Another strong summer by Glenbard East's boys basketball team was no surprise.
Neither was the recent news announced by the Rams' two all-area players.
In June seniors Zach Miller and Johnny Hill each made verbal commitments to accept Division I scholarships. Miller will play at Northern Illinois while Hill committed to Illinois State.
Miller, among the area's premier point guards, chose NIU after courting interest from Loyola and Wisconsin-Green Bay. Playing close to home influenced his decision.
"Playing close to home allows all of us to see him play, which was a goal," said Scott Miller, Zach's father and Glenbard East's head coach. "Now I can keep coaching and still be able to see most of his games."
Zach Miller, who will be a fourth-year starter for the Rams this winter, averaged 14.1 points and 3.1 steals last season while leading the area with 7.2 assists per game. Hill averaged 16.8 points and 6 rebounds. The 6-foot-3 forward led the area with 3.3 steals per game.
Hill also considered Loyola and Wisconsin-Green Bay but ultimately chose ISU for the personal comfort level. Scott Miller stressed the number of visits Hill made to the campus, including trips with Glenbard East for Redbirds games and for team camps.
Scott Miller said Hill's rapidly-improving recruiting stock could have allowed him to wait for more offers, but the mid-major fit was too good to pass up.
"He's real familiar with the campus and it just felt right to him," Miller said.
Committing in June allowed Miller and Hill to concentrate on jelling a Rams squad that lost three starters to graduation. This summer Glenbard East won the Riverside-Brookfield, Illinois Wesleyan and Loyola shootouts in addition to the Illinois State team camp.
With that success to build upon, and led by Miller and Hill, the Rams look to exceed last season's run to the Class 4A sectional final. Glenbard East also set the program record for wins with 27 and rolled to a 14-0 DuPage Valley Conference record.
"We had a great summer, and hopefully we can carry that over to the season," Miller said. "We have two of our main guys back, but we also had a bunch of other guys step up."