Introducing the #1 team in Chicago Area: Glenbard West(Glen Ellyn)!!!!!!!
Updated: Nov 18, 2021
To start off, this school has been football school for decades. They have six state titles(1983,1984,2012,2013,2015,2016) and are perennial contenders every year, usually in Class 7A. The town of Glen Ellyn is very excited, but not for football. The talk around town since the summer has been about basketball. Big time buzz in the town, but with support comes expectations. They've been looking forward to this year for a long time. This basketball team has a great chance to win the schools first state title. They have an all-senior lineup. They have 4 division one prospects in the starting lineup. Had a great summer not losing a game. Went 13-1 in the shortened season last year with a bunch of juniors. First they have to play the season, and there will be high expectations, from the town, school, coaches, and the team. Glenbard West Hilltoppers will start out as Big Tim's #1 team in the Chicago Area. Head Coach Jason Opoka is very excited but is taking it day by day and sending that message to this team.
Opoka: "We are just trying to enjoy the process. This team has a lot of leaders, a group that holds each other accountable but everyone will be looking to Gonzaga commit Braden Huff. Braden looks more explosive, positivity, more confident. The spotlight is on Braden as the leader and best player." Opoka goes on to say "This team enjoys playing together, a lot of unselfishness, too unselfish at times. Just want the team to buy into the system and be a good teammate." I also asked him about not playing a national schedule, and he said "We tried but it was hard to get approval to go to a lot of places."
Players: Let's start with Big Tim's #1 player in the state Gonzaga commit Braden Huff a 6'11" mismatch nightmare. He can shoot from three, post up inside, rebound, protect the rim, and be a press breaker with his ball handling and passing. Sees over the defense very well. He makes it hard to press this team. He's also a great leader and is the key to their devastating 1-3-1 zone defense. Great at passing to open three point shooters out of the post, or bringing the ball up the court.
Caden Pierce- Big Tim's #10 player is a 6'6" senior guard Princeton commit who can shoot the three, penetrate, and finish strong at the basket. Also a good passer, ball handler, long arms that disrupts other teams in the 1-3-1 zone defense along with his intelligence to get steals in the passing lanes. Good at taking charges. Plays very hard on both ends of the court.
Bobby Durbin is a 6'7" senior wing- Hinsdale South transfer is an Army commit who can knock down the three point shot at a high rate. He can do it off the dribble, stand still, and two dribble pull-ups. Another long athlete who covers a lot of ground in the 1-3-1 zone.
the 1-3-1 zone.
Ryan Renfro, 6'9" senior forward is an Army commit who does the dirty work. Scraps for rebounds, takes charges, scores in the post area. Has developed a step out three point shot which makes the Hilltoppers more deadly.
Paxton Warden, 6'4" senior point guard who makes the team go and sets everyone else up for open threes and buckets in the post. He can also create his own shot and hit the three pointer, plays up top on the 1-3-1 zone defense and makes opposing guards work. Division two looks.
Jack Cardwell, 6'0" senior point guard will be a key either starting or coming off the bench. he's good at running the team, low turnover rate. Can hit three pointers, and pressure opposing guards full court.
Bench contributors include: Juniors Logan Brown(6'5" wing), Luuk Dusek(6'0" guard), Benji Zander(6'0" guard) all good shooters from three themselves.
Glenbard West will be deep, tall, long, and talented. All can shoot, pass, dribble, protect the ball well, and will be devastating in that 1-3-1 zone defense. It will be hard to shoot over them. What I saw this summer is a team that is connected, which it should most have played together since 4th grade. It was a close call but this is the #1 team in the state, for now and Big Tim's preseason #1 team in the Chicago Area.
December 5th, 2021- Glenbrook South(Glenview) at Ridgewood Shootout.
December 10th, 2021- at Class A power Christian(Yorkville) and Duke commit Jaden Schutt.
December 11th, 2021- Hillcrest(Country Club Hills) at Team Rose Shootout at Mount Carmel(Chicago).
December 19th, 2021- Kenwood Academy(Chicago) To Be Determined.
December 27th-31st, 2021- Jack Tosh Shootout at York(Elmhurst).
January 14th, 2022- at Oak Park River Forest.
January 17th, 2022- at Fenwick(Oak Park) at MLK Classic.
January 22nd, 2022- Whitney Young(Chicago) at When Sides Collide at Benet Academy(Lisle).
February 19th, 2022 IHSA Playoffs start.
Can Glenbard West go undefeated? Not a national schedule but a tough one nonetheless. I think it will be tough but as Coach Opoka said "We want to win the last game of the season." That would be Champaign and the Class 4A State title game. I think they have a great chance to cut down those nets.