Coach Thompson looks to improve on 23-8 first-season mark Galesburg boys basketball
GALESBURG — With a 23-8 record in his first year as a varsity coach, Chad Thompson's debut as Galesburg Silver Streaks boys basketball coach was pretty impressive.
Now comes the challenge of following that performance with a nearly new roster. Thompson feels he's up to that task starting Monday when the Silver Streaks host Canton at 7 p.m.
"The biggest thing I learned was the importance of relationships between the administration, the staff and the players," Thompson said.
"We had such a family bond which helped us to create that success."
The Streaks return six players from last year's team and all six figure in the projected playing rotation in the early season.
Returnees include seniors Easton Steck, Carter Clary and Nolan Carl along with juniors Ian Dominique, Jace Keith and Gino Williams.
Also expected to see playing time are juniors Ayden Almaguer and Talon Davis and freshman Jackson Crock-Sibbing.
Other varsity players are juniors Jamal Wateres and Jackson Hillhouse along with sophomore Cody James.
Nayeli Perez-Currie is team manager.
Two fab freshmen
In Galesburg boys basketball history, rare is the freshman who earned a varsity spot from day one but this Silver Streaks team will feature two.
Along with Crock-Sibbing, who played at Churchill, Leslie Kelley IV, a Costa Catholic School product will provide an infusion of talent.
"They are highly skilled, intelligent basketball players," said Thompson. "They're unlike anything I've seen at the freshman level.
No matter the roster, there are certain things that will remain basic in how the Streaks play the game.
"We're going to play defense, we're going to play hard, we're going to play physical," Thompson said.
Adjusting to the talents of a new group of players, some things will be different.
"We'll be faster. We're undersized but we shoot it better," Thompson said.
"We will try to get up and down and play at a much higher pace up and down the floor."
Lewis, at 6-7 is Galesburg's tallest player. Clary and Carl are both 6-5.
"Our first goal is to get off to a hot start in the Thanksgiving Tournament," said Thompson.
"When you look at the length of our season, the goal is always 20 wins.
"But we want to play our best ball in late February and early March when tourney time comes."
He added, "We're a very new looking team with a lot of new faces, and we're excited to see what they can do.
"We expect them to perform at a high level because expectations for Galesburg basketball are always high.
"We may not win every game but we want to be the hardest working team every night out there."
Hall of Fame night Nov. 26 looms as a special date on the schedule because that's when one of Thompson's mentors, former Streaks coach Mike Reynolds, brings his DeKalb team to Thiel Gym. The Barbs will be led by Reynold's son, Sean, who is ranked one of the top 25 sophomores in the state.
After that, other games worth highlighting are Galesburg's Western Big Six Conference game Dec. 2 at Moline with the Maroons two University of Iowa recruits, Peoria Manual's game at GHS on Dec. 12 in a regional rematch from last season and Manual Shootout on Jan. 28 in which the Streaks game against Peoria Notre Dame will feature another Iowa recruit.
Some changes have been made on the Streaks' coaching staff, too, and here's how the staff lines up:
Steve Hawkins and Eric Thompson return to the varsity staff to join newcomers Brady Landis and ex-Streak B.J. Dieterich.
Mark Harden Sr. will coach the sophomores with Craig Clary as assistant, and Mark Harden Jr. will coach the freshman team.
"I have very high confidence in myself," said Thompson. "When you add in the confidence of the players and staff it bodes well to expect good things going into the year."
Nov. 21 - Canton, 7 p.m.
Nov. 25 - GHS Thanksgiving Tourney
Nov. 26 - GHS Thansgiving Tourney
Nov. 26 - GHS Thanksgiving Tourney
Dec. 2 - At Moline, 7 p.m.
Dec. 6 - Sterling, 7 p.m.
Dec. 9 - At United Township, 7 p.m.
Dec. 12 - Manual, 7 p.m.
Dec. 13 - At Burlington, Iowa, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 16 - At Geneseo, 7 p.m.
Dec. 17 - At Iowa/Illinois Shootout (Augustana College)
Dec. 21 - Danville, 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 27 - Taylorville Holiday Tourney
Dec. 28 - Taylorville Holiday Tourney
Dec. 29 - Taylorville Holiday Tourney
Jan. 6 - Alleman, 7 p.m.
Jan. 10 - Rock Island, 7 p.m.
Jan. 13 - At Quincy, 7 p.m.
Jan. 14 - Martin Luther King Tourney
Jan. 17 - Morton, 7 p.m.
Jan. 20 - Moline, 7 p.m.
Jan. 24 - At Sterling, 7 p.m.
Jan. 27 - United Township, 7 p.m.
Jan. 28 - Manual Shootout vs. Peoria ND, 4 p.m.
Feb. 3 - Geneseo, 7 p.m.
Feb. 7 - At Alleman, 7 p.m.
Feb. 10 - At Rock Island, 7 p.m.
Feb. 14 - Quincy, 7 p.m.
Feb. 18 - IHSA regional
Feb. 28 - IHSA sectionals
March 3 - IHSA super-sectional
March 9-11 - IHSA state