By Joe Henricksen
It's one thing to jump out of the gate with a quick 7-0 start to the season with a returning veteran group. St. Viator has done just that behind the returning senior trio of point guard D.J. Morris, 6-2 Kevin Walsh and 6-6 Chris Myjak. Those three have a ton of experience under their belt and averaged nearly a combined 40 points a game a year ago.
But first-year coach Mike Howland, a former St. Viator star player and assistant under veteran coach Joe Majkowski, has more than just a seasoned group ready to challenge for an East Suburban Catholic Conference title. St. Viator has a pair of young, extremely talented players providing a jolt to this unbeaten team and program.
Sophomore Ore Arongundade and freshman Mark Falotico are eye-opening young players who are poised at the varsity level despite their inexperience. While they may not be as seasoned or as varsity ready as the returning veterans, Arongundade and Falotico bring energy, excitement, an added dimension and a pair of legitimate college prospects to a program that hasn't exactly churned out Division I players.
Arongundade and Falotico are both poised to be impact players at the prep level sooner than later, with the 6-2 slashing athletic Arongundade already off to a big sophomore season.
Arongundade was brought up to the varsity late last season and polished his game up this summer in preparation for what will be a breakout sophomore season. Howland, who spent eight years as an assistant at St. Viator prior to being named head coach, has a versatile weapon in Arongundade, who is averaging 14 points a game. He slashes and shoots, both with an advanced, pull-up mid-range game and touch out to the three-point line. His length, speed and quickness allow him to get to the rim off the dribble, both in the half court and transition, and disrupt things on the defensive end.
While Arongundade remains overlooked by most everyone and is among the Hoops Report's top 15 prospects in the Class of 2014, Falotico is a heady, 5-11 point guard who clearly isn't phased playing at the varsity level. Falotico came into high school with a little northwest suburban pub, but he does things players just out of 8th grade don't: he surveys the floor, makes wise decisions with the ball and doesn't try to do too much.
Currently, this St. Viator team is a nice little secret tucked away in Arlington Heights. But a home win over a talented Marist team Friday night and a deep run in a wide open Wheeling Hardwood Classic later this month would change all that. The nice mix of veteran and young talent could turn the Lions into a threat by March.
While the 2010 season ended with 24 wins and Class 3A regional and sectional championships in a very memorable season, St. Viator will be in the Class 4A Barrington Sectional this season with the likes of Warren, Waukegan, Stevenson and Mundelein. But with Arongundade and Falotico, St. Viator is going to be a player for awhile, and with such a solid senior group in support of the young talent, Howland's club is ready to win big -- now.
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