GLEN ELLYN – Glenbard West boys basketball coach Tim Hoder was extremely pleased with his team’s effort during the summer.
Add in the return of standout guard Keith Hayes and optimism is high within the Hilltoppers program.
“We had a really nice summer in terms of the kids working hard,” Hoder said. “They did a nice job; they were focused and worked hard and that makes it fun.”
Hayes, who spent the summer in Arkansas, brings back his 19.7 points per game scoring average from the 2012-13 campaign.
“He’s really skilled and he is shooting the ball well,” Hoder said of Hayes, who made 51 3-pointers last winter while shooting 85 percent from the free throw line. “He can score and he is really good in transition.”
Fellow guard Corey Davis was an integral part of the team a year ago and will be counted on at both ends of the court.
“Corey can score, too, and he also led us in rebounds, assists and steals,” Hoder said of Davis, who averaged 9.9 points per game last year. “He is a really important guy for us. His level of aggressiveness, when he is in the game, we are always attacking both offensively and defensively.”
Other returners who are expected to contribute include seniors Reid Colliander, Max Montgomery and Will Reedy.
“We have opportunities for guys to step up,” Hoder said. “I think our best lineup is a work in progress. There are opportunities, whether for the upperclassmen or the underclassmen.”
Indeed, the Hilltoppers will also have three sophomores on the roster in guards Alex Passi and Brian Cochrane and forward Justin Pierce.
“Alex is a ball-handler and a good passer,” the coach said. “The other two kids are shooters; they can both shoot pull-ups and also shoot the three.”
If there is a concern, it would be the fact that the squad isn’t blessed with a lot of height.
“I think overall, Reid and Calen [Starkey] are really the only guys with a lot of size,” Hoder said. “Defense and rebounding-wise, we are going to have to play a little bigger than we are. We are going to have to push the ball and play a little quicker to utilize the speed we have.”
As for the West Suburban Silver conference, there might not be a clear-cut favorite this year.
“There is a lot of parity and every team in the league is capable of winning a game on any night,” Hoder said. “There is never a night off in the league. If you don’t play well, you will lose.”