Posted On: 11/7/17 2:23 PM
With six of the seven teams in the KLAA Black Division staying put from last year, Salem enters as the new team due to the conference realignment.
Most people believe Wayne Memorial will repeat as division champs, as they should with the amount of talent they return, but Canton comes back loaded as well with a lot of fire to prove people wrong, and are my preseason KLAA Black Division champions.
1. Canton (13-8, 7-3)
Juniors B. Artis White and Vinson Sigmon Jr headline the backcourt for the Chiefs after All-Conference years last year and look to carry a lot of the offensive load again this season. Eian Barker (Sr.) is another member of the backcourt whose game is very underrated. Junior Kendall Perkins, a Cass Tech transfer, brings his versatile skillset to the Chiefs roster as well. Canton is led by seniors Noah Brown and Chase Meredith in the frontcourt.
2. Wayne Memorial (18-4, 9-1)
It’s very rare that a team that wins the conference and association from a year ago returns a lot of it’s core, but that is what Wayne brings back. Senior All-State guard and recent Cleveland State commit, Rashad Williams, will once again lead the way for the Zebras and is a sleeper for Mr. Basketball in Michigan. He is joined in the backcourt by Terence Williams (Sr.) and Isaiah Lewis (Jr.). Khalil Rozier (Jr.) and Kobe Prince (Sr.) will be major contributors this year as well.
3. John Glenn (20-3, 8-2)
John Glenn could be in for a bit of a slide this year as they lose four major contributors from a 20-win team a season ago. Returning for the Rockets is one of the best players in the league in junior Joe Moon IV. He will shoulder most of the offensive load this season. Elijah White (Jr.) and Frankie Braxton (Sr.) will be crucial for the team’s success this year as well.
4. Plymouth (9-12, 4-6)
One of the most underrated but biggest stock risers in the 2018 class is guard Anthony Crump. Committed to play basketball at UNC-Asheville, Crump could see the biggest jump in production from last year. Joey Robb (Sr.) was a crucial payer on last year’s team but will be one of the go-to options for the Wildcats this season. Plymouth will try to make up for lost production from Tariq Woody and Connor Bush, both of whom transferred out of the program.
5. Salem (9-12, 4-6)
Though the Rocks lost a lot from last year, they are still a team that had a lot of minutes logged by juniors who will be back this season. Salem will look to senior guard Jordan Ingram for most of their offensive playmaking, as he was a crucial member of last year’s squad. Senior Jeremy Armstead, who has spent time on the roster for three years now, has continued to develop and will be a great experienced big man for the Rocks. Thomas Noble (Sr.) and Matt Jira (Sr.) round out the frontcourt depth. They also have some other good returning talent in the backcourt as well.
6. Livonia Franklin (11-12, 2-8)
The Patriots have the most versatile big man in the conference with Mark Mettie (Sr.). The Madonna commit averaged nearly 20 points a game last year and Franklin will need more of it this year. Matt Elrod (Sr.) is another versatile forward who can play and guard multiple positions. Senior Roger Carpenter and junior Ryan Hoyer will look to make up for the loss of production in the backcourt after Keyon Brown transferred in the offseason. Chemistry will be an issue as they have their third coach in as many years.
7. Livonia Churchill (6-15, 0-10)
Losing most of their talent from a year ago in which they went winless in the division, it may be another tough year for the Chargers. Versatile wing Taji Hall (Sr.) returns and looks to be a focal point for the offense. Losing three primary ball handlers from last year, the point guard position is a question mark entering this season and may be run by a committee. Blake Carter (Sr.) is a combo guard who will take on a larger scoring role as well.