This evening's Night of Hoops event at Batavia High School will honor its founder, a longtime Batavia coach and his family.
Before the 7:30 p.m. Batavia game today, Feb. 2, there will be a special ceremony honoring retired Batavia basketball coach Jim Roberts and his wife Sylvia. During the ceremony the Batavia High School Basketball Program and Administration will rename the event “The Jim and Sylvia Roberts Night of Hoops.”
“They will be there,” Current Bulldogs coach Jim Nazos told CN100 Correspondent Paul Johnson. “I’ve always viewed it as a first-class event, even more when I saw it on the inside. (Nazos coached a team in the event last year, losing by just four points to Benet.) Everything is done first class and it’s because Coach (Roberts) took care of things.”
A plaque will be presented to Coach Roberts commemorating the event along with a duplicate plaque hung outside the gym as a permanent reminder of what Coach Roberts means to Batavia High School.
This 20th anniversary of the annual "Night Of Hoops" event highlights six of the best basketball teams in the Chicago area. Games start at noon with the sophomores, followed by the varsity games starting at 4:30 p.m.:
- 4:30 p.m.: St. Joseph vs. Wheaton North
- 6 p.m.: Benet Academy vs. West Aurora
- 7:30 p.m.: De La Salle vs. Batavia
All games will be played at Batavia High School, 1201 Main St., Batavia. Admission is $5.
Where Should I Park?
New this year: Please enter through the designated athletic entrances, which are on the far west side of the building by Bulldog Stadium. Tonight's performance of FDR in the Batavia Fine Arts Centre has reserved parking on the east side (closer to classrooms) of the Wilson Street parking lot. Parking for the Night of Hoops will be on the west side (spots closer to stadium) of the Wilson lot and the entire Main Street lot. If parking is at capacity, please use local side streets as overflow.
Preview of Matchups (Courtesy of Paul Johnson, CN100 correspondent)
St. Joe’s, led by legendary coach Gene Pingatore, is hovering around .500 this season. But that doesn’t mean the Chargers are without firepower. Center A.J. Patty is a force in the paint and smooth point guard Glynn Watson is one of the best sophomores in the state. He is the brother of former St. Joseph and Illinois star Demetri McCamey. Wheaton North is led by the massive 6-foot-11 center Andrew Zelis.
De La Salle has seen an exodus of star players in the past few years, but Minnesota-bound Alvin Ellis remains, making the Meteors a strong team even without the likes of Jaylon Tate (Simeon), Alex Foster (Seton), Demarcus Richardson (Curie) and Gavin Schilling (Las Vegas Findlay Prep). Batavia started out 2-7 this season, but the Bulldogs have won seven of their last eight games.
“We don’t see teams like this,” Nazos said of De La Salle. “It’s exciting to play a team like this and see where you’re at. We’ve taken strides every week and it’s a team that will continue to get better. They really like to be challenged.”
The marquee match-up is the middle game, Benet and West Aurora, who are ranked Nos. 1 and 2 respectively by the Daily Herald. Benet is led by junior center Sean O’Mara, one of the top prospects in the state. Senior Pat McInerney is also having a huge season.
West Aurora, which beat St. Joseph at the Sears Centre last Saturday, is coached by a legend as well: Gordie Kerkman. The Blackhawks are led by junior point guard Jontrel Walker and senior center Josh McAuley.
About Jim Roberts
Jim Roberts was head coach of the Batavia Boys Basketball Program for 27 years, accumulating 455 wins during that time. His programs earned nine regional titles, two sectional titles, one super-sectional title and one trip to Peoria for the state tournament.
Coach Roberts is also a member of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame for his accomplishments and his contributions to basketball in the state of Illinois.
Roberts is responsible for building the alumni base of Batavia basketball players to what it is today, according to a Batavia Public Schools Jan. 31 post on the event. He did this by treating each player, whether they were the star or not, with dignity and respect. Roberts took the time to know each of his players and along with Sylvia built a family around the sport of basketball.
"Jim emphasized tradition and respect for the game just as much as X’s and O’s," the districtwide message said. "It is with great honor and respect that we rename the event 'The Jim and Sylvia Roberts Night of Hoops.'"
The report was compiled from interviews conducted by CN100 Correspondent Paul Johnson (Preview of Matchups) and information from the Batavia High School Athletic Department.
- Read more about the legacy of Coach Jim Roberts (with comments from Mike Gaspari and Cole Gardner)
- Read more local sports news