Barry McNamara  |  Published November 01, 2023

Coaches’ Kids

Fighting Scots men’s basketball teams features several players with fathers who’ve coached, as well as a famous grandfather.

COACHES' KIDS: And, in one case, a grandkid. Pictured from left are Jason Huber, Gus Abbel, B... COACHES' KIDS: And, in one case, a grandkid. Pictured from left are Jason Huber, Gus Abbel, Brock Card, Payton Crims, Kyle Taylor, Ryan Schimmel, Oscar Alcobendas and Ganon Greenman. Not pictured is Gavin Kies.MONMOUTH, Ill. – When Monmouth College coach Todd Skrivseth sets his sights on a possible recruit for the Fighting Scots’ men’s basketball program, one of his first orders of business is to get a little background on the player from his coach.

In several cases lately for Skrivseth, the coach has also been the player’s father.

Four members of this year’s team are the sons of active high school basketball coaches, and five other players have strong connections to the coaching profession. Members of the first group are Brock Card (his father coaches at McHenry High School), Jason Huber (Dundee-Crown), Gavin Kies (Burlington Notre Dame) and Kyle Taylor (Moline).

Gus Abbel’s father coached at a trio of Illinois high schools, Payton Crims’ dad is a junior high coach, Ganon Greenman’s late father was an assistant coach at Ridgewood High School and Ryne Schimmel’s father is also at Moline, where he coaches baseball. Rounding out the group is Oscar Alcobendas, whose grandfather, Lolo Sainz, is the former national team coach for Spain and Real Madrid. Sainz was named one of the 50 greatest contributors to the Euroleague.

“(Coaches’ kids) often have an attention to detail that you’re trying to stress. It just comes naturally to them. And there’s a passion for the game that’s pretty evident.” Todd Skrivseth

“Oscar never mentioned his grandfather during the recruiting process,” said Skrivseth. “Once he got here, he kept mentioning his grandfather, and one day he finally told me the whole story. Geesh, he’s like the Gregg Popovich of European basketball.”


The pros and cons of it

“It was good to just be able to be around him more than most people get to be with their dad,” said Taylor, who as a freshman last season led the Scots in assists, steals and three-point shooting percentage while averaging 9.1 points per game.

That includes plenty of days in the gym with his father, long before they were on the same team.

“I was able to relate to everything the way he sees it,” said Taylor. “By the time I got to high school, we were on the same page. I knew what he wanted and how to do it.”

Skrivseth has noticed that trend, as well.

“I’ve known Sean a long time. I remember going down to Jacksonville and seeing a little guy out on the court, shooting around. Now to have him be here and be our starting point guard, it’s kinda neat.” Todd Skrivseth

“(Coaches’ kids) often have an attention to detail that you’re trying to stress,” he said. “It just comes naturally to them. And there’s a passion for the game that’s pretty evident.”

KYLE TAYLOR: The sophomore from Moline is the Fighting Scots' starting point guard. KYLE TAYLOR: The sophomore from Moline is the Fighting Scots' starting point guard.The elder Taylor certainly has a pretty good idea of what to do. The Moline Maroons went 28-5 during Kyle’s senior season, then followed that up with a run to the Class 4A state title last year, finishing 35-3 and improving Taylor’s record to 162-50 at Moline. Overall, he’s won 626 games, which includes two years at Jacksonville High School, where Skrivseth recalls seeing a young Kyle Taylor.

“I’ve known Sean a long time,” he said. “I remember going down to Jacksonville and seeing a little guy out on the court, shooting around. Now to have him be here and be our starting point guard, it’s kinda neat.”

Huber’s father, Lance, is also no stranger to winning (or to Taylor – the two longtime coaches have known each other since their days in Decatur). Huber’s teams at Dundee-Crown have won 265 times, more than half of the program’s victory total since the school added “Dundee” to its name in 1983.

“I really enjoyed getting to hang out with my dad away from home,” said Huber.

Like Taylor, he soaked up all that exposure to basketball like a sponge, and he became a conduit for his father to the rest of the Chargers.

“I could get through to teammates what he wanted to get through to them. There was definitely a trust factor. Me and him were on the same page. I believed in him, and he believed in me.” Jason Huber


“I could get through to teammates what he wanted to get through to them,” said Huber. “There was definitely a trust factor. Me and him were on the same page. I believed in him, and he believed in me.”

Adding to the family dynamic for Huber was the fact that his older brother, Kyle, was a senior on the team during Huber’s sophomore season.

“Dad always expected more out of me and my brother,” said Huber. “My brother and my dad were always pushing me to get better. They made sure I heard what they were saying.”

That pressure got to Huber a time or two, and he remembers being kicked out of a practice at some point, but that pressure also brought out Huber’s potential.

“It was great, though. My brother expected a lot out of me. Me and him put in a lot of time together.”

That included plenty of 1-on-1 sessions.

JASON HUBER: The sophomore from Dundee-Crown gets off a jumper in action from last season. JASON HUBER: The sophomore from Dundee-Crown gets off a jumper in action from last season.“The first time I got him was my freshman year,” said Huber, who helped his father to a 20-win season as a senior. It was the Chargers’ first time reaching 20 victories since the elder Huber led them to a fourth-place finish in the 2009 state tournament.

Taylor said he’d occasionally hear he got his spot on the team because of his family connection.

“Other people would say, ‘You just got that because your dad is the coach,’” he said. “But my way around that was to just do everything you can for your teammates, and everything will take care of itself.”


In their father’s footsteps

“It’s definitely in my plans for the future,” said Taylor of coaching. “I’ve been around it for so long. I even joke about it – I don’t know much else. I think winning is one of the best feelings you can have. Basketball has given me a lot of joy in my life, so I plan to stay around the game. I think I’d rather coach college than high school.”

“I could definitely see myself getting into it,” said Huber. “I really love the game, and I love trying to be the best at whatever game I’m playing. I almost hate losing more than I love winning. So I could definitely see myself staying in the game and fulfilling my drive for competition.”

“I’ve been around it for so long. I even joke about it – I don’t know much else. … Basketball has given me a lot of joy in my life, so I plan to stay around the game. Kyle Taylor

Both players commented on lessons they’ve learned about the game from their fathers, including how to focus on the big picture and not just the situation in front of them.

“It could be something we’re going to need later in the game, or even longer,” said Huber. “He might be hard on a guy who’s not playing much at the time, but he’s doing it because he knows we’re going to need him later in the season. He sees where we’re trying to go, instead of right now.”

Skrivseth mentioned the “vast” coaching tree that longtime Monmouth coach Terry Glasgow established during his 35 years leading the Scots, and now Skrivseth is starting to see some branches sprout on his own tree. Taylor and Huber could soon be part of that as well.

“It’s neat to see some of the players I’ve had here get into coaching,” he said.


A mini-preview

Taylor is one of four solid scorers Skrivseth welcomes back. The others are senior David Williams (13.0 points) – last year’s Midwest Conference Newcomer of the Year – and juniors Jordan Hill (7.8) and Declan Flynn, who caught fire in the second half of last season to finish with an 8.6 scoring average. A local product from United High School, Flynn reached the 20-point plateau four times during the Scots’ final eight games.

Monmouth opens its slate Nov. 8 at Eastern Illinois, then travels to Eureka two days later. The Scots’ home opener is Nov. 14 against Concordia-Chicago and MWC play begins Nov. 28 at Lake Forest.

A year ago, the Scots finished 14-12 overall and 10-6 in the league, good for a tie for third. Illinois College won both the regular season and conference tournament titles. The Scots will get an early test against IC when they host the Blueboys Dec. 6 in Glennie Gym.

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