The Evanston Township High School boys basketball team enters the 2018-19 season fresh off a third place finish at last season’s IHSA Class 3A State tournament. In order to have yet another strong season and ideally get back downstate, the Wildkits are simply taking things one day at a time.
“We are just trying to be the best team that we can become each and every day in practice,” explained head coach Mike Ellis. “Right now, our goals are just to get better for our first set of games in the St. Viator Thanksgiving Tournament.”
The Coach continued, “I think that the keys to success for us this year are [since] we are not going to be a team full of size, we have a lot of talent, we have a lot of guards, and a lot of guys that can score the basketball and handle the basketball [so] I think it is just a matter now of developing trust in one another that each of us can make those right plays.”
When asked which individuals he will be counting on this season, Coach Ellis said, “I think our life point of our team is our three seniors that have been up with the Varsity team for their four years in high school in Lance Jones, Jaheim Holden, and Ryan Bost. Those three seniors have the most experience and we are going to be counting on those three to use that experience to develop that into great leadership.”
In regard to which teams or tournaments they are looking forward to playing, Coach Ellis said, “We have another tough schedule. The schedule we put together for our basketball team we will put up against any other team’s schedule in the state [in terms of being the most difficult],” the Coach explained. “That really presses us to prepare for these games. If you look up and down our schedule, with the Thanksgiving tournament we are in [which includes matchups with Conant on Nov. 20 to open the season, Libertyville on Nov. 21, Prospect on Nov. 23, and St. Viator on Nov. 24], we are in two Christmas tournaments this year, one in Kentucky [the King of Bluegrass Tournament from Dec. 20-23 in Fairdale, Kentucky, and one at Centralia again [from Dec. 27-29] where the State champion won it last year, Bellville West, and not to mention the shootouts we are in [including the Chicago Elite Classic on Dec. 1, the War on the Shore on Jan. 19, and the When Sides Collide Shootout on Jan. 26] and the teams we play in those, and I have not even mentioned our [Central Suburban League South] Conference schedule [which begins with a matchup with Glenbrook South on Nov. 29]. So we know we are going to have half our games against top-20 ranked teams in the State.”
Coach Ellis also stressed the importance of players being able to play outside of their typical roles in order for the team to be most successful. “We are going to have some players playing out of position and have to do things differently than a typical point guard or scoring guard would be able to do. I think we are a team of point guards and shooting guards and we are going to have to expand our roles. So the better players can expand their roles besides just running and offense, handling the basketball or creating off the dribble, the better our team is going to be.”
If all goes to plan, look for the Kits to have another strong season and to be in position to make another postseason run come playoff time in March.