depth. I think we can make noise with the team we have.”
Hinsdale South returns one starter in senior guard Jerry Stoltz. Junior guard Marcel Phillips transferred in from Wells and will be an immediate contributor. Another new face is 6-foot-8 freshman center Barret Benson, the younger brother of last year’s top scorer Brock Benson, who will man the paint for the Hornets.
Seniors Joe George, Pierre Andresen, Evan Leake, DJ Deolitsis and Justin Ward could all be part of the rotation.
“I think offensively,” Mitchell said, “one of our strengths is that we will have two or three kids on the court at all times who can shoot it. We will be able to push the ball up and down the floor and be able to stretch the floor with the three-point shot.”
After tying for third in the West Suburban Gold conference last winter, the Hornets will again be tested in a league that features one of the top teams in the state in Proviso East.
“Even though I wasn’t connected with the conference (in the past), I’ve worked in the area for a long time,” Mitchell added. “It is one of the better conferences in the area.”