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Way Too Early Top 25

By Chad Rader, 810 Varsity, 07/03/19, 1:45PM CDT


After three June events, check out the boys basketball Way-Too-Early Top 25

With three 810 Varsity basketball team events held in June, and nearly every top program besides Bishop Miege participating, its not too early to formulate a Way Too Early Top 25 for the 2019-20 basketball season.

1. Grandview

Back-to-back state champions returning a solid core is a no-brainer for the top rung. The G-Dogs looked the part again with a strong showing at the Titan Classic on June 14-16. Reggie Morris Jr and Taj Manning are a great outside-inside combo for head coach Reggie Morris to work around.

Reggie Morris Jr and Grandview look for a three-peat in Missouri Class 4. (Photo: Darryl Woods, 810 Varsity)

2. Raytown South

The Cardinals blew through the tournament field at the Titan Classic, taking the ‘ship with a double-digit win over Blue Valley Northwest in the final. Mark Cann Jr., McKinney Dezmond, Kobe Campbell, and Keitez Simmons help formulate a very athletic lineup. Grandview vs Ray South in Class 4 will be a dynamite series with league and postseason looming.

Photo: Darryl Woods, 810 Varsity

3. Park Hill South

The Panthers squeaked past Liberty by 2 and Basehor-Linwood in sudden death en route to the title in Summer Slam I, but show they know how to win with a 17-2 record in June. Dylan Brougham (6-foot-8) and Jonathan Thompson (6-foot-5) are a tough combo in the frontcourt, while Josh Prososki is coming around at point guard.

Park Hill South holds the 810 Varsity banner after winning Summer Slam I.

4. Lawrence

The Lions coasted to an undefeated run in Summer Slam II, including a double-digit win in the finale vs St. Thomas Aquinas. Zeke Mayo and Mayson Quartlebaum are among two of a deep lineup for LHS.

Lawrence gathers after the Lions won Summer Slam II.

5. Blue Valley West

Yeah, that’s not a typo missing a “North” in it with the two usual powers in the BV district. The Jaguars were impressive with an undefeated outing at the Titan Classic – including beating Grandview – with a strong inside presence of seniors O’mar Stanley (6-foot-8) and Nick Swarts (6-foot-7) and outside with senior Spencer Bain – the Jags will be tough in 2019-20.

O'Mar Stanley and Blue Valley West will be a force to reckon with in Kansas this year. (Photo: Darryl Woods, 810 Varsity)

6. Blue Valley Northwest

No surprise here, as the Huskies revamp the lineup from the two-time defending champion teams with four players at 6-foot-5 or taller. Juniors Jack Chapman and Alston Mason along with senior Markell Hood lead another solid crew for BVNW.

Markell Hood and the Huskies aim for a three-peat in Class 6A. (Photo: Darryl Woods, 810 Varsity)

7. St. Thomas Aquinas

Saints look to take the next step in head coach Jacob Kupersmith’s second year, as shown by advancing to the Summer Slam II final. Keeshawn Mason will look to be a strong force at 6-foot-8 and showing his athleticism on both side of the floor. Senior Phillip Bell (6-foot-6) provides a compliment inside, with good play in guards Cooper Jackson, Zarian Navy and Tank Young.

Photo: Darryl Woods, 810 Varsity

8. Raymore-Peculiar

The Panthers were steady in both the Titan Classic and Summer Slam II. Kian Scroggins (6-foot-7) played more aggressive in Slam II, while Conrad Hawley (6-foot-6) gives Ray-Pec two posts who can play inside or shoot outside. Guards are solid shooters as well in Conrad Hawley, Matthew Harrison and Jordan Jermain.

When Kian Scroggins is going, Ray-Pec is tough to beat. (Photo: Darryl Woods, 810 Varsity)

9. Bishop Miege

Any time you have arguably the city’s top potential player in Mark Mitchell Jr, that’s a great starting point. Whomever Miege adds will help compliment the super soph.

