PurplePride92's Avatar
Mercer County in currently ranked #1 in the AP Poll, tied for #1 in the Litkenhous Ratings, #2 in the Cantrall Ratings and #2 in the Bluegrasspreps Rankings. They are undefeated with a 20-0 record after defeating Montgomery County 84-51 last night.

In just his second year at Mercer County Head coach Josh Cook brings his talented team to the floor each night with visions of playing games in Rupp Arena in March. Led by senior point guard Will Hager this Mercer County team also boasts arguably the best sophomore in the state in Trevon Faulkner. Hager recently became the all time leading scorer and Faulkner recently scored his 1,000th point. Both Hager and Faulkner have been playing varsity basketball since they were in the 8th grade and as the leaders of the team they have a vast amount of experience between them to guide the team.

Newcomer Dylan James has been a very welcome addition to the team. James is averaging 3.2 made three pointers a game and he has range from 30 feet. Some Mercer County fans feel like James has been the missing ingredient to success for this group of boys. Last season after some jostling with the KHSAA, Malik Dow was ruled eligible and added another key ingredient to the team. Dow brings an athleticism not seen often from someone with his height and skill set. Both James and Dow are above average at rebounding the ball and Dow has added a respectable jump shot to his repertoire so not only is he still a threat in the paint but he can cause issues for big men hoping to camp in the paint when defending him.

When it comes to the heart of the team look no further than Drew Davis and Alijah Mink. Each successful team needs glue guys willing to the do the dirty work and the little things that don't always show up in the box score after the game is over and Davis and Mink fit that bill. They are are the scrappers, the ones chasing the loose balls, grabbing the needed rebound, making the clutch free throw, setting the necessary screns, adding the physical toughness to the team and providing the inspiration to the team when a win is needed to be gutted out. Make no mistake, both are capable of scoring and can do that when needed as well. People will look at this Mercer County team and see Hager, Faulkner, James and Dow but this Mercer County team isn't 20-0 and in the discussion as one of the best teams in the state without Mink and Davis on this team.

Mercer County is #3 in scoring at 77.1 points a game. #15 in scoring defense holding opponents to 49.5 points a game. #1 in scoring margin at 27.6 points. #4 in field goal percentage at 52.9%. #18 in free throw percentage at 72.1%. #10 at three point percentage at 40.6%. #4 in rebounds at 38.4 rebounds per game. Some people, including myself, will point to Mercer County's schedule and say these stats are a result of playing opponents that don't challenge them nightly. While their favorable schedule can't be denied what also can't be denied is how talented this team is and how strong this team is. It is clear they are one of the best teams in the state.

Are they the best team in the state? I don't know for sure but I think they have a really good argument in their favor. My general belief is that they will have a tougher time winning the 12th Region than the state tournament. If they can manage the gauntlet of the 12th Region tournament in Pulaski County in March then they will be one of the favorites to cut down the nets at Rupp Arena in March.

Are they the best team in the state? We shall see. Stay tuned.........