Cary-Grove has all the ingredients to produce something special this boys basketball season.
The Trojans have experience, with three returning starters and three other players who were in last year’s rotation off a 21-8 team.
They have senior star power, with 6-foot-8 forward Frank Jakubicek (signed with NCAA Division I Belmont) and 6-1 guard Beau Frericks (D-II Lewis), both of whom should eclipse 1,000 career points this season.
They have motivation, because even though C-G notched its biggest win total since 2001, it did not win the Fox Valley Conference or the second regional title in school history.
Frericks said the Trojans want to keep their goals simple.
“We always say just to win every day,” Frericks said. “If you win every day, there’s no goal you won’t accomplish.”
Frericks and Jakubicek have played together, along with seniors Clark Cunningham and Drew Szydlo, since the sixth grade. Frericks and Jakubicek made impacts with the Trojans as sophomores.
“I just want to bring leadership and experience,” Jakubicek said. “We have a lot of good younger players, but they don’t have the experience at the varsity level, so I want to help coach them to be the best players they can be, not only this year but for the future as well.”
Frericks averaged 19.4 points a game, third in the area, and hit 67 3-pointers. Jakubicek averaged 12.8 points and 7.4 rebounds and also showed a great touch from the outside, hitting 45.6% of his 3-point attempts.
“We have a lot of talent and a lot of hype,” C-G coach Adam McCloud said. “Sometimes last year we tried to win on talent and we fell short. To really achieve our potential, we have to be mentally tough. The big thing I’m preaching is, ‘Win every day.’ Let’s win every day and the goals will take care of themselves.”
Cunnnigham started with Frericks and Jakubicek. Ryan Weaver, Drew Szydlo and Dan Sowa, all 6-2, played key minutes off the bench. Trevor Beaugureau (6-3) will add some size inside where the Trojans will miss David Aulert (6-5), Addison West (6-4) and LJ Waco (6-4). Sophomore guard Mikey Clarke also will see significant minutes.
McCloud knows opponents will look to stop Frericks and Jakubicek first. Even with the defensive focus on them, that can be tough. Frericks is the kind of scorer who can take over games.
“When Beau’s on a roll, just get out of his way,” McCloud said. “Let him go. Beau has that killer instinct that, when he gets it, he’s looking to score every time. He is, and he should be.”
Jakubicek enjoys when Frericks heats up.
“That’s a lot of fun,” Jakubicek said. “It’s kind of ‘Get Beau the ball and go take care of everything else.’ He can get pretty hot and do some pretty incredible things.”
Weaver said the key will be playing together.
“It’s best when we’re thriving as one unit,” he said. “Doing what we need to do to put points up on the board and play defense. Like coach says, ‘Win each day.’ It’s something great to put those pieces together to climb the ladder to conference championship, regional, sectional, state, one rung at a time.”