10. Blue Valley North

In both Summer Slam I and II, the Mustangs looked like city champs in blowing the doors off during pool play. Senior Jack Sheplak, 6-foot-8 junior Andrew Orr, Isaac Patterson (6-foot-5) join Jack Souder and Luke Adams for a cast that’ll contend for EKL and Class 6A top rungs.

Photo: Darryl Woods, 810 Varsity

11. Liberty

The Jays play well as a team under Roger Stirtz, have solid size and 6-foot-5 senior Grant Stubbs is a constant motor at wing.

12. Basehor-Linwood

The Bobcats were streaky – like many – in the three 810 Varsity events, playing mediocre in pool play, but come tourney time, stepped up with a run to the semis in Slam I and beating Blue Valley Northwest in Slam II. If Connor Younger can be a bit more selective on outside shooting, he will team with sophs Trevor McBride and Jordan Brown as a strong guard trio, along with 6-foot-7 Cory Davilla inside for another Class 5A title game threat.

13. Staley

The Falcons bring a strong lineup in 2019-20, led by senior guard Byron Alexander.

Byron Alexander looks to lead Staley to one of its best seasons in school history. (Photo: Darryl Woods, 810 Varsity)

14. Truman

Patriots program is making strides under Rod Briggs, with one of city’s top point guards in Kaimen Lennox, along with Sam Billimon, Runney Hernandez and others.

Photo: Darryl Woods, 810 Varsity

15. Olathe East

Toure Grimes takes over as head coach with an athletic and talented cast with senior Andrew Sonner (6-foot-5) and junior Antwaun Massey (6-foot-7) who overpowered a lot of teams in Slam I and II, and look to be in the top third of the Sunflower League.

16. William Chrisman

Chrisman continues take big strides under Jake Kates, and return a senior laden crew. The Bears will be strong at guard, and will need to develop some interior play by 2020.

17. Free State

Firebirds look yet another top team in the Sunflower League, with senior DK Middleton and sophomore guard Mozae Downing leading the way.

18. St. James Academy

The Thunder have a solid young group of shooters and passing with forwards Sam Somerhalder and Zach McKnight, and guard Michael Cahill and Tyler Claiborne – all underclassmen.

19. Ottawa

The Cyclones won the small class division in Summer Slam I, then notched a few wins in Slam II, including beating Olathe East before falling to St. Thomas Aquinas a tight game.

Ottawa enjoys a moment after winning the Small Class division at 810 Varsity's Summer Slam I.

20. Rockhurst

The Hawklets lost a ton from last year’s top 5 team, but showed they are growing up quick with a younger crew led by junior Mason Thompson and sophomore Miles White in advancing to the Summer Slam I final.

21. Shawnee Mission East

Lancers went undefeated in pool play and fell just shy of the semis to Ray-Pec in Summer Slam II despite missing four bigs. Tony Friends is about as fast as anyone on the courts in KC.

Speedy Tony Friends can jet up the court for SM East. (Photo: Darryl Woods, 810 Varsity)

22. North Kansas City

At times, the Hornets look like they can beat anyone in the city. At other times, they can lose to anyone in the city – all in the same game. Very streaky, but once they stabilize in the upcoming season, will be very tough. Seniors Danthony Pennington and Riak Mabour help lead a very athletic cast who will be fun to watch ahead.

Photo: Darryl Woods, 810 Varsity

23. Piper

The cupboard isn’t bare from the Class 4A champion team, as junior Tamar Bates proves to be one of the area’s top 2021 players. Fellow underclassmen in Jaron Briggs and Christian Arndt (6-foot-5) will have the Pirates as state tourney threats for another couple years under first-year head coach David Birch.

24. Olathe North

Running out KT Raimey in your starting lineup always gives any team a chance. Syl Union at point and some other developing pieces will have the Eagles being a tough team in the second half of the 2019-20 season.

KT Raimey leads Olathe North again in 2019-20. (Photo: Darryl Woods, 810 Varsity)

25. Harmon

Harmon boasts one of the area's top players in Lonell Lane. Hawks come off a trip to the Class 6A tourney as well, so have been on the big stage and should improve.

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