Posted On: 04/25/18 6:18 PM

It is only mid-April and already my mind is on next season, sad but true. And the one question that I keep asking myself is, who will be among the top teams in Cincinnati for the 2018-19 season? And while I may not have all the answers, I have a good feeling these following programs will be among the best in the Queen City. Here is are list Division III/IV teams, were two of these programs could collide on the road to state.

Clark- This is the year for Clark to make a run in the Miami Valley Conference-Scarlet Division title. Lead by a veteran backcourt in D’Shawnti Hawkins (2019) and Sean Ealy (2020), it will be the development of players like F Micah Thomas (2020) and Marlin Lyons (2019) that will decide if the Cougars will indeed take that next step. Coach Vickers team should be one of the top D-III/IV team in the city to start the season.

Deer Park- The defending D-III state champs lose a lot from this year’s team, but that does not mean next year’s team will not be a contender for Columbus. The Wildcats have a pair of talented 2019 players returning in football stud/rebounding machine Joe Hocker and do everything forward Ibrahima Athie (PHO #93/Cincy Lakers). Add in the talented 2020 backcourt of Steve Gentry Jr. (PHO #77/Cincy Lakers) and Mark Wise (PHO #25/EG10) and what you have is a team with enough talent to still be considered one of the best in southwest Ohio.

Gamble- Coach Berdo Allen has done a great job building The Gators into a respectable, winning program. But next season is the time that the Gators can take the next step to a program doing serious damage in the regular season and the playoffs. Last year Coach Allen started underclassmen getting there first taste of varsity action. With that experience under there belt, expect players like F Mike McCants (2020/BTC Trojans) and G Jarren Deloach (2021) to take that next step to all-city type players. Include the transfer of G Kaden Warner (2021/BTC Trojans) from North College Hill, and the Gators could be legitimate contenders in their 1st season in the CMAC.

Purcell Marian- The Cavaliers lost in heartbreaking fashion in the Elite 8 of the playoffs, but next years team could be better than this season. Coach Scott Kerr has four 2019 performers ranked in Prep Hoops top 130 and all of them are next level performers. And they should also be an improved shooting team with G Jared Baldock (PHO #115/Cincinnati Rockers Elite) available for a full season. I’m already envisioning a Purcell-Deer Park matchup for the right to go to Columbus.