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Boys basketball preview: Falcons excited about 'top to bottom' depth

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 4:33 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 4:37 p.m. CDT
Wheaton North's Nathan Houlihan drives towards the basket during a game last season. Houlihan is one of several players expected to contribute to the Falcons' deep roster. Sarah Minor file photo - sminor@shawmedia.com

WHEATON – With 17 players within the Wheaton North boys basketball program also on the football team that advanced to the Class 7A quarterfinals, it could take a little while for the Falcons to gel this season.

But once they do, coach Dave Brackmann is excited about the possibilities.

“We are really excited about this group,” Brackmann said. “We have a deep group of seniors and a few talented juniors who will get in the mix this year. But we are still a work in progress as we get the football players back.”

Leading the charge is football standout and senior guard Matt Biegalski, who checked in with 13.5 points and 3 rebounds per game last winter.

“I’m excited about not only Matt being a leader but this whole group leads by example,” Brackmann said. “Matt has been great for our program and he has got one more great year in him. All of these seniors have been playing together for a long time and all are close friends.”

Junior Jake Heggeland gives the Falcons a threat inside the paint.

“Jake will take a big step forward,” the coach said. “He had a good sophomore year and he gives us a presence inside.”

Seniors Andrew Slivinski, Mike Cerone, John Coolidge, Jack Kirschbaum, Bryan Knoedler and Nathan Houlihan could also contribute as well as juniors Nick Jordan and Nick Traversa.

“Last year, Matt [Biegalski] had a great year even though defenses focused on him,” Brackmann said. “I think defenses will have to be more honest this year. On any given night, we can have guys chip in. Last year most of our points came from two or three kids. This year, I’m hoping to be much more balanced.”

Depth and versatility are certainly part of the team’s strengths this season.

“We have a lot of guys who can do different things,” Brackmann said. “We only have one true big man but a lot of wing players who can go inside and out.

“And I feel good about our depth. We have a top 10 and probably all 10 of those could see a start at some point. Obviously certain guys will be entrenched in a starting role, but we could see a variety of guys crack the lineup. I feel we are strong top to bottom.”

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