For three years, Jeff Beck brought the ball up the court as the point guard for NCAA Division III Lake Forest College’s men’s basketball team.
This season, as a senior for the Foresters, he is carrying the offense in a different fashion. Beck, a Dundee-Crown graduate, leads Lake Forest with a career-best 19.4 points a game, which ranks third in the Midwest Conference, as the Foresters’ shooting guard.
In the best offensive season of his career, Beck became only the 20th player in school history to surpass 1,000 points Jan. 19 against Illinois College.
“It’s a nice milestone to get to,” Beck said. “It means a lot. I’ve been really thankful to be healthy throughout my career.”
Beck’s career at Lake Forest includes 86 career starts. His 1,030 points rank 15th all-time.
“I do like [shooting guard] a lot,” he said. “I like not having the pressure of bringing the ball up every time.”
With six more games on the schedule for the Foresters (5-12), Beck is likely to jump a few more spots on the scoring chart.
“Every year, he’s gotten better at one aspect of his game,” Foresters coach Chris Conger said of Beck.
Along with leading the team in scoring, Beck is No. 1 in 3-pointers (40), three-point percentage (46 percent) and steals (1.2 a game). He also contributes 4.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists a game.
Despite playing more than 34 minutes a game, Beck is one of the team’s most active practice players.
“He brings a great deal of toughness to every drill we do in practice,” Conger said. “Jeff has a very high basketball IQ.”
Beck’s aptitude for the game has helped him easily move to a new position this season.
“It was a pretty easy transition,” Beck said. “I knew what everybody on the court had to do, but I’d just never done it before.”
Brothers Brian and Chris Madson of McHenry have been mainstays, along with Beck, in the starting lineup. The Madsons both have started every game this season.
Brian Madson, a sophomore forward, is second on the team with 12.1 points and 6.1 rebounds a game.
“He definitely has a bright future ahead of him,” Beck said.
Along with being Beck’s roommate for three years, fellow senior Chris Madson leads the team with 7.6 rebounds a game and contributes 7.8 points a game. Earlier this month, he had back-to-back 17-rebound games against Carroll and Illinois College.
“He’s a very good rebounder and a good leader,” Beck said. “He’s very vocal. He always lets guys know what they’re doing well.”
Champaign star Blanton: Richmond-Burton grad Jordan Blanton is 16-4 this season for the Illinois wrestling team and is ranked No. 8 in two individual national polls at 174 pounds.
Blanton has helped the Illini (5-2) to a No. 6 team ranking in the nation while compiling the third-most wins on the team.
Blanton tied his career-best finish by placing third at the annual Midlands tournament at Northwestern. He also surpassed 100 career wins this season and has a 104-36 record as a fifth-year senior.
Udrenaite’s record throw: Concordia University Chicago sophomore track and field athlete Kamile Udrenaite broke the 20-pound weight throw school record Jan. 18 with a throw of 43 feet, 7 inches at the Lewis University Invitational.
The effort earned Udrenaite the Northern Athletics Conference Women’s Indoor Track & Field Student-Athlete of the Week award.
Undrenaite, a Crystal Lake South grad, placed fifth in the event for the D-III Cougars.
Udrenaite also finished second in the shot put with a personal-best toss of 37-0½.
• Barry Bottino writes a weekly column and a blog about local college athletes for the Northwest Herald. Write to him at BarryOnCampus@hotmail.com, check out his On Campus blog at McHenryCountySports.com and follow him @BarryOnCampus on Twitter.