It's just summer but Vince Doran may have the springboard needed to jump-start his team and program as he heads into his second year as head coach at York.
Although there may be an asterisk next to the 2013 Riverside-Brookfield Shootout champion, York claimed the title of the 11th annual event behind Class of 2014 big man Frank Toohey leading the way.
After going 3-0 in pool play, York rolled through the first-place bracket in tournament action, knocking off Zion-Benton in overtime, edging Loyola Academy 43-41 and picking up a forfeit win over Morgan Park in the title game.
With York leading 18-12 with five minutes remaining in the first half, Morgan Park decided to leave the gym and did not return to play. Thus, York was granted the title.
Although York lost Colorado State-bound David Cohn to graduation, York looks to have the pieces -- six of the top eight players return from a 22-win team -- to be a contender, if not the favorite, in the West Suburban Silver this season.
Doran admitted his team has a long way to go -- as any team does at this point on the calendar -- but he couldn't help but take several positives out of his team's performance at R-B.
"It's a confidence builder for the kids, especially when you lose a kid like David Cohn," Doran pointed out. "You can preach to them what they are capable of, but you still want to see results."
The Dukes have a centerpiece to build around in Toohey, a 6-7 three-year varsity veteran who was named MVP of the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout.
It was Toohey who scored a game-high 22 points to help lead York to a regional title game victory over Bartlett this past March. Look for Toohey to significantly improve on his junior year numbers of 8.3 points and 6.8 rebounds a game.
With Toohey, however, it's more than the numbers. He's a versatile, blue-collar big. Toohey has a rugged side to him, will rebound, step out and knock a three-pointer down, make a nifty pass from the high post and do the dirty work. As a junior he took 13 charges.
"He's a bruiser who likes to play physical and has skill," says Doran of Toohey, who put together a solid spring with the Illinois Wolves on the club circuit. "He leads by example, competes and doesn't back down from anyone."
And that includes Curie's Cliff Alexander. While it was a valiant team effort in trying to contain one of the nation's elite in a Saturday matchup, Toohey was physical and went after it in his head-to-head battle with the impressive Alexander.
Throw in a 31 ACT score and Toohey should be on the radar of every Ivy League and Patriot League school.
In addition to Toohey, York returns Charlie Rose, a 6-3 senior guard who played a big role a year ago for the Dukes. Rose is a sharpshooter from the perimeter who impressed this past weekend at R-B.
But an added ingredient for Doran and York is Emmett McCoy, a 6-5 senior who sat out last season to concentrate solely on football. McCoy, a Division I football prospect, played his freshman and sophomore years and has returned to the basketball program for his senior year.
"He plays with such aggressiveness," says Doran. "I love coaching football players. He makes a big difference for us and will be a big asset."
The Hoops Report will have more from the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout throughout the week.
Follow Joe Henricksen and the Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport