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Boys basketball all-area team: Lake County
By Patricia Babcock McGraw | Daily Herald Staff

Nathan Boothe


Casey Boyle


Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

Juddon Carter


Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

AJ Fish


Mike Fleming


Mirko Grcic


Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

Jared Helmich


Darren Hoveydai


Robert Knar


Sean O'Brien


Darius Paul


Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

Griffin Pils


Kyle Ryan


Justin Schneider


Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

Jordan Taylor


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Published: 3/8/2012 11:53 PM

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Nathan Boothe Warren

The 6-foot-9 Boothe has been a big body in the middle for Warren for three years. But the senior forward has also played big on the perimeter at times, too. Boothe made himself even more dangerous over his career by extending his range to include jump shots with nearly as much proficiency as hooks and shots from the block. "Nathan can be a very good perimeter shooter," Warren coach Chuck Ramsey said. "He is a really solid player who has good shooting and passing skills. He's really improved as a senior." Boothe averaged 14.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. He also hit 58 percent of his shots from the field. Boothe has signed with the University of Toledo.

Casey Boyle Grayslake Central

A serious ankle sprain in the final weeks of the season made it tough for Boyle to finish the season the way he started it. The 6-foot-9 senior center was averaging a double-double and tallied 13 double-doubles on the season before his injury. But his playing time and efficiency was somewhat limited after it. He finished with a 12.9-point scoring average and a 9.9 rebounding average. Defensively, he was a game-changer for the Rams by blocking and altering shots. He rolled up 61 blocks in 29 games and was averaging nearly 3 blocks per game before his injury. "You can't discount the importance of Casey to our team," Grayslake Central coach Brian Moe said. "He is by far our leading rebounder and his presence in the middle allowed our guards to really get out and pressure other teams."

Juddon Carter Round Lake

There is a plaque that sits high upon the wall outside the entrance to the gym at Round Lake. It lists the school's leading scorers for boys basketball. Carter's name will soon be added to the top of that list as he broke Round Lake's scoring record this season by finishing his career with 1,460 points. People in Round Lake are used to looking up to see Carter. "Juddon has been a terrific ambassador for our program in my two years as head coach," Round Lake coach Jim Roberts said. "He is a terrific kid. He is as hard of a worker as I have ever been around and he has been a joy to coach and be around every day. He is a great role model for other kids in the Round Lake community to aspire to and look up to." Carter, a senior guard who has been on the varsity for four years, averaged 16 points and 4 rebounds per game this season. He also drained an impressive 80 3-pointers and rolled up a season-high of 35 points in a game

AJ Fish Grayslake North

For someone who has already committed to play lacrosse in college (Virginia), Fish has certainly made a mark in two other sports at Grayslake North. The 6-foot-3 junior was the football team's starting quarterback in the fall and put up all kinds of gaudy passing numbers to earn all-state recognition. Meanwhile, he started at guard for the basketball team this winter and averaged 12.3 points per game, which tied with Danny Mateling for top scoring average on the team. A starter since his sophomore year and a member of the varsity since his freshman year, Fish has been a part of more than 50 wins at Grayslake North. "That's a significant contribution for a kid who hasn't even played his senior year yet," Grayslake North coach Todd Grunloh said. "AJ has the ability to take over games and create matchup problems for opposing coaches with his size and quickness. He continues to improve his game, whether it be developing more of a post presence or becoming an all-around defender." Fish's best game of the season came when he rolled up 26 points and 7 rebounds against Jacobs.

Mike Fleming Stevenson

The most valuable player of the prestigious Wheeling Holiday Tournament, Fleming was certainly the MVP for Stevenson from start to finish, and on both ends of the floor. "He was the top offensive and defensive player for us," Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose said. A 6-foot sharp-shooting guard, Fleming averaged a team-leading 15 points per game for the Patriots and also rolled up 3 assists and at least 1 steal per game. A three-year member of the varsity, Fleming was as much a defensive stopper as a go-to scorer. "He would guard the best perimeter players on the other team," Ambrose said. "He's tough and a leader and he really stepped it up."

Mirko Grcic Lake Zurich

It's hard to imagine now, considering his numbers and contributions over the last two years, but Grcic was somewhat of a late bloomer. "Mirko wasn't on the varsity until his junior year," Lake Zurich coach Billy Pitcher said. "I give a lot of credit to (former Lake Zurich coach) John Zarr for leaving Mirko on the sophomore team when he was a sophomore. He could have been up (on varsity) but he learned to be the man and he developed his leadership and chemistry with his classmates which is why he and we were more successful this year." Grcic averaged 14 points per game last year as a junior during his first year on varsity and upped that to 18 points per game this season despite seeing frequent double and triple teams. He reached the 30-point plateau in a game twice this season and had multiple 20-point games, including a 29-point, 16-rebound effort against Thornridge over the holidays. Grcic also finished the season averaging a double-double with 10.1 rebounds per game. "Mirko can play all five positions on the floor," Pitcher said. "He scores on drives, 3s, post-ups, alley-oops and mid-range jumpers."

