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Posted On: 03/9/18 11:51 AM
State Championships: Most Underrated at 4A in Salina
SALINA, Kan. — There weren’t many surprises on Friday in the opening round of Class 4A Division I tournament on Friday at the Salina-Tony’s Pizza Event Center.
In the first game, Bishop Miege ran away from Labette County (15-8) and improved to 20-3 in the process. The Stags will play Andover Central who held off Piper, 68-60, in the day’s second game.
Top seeded McPherson improved to 21-1 with a a runaway win over Spring Hill, while Arkansas City put together a big fourth quarter to knock off Wamego in the nightcap, 45-29.
Here, Prep Hoops Kansas takes a look at some of the top young players in the field.
Easton Dean, 6’7, F, 2019, Labette County (pictured)
Those who follow high school football recruiting probably know Dean as a high major quarterback prospect who recently committed to play at Iowa State. On the hardwood, Dean brings a unique blend of size at 6’7 and skill as the left hander can shoot from the outside, pass the ball and is willing to get in the paint and do some heavy lifting. He probably didn’t have his best performance on Thursday scoring 10 points, but showed a lot of skills for a 6’7 kid.
Jake Alexander, 6’4, G/F, 2019, McPherson
Alexander went for 16 points and three rebounds on Thursday and showcased a diverse, well-rounded skill set. He has good size at 6’4, and showed off his athleticism with a one handed slam in the third quarter as McPherson pulled away from Spring Hill. He projects as a potential off-the-ball shooter with good size and a strong, athletic frame.
Braden Belt, 6’2, G, 2019, Andover Central
Another player you don’t really hear much about, but Belt can play. He is slight of build, but that doesn’t keep him from getting where he wants on the court as he combines good quickness with crafty ball handling. He can shoot from the outside and has good body control and athleticism getting to the basket and finishing. He went for 18 points and added eight rebounds.
Cevin Clark, 6’0, G, 2019, Arkansas City
Clark is among the better shooters and scorers in Kansas 4A, and on Thursday he had it all working as he scored a game-high 29 points. Clark was 3 for 7 from 3-point range, 7 for 14 from the field and a perfect 12 for 12 at the free throw line. Clark can score at all three levels, can shoot with range beyond the arc, can pull-up in the mid-range and can get all the way to the basket as well.
Doc Covington, 6’2, PG, 2018, Piper
Covington probably doesn’t get the attention he deserves despite putting together a terrific career at Piper. He is a talented lead guard who plays with a high basketball IQ and combines good leadership qualities with terrific physical tools. Covington is a terrific ball handler who can get where he wants on the floor, can score when needed and is a pest as an on-the-ball defender. He went for 10 points on Friday, but added seven rebounds and seven assists.
Thomas Dillon, 5’11, PG, 2018, Wamego
Dillon is among the better point guard you’ll see in Kansas, but for the most part hasn’t gotten much hype. He handles the ball on a string, can shoot a little from the perimeter, but his calling card might be his court vision and ability to make plays and set up others. He is an elite passer and have likely found a home at the next level. He is instead signed to play college golf. On Thursday, Dillon fouled out having scored 10 points, hauled in four rebounds and handed out two assists.
Jeremiah Garrett, 5’10, PG, 2018, Bishop Miege
We have written here several times about Garrett’s all-around game and leadership skills — he reminds you of an athlete that signs with a service academy with good character, leadership and academics. On the hardwood, Garrett is a well-rounded point guard who is willing to defer to teammates, plays tough, physical defense and can knock down shots and score when needed. He went for nine points and three rebounds on Thursday as Miege ran away from Labette County.