IHSA basketball rankings: Springfield area's top 12 high school boys basketball players
The boys basketball season in Illinois tips off on Monday and there is plenty of star power among The State Journal-Register's area teams.
Many of those players showcased their talents during the COVID-19 shortened season earlier this year but can now display their improvements in Thanksgiving, Christmas and postseason tournaments.
Here’s a look at just some of the best players in the Springfield area, listed in alphabetical:
GAVIN ARTHALONY, Petersburg PORTA
The Bluejays junior guard will look to keep the team at or near the top of the Sangamo Conference. There is a big void with some heavy graduation losses.
WES ANDERSON, Chatham Glenwood
The 6-foot-2 senior center led the Titans in points (13.0 per game), rebounds (6.5) and assists (2.5) and he will suit up for first-year coach Kody Kirkpatrick, who coached at Riverton for five seasons. He replaces Todd Blakeman, who resigned after 16 seasons and is the all-time leader in wins at the school.
KAM BANKS, Southeast
The Spartans will have to replace Central State Eight Conference’s leading scorer, James Dent (21.1) ppg and the 6-3 forward will be asked to do much of the lifting. He averaged 10.6 ppg and 6.5 boards as a junior.
TYE BANKS, Lanphier
The 6-3 guard won’t be asked to do it all — he has a solid cast of talent surrounding him in Tae Jackson, Cam Kincaid and Austin Robinson — but he was Lanphier’s leading scorer (15.1 ppg) as a junior, with The State Journal-Register's player of the year, K.J. Debrick, on the team.
JERRET BELFORD, Jacksonville
The senior had a late-season breakout for the Crimsons, with a career-best 21 points in the season finale then 26 in the first round of the CS8 tournament. He finished with an 11.1 ppg average.
JAKE HAMILTON, Sacred Heart-Griffin
Fans won’t see him just yet — he’s got a Class 4A state football championship he’s trying to help the Cyclones win — but he’s worth the wait. He was a Class 2A all-state selection by The Association Press with 12.1 ppg and 6.4 rpg as a sophomore.
TRENT MARKEZICH, Mount Olive
The four-year star has averaged 12.7 ppg in his career with 20.3 ppg in the Wildcats’ 13-game season earlier this year. He’s a lock to surpass the 1,000-point mark, perhaps by the end of the calendar year.
SAM MCCOY, Williamsville
As a sophomore, he averaged 11.5 for a team that had zero seniors in the spring. That gives hope that Williamsville, which went 9-5 overall and 5-4 in the Sangamo Conference, can be a contender for the league title with fellow all-conference returners Jake Seman and Hunter Riley.
SPENCER RIKAS, Auburn
The 6-1 senior guard was a Sangamo Conference first-team pick in the spring after he led the Trojans with 15.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg and 1.7 assists per game. He connected on 56 3s.
COLIN SCHMITZ, Pana
Pana basketball coach Adam Metzger says senior teammates Schmitz and Brenden Schoonover are “a dynamic duo.” Schmitz is the Panthers’ leading returning scorer with 12.8 ppg and Schoonover clocked in with a healthy 11.8 as the No. 3 scorer. They also averaged a combined 6.7 assists per game.
CAYDEN SILVESTER, Staunton
The 6-foot senior guard was second on the team in 2021 with 11.7 ppg and will take the reigns. Silvester plans to play baseball at Millikin in Decatur.
DRAKE VOGEL, Hillsboro
If the Hiltoppers can have success similar to last season’s undefeated run, Vogel, the leading returning scorer, will likely improve upon his Illinois Basketball Coaches Association honorable mention from the spring when the then-junior averaged 16.1 ppg and 5.1 rpg.
Contact Ryan Mahan: 857-246-9756, email@example.com, Twitter.com/RyanMahanSJR.