Posted On: 12/14/16 6:00 PM
Conference Preview: City
Wichita Southeast enters the upcoming season as the favorites in the City League and a lot of that will be credited to their ability to score. Southeast will be loaded with great players, but don’t look past some of the other challengers, especially Wichita East and Wichita South. South has a big three of their own who can compete with anyone in this league. East has a guard who can score at will so it will be fun to see how it will play out. Southeast is having to replace the top scorer from the City League a year ago, Jerrick Harding, but will be led by one of the top guards in the state of Kansas, 2018 guard Israel Barnes.
Predicted Order of Finish
Southeast- Southeast is a team that can compete with East for the City League Championship, but they will have to get some help from other teams around the conference. Southeast is led by Israel Barnes who is my pick for MVP of the City League. They are having to replace the City League leading scorer Jerrick Harding (28 PPG), but Barnes who averaged 20.6 PPG last season seems to be up for that task. Alongside Barnes will be sophomore Johnny Murdock who has played well to start the season. Southeast has a lot of young players on this team, so they will have to pick up the speed of the game and mature quickly if Southeast wants to compete with East.
East– This team is absolutely loaded with talent, but can this team put it together? They’ve already defeated Southeast, but they still have work to do this season. Led by 5-9 senior guard Michael McKinney who can score the ball with the best of them in this league, Wichita East is struggling early on in the season but will look to bounce back soon. McKinney is complimented by players such as Zion Franlin and Elijah Kelly.
Kapaun- Kapaun head coach John Cherne is looking to lead the Crusaders to another successful season after finishing last year 16-9 and finishing second in the Class 5A state tournament. They will have three starters returning from that team. Led by the backcourt of Chris Meitzner and Thomas Wells this team will be ready to play night in and night out. Meitzner played a huge role on the team that made the championship run last season. They will have to replace a lot of size from last year, but don’t be nearly as surprised as you were last year if this team is able to repeat their magic from last season.
South- This team has already made some noise this season. They defeated East by a score of 74-43 on Saturday night and they continue to prove people wrong. South has the size to compete with anyone as they are led by Malcolm Tate, Jariah Taylor, and Remy Lemovou. South has proven that they can compete with anyone and most of it is due to their energy on the court. They will work you to death on the defensive end. They are a grit-and-grind style team who might be City League champions at the end of the year if they aren’t careful.
Heights- Heights is coming off a 19 win season, but lose a majority of their scoring and players with experience. They will call on junior Devin Davis to lead the offense this season. Senior guard Tyrell Andrews is a player who can score in spurts so the Falcons will definitely rely on him for scoring. Sophomore guard K’Vonte’ Baker who saw playing time as a freshman last season will be relied on with his tenacious defensive ability.
North- North might have taken the biggest jump in improving this offseason. They have already had a huge win over East by 9 points, but still have a lot of work to do. They have improved tremendously on the defensive side of the ball which has helped them get off to a fast start. They will be led by junior guard Kace Vongsakda who can score from anywhere on the court. They also have one of the best inside presences in the league in junior Patton Hatter. They also welcome in a couple of transfers from East this season in Ronnell Goldsten and Andre Gruawald. So if this team can continue to play the way they have been they will be a force to be reckoned with.
Northwest- I look for Northwest to have a bounce back season this year. I think head coach Bryan Chadwick can get things turned around for the Grizzlies. They will be led by junior guard Jalen Smith who is an outstanding guard who can get his shot from anywhere on the court. They will have a big man to throw to down in the post as senior Michael Duncan returns for his final season. Duncan averaged 12.2 PPG, 8 RPG, and 1.2 BPG last season. Look for him to continue to build off a great junior season.
Carroll- The Eagles have a new coach in town. They will be led by first year head coach Mike Domnick and will look to prove some people wrong. They lose six seniors from a year ago, but will hopefully be able to overcome that loss with leadership and scoring from a few guys. Senior Logan Kennedy returns for the Eagles and will need to provide leadership and energy whenever he is on the court. R.J. Biby, Luke Evans, and Clay Cundiff will also be asked to take on large roles this season.
West- The West Pioneers are coming off a tough season last year, but are hoping to take strides of improvement this season. They will have to play without arguably the teams best player in Omar N’Jai who is recovering from a knee injury and won’t return until sometime after Christmas Break.
Players to Watch:
Israel Barnes, 6-4, Southeast (2018)
Michael McKinney, 5-9, East (2017)
Elijah Kelly, 6-3, East (2017)
Zion Franlin, East (2017)
Richard Reed, 6-5, Southeast (2019)
Johnny Murdock, 5-10, Southeast (2019)
Chris Meitzner, 5-10, Kapaun (2017)
Thomas Wells, 5-9, Kapaun (2017)
Devin Davis, 6-1, Heights (2018)
Jalen Smith, 6-0, Northwest (2018)
Michael Duncan, 6-6, Northwest (2017)
Kace Vongsakda, 5-11, North (2018)
Patton Hatter, 6-6, North (2018)