With a talented crew of newcomers and returners, the Moraine Valley Community College men’s basketball team is looking to prepare in the first few months for a run at some championships in 2023.

In his fourth season leading the program, Head Coach John Chappetto is cautiously optimistic about the season while looking at his current roster and planning how to develop the team. They have three returners, two transfers and a group of freshmen, all of whom can make contributions.

Last year’s leading rebounder and All-Conference and All-Region IV first team guard/forward, Anthony Taylor (Richards,) at 6-5 is a versatile, Scottie Pippen-type player, according to Chappetto. He does all the little necessary things between plays that help the team, and he will be expected to do the same this year.

Trace Williams (Homewood-Flossmoor) was a 6-1 starting point guard last season who emerged as one of the best Chappetto said he’s ever coached in that position. At 22, he’s slightly older than the rest of the group and in his third season with the Cyclones but should make a big impact with that experience.

Kobe Adams (Oswego), also in his third season and a 6-3 All-Conference and All-Region second team guard, is a light-up scorer who should put some points on the board for the Cyclones.

The two transfers – Taijon Barry (Eisenhower), a 6-6 forward from Rock Valley College, and Enari Thomas (John Marshall Metropolitan), a 6-0 guard from Western Illinois University – bring a strong dynamic to the team. Barry is like a calmer Dennis Rodman, according to Chappetto, who does whatever the team needs, defends and is full of energy. Thomas wasn’t able to compete at Western but has strength and fortitude and is eager to learn how the Cyclones play.

The seven incoming freshmen run the gamut of talent. Davion Lawrence (Oak Lawn), a 6-6 forward/center, will be an inside presence with scoring skills. Luis Acevedo (Homewood-Flossmoor), a 6-3 guard, is a potential starter with strong shooting abilities. Brothers Nicco and David Reyes (Oak Lawn), 5-10 and 5-7 guards, respectively, “may be shorter but give every inch they have on every play and can score,” Chappetto said. Gary Howard (Shepard), a 6-8 forward, is a smart player who can shoot the ball, and Malik Kelly (Evergreen Park), a 6-3 guard/forward, plays hard. Javonte McKenzie (Corliss), a 6-3 guard, went to Illinois State University last year but wasn’t playing basketball. A former Cyclones coach saw him playing a pick-up game in the city and helped recruit him.

“We have some size and depth at guard. It’s a nice group of kids. We’re pretty cohesive,” Chappetto said. “One thing the coaching staff talked about is being better defensively. We have more guys who like defense. We’re addressing little things and trying to change a few things offensively, too, using a style of play that works for them.”

The Cyclones will work to play more up-tempo, and the coaches are going to focus on improving things on and off the court. Chappetto said he wants to pace the guys, so they’re not exhausted when the more pivotal conference games take place in January and February.

Although the team always talks about a region championship and competing in the national tournament, too many things can happen between now and March, but they’ll keep plowing ahead.

“I talk about taking it one day at a time because too many things can trip us up. Individually, they need to work off the floor. In January, I’ll think about conference and nationals,” Chappetto said. “Our goal is to help them get there. We don’t want to be beat up early, but we’re ready to get it going.”

Chappetto will be joined again on the sidelines by assistant coaches Aaron Green and Kyle Huppe. The Cyclones open their season on Nov. 1 against Daley College, 6 p.m., at home.

For updates on Cyclones Athletics, visit mvcyclones.com.


For news media inquiries, contact Maura Vizza, Moraine Valley communications specialist and sports information coordinator, at (708) 974-5742 or Vizzam@morainevalley.edu