PALATINE – York boys basketball has a new identity this year, and players like Stanley Roberts are a part of the Dukes’ evolution.
Roberts, a senior guard, is a big part of the new-look team. Without star guard David Cohn, who graduated, the Dukes are using a more balanced offense, and the early returns are good. York won Palatine’s Ed Molitor Thanksgiving Classic with a 4-0 record.
“This is a totally different group,” York coach Vince Doran said. “Losing David and Justin [Kurash], those were big pieces to what we’ve done. They’re not replaceable guys. We’re a different type of team this year and we’ve had kids step up. There’s a lot of experience back from last year. They play with a little chip on their shoulder.”
An example of the Dukes’ new-found balance came in Friday’s pool play finale against Deerfield. York won 49-32 with 12 different scorers. Roberts led the way with 12 points. Jack Heinle (nine points), Charlie Rose (eight) and Brent Gasparich (seven) also contributed. Air Force recruit Frank Toohey was limited to four points, but the Dukes didn’t need more out of their star center.
The Dukes beat Niles North 65-57 in Saturday’s tournament final.
“I really feel like we have seven guys that could lead us in scoring on any given night,” Doran said. “We have great balance, and our guys have bought into being unselfish and not caring about individual stats. That’s going to be crucial for us, and it’s fun to coach a group like this. They move the ball and look for the open man.”
Not only are different players in bigger roles this season, but several players have shown improvement, as well. Roberts is right at the top of that list.
Doran praised the athletic wing as one of the best defenders he’s ever coached. He said his offensive game has come around and he has big upside and potential.
“I just feel like the defense makes offense,” Roberts said. “When you have the defensive influence and you go on offense, you’re just confident. That’s just how I feel. That’s what my coach proved to me. If you play defense you’ll be able to play offense.”
Roberts, Rose and Heinle are getting recruited by smaller college programs. Rose, a sharpshooting guard, was a key player last year. Heinle and Roberts are a bigger part of the team this winter.
The senior-heavy Dukes are hoping the experience on the team will result in more weeks like the one that opened the season. The key will be the number of players on the team capable of contributing.
“Everybody is involved in the game,” Roberts said. “Everybody is getting their shots up. Everybody is staying warm throughout the game.”
York at Palatine's Ed Molitor Thanksgiving Classic
• York 78, Chicago Richards 39
• York 56, Rolling Meadows 40
• York 48, Deerfield 32
• York 65, Niles North 57