Scouting Duneland Athletic Conference boys’ basketball teams

Chesterton

The Trojans had a state championship game a season ago, but they’re also without Times Player of the Year Travis Grayson.

Marksman Tyler Parish headlines the group of returnees hoping to keep Chesterton atop the DAC in 2022-23.

crown tip

Guard AJ Lux returns to the Bulldogs and is one of the best players in the region. As a junior last year, Lux averaged 17.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.

Crown Point is also bringing back starters Keaton Buuck and Connor Cotton.

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Central Lake

Lake Central coach Dave Milausnic likes where his team is in 2022-23. LC returns a lot of talent from a team that played in a section final a season ago.

All-DAC selection Brandon Escobedo is bringing back his 12.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, and Milausnic expects the addition of Jake Smith to the starting lineup to be an X-factor this year.

The door

Slicers coach Jordan Heckard knows 2022-23 will be different without 1,000 point scorer Grant Ott-Large, but his team is bringing back five players who started for at least one spell last season. Kyle Kirkham appears to be LaPorte’s focal point as the senior averaged 13.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game last year.

Merrillville

The Pirates may have only gone 9-15 last season, but they played their best year-end basketball. Namely, Merrillville pulled off a section upset in the first round of Valparaiso.

Darrin Weaver and Jeremiah Roberts lead a group of ghosts who hope to prove such performances against the Vikings were no fluke

Michigan

Jamie Hodges Jr. is the drinking straw for Wolves. Hodges is one of the most prolific scorers in the region, able to explode for 30 on any night.

On top of that, Allen Briggs returns after starting most of last season. With their No. 1 option still in the mix, Michigan City will be looking to improve on their fourth-place finish in the DAC.

Carrying

Kamari Slaughter opted to move to Cathedral this offseason, but head coach Bryon Clouse still expects his young Portage team to compete.

Sophomores Garrett Clark and Michael and Sam Wellman all started on points last season, giving Portage a healthy dose of experience to pair with his youth.

Valparaiso

The Vikings will center things around 6-foot-7 winger Mason Jones this year. With five players from last year’s team graduating, Jones will lean on him to play all five positions.

Surrounding the Ball State commitment are Conner McCall, Jack Smiley, and Derrick Brooks as revenants. Coolman thinks this is one of the deepest teams he’s coached, it’s just going to be about getting everyone up to speed and playing their best basketball after the New Years.