A revamped Harper College women's basketball program makes its season debut Tuesday at McHenry County Community College.
After a disappointing 2016-2017 season for the Hawks' women's team, men's coach Sean Stochl added coaching the group to his duties.
The Hawks start the season with 11 players on the women's basketball roster.
One player who will not suit up Tuesday is sophmore guard Angelina Villasin, who is mending a broken hand. The Prospect grad is expected to return in time to start conference play in December.
"Hopefully," said Stochl, "she comes back and scores."
In addition to Villasin, there are three returning players from last year's team. And Harper has seven freshmen joining them.
Stochl says he expects immediate help from the new players, who've shown an unselfish pass-first mentality without being overly passive.
"They understand what we are doing," he said.
Two freshmen who could have the biggest impacts are guard/forward Kaela Drum (Hersey) who is "strong with the basketball," according to Stochl, and guard Maggie O'Donnell (Barrington), who will be asked to be the primary ball-handler.
Drum is one of three 5-foot-10 players on this year's roster. Stochl said her versatility will be helpful, as she can attack from the perimeter and also play in the paint.
Both Drum and O'Donnell figure to be important when the Hawks play zone defense. Stochl likes their quickness and ability to generate a physically imposing style of play.
• The men's team, too, is looking to improve upon last season, which was their first under Stochl's watch.
The main returner from that group year is 6-foor-4 guard Joe Gatziolis, the Mid-Suburban East player of the year from the 2015-16 prep season. He averaged 13.5 points for the Hawks last year and was named to the all-North Central Community College Conference team.
"Joey has what we need," said Stochl, who likes Gatziolis' skill set and leadership.
Another sophomore to keep an eye on is Milwaukee Area Technical College transfer Corin Daniel. The 6-4 forward played in 17 games for the Stormers last year, including 2 starts. The Indianapolis, Ind., native scored 4.6 points in a little more than 13 minutes per game.
Gatziolis could have a dynamic backcourt mate in freshman Jesse Young, a 6-3 guard from Chicago King.
"We are going to (play) off those two" said Stochl.
Also on the roster is Michael Petrella, a 6-4 freshman guard who excelled at Schaumburg Christian.
Both the Harper men's and women's teams figure to have a local flavor, as a total of 22 players competed for in-district high school programs.