The St. Charles East boys basketball program is holding its breath regarding a worrisome shoulder injury for standout senior guard Kendall Stephens.
Stephens, a Purdue recruit and the most decorated high school basketball player in the area, injured his right shoulder during preseason practice last week. The preliminary diagnosis was a torn labrum in Stephens' right shoulder. Stephens indicated in a text message Tuesday that he is "considering my options, including surgery."
Saints coach Pat Woods said that, pending more definitive test results, Stephens' status for the season is uncertain.
"It's too early to speculate so I'm not even going to worry about it at this point until we know the extent of the damage," Woods said. "As we told our team, Kendall could be playing with us next week, he could be out for a decent period of time or he cold be out the whole season. Those are pretty much the three scenarios we'll deal with."
A first-team Chronicle all-area selection, the 6-foot-4, sweet-shooting Stephens averaged 17.9 points and 7.6 rebounds a game as a junior.
If Stephens is unable to play, junior point guard Dom Adduci would be the lone returning starter for a Saints team that – prior to Stephens' injury – was considered one of the top contenders in the Upstate Eight Conference River Division this winter. St. Charles North coach Tom Poulin had tabbed East as his preseason favorite.
East opens its season at its own Thanksgiving tournament on Monday against East Aurora.
Decision looming: West Aurora athletic director Jason Buckley said more should be known soon regarding the school's interest in joining the Upstate Eight Conference. West Aurora is one of multiple schools that expressed interest in UEC membership once Lake Park announced it is departing after this school year for the DuPage Valley Conference.
West Aurora is currently the westernmost DVC member.
"It's nothing necessarily on the DVC end," Buckley said. "We're just trying to put our student-athletes in position to have the best possible experience they can in high school."
Buckley said the UEC board of control was expected to meet again today, after which West Aurora and the other interested schools – including West Chicago – should learn more. Even if West Aurora is offered a spot in the UEC, West Aurora's school board would still need to consider the change.
"If the board doesn't say this is a go, then it's not a go – it's not going to happen," Buckley said. "We want to [provide] the school board all the information they need to make a decision because ultimately it is their decision."
Although there is technically only one vacancy in the UEC, on the Valley Division side, other possibilities could be on the table, including adding multiple schools to grow the conference.
Sign of the times: The St. Charles East girls swimming team turned in a big-time performance at sectionals on Saturday, so it's only fitting that a trio of Saints swimmers are about to sign to swim at a big-time level.
Saints swimming standouts Kimmie Scott (Ball State), Mary Snyder (Villanova) and Nicole Chapko (Michigan State) will be part of a signing day ceremony today at St. Charles East.
That trio helps form the core of a deep East team that figures to overtake perennial power Rosary as the leading area representative at this year's IHSA Girls Swimming and Diving State Meet in Evanston.
The East swimmers are three of 10 Saints athletes who are scheduled to be part of the Saints' college signing day ceremony today.
The others are volleyball players Erienne Barry (Western Michigan) and Nicole Woods (Memphis), basketball standout Kendall Stephens (Purdue), softball player Lexi Perez (Winona State), baseball players Joe Hoscheit (Northwestern) and Nick Erickson (Columbia) and girls soccer player Carly Pottle (Wisconsin-Whitewater).
Geneva's signing ceremony at 2 p.m. today will feature baseball pitchers Jordan Touro (South Alabama) and Andy Honiotes (Miami), along with girls basketball standout Sami Pawlak (Nebraska-Omaha) and Anna Corbett (gymnastics, Western Michigan).
At Batavia, volleyball senior Kristen Koncelik is scheduled to sign her letter of intent to play at Evansville at 7 a.m. Friday.
And as we reported previously, Kaneland multisport standout Allyson O'Herron is due to formally commit to Winona State (Minn,) today for softball.
I'm sure there are others we haven't yet been made aware of. We'll be happy to play catch-up.
• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.