BluegrassPreps.com 9th Region Boys Basketball Preview

  1. #1
    by PP1 is offline Premium Member
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    Preamble:

    I remember eight months ago, when I was sitting in NKU’s gym waiting for the 9th region tournament, I thought to myself “Man, it’s going to be 9 months before I get to sit in a high school gym.” Well as the leaves are changing, the pumpkin spice latte is back at Starbucks, and the football playoffs begin it is clear to me that basketball season is on the horizon. The best three months of the year will soon be here and I look forward to covering the best region in the state. I anticipate meeting some of you fine people and debating teams, players, and officials.

    The pre-season rankings are the hardest to put together. No one has won a game yet and for all the hype about transfers, move-ins, and players awaiting their varsity debut, none of them have even scored a 9th Region bucket for their respective teams.

    So here we are. The first official 9th Region Bluegrasspreps.com Boys' Basketball rankings for the 2019-2020 season.

    Pre-Season Rankings

    1. Covington Catholic: The reigning regional champions begin the year in the #1 spot. Grant Disken and Neil Green return to try and lead them to another sweet 16 birth. I hear a that a 7-footer has transferred from Indiana so that should be interesting to watch. They are favored to be the #1 seed in the 35th District.

    2. Beechwood: The Tigers are hoping for a second consecutive regional birth this year. Last year they made school history with a trip to the Regional Finals. While the loss of some seniors hurts, they do return Scotty Draud and Aidan Bieger from last year’s district championship team. They do have some role players from last year in Will Downton and Cole Busald that can score along with some size in Brandon Hughes.

    3. Conner: The Cougars surprised a lot of people last year. They had some very good wins on their way to a regional birth. Jalen Scott averaged 14 ppg last year and looks to lead Coach Otte’s team to a district championship. Conner should be the #1 seed for their tournament this year and hope to win a game in the regional tournament.

    4. Newport Central Catholic: Legendary Coach Ron Dawn returns to the sidelines for the Thoroughbreds this season. I think I was ten years old sitting with a box of popcorn the first time I ever saw him coach a game. His boys should be favored for a #1 seed in the 36th District. Until you watch Evan Mullikin in person, it is hard to get just how good he is. He could lead this team to a regional final four.

    5. St. Henry: St. Henry does nothing flashy and last year they ended up with a very average win/loss record. They did however win their district and if not for a blessing of facing Covington Catholic in the first round, they could have turned some heads. By the end of the season, Coach Faust’s team was very good. Four of their top six scorers return including Jude Bessler who averaged 7 rebounds a game with a Free Throw percentage of 80%.

    6. Highlands: 6-3 Guard Sam Vinson returns for the Bluebirds but may be looking around for his four friends that departed. They should be the #2 seed in the district, and they should be able to rebound with most teams in the 9th. They have a young 6-5 player named Muller who they will have to rely on in order to control second chance points. If Muller can average 7 defensive rebounds a game, the Bluebirds should be able to compete with the upper echelon of the region.

    7. Lloyd Memorial: If I were the Juggs, I would still be depressed over how my season ended last year. I remember sitting in Lloyd Memorial’s gym on a Tuesday night in January and watching them break the Dixie press with ease and dominate transition in the seconds half in route to an 8-point victory that really didn’t show how the game really went. Lloyd was later bounced by Dixie in the district tournament and should be looking for revenge. I was very impressed by a young man named Zaire Monroe. I thought his play was always key to the Juggernauts success even though Treshawn Cody did average more points. They also have Tyler Szabo who average 12 points a game last year.

    8. Cooper: The cupboard is not necessarily bare for the Jaguars. While they lost all their starters there are some seniors players ready to step in. They did land a Ryle transfer in Gavin Rabe to go with the crew of 12th Graders with not as much Varsity experience as you would expect them to have; however, being a senior means being in practice with Coach Sullivan for at least three years. Cooper should still make the regional tournament.

