Marquise Milton is the sure thing.
And then it’s going to be all about development, mixing and matching and eventually settling on something that works for the Horlick High School boys basketball team.
It will be a work-in-progress as coach Jason Treutelaar looks to talented, yet unproven players after the graduation of starters Marcus Caldwell, who averaged 21.3 points per game last season, Samarion Beadles, Joe Garcia and Derrick Seay.
“We’ve got good players who, through the course of the season, are going to be improving,” said Treutelaar, whose team is off to a 1-2 start. “We’ve already seen improvement even from our first game, which was only a week ago.
“We need to get to a point where, come January and February, we’re going to be playing to the best of our ability. That’s all you can ask for. And I’m confident we’re going to have a chance to surprise people.”
This transition will be easier with Milton, a four-year starter who was first-team All-Racine County and All-Southeast Conference last season. The 5-foot-11 senior guard averaged a team-high 23.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He also shot 37 percent from 3-point range.
Milton has taken it to another level so far this season with scoring outputs of 26, 27 and 21 points.
“Over the past year, he really turned his game to where he can go inside with dribble penetration or knock down the outside shot,” Treutelaar said. “His shot selection is very good.
“He’s working with a whole new supporting cast this year and he’s really turned into a leader. He’s trying to help people get their feet wet and bring them along.”
Other than 6-0 senior forward Stephon Chapman, who started six games last season, there is not much experience beyond Milton.
Those who have been starting so far with Milton and Chapman have been 6-1 junior guard Patrick Wade, 5-10 senior guard Maurice Ward and 6-0 senior guard Jaydin McNeal. Martavian Bell, a 5-10 senior guard who recently returned from a dental issue, also has a chance to start, Treutelaar said.
Among the others who could see substantial playing time include 5-9 junior guard Kasey Mitchell, Haden Sollman, a 6-0 junior guard who has been a spark off the bench so far with his shooting ability, and Tony Pitrof, a 6-0 guard who is the only sophomore on the team.
Pitrof, Treutelaar said, offers intriguing possibilities.
“He’s a very intelligent player,” Treutelaar said. “I think by the time we get to the end of the season, he’ll be seeing some real solid minutes just because he has a very good court awareness. He has a knack for being in the right place at the right time.”
Treutelaar will be needing that court awareness across the board because there’s an issue other than inexperience: There is no player on the roster taller than 6-2.
“We have to do more within our offense to try to create scoring opportunities off of screens, off of cuts,” Treutelaar said. “We don’t have the personnel to beat a lot of people off the dribble besides maybe one or two guys.
“So we’re going to have to display a little bit patience on the offensive end. Defensively, we want to use our quickness because we are a little deficient in terms of size. We want to make more havoc on the defensive end, I guess you could say.”
The bottom line is the potential is there. It’s just going to take some time.
“It’s an exciting time,” Treutelaar said. “We understand Park has a lot of talent coming back, Case has got a lot of guys and we’re going to be hearing a lot about St. Catherine’s.
“But I think we’re going to be improving, too, and be a program we can be proud of by the end of the season.”