By Joe Henricksen
When the start of the 2011-2012 season officially begins with the first practice in three weeks--and games tipping off the week of Thanksgiving--there will be new looks to several basketball programs throughout the Chicago area.
Among those job openings this past offseason, there were a few high-profile openings with some big names filling them. The names include a pair of highly successful coaches in new spots--Tom Cappel to Crete-Monee and Chris Head to Crane--and two former basketball stars getting their feet wet as head coaches in Tom Kleinschmidt (York) and Donnie Boyce (Proviso East).
Today, the City/Suburban Hoops Report focuses on the three biggest jobs that were filled this offseason. On Friday the Hoops Report will take a look at many more coaching changes in the Chicago area as we quickly approach the 2011-2012 season.
THE PROGRAM: This is a storied basketball program. Proviso East has won 45 regional championships, 12 sectional titles and captured four state championships in school history. Plus, the program has produced an endless list of all-time greats, including Doc Rivers, Michael Finley, Dee Brown and Shannon Brown to name just a few. But this great basketball program has not been past the supersectional since 1993.
THE FORMER COACH: David Chatman
He was respected, was a good man and had some success, especially early on in his coaching tenure in Maywood (54-10 and two sectional titles in his first two seasons), but Chatman was not going to last in Maywood. No, not with politics involved and a couple of uncharacteristic seasons, including the first losing season in 50 years, bringing the vultures out.
THE NEW COACH: Donnie Boyce
The former Proviso East star, Donnie Boyce, comes home. He takes over a heralded basketball program that figures to be among the state's elite teams this winter. He has surrounded himself with "Proviso East guys" on his staff. There may be no coach who will face more pressure in his first season than Boyce, but Boyce recognizes, understands and welcomes the high expectations that come with Proviso East basketball.
THE FORECAST: The Pirates don't have much size, but they're loaded with speed, quickness, experience and added depth with the arrival of Curie transfer Paris Burns. This is one of the premier teams in Illinois. Senior Keith Carter is a talented veteran to rely on, while junior Sterling Brown's emergence could put the Pirates at a different level than a year ago. Look for Boyce's team to turn up the heat with constant pressure.
THE PROGRAM: Prior to the arrival of coach Rocky Hill in 2006, this basketball program was non-existent in the south suburbs. He led the Warriors to 64 wins and three regional championships in his four years. Hill was pushed out, Matt Ryndak took over and the Warriors, fresh off their best season in school history (25 wins and a sectional championship), have now won four straight regional championships and averaged 22 wins the past three seasons.
THE FORMER COACH: Matt Ryndak
The program, school and community were hit hard when Ryndak, after just one season as head coach, was charged with eight counts of aggravated sexual criminal assault on a minor. Ryndak was fired in June and the school and basketball program needed immediate stability.
THE NEW COACH: Tom Cappel
Cappel will bring the stability and presence needed at Crete-Monee. The highly successful veteran coach was the perfect hire for Crete-Monee, particularly under the circumstances. Cappel, 64, built Hillcrest into a power in his 23 years at the Country Club Hills school, winning 502 games overall and averaging 25 wins a year in his last 10 seasons. He guided two teams (1991 and 1999) to the Elite Eight.
THE FORECAST: The return of heralded point guard and Illinois recruit Michael Orris is quite a building block for Cappel in his first season. Crete-Monee will remain one of the strongest teams in the south suburbs and will be a threat once again in March. Although the Warriors lost both 6-8 Greg Mays and athletic all-stater Jamie Crockett from last year's team, Cappel has talent surrounding Orris, including a pair of impressive juniors in guard Marvie Keith and athletic LaQuan Treadwell, who is also a terrific football prospect.
THE PROGRAM: Crane has enjoyed plenty of on-and-off again success since the 1960s, figuring prominently in Chicago Public League basketball over that time. Coach Anthony Longstreet elevated the Cougars a decade ago and led Crane to the Elite Eight in 2005 behind junior star Sherron Collins. Over a seven-year run (1998-2005), Crane averaged 23 wins a season. A year ago Crane captured Class 3A regional and sectional championships.
THE FORMER COACH: Tim Anderson
College coaching came calling for Tim Anderson, who left Crane to become an assistant at Pan American University in Texas. Anderson did a solid job in maintaining the Crane basketball success, winning 25 games a year ago and claiming a share of the rugged Red-West title in addition to the sectional championship last March. In three seasons, Anderson's teams went 61-22.
THE NEW COACH: Chris Head
Head is accustomed to winning basketball games. He has compiled a 213-70 record, led Westinghouse to a state title in 2002 and runner-up finish in 2000. He also built the Brooks program from scratch and went 87-41 in four seasons. Head is demanding, successful and coaches with a certain commanding style.
THE FORECAST: If the Cougars adapt to Head's style quickly, Crane could be a big sleeper in the city and state this season. There is plenty of talent returning, along with the arrival of highly-regarded junior point guard Markee Williams, who transferred from Morgan Park.
The City/Suburban Hoops Report will begin its 17th year of publication, with the first issue of the year out in late November. For more information or to subscribe to the City/Suburban Hoops Report, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (630)-408-6709