Jared Helmich Grant

It wasn't just beginner's luck when Helmich put up 19 points and 8 rebounds in his first varsity game last year as a junior. The 6-foot-2 forward could be counted on for near double-double performances for the rest of her career. This season, he averaged 15 points and 8.4 rebounds per game while tallying 8 double-doubles. His best game came in leading Grant to its own holiday tournament title when he rolled up 27 points and 16 rebounds in the championship game against Lakes. Helmich was clutch down the stretch, scoring 16 points in the fourth quarter to help Grant erase a 22-point deficit with just 9 minutes remaining. "Jared used his body very well to score and rebound over bigger players his entire career," Grant coach Wayne Bosworth said. "Jared had a knack around the basket to score, including a hook shot that was nearly unguardable. At 6-foot-2, he played more like he was 6-foot-7."

Darren Hoveydai Vernon Hills

Hoveydai was a gamer for Vernon Hills, putting up some of his very best numbers at the very best times. "He had some huge games against our best competition," Vernon Hills coach Matt McCarty said of his senior guard, who has been up on the varsity since the second half of his sophomore year. Hoveydai scored 32 points against North Chicago, 28 points against Zion-Benton and 24 points, including the game-winner, against Grant. In a regional game, he scored 28 points and was 13-of-14 from the free throw line. "When you combine his basketball skills with his positive demeanor on the court, it makes for a coach's dream," McCarty said. Hoveydai, who won the North Suburban Conference sportsmanship award, averaged 17.7 points and 3 assists per game. He knocked down 48 three-pointers, including a season-high 7 three-pointers against Round Lake.

Robert Knar Mundelein

When Knar was a little boy, he used to sit at the end of the bench and watch his dad coach. He'd also strategize. "He would draw up plays on my clipboard and then come up and show them to me," Mundelein coach Dick Knar said. "He has always been destined to be a basketball player." By the end of his career next year, Knar might be considered one of the best basketball players in Lake County history. The 6-foot-1 junior sharp-shooting guard, who has started every game since his freshman year, is well on his way already. He averaged 22 points per game this season and now has more than 1,800 points for his career, which ranks him eighth in Lake County history and just 600 points behind former Deerfield star Ryan Hogan, the county's all-time leading scorer. Knar, who dropped in a career-high 41 points during the championship game of the Jacobs Holiday Tournament and rolled up a stunning 93 three-pointers on the season, does more than just score, though. He also averaged 7.4 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 2.6 steals per game. Boasting a 4.025 grade point average, Knar has attracted plenty of attention from college coaches and currently has seven full scholarship offers.

Sean O'Brien Mundelein

It's not just a cliché to say that O'Brien is a point guard in a big man's body. Before sprouting up to 6-foot-6 in high school, O'Brien spent years and years playing point guard in youth basketball. That is evident even now that he is often found banging in the paint to help fill a need for his team. "Sean has emerged as one of the most versatile players I have ever coached," Mundelein coach Dick Knar said. "He has grown but has kept his (point guard) skills. He will continue to grow and the sky is the limit for his future." Just a junior, O'Brien already has 15 Division I schools interested in him. And for good reason. O'Brien averaged a double-double this season: 15 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. He also allowed his inner point guard to surface in averaging 4.1 assists per game. His best game of the season was a triple-double effort that included 27 points, 15 rebounds and 11 blocks.

Darius Paul Warren

One of the signatures of Warren teams over Chuck Ramsey's tenure as head coach has been tough defense. Another has been dominant rebounding. So it's the compliment of all compliments for Ramsey to praise Paul's rebounding prowess so strongly. "He's the best rebounder I've ever coached at Warren," Ramsey said of Paul. "He's got good length, good hands, good judgment and good timing. He's just got this knack for the ball." Paul averaged 9.6 rebounds per game this season, to go along with 17.6 points per game. He has been Warren's leading scorer and rebounder the last two seasons. Paul also averaged 3 assists per game and shot 51 percent from the field. He has signed with Western Michigan University.

Griffin Pils Libertyville

A three-sport standout who made the state finals in tennis as a sophomore and went downstate with the soccer team as a junior, Pils shifted his focus exclusively to basketball for his senior year. "He showed tremendous growth," Libertyville coach Scott Bogumil said of his 6-foot-3 guard. "Griffin was always a pass-first guard who could score if needed. This season, he really took his offensive game to a new level." Pils averaged 17 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds per game and simply lit up the scoreboard at times. He scored 40 points against Carmel and 34 points against Rolling Meadows in the regionals. "Griffin is getting recruited by many schools and I think his best basketball days are in front of him," Bogumil said. "It will be fun to follow him at the next level."

