27th District boys basketball season preview | Atherton, Seneca, Trinity, Waggener

27th District boys basketball season preview | Atherton, Seneca, Trinity, Waggener

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27th District boys basketball season preview | Atherton, Seneca, Trinity, Waggener

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ATHERTON

* Coach: Mark Tudor (first year).

* Last season: 6-18, lost to Trinity 70-38 in district semifinal.

* Player to watch: Will Rainey, a 6-3 senior, can play multiple positions and is the Rebels’ top returning scorer at 10.5 points per game. “He’s just an all-around player,” Tudor said. “He has a nice jump shot and can go to the basket. We’ll try to get some mismatches with him going to the basket.”

* Other top players: G Ryan Davis (5-11, Sr., 6.5 ppg); F Brady Schmidt (6-3, Sr.); G Matt Kruer (5-11, Sr.); F Cauley Seaborne (6-0, Sr.); F Brett Bender (6-3, Jr.); F Darren Davidson (6-2, Jr.).

* Outlook: Tudor replaced Thomas Wilson as head coach after spending the past eight seasons with the junior-varsity program. He inherits a program with five seniors in the projected starting lineup, tough Rainey and Daves are the only ones with much varsity experience. Tudor likes his team’s chemistry and speed. “We should be able to have enough shooters on the court to spread the defense and get open looks,” Tudor said.

 

SENECA

* Coach: Daniel Hawkins (second year).

* Last season: 7-21, lost to Waggener 63-59 in district semifinal.

* Player to watch: Chris Coffey, a 6-7 senior forward, averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds per game last season and is receiving looks from NCAA Division II schools and several junior colleges, Hawkins said. “His motor is always going,” Hawkins said. “There’s never a moment you’ll catch him sleeping.” Coffey is a true post player who is working on his perimeter game, Hawkins said.

* Other top players: G James Dunlap (5-8, Jr., transfer from Butler); G Rzhad Britton (5-6, Sr.); F Keyontez Leach (6-3, So.); F Jeremiah Boyd (5-10, Sr.); G Errick Walker (5-8, Sr.); G Maleek Best (6-1, Jr.); F Imad Bahlawane (6-6, Jr.).

* Outlook: Coffey is the only returning player who posted significant numbers last season, but Hawkins plans to see improvement, especially on the defensive end. “With our length and athleticism at all positions, we should be able to get after people with our press,” he said. “Right now we’re shooting it a lot better than we did last year.” Hawkins said Boyd could have a breakout season and is one of the team’s best defenders.

 

TRINITY

* Coach: Mike Szabo (14th year).

* Last season: 31-6, lost to Scott County 62-56 in Sweet 16 semifinal.

* Player to watch: Ray Spalding, a 6-10 forward, has signed with the University of Louisville and is the top contender for Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball honor this season. He averaged 13.4 points and 10.3 rebounds as a junior. “He’s gained a little weight and continues to play harder for longer stretches of time,” Szabo said. “He’s such a great passer … that there are times that we want him to do more and be more aggressive when he catches it in the post.”

* Other top players: G/F Daniel Ramser (6-4, Sr., 6.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, Bellarmine signee); G/F Jax Levitch (6-6, Sr., 5.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg); F Christian Thieneman (6-5, Sr., 4.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg, Marshall signee); G D’Angelo West (6-2, Sr., 22.1 ppg, transfer from Mississippi, Texas State signee); G Michael Stafford (6-3, Sr., 7.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg); G Jay Murphy (6-4, Sr., 2.0 ppg, New York commit); G Gabe Schmitt (6-1, Jr., 3.4 ppg).

* Outlook: With five seniors already signed to play college basketball and two others (Levitch and Stafford) likely to do so, Trinity is the overwhelming favorite to take the state title this season. Spalding and Thieneman proved size, and Ramser and Levitch are deadly 3-point shooters. West and Stafford will share point-guard duties, and both have the ability to get into the paint. Along with that offensive firepower, Trinity annually is among the top defensive teams in the state.

 

WAGGENER

* Coach: Bryan O’Neill (fourth year).

* Last season: 16-10, lost to Ballard 84-61 in Seventh Region quarterfinal.

* Player to watch: De’Von Cooper, a 6-3 guard, established himself as one of the state’s top players in the Class of 2017 after averaging 14.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals last season. “He’s improved defensively,” O’Neill said. “He just has a smoothness to his game that has continued to grow as he’s matured.”

* Other top players: G Jacquess Hobbs (6-0, So., 3.2 ppg); G Jaalam Hill (6-5, Jr., 6.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg); F Kevin Kirby (6-5, Jr., 8.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg); F Nicholas Kratholm (6-6, Jr., 6.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg); G Trevon Jackson (5-6, Sr., transfer from South Carolina); G Jeremy Cole (5-10, Sr., transfer from Central); G Jacquan Hendricks (6-0, Jr.).

* Outlook: Although point guard Brandon Wells transferred to Central, there is plenty of talent back from a team that enjoyed a breakthrough campaign last season. Cooper is among the city’s most talented players, and Hill, Kirby and Kratholm provide size and length. The only three seniors are newcomers to the roster, but O’Neill is excited. “I think we’ll be pretty fun to watch,” he said.

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27th District boys basketball season preview | Atherton, Seneca, Trinity, Waggener
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