Dayton’s Early Top 5 in Division I

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Posted On: 03/23/18 9:01 PM

Photo Credit: Bryant Billing

The Dayton area loses several big time players from 2018, but have plenty of talent still available. The class of 2019 saw several players show vast improvement and step up in big ways while some sophomores put their names on the map for their schools. Today we take a look at an early top 5 in Dayton for 2018-19.

1. Springfield- The Wildcats are one of the deepest teams returning in 2018-19. They lose 2 starters but return one of the top offensive weapons in SW Ohio in Ra’Heim Moss (2019). With Sam Towns (2019) and JaJuan Rodgers (2019) being the other returning starters, the Wildcats will be one of the more experienced teams come December. Keep an eye on Larry Stephens (2020) and Jordan Howard (2020) to step up into bigger roles. Inside play will be an issue for this guard oriented team, but they clearly are the early favorites as of now.

2. Miamisburg- Losing Jason Hubbard will be tough for the Vikings, but returning all but 2 players give them a reason to have hope. It starts with the backcourt trio of Corey Hartman (2019), Drew Barry (2019), and Brett Hensley (2019). All 3 are proven shooters and provide the Vikings with great offensive weapons. Duncan Hall (2019) is their top frontcourt player and gives the Vikings a huge advantage on the rebounding end and on defense. Savon O’Neal (2020) will step up into a bigger role as he served more of a sixth man this past season. If one of these guys can become “the guy” like Hubbard was last year, the Vikings could make some serious noise and compete with Springfield for the top spot.

3. Sidney- The Yellow Jackets return arguably the top offensive player in the GWOC in Andre Gordon (2019) and dynamic rebounder Ratez Roberts (2019) from a team that did not perform as well as we had predicted. Darren Taborn (2020) had glimpses of offensive potential, but needs to show more consistency to become more of a role player. Josiah Hudgins (2019) and Keith Lee (2019) also return in the backcourt. Someone will need to step up and help Roberts in the paint as Sidney loses Devan Rogers and his 9 rebounds per game. With Gordon running the offense, there is no doubt the Yellow Jackets will be able to score in bunches, but the defense will need to really step up for them to compete at the top of the league.

4. Fairmont- The Firebirds lose sharpshooter Jack Hendricks, utility player Cade Morgan, and defensive post presence Dylan Crutchfield. However, the good news is Fairmont returns 2 great backcourt players to lead the charge. Ryan Hall (2019) was one of the most improved players by far and is considered one of the best ball handlers in the GWOC. I would like to see him improve on his decision making as he will need to be more of an offensive weapon for a Fairmont team trying to repeat their post season success from 2018. Kellan Bochenek (2019) will be a dark horse to watch and gives the Firebirds a strong two way player capable of taking most opponents top players out of a game defensively. Dashawn Brown (2019) needs to improve on his offensive skill set but definitely has potential to be an all-GWOC player. If Fairmont can find some more scoring from their other role guys, they could compete near the top of the conference and turn some heads yet again.

5. Xenia- Samari Curtis (2019) is returning. Curtis’ presence alone makes the Buccaneers a dangerous team and a top 5 team for next season. His scoring ability is almost unmatched and he appears to be unguardable by most players. Norde Uloho (2019) showed much more improvement and has become a great low post option for the Buccs. Uloho and Johnzel Gray (2019) will allow the Buccs to be a tough team on the glass, but someone will need to step up and give Curtis another scoring option for Xenia to be an elite team in Dayton.