Last year: 4-17
The Knights open with their third new coach in as many seasons, but John Heerema is ready to take on the task in his first varsity coaching position. “I told them, ‘at the end of the day, I want your parents proud, and I want everybody in that gym to say ‘what a great group of guys,’” he said. “We’re getting to that.” The Knights have a lot of experience returning with four starters back, despite just one senior. “They get along so good, and there’s a real good team chemistry,” Heerema said. “They’re all together 100 percent.” Brandon Sheets, Jason Kikkert and Jake Bowers will be counted on to carry the bulk of the scoring load in the early part of the season. John Van Kley, the lone senior, will be competing for a starting position and providing some leadership. Heerema, a 1994 Kankakee Valley graduate, likes what he’s seen so far from his Knights. “I’m really fired up,” he said. “I told them, ‘the wins and losses, I do care about it, but I’m not worried about it. If you guys do what we need to do, it’s going to be a fun season.’ I’m very optimistic.” Heerema said the sectional is stacked with talent with Marquette Catholic and Kouts in the field. “I told them, ‘If you play hard, you give yourself a chance.’ That’s all I ask. I want to compete,” he said. — Christopher Breach
Last season's finish
Lost in the Class A Kouts Sectional opener to Washington Township.
Leading returning scorer
Jason Kikkert, 7.2 ppg.
Leading returning rebounder
Jason Kikkert, 7 rpg.
Brandon Sheets, Jr., G. He‘s the Knights' go-to player when they need a big bucket and he averaged 5 ppg and grabbed 6.2 rpg a year ago. He’ll be counted on for his leadership and intensity.
Newcomer to watch
John Van Kley, Sr., PG. Van Kley is back after not playing basketball his junior season. “He’s going to be a key contributor, and the kids really look up to him,” Heerema said.