    9. Dixie Heights: It is really hard to predict what we’ll get from the school on Dixie Highway. Their regular season records have been below .500 yet they continually advance to the regional tournament and came within fifteen seconds of back-to-back district titles. Their schedule is usually very tough and even though their district has all “A Schools” in it, those “A Schools” have had some solid teams recently. On another note, Coach Stainforth was very nice to my son a few weeks ago at Griffin Elite during Little Colonels practice. I appreciate it.

    10. Holmes: Coach Brad Carr looks to improve on last year’s 8-21 record. He brings back three of his top scorers on a team that shot 47% from the field last year. There are a lot of juniors on their roster so we may be watching the beginning of something really exciting for the Bulldogs.

    11. Holy Cross: Brandon Grammar is hoping for some more wins for the Indians this year. Despite their 9-19 record, Holy Cross did play well in the All A tournament and, I think, had a halftime lead against Beechwood in the opening round of the district tournament.

    12. Boone County: The Rebels have a new coach in Nathan Browning. Boone County is hoping that 2020 gives them a chance to avoid being the #4 seed in the 33rd district. Parker Fields returns, and he plays with a high level of intensity.

    13. Ryle: I think it will be a long year for the Raiders. They do have a new Coach, but I think if people expect grand things from a team that lost their best player to graduation and their second-best player to the 10th Region, that they are setting themselves up for disappointment.

    14. Ludlow: Coach Dan Sullivan is working the boys hard and has established an elementary program. It may be a few years before he sees the fruits of his labors. He has a decent player in Vallandingham who averaged 13 points a game last year.

    15. Newport: The Wildcats lost almost all of their depth from last year. They have plenty of room to grow and could break the top ten at some point in the season.

    16. Villa Madonna: Michael Schlueter and 6-5 James Thole return for the Vikings. Villa was able to win the opening game in the district tournament last year against Ludlow.

    17.Dayton: My old boss is now the man in charge of the Devils. This will be a different kind of challenge for Coach Kinmon. Hopefully he will establish some pride in the program.

    18. Bellevue: The Tigers are hoping for double-digit wins for the second consecutive year.

    19. Heritage: Don Chambers averaged 13 rebounds a game for this small school last year.

    P.S.: I don’t think I am going to cover Covington Latin this year. They do not participate in the All A, district play, or post statistics.


    *Top Ten Players

    1. Scotty Draud (11th Grade- Beechwood): The Junior for Beechwood is one of the best scorers in the state of Kentucky. He hopes to lead his team to the All A State Tournament and another regional appearance.

    2. Grant Disken (12th Grade- Covington Catholic): The Colonels’ Senior is a Conference All Star and shot 50% from the field and 40% from 3-point range.

    3. Evan Mullikin (12th Grade- Newport Central Catholic): Evan came close to averaging a double-double last year (19/9). He’s a great player for the Breds.

    4. Sam Vinson (12th Grade- Highlands High School): Sam is one of the best point guards in the region. His size and strength will create match-up problems for anyone that the Birds face.

    5. Wyatt Vieth (12th Grade- St. Henry): Vieth averages 21 ppg last year. He was probably underappreciated last year due to his team’s overall record.

    6. Jalen Scott (12th Grade- Conner): Jalen was second on his team in scoring and rebounding last year. He could lead the 33rd District in scoring.

    7. Treshawn Cody (12th Grade-Lloyd Memorial): Treshawn averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds last year. There are several big schools that would love to have him in uniform.

    8. Neil Green (12th Grade- Covington Catholic): Neil ranked 15th in the state in FG% with 65. If he is a consistent threat, it’ll open up opportunities for some other Colonel Players.

    9. Aiden Bieger (12th Grade-Beechwood): There were games last year when Aiden carried the Tigers to victory. Bieger is a good 3-point shot and over 70% from the Free Throw Line

    10. Zaire Monroe (11th Grade- Lloyd Memorial): Monroe plays excellent defense and averaged 8 points a game last season. He also shot 75% from the free throw line.

