By Bob Kopp


When Head Coach Aaron Pearson arrived at Belvidere High School a decade ago, he declared his goal of making the Bucs known for more than football.

He delivered.

After establishing a program combining innovative game plans tapping into the renowned mental and physical toughness of BHS athletes, he led the Bucs to the only NIC-10 championship (2012-2013) in School District 100 history and the first Regional Championship in 26 years (2015-2016).

With seven seniors returning to the line-up – only losing Deante Barnes now playing at Rock Valley College, Eric Munoz playing football at Upper Iowa University, and Matt Kopp playing football at Coe College- who all logged significant minutes last year along with five talented and Buc-tough juniors contesting for playing time, this year’s edition of BHS basketball could add to the accumulating laurels during the tenure of Pearson and top varsity assistant Nate Lister.

“We are really excited about this upcoming year, and hope the returning seniors can take the next step,” Pearson said. “We have a lot of work to do but this group of kids are hungry, have a good work ethic, and are fun to be around.”

Both Pearson and Lister have high hopes for the upcoming season.

“We are very excited to have seven seniors returning who all played big minutes last year and helped us win a regional title,” Lister said. “This is one of the shortest teams we’ve ever had, but they make up for it with their toughness, quickness, and being fundamentally sound. Our goal is another regional title and to take it a step further with a sectional title.  We are encouraged by the attitude of the team, and they are hungry for more success.”

Here’s a look at the roster:


Jay Blandin (5’9′) is a transfer from Palatine who emphasizes the team’s confidence.

Austin Brockmann (6’2″), a mainstay on the baseball team on the mound and the corners, finished very strong last year as the most improved player on the team and says this year’s team is fast and physical.

Xavier Dent (6’1″), known as “the vacuum” under the boards, plays much larger than his height.

“I’m expecting big things out of Xavier on the boards, and we need him to average eight to 10 rebounds a game,” Lister said.

Joey Hernandez (6’0″) is a deadly sharpshooter.

“We’re not the tallest team but watch out for our aggressive defense and explosive offense,” Hernandez said.

Nate Horton (5’10”) has flubber in his sneakers and should provide thrilling moments as the team’s ESPN highlight film.  “I like our experience,and our team chemistry is solid,” Horton said. “I think we will exceed expectations.”

Will Morris (6’1″), coming off a record breaking year on the gridiron (receptions) as an all-conference wide-out, is steely and steady.

Austin Revolinski (6’1″) is already a three-sport legend at BHS.  A two-year first-team all-conference quarterback who is a lock for all-state recognition, he was a fan-consensus first-team NIC-10 hoopster last year and arguably the conference MVP.  While he will attract attention from basketball recruiters, D1 scouts who miss him for Saturdays should be fired.

Jacob Rodriguez (5’8″) epitomizes BHS’ reputation for not backing down to anyone at anytime anywhere.

“This is the closest team with the best chemistry that I’ve seen at the school,” Rodriguez said.


Shawn Dean (6’1″) has a nose for the ball and bucket and warned opponents, “We bring skill and football toughness to the court.  You better show up when we come to town.”

Dominic Dozal (5’11″) feels good about pressing seniors in practice and admitted, “We juniors really look up to our seniors who’ve gained our respect.”

Brady Hauser (5’9″) established himself on the diamond as a sophomore who should dominate batters in the spring with his uncommon control and arsenal of pitches.  He is expected to emerge this year on the court as well as a deadly three-point threat in the mold of brother Josh who drained plenty during his tenure and whose name still sends shivers through Boylan.

Phil Kolk (5’11”) will be another junior who could play a significant role off the bench.  Another record-breaker in football (receiving yardage) along with Morris and Revolinski, Kolk has a knack for big plays under pressure.

“I like our senior leadership, because they are vocal and set good examples of working hard to achieve goals,” he said.

Kalen Murray (6’0”) may have summed up the greatest strength of BHS basketball 2016-2017.

“I love this team,” Murray said. “We love each other.”

With assistant Bob White returning to the bench after a highly successful year as an assistant coach for football state contender DeKalb, Pearson has added Mike Hernandez and Brandon Fowler to the coaching staff.  They will lead the baby Bucs (freshmen and sophomores) and be courtside for a run at conference, regional, and sectional titles.



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