Illinois Rockets Boys Basketball

Grade School Girls Winter Coaches

8th Grade Girls

Head Coach: Brandon Stanciel

Brandon competed in basketball for 4 years at the NCAA Division 2 level at Lincoln University. While attending Lincoln, Brandon earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a minor in Psychology . Upon finishing his basketball career at Lincoln University, Brandon moved on the to become the Head Graduate Assistant Coach for Strength and Player Development for all athletic programs at Lincoln University.

Following his career at Lincoln University, Brandon took an opportunity to become a Head Skills Trainer for a Basketball camp tour in France (2016/2017). In France, Brandon coached, trained, and mentored over 1,500 basketball players all over the country.  "Having the opportunity to be a role model for the youth, and to challenge them both academically and athletically so they can reach their full potential in life on and off the court.” along with his passion for the game, is his reasoning for coaching.

Brandon played for the Illinois Rockets (5th-8th grade) under coach Drew Ondik, and he is extremely excited to have the opportunity to be a part of the program that sparked his competitive spirit and love for the game.

7th Grade Girls

Head Coach: Nate Gehrt

A graduate of Northern Illinois University, Nate Gehrt will be coaching for his 19th year. Nate started his career right out of high school, coaching summer camps and summer leagues for Willowbrook High School for his former coach and mentor, Dennis Doyle. After graduating from college, he taught and coached for two years for Bartlett High School as a sophomore assistant and freshman head coach. They went on to reach the state finals the year after his departure.

Nate landed at Waubonsie Valley High School, where he coached at the sophomore level for one season, and served as an assistant varsity coach from 2004-2009, helping contribute to four Regional Championships and five straight 20-win seasons. He later became the sophomore head coach for the next four years and coached last year as the freshman boys head coach. He finally took on the challenge of coaching his oldest daughter’s youth basketball team (whose team was, of course, undefeated!).

Today, Nate is the head coach of the Rockets 15U White team. Nate is excited to be part of the Rockets program and loves coaching and teaching. He lives in Batavia with his wife, Shannon, and three kids, Kylee, Jackson, and Emerson.

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.

6th Grade Girls

Head Coach: Krista Bonebreak

Krista grew up in a basketball family. All six of her siblings played high school basketball and five of them played in college. Krista graduated from Benet Academy and then went to Lewis University on a basketball scholarship. She graduated with a Liberal Arts degree and then continued on at Lewis to receive her MBA. While at Lewis she was the GLVC Newcomer of the Year and All GLVC First Team. She ranks second in Lewis history with 1,854 points, third with 254 steals and fourth with 443 assists. She was inducted into the Lewis Hall of Fame in 1995 and was most recently named to the All Decades(1989’s) Team. Coach Bonebrake went on to coach for 10 years at Benet Academy. First as Freshman A and B coach for 3 years then as an assistant varsity coach. Coach Bonebrake resides in Plainfield with her daughter and son. She currently coaches her fourth grade daughter on the Rockets Four Red and her son in the Plainfield park district.

5th Grade Girls

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 Coach: Andy Chavez & Ken Jackson

4th Grade Girls

Head Coach: Julie Joyce

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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