Boys basketball: The 2022-23 Herald-News All-Area Team

34 of the area’s best on the court this past winter

Joliet West’s Jeremy Fears Jr. (left clockwise), Joliet West's Jeremy and Jeremiah Fears together, Joliet West’s Jeremiah Fears, Lemont’s Rokas Castillo, Bolingbrook’s Mekhi Cooper and Joliet Catholic’s Anthony Birsa are the Herald-News 2022-23 All-Area Boys Basketball Team.

Meet the 2023 Herald-News All-Area boys basketball team.

Joliet Catholic’s Anthony Birsa drives to the basket against Prespectives in the Class 2A Julian Sectional championship on Friday, March 3rd, 2023 in Chicago.

Anthony Birsa, Joliet Catholic, sr., F-C: Birsa proved to be a mountain of a man in the middle for the Hilltoppers. Averaging a double-double on the season, Birsa recorded that statistical feat 20 different times during the season.

Lincoln-Way Central defense forces the turnover against Lemont’s Rokas Castillo in the Lincoln-Way West Warrior Showdown on Saturday January 28th, 2023.

Rokas Castillo, Lemont, sr., G: Castillo was a constant thorn in the side of opponents, leading Lemont with a 19.1-points-per-game scoring average as he and his teammates reached the sectional finals. He also drained 72 3-pointers on the season.

Bolingbrook’s Mekhi Cooper works around Lockport’s Jalen Falcon on Friday, February 10th.

Mekhi Cooper, Bolingbrook, sr., G: Cooper was a steady as it gets as a backcourt performer. Easily capable of scoring more than the 19.2 he averaged, Cooper also concerned himself with getting his teammates involved (4.4 assists) and with being a relentless defender (3.1 steals) for Bolingbrook.

Joliet West's Jeremiah Fears drives to the basket against Oswego East during the Class 4A Bolingbrook Sectional Championship on Friday, March. 03, 2023, at Bolingbrook.

Jeremiah Fears, Joliet West, so., G: As pure a scorer as one can find — and he’s got two more years to add on to what are already impressive numbers — Jeremiah Fears averaged 16.3 points per game and when prompted delivered lockdown defensive efforts for Joliet West.

Joliet West’s Jeremy Fears Jr dishes off the ball under the basket against Romeoville in the Class 4A Joliet West Regional championship on Friday, February 23rd, 2023.

Jeremy Fears Jr., Joliet West, sr., G: Fears, the Herald-News Player of the Year, was a do-everything type of performer that earned a truckload of accolades including Illinois’ lone nomination to the McDonald’s All-American game. He’ll head to Michigan State in the fall after finishing his senior season with a scoring average of nearly 19 points and dishing out five assists per game.


George Bellevue, Lincoln-Way East, sr., F

Matas Castillo, Lemont, jr., G

Troy Cicero, Romeoville, sr., G

Meyoh Swansey, Romeoville, jr., G-F

Tyler Surin, Joliet Catholic, sr., G


Josh Aniceto, Bolingbrook, jr., G

Keon Alexander, Bolingbrook, sr., F

Demir Ashiru, Plainfield North, sr., G

Eli Bach, Lincoln-Way West, jr., F

Jack Barrett, Lincoln-Way Central, sr., G-F

Seth Cheney, Providence, so., G

Jalen Falcon, Lockport, jr., G

Carter Garrelts, Coal City, sr., F-C

Nolan Gerdich, Plainfield South, sr., F

Paxton Giertz, Seneca, sr., G

Cale Halpin, Gardner-South Wilmington, jr., G-F

Miles Heflin, Peotone, sr., F

Aries Hull, Bolingbrook, sr., F

Adam Labuda, Lockport, sr., G-F

Jayden Martin, Joliet West, sr., F

Justus McNair, Joliet West, sr., G-F

Jake McPherson, Reed-Custer, sr., G

Kyle Olagbegi, Lincoln-Way East, sr., F

Wes Shats, Reed-Custer, sr., F

Andrew Soenksen, Plainfield East, sr., F-C

DJ Strong, Bolingbrook, jr., G

Wyatt Thompson, Dwight, sr., F

Preston Van Pelt, Minooka, sr., G

Jack Wheeler, Morris, so., G