Anthony Beane, Jr., is a junior at Normal Community High School. He has been making rapid improvement as a basketball player of late. His coach Dave Witzig is excited about his guard's potential.
"Anthony's dad is a coach at Illinois State, so he moved up from St. Louis when his dad took the job at ISU. As a freshman he played with the sophomore team. And this last year he moved up to the varsity level. We were a senior-laden team and went 22-10.
"As the year went on, he got better and better. The seniors have now graduated, so we look for Anthony to be one of our regulars."
As the son of a coach, Beane gets his love of the game naturally and knows what it takes to improve.
"He's a gym rat. He works hard to get stronger physically. He handles the ball well and will play point guard for us. He can hit the three, he can penetrate. He can find and hit his teammates when they need to get the ball."
It is taking awhile for the youngster to develop point guard skills, but Witzig believes he has everything he needs to accomplish that goal.
"I think with some of the teams he played on growing up in St. Louis, he was more of a shooting guard. He's about 6'-1", 6'-2," so if he's gonna play college basketball he's gonna need to be more of a point guard.
"His dad played point guard at Kansas State, so his dad knows a little bit about playing the point guard position. We feel like he'll be a good point guard for us."
Witzig was asked what Beane needs to improve on most.
"He really needs to get stronger. Learning how to be a point guard and running an offense, when to take a game over or take a possession over, trying to get his teammates involved.
"He has all the basketball skills. He can dribble with both hands and penetrate and shoot with both hands around the rim. He has a lot of skills, so just fitting it together to be a point guard."
The hardest thing for a point guard to learn is when to pass and when to shoot. Balancing the two is an ability few have naturally. Witzig agrees it requires practice and repetition.
"Yeah, it is tough. Especially with our team we have this year, we have some talented players but we've got a lot of inexperience. He's one of our more experienced guys, so the players are gonna look to him for leadership. He'll need to get those players involved if we're gonna have any success at all, to get us back to the way we were last year."
Witzig is unfamiliar with coaching major college talent. He hopes to find out what it's like as Beane matures.
"I've been here 12 years, and I've not had a Division I player. A lot of Division III. I look forward to watching Anthony develop. It should be fun to see him go through that process."
Illinois coaches are likely waiting to see how Beane develops also.
"Illinois has sent letters, but I've not personally talked with anyone from over there."
Beane plays with Team Illinois in AAU ball.