Here’s a look at the players to watch on Friday during the first round of action at the Forcht Bank King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic at Fairdale (team rankings from Courier-Journal’s preseason poll of coaches):
* 4:30 p.m. – Gainesville (Ga.) (6-0) vs. Nashville (Tenn.) Brentwood Academy (6-0). Senior guard D’Marcus Simonds has signed with Georgia State. Brentwood Academy has one of the nation’s top sophomore guards in Darius Garland, who has a scholarship offer from the University of Louisville.
* 6 p.m. – No. 8 Bullitt East (6-0) vs. No. 7 Waggener (4-1). Bullitt East has four players averaging double figures in scoring, led by senior guard Tyler Sharpe (21.8 ppg). He’s shooting 30.6 percent (15 of 49) from 3-point range this season. Waggener is led by 6-foot-6 senior Jaalam Hill (12.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and junior guard Jacquess Hobbs (12.0 ppg).
* 7:30 p.m. – No. 1 Taylor County (3-1) vs. No. 13 Central (3-2). Taylor County has one of the state’s top backcourts in senior Quentin Goodin (30.0 ppg, Xavier signee) and junior David Sloan (21.8 ppg). Sloan has a scholarship offer from U of L. Junior Devin Firman (16.0 ppg) and seniors Brandon Wells (15.6 ppg) and Dai’Von Thompson (8.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg) lead Central.
* 9 p.m. – Evanston (Ill.) Township (7-1) vs. Miami (Fla.) Senior. Junior guard Nojel Eastern of Evanston Township reportedly holds scholarship offers from Illinois, Missouri and Purdue. Miami Senior is led by 7-1 center Zach Brown, who is the No. 17-ranked junior in the nation by Rivals.com and is being recruited by Kentucky, Connecticut, Kansas, Memphis, Ohio State and several others.