Conference Preview

Posted On: 10/22/15 5:45 PM

2014: 21-6, 12-2 in Centennial League; lost 57-47 to ThunderRidge in Final Four

Top 100 players: Colbey Ross (No. 2 in 2017); Nate Bokol (No. 59 in 2017); XaiV’ion Jackson (No. 4 in 2018); Jalen Talbott (No. 43 in 2018).

Key Losses: Blend Avdili (16.4 points per game); Elijah Ross (12.3); Peter Anderson (10.5).

Key Returners: Ross (17.3), Bokol.

Outlook: Two of the Raptors from last season’s Final Four team — Blend Avdili and Elijah Ross — are now teammates at rising Division II power University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. That’s a lot of talent to have walk out the door.

Luckily for John Olander and Eaglecrest, it returns one of the very best players in the state in Colbey Ross, who led the team in scoring as a sophomore last season and played like a poised veteran as the Raptors made their deep postseason run.

This team is Ross’ to run now, and if his blazing summer on the grassroots circuit is any indication, he’s due for an even bigger season than the incredible campaign he put up as a sophomore.

Also returning for Eaglecrest is big man Nate Bokol, an athletic 6-foot-5 multi-sport standout who will be ready to contribute more after playing well in a small role as a sophomore last season.

“When you return only a couple starters, but it’s Colbey Ross and Nate Bokol, you feel pretty good about where you’re at,” Olander told Prep Hoops Colorado earlier this month.

Eaglecrest may be young, but is talented. Sophomore XaiV’ion Jackson is one of a handful of polished guards from the Colorado Hawks’ 15U team that dazzled on the summer circuit. Jackson, though only 5-foot-11, is strong and quick and doesn’t get sped up when handling the ball. It’d be surprising not to see him play a big role for the Raptors.

Eaglecrest may have lost some key scoring from last season, but with a cadre of young talent in the pipeline and one of the state’s best players running the show, expect the Raptors to be contenders once again.