The boys varsity basketball team is not only having a near unstoppable season, but the fans and media are turning them into a team to watch. As they continue to be one of the top teams in the state, fans and players have high hopes the team will go far into the post-season.
“We are excited for the rest of the season to compete at a high level night in, night out,” said Shooting Guard Trey Baker, junior. “The love and support has been phenomenal, and for us players, we couldn’t appreciate that more.”
While playing in many challenging games, such as the ones against Stevenson High School or Collinsville High School, the team has obtained many victories with some defeats. By the end of January, the team remained 18-3. Having a successful season thus far, the team has turned many heads, as many of the key players work well together on the court.
“We play a rotation with about six-to-eight consistent players that are referred to as stars in the game. Conor Enright, Scottie Ebube, Jack Bikus, Trey Baker, Syam Atade, and Chris Rooney carry the heaviest loads, and all complement each other well,” Head Varsity Coach Matthew Badgley said.
Whether the team is playing on the Mundelein basketball court or at a different school, it often feels like they are playing for a home crowd. Their fans follow them wherever they can to support the team.
“It’s nice to get some notoriety from the outside, but we are focused on what we have to do as a team to compete at a high level and remain focused on the ultimate goal,” Baker said. “We don’t play for the people outside; we play for each other, and that’s what has allowed us to be successful so far.”
Not only does the team have their fans’ attention, but they also have gained the attention of some social media personalities.
When MHS played Lake Park High School in the battle of the undefeated on Dec. 21, a popular YouTuber named Sloche came to the game to document the intense environment and victory obtained by MHS on their home court.
Another YouTuber referred to as ‘Who’s Next’ also posted from Stevenson High School about the MHS versus Stevenson game when Mundelein was defeated with a score of 67-64 in Stevenson territory.
Both personalities posted on their Instagram accounts as well.
“The publicity is different than in the past because this year people are ranking us, and random people I don’t know are talking about our team,” Point Guard Conor Enright, junior, said. “In my opinion, that’s pretty cool.”
As the team has become more recognized for their successes throughout the season, the coaches and teammates said it has given the players confidence and the program a good reputation.
“I’m not a big social media person, but I recognize the importance it carries for the young kids and in this day and age in general,” Badgley said. “I think it is a good way to promote our kids and program.”
While the increased coverage might help motivate the team as they head toward post-season, players also recognize the importance of seeing it for what it is.
“I wouldn’t say we have had one major coverage from a specific group or person; it has been spread out throughout the season. I would say that they all have the same importance and significance to us no matter who it is, but we try not to focus on what other people have to say about us,” Enright said.
While the social media attention is a new concept for the players, the support of the Mundelein community is not and remains important to the team.
“I love our fan support. We are recognized in the community, and our students seem to be really enjoying the games, both home and away,” Badgley said. “Having a traveling student section is wonderful.”