* Cody Allhands, Ash Grove, jr. — Was a first-team all-Mid-Lakes Conference point guard last season and is a leader and hard worker as point guard for coach Jeremy Nicholson. He averaged 12 points and 4.5 assists for an 11-15 team as a sophomore.
* Brayton Ballenger, Catholic, jr. — The only returning starter, Ballenger is a great athlete who could be in for a big season for new coach Tony Armstrong. Ballenger averaged 7.5 points per game last season and will be expected to lead.
* Luke Call and Chandler Myers, Mount Vernon, sophs. — A year after being key cogs as freshmen in a run to the Final Four, the pair of talented Mountaineers are expected to be among the area’s best Class 3 players.
* James Denton and Jaelon Acklin, MV-BT Liberty, jrs. — The leaders of the successful football team are attempting to team up and make the basketball team a winner this season as well.
* Dalton Fisher, Clever, sr. — The heart and soul of new coach Luke Brosius’ team, Fisher should combine with Travis Pennewell to form a potent scoring backcourt.
* Austin Gastineau, Ava, sr. — After a monster year where he led the Bears in scoring, assists and steals, the team leader could be primed for more his senior year.
* Seth Hensley, Hartville, jr. — The 6-foot-5 center led the Eagles in scoring last year at 16 points per game in his second year as a varsity starter.
* Brandon Jahn, Forsyth, soph. — An up-and-coming young talent, Jahn was all-Southwest Central League last year, averaging 15.3 points, 3.4 assists and 2.4 steals per game.
* Ryan Jinks, Diamond, sr. — Jinks will have to step up to replace graduated talent for Diamond, which went 24-3 last season but had its year end abruptly after a coach’s dismissal.
* Deric Link, Fair Grove, sr. — Link can play all over the floor because of his 6-foot-4 frame, skill and high basketball IQ. A potential candidate for a breakout season for coach Tim Brown.
* Zane McCurry, Pleasant Hope, soph. — Showed off his scoring ability from the point guard spot last season, scoring 31 points in one game and averaging 14 points per game for the season.
* Justin Myers, Sarcoxie, jr. — Myers made first-team all-Spring River Valley Conference as a sophomore and is a captain and complete player for coach Kyle Johnson.
* Kyler Ng, Seneca, sr. — Coaches around the Big 8 Conference have raved about Ng, the conference co-player of the year, in the preseason. The point guard does a little of everything for coach Will King.
* Bobby Otwell, Mountain Grove, jr. — The only returning starter for new coach Mark Bernsen, Otwell averaged 10 points per game last season. He’ll need to be the leader of a young group that includes some freshman regulars.
* Ryan Pate, Stockton, jr. — Some off-the-ball duties offensively will be added to the point guard’s plate this year. The 6-foot junior guard should benefit in the scoring column.
* Chad Rice, Lamar, sr. — The standout football linebacker was the leading scorer at Lamar last season. The 6-foot-1 player is a good post scorer and leader for the Tigers.
* Haden Smith, Willow Springs, sr. — The only returning starter for coach Mike Mallow, who must hate graduation day. This is the second year of tough graduation losses for the Bears.
* Sam Swartz, East Newton, soph. — Will team with Colby Thomas and Bryce Zimmerman to make up a core of sophomores expected to lead the Patriots, who went 9-17 last season.
* Tastin Vaughn, Conway, sr. — A great defender who has worked hard to develop his offensive game over the years, Vaughn should take over the primary scoring load after two seasons as the team’s second-leading scorer.
* Jacob Wade, Strafford, jr. — The 6-foot-3 junior is looking to follow up a strong football campaign as quarterback with a big year on the hardwood. Strafford, with a strong nucleus of young players, could get back to state soon, as it did two seasons ago.
* Shane Williams, Mount Vernon, sr. — Helped lead the Mountaineers to the final four last season, and could be on the way back with a roster that has it all for coach Skip Brock.