Here's a heads up for future opponents of the DeKalb boys basketball team: Be prepared to play physical.
A Mike Reynolds-coached team will make you do that.
After 11 seasons coaching at Galesburg -- the second-longest consecutive tenure of any coach currently in the Western Big Six Conference -- Reynolds resigned Tuesday to take the job at DeKalb. The DeKalb made his hiring official, plugging Reynolds in to replace Al Biancalana, who led the Barbs to Northern Illinois Big 12 East championship in all five of his seasons.
DeKalb is set begin play in the DuPage Valley Conference this fall.
"I think if you talk to anyone about the identity of the programs I ran, they're defensive oriented, they're work ethic oriented, they're toughness oriented," Reynolds told the DeKalb Daily Chronricle. "Those are non-negotiable for us."
They never will be.
Reynolds turned the Silver Streaks into a tenacious group, guiding them to a 218-132 overall record and 55-55 mark in the WB6. His teams went 7-15 against Quincy High School, getting swept by the Blue Devils each of the past three seasons.
Still, he made the Silver Streaks consistently competitive because they emulated his fiery nature and competitive personality.
DeKalb fans should expect the same thing to happen to the Barbs.
Austin Downing's path back to being healthy is complete.
The challenge of being ready to lead the Quincy University men's basketball team is next.
Five games into last season, the junior guard suffered an injury to his left shoulder that required season-ending surgery. He spent the second half of last season with his arm in a sling and underwent months of rehabilitation.
Tuesday, six months and two days after undergoing surgery, Downing announced on Twitter he had been given medical clearance and his doctor said his shoulder "is ready for war again."
The 6-foot guard received a medical redshirt and retains two years of eligibility, which is critical for QU. Before the injury, Downing was averaging 11.2 points, three rebounds and nearly three assists while playing 26.4 minutes per game.
His production is needed to help to replace the top three scorers from last year's team, which went 9-19 and won only two games the second half of the season after decimated by injuries and illness.
The lineup for the third annual Quincy Shootout continues to become more and more intriguing.
The two-day basketball showcase, scheduled for Jan. 24-25, 2020, at Blue Devil Gym, will feature a marquee matchup between Quincy High School and Centralia -- two of the nation's winningest high school programs -- as well a deep pool of talent receiving recruiting interest from major NCAA Division I programs.
For example, this week two of the top players coming to the shootout -- St. Louis Vashon small forward Cam'Ron Fletcher and Sacramento (Calif.) Sheldon small forward Marcus Bagley -- narrowed their college choices to a final group.
Fletcher, who helped the Wolverines win the Missouri Class 3 state championship last year, whittled his suitors to five -- Kentucky, North Carolina, Michigan State, Alabama and Missouri. Bagley, the younger brother of Sacramento Kings standout Marvin Bagley, trimmed his list to three with Arizona, Arizona State and Cal.
Ahron Ulis, the Chicago Heights Marian Catholic point guard, also announced he received an offer from Iowa.
A pair of Culver-Stockton College basketball players earned recognition form the National Association of Basketball Coaches for their academic achievement as well as their steady play on the court.
Mike Johnson and Thaddeus Newby, both senior guard, were named to the NABC Honors Court.
Johnson was a two-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete and a Heart of America Athletic Conference Scholar-Athlete, while Newby was a two-time Heart Scholar-Athlete.
In order to be named to the Honors Court, a student-athlete must meet a high standard of academic criteria. The qualifications include being a junior or senior academically and a member of the varsity team; having a 3.2 cumulative grade point average at the conclusion of the 2018-19 academic year; be matriculated at the nominating institution for at least one year; and have a coach who is a member of the NABC.