Introducing the #1 team in Chicago Area: Kenwood Academy (Chicago)(Class 4A)!!!!!!
The Broncos have made a lot of school history already under Coach Mike Irvin. They are looking to make some more this season. This was a close call but the Kenwood Academy (Chicago) Broncos will start out the season as number 1. Some reasons they are in the top spot.
1) Talent of course. They have a bunch of division one prospects and signees on this team. They have a lot of size in the paint, big time rim protection. It will be hard for teams to score on the interior against them as they go 6'11", 6'9", 6'6, and 6'5" in the frontcourt. All are athletic and can move on the perimeter as well as the painted area.
2) Schedule: They play in the Chicago Public League Red South/Central which is a challenge in itself. Play in shootouts against Thornton (Harvey)(Chicago Elite Classic), Mount Carmel (Chicago) (When Sides Collide), Normal Community(Highland Shootout). Not sure if they are in the Proviso West Holiday Tournament again this year. They do have one out of state team showing which is Milton (GA).
3) I count at least 7 division one prospects on the varsity roster though one may play junior varsity as well.
4) Motivation: Kenwood Academy has won their first two Sectional titles in school history the last two years. Won their first Red South/Central regular season title last year. They have though come up short at the Supersectional level the last two years. Coach Irvin and his team is looking to go at least one step further to the State Finals in Champaign. This would take them to the next level as a program. At least two other current coaches in the Chicago Public League have won State Titles.
5) Kenwood Academy Broncos are confident they can win the tough double of City and State titles. It's always been a hard double to do but players still want that brass ring of a city title. They will be favored to win City this year. Was runners-up for City last season. Can they get over the hump and win the first City title in school history?
6 Tons of frontcourt talent. They have senior DePaul commit Chris Riddle (6'6"), senior Arizona State commit Jaden Smith (6'11"), senior jumping jack Calvin Robins Jr(6'5") that is coming off injury. He's a sleeper division one prospect, likely best unsigned senior in the state. Junior Aleks Alston (6'9" wing), who's a major college prospect and sniper from three.
WHAT GIVES ME PAUSE:
Backcourt is young. Who will run point? Will they run it effectively? Sophomore Rajon Roberts (6'1") transferred in from Proviso West. Freshman Devin Cleveland (6'2") can play either point position. Both are talented but very young. If they decide to give talented Damari Stephens (6'3") a shot, he's also a freshman. Can the youngsters knock down jumpers in pressure situations? The key will be leadership of senior Edwon Duling (6'2") who's a very good defender and will have to run the team. Until the youngsters get acclimated Duling will be the key to their season. If he can knock down jumpers and play under control, we could see this team in Champaign.
Talented experienced frontcourt, young backcourt. They say backcourts are the key to deep state title runs. Teams will zone them to death until the guards prove they can make outside jumpers consistently. Kenwood Academy will have to take advantage of teams playing zones by crashing the offensive glass and using their size. The key will be how quick the young backcourt grows up. If the senior Duling can keep things settled and get the ball inside to their scorers? Kenwood will pressure and play at a fast pace. Loves to trap ball handlers, and can use their size to make havoc for other teams. Talent is there to make a deep run, as is the schedule.