Photo: Trever Heinle, shown here in Northern Illinois Big XII action, was one of the Knights going through the rigors of summer hoops. File Photo
Knights’ Johnson reveals busy hoops-filled summer
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—In coach Brian Johnson’s case, school wasn’t really out for summer after all.
Summer league action for the Knights basketball league completed last week, and Johnson was glad to get some floor time for the Knights while they could.
The Knights used the time to play in an organized summer league at Geneva High School, while also hooping it up in shootouts at Morris and Crystal Lake South.
Johnson is quite the proponent of using the summer as a time to hone skills and increasing the chances of success come winter. Kaneland’s summer league time last year was a predecessor to the Knights’ first conference title since 1982.
“We tried to get a lot of games in this year,” Johnson said. “A lot of kids haven’t played with each other on the varsity level. With losing Daniel (Helm, relocated to Glenwood High School, in Chatham, Ill.), and key seniors, I thought it was real important they play a lot of games.”
The Knights saw their share of the Chicago area in some unfamiliar settings.
“Joliet West was a real good tournament. Morris was a very nice tournament, and we finished at Crystal Lake South, which was a good tournament. We had some success, but we also had some rough patches,” Johnson said.
The rough patches that Johnson refers to usually ended with ice on a body part.
“We went through a lot of injuries. The Heinle brothers (Trever and Tyler) were injured. Trever broke his thumb at Morris, and Ty dislocated his elbow at Crystal Lake South. Our new transfer from West Aurora, Marcel Neil, hurt his back. Dan Miller had a concussion, and he’s another key player. It was hard on the boys at times,” Johnson said.
The weekly summer routine provided an outlet for working around any hard times.
“From 7 to 9 a.m. we crossfit, and then from 9 to 11 we held camp and tried to implement new things defensively. Geneva summer league would be on Wednesdays, we’d play three games on Monday. Depending where we were at for the weekend, we’d play five or six games. Some of the kids would go to baseball summer league and play doubleheaders on top of that. It would be a busy week for a lot of the boys,” Johnson said.
While the exact impact of the 2011 summer league won’t be known until the late days of winter 2012, Johnson touts the institution.
“I think if you look back on the past year, I think what we did in the summer was huge. This was the first year that a lot of the sports came together for the summer, and we were on the same page. We got stronger, and you saw what the kids were able to do,” Johnson said.
Getting with the program—KHS Summer Camps
beginning Monday at:
• Kaneland HS
• Harter MS
Volleyball Setting Camp