Boys Basketball: Joliet Central features best of two worlds
By Dick Goss firstname.lastname@example.org July 10, 2013 9:52PM
Jonah Coble, of Joliet Central | File photo
Updated: August 12, 2013 6:08AM
When you ponder which teams may move toward the top of area charts during the winter, don’t overlook Joliet Central.
“This a good group,” Central assistant coach Brian Koehne said during the recent Joliet West Tiger Shootout as head coach Jeff Corcoran was handling duties at the Steelmen’s youth camp. “They play hard. They’re much more athletic than what we’ve had. They’re basketball players who also are athletic, and that changes what you can do.”
In a sense, Central will feature the best of two worlds. The Steelmen will have senior experience in their top six — Jarvis Northington, William Autman and Jaylen McGee in the frontcourt, along with guards Jonah Coble, Jalen Jones and Jason McNear — and a group of juniors ready and willing to contribute off the bench.
“We need to get some hustle into our game,” Jones said. “We’ve been kind of a laid-back team. The juniors coming up are really contributing to the hustle. When that group gets in, they start that intensity that we need.”
“We have a good group of seniors and juniors who have had a ton of success on the lower levels,” Koehne said. “The juniors aren’t big, but they know how to scrap. We’ll be bringing good defensive players off the bench.”
Coble and Northington are in their third varsity seasons. Coble has proven ability to score points in bunches, and Northington has reached the point in his career when he wants the ball and knows what to do with it.
“Our inside guys are only about 6-3 but have long arms,” Koehne said. “William plays bigger than he is and Jarvis is athletic.”
The talented McGee did not play last season and Northington missed significant time for various reasons. With them in the lineup, who knows?
“This is the first time in a while that Central has had this many big guys,” Jones said. “Jarvis wants the ball now. He will be more of a force.”
“We’ll do the best that we can inside,” Northington said. “We’re all lanky and have been playing with each other since we were little.”
The Steelmen must replace Jalen Heath, their leading scorer from last season’s 13-15 team, and point guard Eddie McElrath. But Koehne said a guard combination of Coble, Jones and McNear “will be a good one,” potentially in all facets of the game.
“Jalen was our major scorer last year,” said Jones, who can shoot a mean three-pointer himself. “This year it will be more as a group.
“Jonah can score. He did it consistently last year. I know I have to help, too. But I’m a team player and last year I had to look for Jalen and Jonah more.”
With the strength at the top of the SouthWest Suburban Blue, challenging for the title will be a mountain for the Steelmen to climb. However, there is reason for optimism.
“I think we can win a regional and go to sectionals,” Jones said. “If we clamp down on defense, why not the supersectionals?”
“We’ve got to keep our heads on straight and run our stuff right in practice and put it into games,” Northington said. “We’ve got the type of team that will do what it should, and the guys off the bench will boost our energy.”
“This should be our best team since the split,” Koehne said.