Top newcomers: Juniors Adam Finstein (G, 5-9), Braden Seyller (G, 6-0); Sophomore Josh Hudgens (F, 6-4)
Outlook: Experienced, talented and deep, the Rockets are pointed skyward once more. Central returns 12 players from last year's Kishwaukee River Conference championship team, which lost to Glenbard South in a regional final for the second straight season. Leading the way is senior guard Zach Schutta, entering his fourth varsity season. The two-time all-area pick surpassed 1,000 points last February. He averaged 15.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.8 assists as a junior. Senior forward Patrick Mayfield (5.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg) has nonstop energy, coach Brett Porto said. He's 6-4 and growing. They are joined in the starting lineup by senior guard Michael Kalusa (9.3 ppg, 3 rpg, 2 apg), senior forward Caden Scott (2.1 ppg) and senior point guard Desjani Beamon (3.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg). Beamon backed up TaVontae Harris last year. He and Kalusa can both handle the ball. Senior Will Hough averaged 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds last year. Juniors Logan Andersen and Kyle Moring and sophomores Jake Lenschow and Matt Muetterties take on expanded roles after limited varsity minutes last year. "I feel like we have a lot coming back," Central coach Brett Porto said. "We don't have a lot of height, but we have all-around length. I can put four or five guys on the floor at a time who are all between 6-1 and 6-4. We'll go with the formula that's been working for us, which is be good on the defensive end and play team basketball on the offensive end. It's a hungry group. If they continue to work and try to better, they could do some nice things."
Phil Chapman is an avid basketball fan that has served as the voice of the Newark Norsemen over the last three seasons. Phil will be broadcasting the games at the Plano Christmas Classic