With four NCAA Division I-A signees in their starting lineup, Glenbard West boys basketball resembles an all-star team on the floor.
“It reminds me of playing AAU teams,” said senior wing Bobby Durkin. “The way we share the ball is different but playing with five guys who are super good and talented is enjoyable.”
“We knew they were special in 6th and 7th grade when we saw them in the Titans feeder program,” said Glenbard West head coach Jason Opoka. “We stayed active with them and it’s proven dividends and how hard they’ve worked.”
The centerpiece is 6’11” Gonzaga commit Braden Huff, a four-star recruit and one of the top prospects in the state.
“He’s still the same guy,” said senior guard Caden Pierce about Huff since committing to Gonzaga. “We poke at him like he’s a celebrity.”
Huff grew five inches between his freshman and sophomore season, a growth spurt that elevated his game to new heights.
“The big thing growing up with the game is to be skilled and not just back to basket player,” Huff said. “I got lucky with my height, but I’m able to dribble and shoot and that helps my game a lot more”
The Hilltoppers have stayed on top of the mountain all season as the state’s number one team, turning what’s been known as a football school into a basketball program with eyes on making history as Glenbard West’s first boys basketball state champion.
“The football team is still great, but basketball overshadowed them a little this year, which is not typical of a Glenbard West school, but it’s been great,” Pierce said.
There’s no doubting the team’s talent, but it’s the Hilltoppers’ unselfish play that’s helped them live up to their lofty expectations and could ultimately decide just how far they go.
“These kids learned how to sacrifice for each other,” Opoka said. “They care about each other and are willing to give up personal accolades for success on the court.”
“The most fun part about this team is nobody is caught up in their own stats,” Huff said. “Everyone is really unselfish and bought into the team aspect of things. Just knowing you have a couple other good players by your side, it makes things a lot of fun.”