    Honorable Mentions

    Parker Fields (11th Grade-Boone County): Parker plays ferociously for the rebels and is fun to watch.

    Jude Bessler (12th Grade-St. Henry): Jude averaged double digits in points last year, he has the potential to average over ten rebounds this year.

    DaeShawn White (12th Grade-Newport): DaeShawn attempted 120 3-pointers last year. Transition threes are great for a player's confidence.

    *For the list of players, I felt it only fair to include young men that I have seen play or have adequate knowledge about their game. I realize there is some new talent from out of state in the 9th Region now, but since I know nothing about these players, I felt unqualified to speak on their talents. I try to include player accolades in my weekly reports, so they will have their chances to become Bluegrasspreps.com legends.

    New Players worth keeping an eye on:

    Noah Hupmann: 7'1 Transfer to Covington Catholic

    Walker Horn: Transfer to Covington Catholic
    Last edited by PP1; Nov 11, 19 at 02:50 PM.

  2. #2
    The Double Deuce's Avatar
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    I would keep an eye on Colin McHale this year, I will be shocked if he isn't a consensus Top 5 player a year from now. Great shooter, bouncey, super feel for the game -- and the kind of kid you love to root for.

    Nice list, thanks for putting it together.

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    PP1, Very well stated.

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    Thank you and nice job, keep an eye on T. Calloway of Holmes as well.

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    Coaches Top 10:

    1) Covington Catholic (222)
    2) Beechwood (160)
    3) Newport Central Catholic (153)
    4) St. Henry (136)
    5) Conner (131)
    6) Cooper (107)
    7) Highlands (66)
    7) Simon Kenton (66)
    9) Campbell County (49)
    10) Lloyd (39)

  6. #6
    B-Ball-fan's Avatar
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    Great preview @PP1

    Thanks for your research and detailed breakdown... You really have a knack for this.

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    I'm surprised to not see Jefferson and K. Centers not on the top ten list. Is anyone else surprised?

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Double Deuce View Post
    I would keep an eye on Colin McHale this year, I will be shocked if he isn't a consensus Top 5 player a year from now. Great shooter, bouncey, super feel for the game -- and the kind of kid you love to root for.

    Nice list, thanks for putting it together.
    School?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sports4ever25 View Post
    I'm surprised to not see Jefferson and K. Centers not on the top ten list. Is anyone else surprised?
    Not sure I know who they are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sports4ever25 View Post
    I'm surprised to not see Jefferson and K. Centers not on the top ten list. Is anyone else surprised?
    Quote Originally Posted by PP1 View Post
    Not sure I know who they are.
    NCC Caleb Jefferson- averaged 10.6 per game; shot 45% from the floor; made 7 3 pointers shooting 20% on 3's; 66% from free throw line.

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    Enough said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PP1 View Post
    Not sure I know who they are.
    You’ll know who they are by districts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cooper_fan View Post
    You’ll know who they are by districts.
    You’re probably right. For the district tournament preview we usually do player profiles as well. It’s hard to pick only ten players during the Pre-season article.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sports4ever25 View Post
    I'm surprised to not see Jefferson and K. Centers not on the top ten list. Is anyone else surprised?
    Jefferson is a nice player, but probably on the outside of the top 10.
    Centers really hasn’t done much to warrant recognition as a top 10 or even top 20 player, not too mention coming off an ACL tear. Would be a great story if he plays well though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sports4ever25 View Post
    I'm surprised to not see Jefferson and K. Centers not on the top ten list. Is anyone else surprised?
    Quote Originally Posted by PP1 View Post
    Not sure I know who they are.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooper_fan View Post
    You’ll know who they are by districts.
    Cooper Kevin Centers - averaged 4.1 per game; shot 43% from the floor; made 17 three pointers shooting 39.5% on 3's; 77.3% from free throw line; 1.7 rebounds per game.

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