Kyle Ryan Wauconda

During the summer, Ryan stayed late after workouts to help some of his teammates who would be up on varsity for the first time this winter. "He wanted to work with them to get them ready for varsity," Wauconda coach Scott Luetschwager said. Meanwhile, Ryan was trying to get himself ready for being the focus of every defense he faced. The 6-foot-1 senior sharpshooting guard commanded a lot of attention, yet still averaged 17.5 points per game. He had 10 games of more than 20 points and knocked down a whopping 92 three-pointers. "He was the player on our team that every defense targeted to stop," Luetschwager said. "He drew the best defenders. Last year, he was just a shooter, but this year he attacked the defense and found ways to score inside." Up on varsity for almost his entire career, Ryan went over the 1,000-point plateau this season, finishing with 1,037 points.

Justin Schneider Lakes

For a player who spent all of last season battling a back injury, Schneider didn't shy away from contact this season. In fact, he often put himself in position to land flat on this back, just to make a defensive play. At 6-foot-8 and a fixture in the paint, the senior center knew that he was the Eagles' last line of defense and took it upon himself to become an expert at drawing charges. Mission accomplished. He drew an astounding 35 of Lakes' 48 total charges this season. His defensive prowess was also felt to the tune of 2.3 blocks and 8.2 rebounds per game. "His charges shatter the program record and many of them were game-changing plays," Lakes coach Chris Snyder said. "Justin has really worked himself into a great player. He is very skilled and has a good touch around the basket. He has some strong post moves but is also able to step out and hit the 15-foot shot." In addition to all of his defensive contributions, Schneider also put up solid numbers on the offensive end. He averaged 10.1 points per game and hit 57 percent of his shots. He had 7 double-doubles on the season.

Jordan Taylor Grayslake Central

With 35 points in his final game, a sectional semifinal loss to North Chicago, Taylor closed out his career in typical Taylor fashion. The senior guard, who passed the 1,000-point plateau this season, has lit up the scoreboard ever since being promoted to varsity as a sophomore. "Jordan has been the leader of this program for three years," Grayslake Central coach Brian Moe said. "He has always taken the big shots for us and made those around him better players. Teams focus on limiting his scoring, but he continues to make big plays." Taylor averaged 18.5 points per game this season and tallied a total of 42 three-pointers, connecting on more than 40 percent of his attempts from long range. "Jordan has really improved on his ability to draw help and find the open man for easy shots," Moe said. "It is safe to say we wouldn't have been as successful this year or the previous two years without Jordan on the floor."

All-area team

Player School Ht. Pos. Yr.

Nathan Boothe Warren 6-9 F Sr.

Casey Boyle Grayslake Central 6-9 C Sr.

Juddon Carter Round Lake 6-2 G Sr.

AJ Fish Grayslake North 6-3 G Jr.

Michael Fleming Stevenson 6-0 G Sr.

Mirko Grcic Lake Zurich 6-6 F Sr.

Jared Helmich Grant 6-2 F Sr.

Darren Hoveydai Vernon Hills 5-10 G Sr.

Robert Knar Mundelein 6-1 G Jr.

Sean O'Brien Mundelein 6-5 F Jr.

*Darius Paul Warren 6-8 F Sr.

Griffin Pils Libertyville 6-4 G Sr.

Kyle Ryan Wauconda 6-1 G Sr.

Justin Schneider Lakes 6-8 C Sr.

Jordan Taylor Grayslake Central 5-7 G Sr.

*honorary captain

Honorable mention

F Justin Bergeron, Lakes, jr., G Tanner Blain, Lakes, sr., G Jalen Brunson, Stevenson, fr., F Colby Cashaw, Stevenson, sr., G Direll Clark, Lakes, jr., G Stephen Curry, Vernon Hills, jr., F Chino Ebube, Mundelein, jr., G JoVaughn Gaines, Warren, sr., G Mark Hall, Grayslake North, G Connor Jordan, Carmel, sr., F Ilya Kadushin, Grant, sr., F Zack Krupp, Grayslake North, sr., G Allen Lewis, Grant, sr., G Danny Mateling, Grayslake North, jr., G Ellis Matthews, Libertyville, sr., G Sayvonte McWilliams, Grayslake Central, sr., F Brandon Motzel, Carmel, sr., G Mitch Munda, Warren, sr., F Doug Murphy, Lake Zurich, sr., F Karl Nettgen, Antioch, sr., G Jameris Smith, Warren, sr., F William Waschow, Antioch, sr., G Sean Wells, Grant, sr.