Today we take a short road trip south to take a look at this season's prospects for Oswego and Oswego East.
The Southwest Prairie has become a pretty competitive conference over the last four or five years. How will our two local clubs stack up?
Well, there's no doubt Oswego is the favorite this year. Plainfield East won it last year, but it lost a number of key players to graduation. The Panthers have most of their best players back. Most importantly, they've got two four-year varsity players starting in the backcourt. I'd put both Miles Simelton (pictured) and Elliott McGaughy on my "watch list" as far as preseason candidates for Beacon-News Player of the Year.
Simelton had D-I offers from Chicago State, Miami of Ohio and California-Davis. He needs 28 more points to reach the 1,000 mark for his varsity career. The guess here is he'll have that by the second game of the season. McGaughy led Oswego in scoring (17.5 per game), assists and steals last year. This might be the best backcourt in our coverage area.
The Panthers have an experienced frontcourt too, with 6-4 Jack Kwiatkowski and 6-5 Josh Oros returning for their senior seasons. Both are three-year varsity players. Jamaal Richardson (6-3) missed last year with a shoulder injury, but look for him to play a significant role. Oswego East coach Ron Murphy praised Kwiatkowski and Richardson for being players who are willing to do the small things to win games.
This Oswego team features both star players and glue guys, and the experience level is high. This could be a pretty good year for coach Kevin Schnable's crew.
On the other side of town, Murphy takes over for Jason Buckley as the head coach of Oswego East. Buckley left to become the athletic director at West Aurora over the offseason.
The new coach inherits a team that finished .500 a year ago and lost eight of its top 10 players to graduation. The good news for Murphy is senior guard C.J. Vaughan is back. Vaughan, a three-year starter, can score and he's a plus defender, too.
After that, the Wolves have a lot of unknowns. This will be a senior-oriented team, but most of these players have little varsity experience. Kendall Dorsey, Jordan Baker, Nick Craft, Scooter Smith and Tyler Ross will be among the players fans will see more of this year.
As per usual, these two teams will go at it twice in conference play this winter. Mark your calendars for Dec. 18 and Feb. 1. I'm sure there will be a packed house both times. Oswego will be gunning for a conference title and a good seed for the regional, and Oswego East will want nothing more than to spoil the party.
Coming tomorrow: West Aurora and East Aurora