Illinois Rockets Boys Basketball


6th/7th Grade Team

Head Coach: Lauren Hernandez

Lauren is from Sterling, IL where she played basketball since she was five years old. She played volleyball and basketball all through high school and decided to continue her basketball career at North Central College in Naperville, IL. She played three years before suffering an injury her senior year. Due to injury Lauren decided to become a student-coach for NCC but despite her injuries, she came back to play her fifth year and finished her career at North Central College. She graduated with a degree in Sports Management with a minor in Marketing. As she played her fifth year, Lauren began pursuing her MBA at North Central and is now a Graduate Assistant in the Office and planning to graduate with an MBA in June. This is her first year with the Rockets and is beyond excited to share her knowledge and her love of the game with all the girls she coaches

Assistant Coach: Maddie Sycha

4th/5th Grade Team

Head Coach: Ted Gradel

Ted is in his 15th year of coaching girls basketball and his 9th year coaching for the Illinois Rockets. He has been a Rockets Board member for 6 years and is in his 4th year serving as Rockets Girls Program Director. Coach Ted would like his teams and all Rockets girls teams to be known for their strong shooting technique, their tough man-to-man defense, and their unselfish, up-tempo play.

Prior to moving to the Chicago area Ted attended the University of Notre Dame where he was a placekicker on the football team. Playing for the legendary Lou Holtz, he earned a starting role in his final season at ND in 1987. Ted was the leading scorer that year on the team that featured Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown and he was named First Team Academic All-American Placekicker that season.

After graduating from Notre Dame, Ted moved to Chicago. He is a long-time independent financial futures trader, trading for his own account on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade from 1900-2001 and from an office 2001-present. He has been a Board of Trade member since 1990 and a Chicago Mercantile Exchange member since 2001. Ted lives in Naperville with his wife Sarah and their three daughters Francie, Ande, and Ren.

Assistant Coaches: Jenny Hennig & Andy Chavez

Contact us

If you have any additional questions please click name to email contact:

Boys Program: Marty Kuta

Girls GS Program: Bob Bray

Girls HS Program: Cass Rufus

Financial Questions: Mike Jopes

Website/Registrations Questions:  Bob Bray

Sponsorship:  Mike Bumpus


Additional Information

Interested in playing for:


Rockets Girls HS Team Spring/Summer  

Please Contact Drew Ondik or Cass Rufus -


Rockets Boys High School Team 

Please Contact Bob Bray or Jabari Harrell

Rockets Social Media





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