GLEN ELLYN — After graduating most of its scoring from a season ago, Glenbard West appeared on the surface to have many questions heading into the 2012-13 season.
But then Keith Hayes showed up, and the sophomore transfer from Arkansas provided many of the answers.
Quickly establishing himself as the Hilltoppers' go-to player after moving to Glen Ellyn with his mother and two brothers, the 5-foot-10 guard averaged 19.7 points per game this winter.
"There are kids who can get to the basket and kids who can shoot the three," said Glenbard West coach Tim Hoder, "but he can do all of that. And the biggest thing, when he gets to the free throw line, it's automatic. As far as scoring, his game is complete."
Hayes made 51 three-pointers and shot 85-percent from the free throw line, all while adjusting to different surroundings and new teammates.
And there was one other thing, the left-handed sophomore moved from point guard to shooting guard.
"I've always been a point guard," Hayes said, "and I still like playing point guard. It was kind of a big change. I had to do more scoring and stuff like that. I could do that last year but I just didn't have to do it too much."
Having lost four starters from last season, Glenbard West needed production on a nightly basis from Hayes, who almost always plays under control and rarely takes a bad shot.
"I would have to tell him you are not allowed to pass up that shot," Hoder said. "In order for us to be successful, you have to shoot the ball. We needed him to score.
"He doesn't force things. If he had a chucker's mentality, who knows how much he would score. Part of the reason he shot a high percentage is he doesn't come down and jack it. He is not selfish that way."
His output was consistent throughout the campaign even as defenses game planned to take Hayes away.
"I had to play harder and play smarter," Hayes said. "I had to do different things to try to score or try to get my teammates the ball. I had to get to the free throw line more and attack the basket and my mid-range too, I started using that a lot more."
The next step in his progression is becoming more of a complete player, which is no doubt a scary thought for his opponents.
"I'd like to improve on my defense and effectively going right," Hayes said. "I go strong left, I need to go right more. And my overall IQ of the game."
After taking a week off following his team's regional loss to Glenbard East, Hayes will return to the gym to begin his offseason work. He will train with the Illinois Old School AAU team before heading back to Arkansas for the summer.
When Hayes returns to Glen Ellyn, he and his teammates will look to improve on their 14-13 record from this season.
"I thought we ended up the year pretty well," he said. "We just have to work hard in the offseason and get better."
Meet the 2012-13 All-Area Boys Basketball Team:
Gordon Behr School: Wheaton Academy Year: Junior This 6-foot-8 junior was a consistent force on both ends of the court for the Warriors. Averaging a team-high 15.0 points per game, Behr shot 51 percent from two-point territory and 41 percent from beyond the three-point arc (27 made threes). He also had 5.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per contest.
Matt Biegalski School: Wheaton North Year: Junior After an outstanding season on the football field, this junior didn't skip a beat on the basketball court. Knocking down a team-high 55 three-pointers, Biegalski led Wheaton North with a 13.5 points per game average. He also totaled 3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1 steal per contest.
Corey Davis School: Glenbard West Year: Junior Davis stepped into a starting role this winter and put forth a solid all-around season for the Hilltoppers. Second on the team with 9.9 points per game, the junior also tallied 4.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.5 steals per contest, all tops on Glenbard West in those categories.
Chip Flanigan School: Glenbard North Year: Junior After getting his feet wet at the varsity level as a sophomore, this forward took the next step this winter. Shooting 55 percent from the floor, Flanigan averaged 17.5 points per game. But there is more to his game than scoring, evidenced by his totals of 5.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.8 steals per outing.
Keith Hayes School: Glenbard West Year: Sophomore This sophomore had an immediate and major impact after transferring from Arkansas before the school year. One of the top shooters in the area, Hayes averaged 19.7 points per game. He made 51 three-pointers, shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc, while also shooting 85 percent from the free throw line.
Justin Jackson School: Glenbard North Year: Junior Not receiving much time off after an all-state season on the football field, Jackson went out and contributed across the board for the Panthers this winter. Second on the team with his 10.9 points per game, the junior added 7.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.0 steals per outing.
Andrew Kimball School: St. Francis Year: Senior The senior sharpshooter tops this balanced offensive team with 11.2 points per game. The all-Suburban Christian Conference selection is especially dangerous from beyond the three-point arc, knocking down 81 trifectas this winter. Kimball also has 45 steals in 29 games.
John Konchar School: West Chicago Year: Junior Perhaps no player in the area made a bigger leap this season as Konchar went from part-time player to one of the top in the DVC. Despite having defenses gear up to stop him, the junior averaged 19.7 points per game on 53-percent shooting from the floor. He also led the Wildcats in rebounding (8.8 per game), assists (95), steals (55) and blocks (29).
Michael Kramer School: Wheaton Warrenville South Year: Senior Kramer led Wheaton Warrenville South with 10.5 points per game. The senior was also the Tigers' top rebounder, averaging 5.6 boards per contest, while adding 36 assists, 47 steals and 16 blocked shots in 25 games.
Chaun Rickette School: Glenbard South Year: Junior A quick guard who can score from anywhere on the court, this junior averaged 17.3 points per game. Rickette made 23 three-pointers while shooting 75 percent from the free throw line and also totaled a team-high 56 steals in 25 games.
Collin Roy School: Wheaton Academy Year: Senior A senior leader, this guard did a little bit of everything for the Warriors. Second on the team with 13.9 points per game, Roy topped Wheaton Academy with 36 three-pointers and 120 made free throws. He also contributed 3.0 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals per outing.
Brandon Ruggles School: Wheaton Academy Year: Senior Sitting out last season after transferring from Wheaton Warrenville South, this senior was a major reason why the Warriors captured their fourth consecutive conference title. Ruggles hauled down an impressive 11.7 rebounds per game, totaling 60 offensive boards in 22 games, while averaging 8.0 points and nearly a steal a game.
Tim Zettinger School: St. Francis Year: Senior A floor leader for the Spartans, this senior was named the MVP of the Batavia tournament and also was selected to the all-tournament team at the Glenbard West holiday event. Zettinger is averaging 9.3 points and nearly three assists a game for St. Francis and has tallied 43 steals.
Honorable mention Glenbard North: Kendall Holbert
Glenbard South: Alex Jeske
Glenbard West: Dikiria Washington
St. Francis: Jason Pisarski
West Chicago: Jimmy Rizzo
Wheaton Academy: Jake Cousins
Wheaton North: Jaylen Howze, Andrew Zelis
Wheaton Warrenville South: Matt Kienzle