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Tri-Cities Boys Basketball All-Area Team
By David Oberhelman | Daily Herald Staff

Dom Adduci


Robert DeMyers


Cole Gardner


Brendan Leahy


Marcel Neil


Kyle Nelson


Quinten Payne


CJ Schutt


Juwan Starks


Kendall Stephens


Jontrel Walker


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Published: 3/8/2012 11:51 PM

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Dom Adduci

St. Charles East

Poised beyond his years. The sophomore could take over games, often unstoppable driving for a circus lay-in or foul. Adduci improved as the season went on: 29 points against Glenbard West, hitting five of six 3's in a 20-point half; 25 points against St. Charles North in the playoffs. Quick and able to dribble right or left, Adduci averaged 14 points and 3 assists, made 75 percent from the foul line and 36 percent on 3-pointers. Adduci exceeded Saints coach Patrick Woods' expectations. "A lot of times sophomores get nervous and make a lot of mistakes," Woods said. "That wasn't the case with Dom. He played with a lot of poise. He thrived under the pressure of a big game."

Robert DeMyers

Aurora Central

Despite missing 7 games with a broken fibula, the 6-foot-5 senior forward entered the Sycamore sectional with 107 blocked shots. The Chargers' MVP and two-time all-Suburban Christian Conference pick earned Joliet West all-tourney honors behind triple doubles in two of his first four games, with 18 points, 15 rebounds, 11 blocks and 6 assists in a win over Plainfield North. Overall DeMyers registered 11 double-doubles including 24 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocks in ACC's playoff opener against Marmion. He averaged 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists. "He had an incredibly large obstacle thrown in his path and he never wavered in his intensity to get back to where he was at the beginning of the year," said Chargers coach Nathan Drye.

Cole Gardner


The resilient senior center came off a long, pounding football season - he'll play at Eastern Michigan - to record nine double-doubles. The 6-foot-6, 250-pounder has great agility and footwork. "He was a guy that had great strength and a soft touch," said Batavia coach Jim Roberts. "That made him a difficult defensive assignment." Gardner scored 27 points with 18 rebounds against Larkin and followed with 28 points and 16 rebounds against Rockford East. Overall the all-Upstate Eight River performer, all-tournament at Elgin, averaged 16.4 points and 9.3 rebounds, with 83 offensive rebounds. He led the Bulldogs in blocks and in free throws made and attempted. "He was obviously a mainstay in the paint for us both offensively and defensively," Roberts said.

Brendan Leahy


The 6-foot-4 guard was a dogged worker named all-conference in the Upstate Eight River Division. Geneva was known more for defense but in a three-game stretch Leahy scored 21, 25 and 22 points. He averaged a team-high 13.5 points and 5.1 rebounds. A Hoops for Healing all-tourney pick, the senior made 37 3-pointers, converting 45 percent beyond the arc. Long, lean, able to drive and draw fouls, Leahy made 77 percent from the line. "A lot of the accomplishments he has made this season point back to the hours he spent in the gym last spring, summer and fall," said Geneva coach Phil Ralston. "He is also one of the most selfless players - almost to a fault - I have ever coached."

Marcel Neil


Scoring 21 points with 14 rebounds against Rochelle, the relentless 6-foot-4 senior forward paced the Knights' first regional title since 1999. Excelling under pressure, Neil's 15-of-17 foul shooting surpassed even his fine 77.4 season percentage. Unanimously acclaimed all-Northern Illinois Big 12 East, all-tourney at Plano, Neil averaged 13.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.5 steals and led Kaneland in blocked shots. Voted team MVP and captain, Neil scored a career-high 28 points against DeKalb. He attacked the basket with a quick first step and defended players in the post or perimeter. "He was definitely a team player, very selfless, and did anything we asked of him," said Knights coach Brian Johnson. "He's going to be a very good college basketball player."

Kyle Nelson

St. Charles North

St. Charles North's career shot-block leader was also the best rebounder in North Stars coach Tom Poulin's six seasons. All-academic in the Upstate Eight and a two-time all-conference selection, Nelson earned all-tournament honors at St. Charles East and Pontiac. St. Charles North's MVP finished with either hand, improved his outside game, was a great help defender and remained consistent. The instinctive 6-foot-8 center attracted wide college and service academy interest behind averages of 16.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocks, converting 61 percent from the floor. Plus, his outstanding work ethic and character, leadership by example and positive attitude rubbed off. "He was one of the best captains we've ever had in the program," Poulin said.

Quinten Payne

St. Charles North

Committed to play at Loyola University, more superlatives await this 6-foot-4 junior =next season. "A freakish athlete," coach Tom Poulin raised, Payne earned his second all-Upstate Eight River selection this season, as well as all-academic. St. Charles North's co-captain was named all-tournament at St. Charles East and at Jacobs, where Payne scored his season high of 32 points against Hope's Illinois-bound Jalen James. A rugged competitor, Payne averaged 16.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.8 steals. The explosive guard worked exhaustively to improve his outside shot and his off-the-ball defense to go with sticky on-ball defense. "He's one of those kids that's all-in, heart and soul," Poulin said. "He gives you everything he's got."

Juwan Starks

West Aurora

Honorary captain of the All-Area Team, the 6-foot-3 senior forward will finish his fourth year as a starter ranked either first or second all-time leading scorer at West Aurora. One of two four-year unanimous all-DuPage Valley Conference picks in history and this year's co-MVP, Starks set West's single-season 3-point mark, with 66, and also owns the career record of 126. He brought averages of 17.3 points and 6.1 rebounds into the sectional final, and made 45.2 percent of his 3-point shots. First-team all-tourney at Pontiac and the Rock Island MVP. Best of all, he's a character guy. "He's very respectful to his teammates, to his coaches," said Blackhawks coach Gordie Kerkman. "I just think he's a class individual."

Kendall Stephens

St. Charles East

Already a three-year starter, the 6-foot-5 junior forward continued his scoring touch for the Saints. A two-time all-Upstate Eight Conference River Division selection who this season made two all-tourney teams, Stephens averaged team highs of 17 points and 7.5 rebounds despite a nagging ankle injury. Sitting out one game, the Purdue recruit returned the next with five 3-pointers and 30 points. Every opponent's defensive focus, he scored a season-high 32 points against Streamwood, hit Geneva with 27 and ended his season with 24 points and 11 rebounds against Elgin. Long, agile, multifaceted and stronger than he appears. "He's going to improve and I think next year he's going to be pretty tough to stop," said Saints coach Patrick Woods.

Jontrel Walker

West Aurora

For West Aurora to maximize its abilities, perhaps one player more than any needed to improve - the sophomore point guard. Walker did, handling the ball, avoiding pressure and running an offense that outscored its opponents by an average of 11 points. Walker also became the Blackhawks' most consistent scoring option to senior Juwan Starks. A unanimous all-DuPage Valley Conference selection and all-tourney at Rock Island, entering the sectional final Walker averaged 13.4 points, 3.4 assists, 3.1 rebounds and made 50 three-pointers on 44 percent shooting from the arc. In the sectional semifinal win over Plainfield East, Walker scored a game-high 19 points. "Sometimes you forget he's a sophomore," coach Gordie Kerkman said, "because he doesn't really play like a sophomore."

All-area roster

2011-12 Boys Basketball All-Area roster

Player School Pos. Yr.

Dom Adduci St. Charles East G So.

Robert DeMyers Aurora Central F Sr.

Cole Gardner Batavia F-C Sr.

Brendan Leahy Geneva G Sr.

Marcel Neil Kaneland F Sr.

Kyle Nelson St. Charles North C Sr.

Quinten Payne St. Charles North G Jr.

Juwan Starks* West Aurora F Sr.

Kendall Stephens St. Charles East F Jr.

Jontrel Walker West Aurora G So.

* - Honorary captain

Special mention

Joey McEachern, Aurora Central, sr., G; Mike Rueffer, Batavia, jr., G; C.J. Schutt, Aurora Christian, sr., F-C; Pete Stefanski, Marmion, sr., G-F; Thomas Williams, Kaneland, so., G.

Honorable mention

Anthony Andujar, Aurora Central, jr., G; Drew David, Kaneland, so., G; Ryan Glasgow, Marmion, sr., C; Jake Hanson, Aurora Christian, sr., G; Tyler Heinle, Kaneland, sr., G-F; Johnny Hondlik, St. Charles East, sr., F; Jayquan Lee, West Aurora, jr., G; Phil Lorenz, Geneva, sr., G; Josh McAuley, West Aurora, jr., C; Zach Strittmatter, Batavia, jr., F; Kyle Swanson, St. Charles North, jr., F; Alex Theisen, Marmion, jr., G; Chandler Thomas, West Aurora, jr., F; Spencer Thomas, West Aurora, jr., F; Ryan Willing, Geneva, sr., G.

Past captains

1998: Eric Dodson, St. Charles

1999: P.J. Fleck, Kaneland

2000: Pete Schmit, St. Charles

2001: Eric Regan, St. Charles East

2002: Brian Schmit, St. Charles East

2003: Dan Izzo, St. Charles East

2004: Shaun Pruitt, West Aurora

2005: T.J. Marion, West Aurora

2006: T.J. Marion, West Aurora

2007: Nick Fruendt, Batavia

2008: Nick Fruendt, Batavia

2009: Jeremy D'Amico, Geneva

2010: Dave Dudzinski, Kaneland

2011: Kendall Stephens, St. Charles East

2012: Juwan Starks, West Aurora

The winners

Conference champions

St. Charles North

Regional champions

Aurora Central, Kaneland, West Aurora

The future

Teams to watch in 2012-13

Kaneland, St. Charles East, West Aurora