Posted On: 09/30/18 2:00 PM

Continuing with some very early 2018-19 regular season previews, we are breaking down the top 5 teams and top 5 college prospects in each region. We move to the ninth region today where Covington Catholic will look to repeat as State Champs despite losing multiple college players and Cooper will have to replace Adam Kunkel.

Top 5 Teams:

  1. Covington Catholic – The great philosopher Ric Flair once said, “to be the man you’ve got to beat the man” so until someone knocks off the Colonels, they’ll remain in the top spot. Despite losing 3 starters to graduation, they return some experience and their JV team didn’t lose a game last season. Expect Cov Cath to play fast and be pretty deep this season.
  2. Cooper – Adam Kunkel is gone but the Jags return 8 seniors that should make for a deep team even though they will lack a star player. Look for Coach Sullivan’s team to have multiple double digit scorers every night out and benefit from quality depth in their Junior and Senior classes.
  3. Dixie Heights – Last season’s surprising Regional runners-up, these Colonels return almost every major piece from a season ago. Dixie should be more athletic than usual and have good depth with the ability to go deep into their bench. Watch for Junior Treshawn Cody to have a breakout season.
  4. Newport – Losing Tahj Harding likely knocked them out of being my pick for regional title favorites but Newport should win the 9th Region All A and be in position to contend for the title in March. Coach Snapp has one of the better groups he’s had in the last few years and Newport could be a darkhorse to make it to Rupp.
  5. Beechwood – Beechwood has to replace 5 seniors but return Scotty Draud and 7 Seniors who saw playing time last season. Beechwood and Newport should battle for the All A title but will need to avoid seeing Covington Catholic in the district opener if they want to get to the regional and have any chance to make a run there.

Top 5 College Prospects:

  1. Scotty Draud – At 6’5 and still growing, the Beechwood sophomore has the scoring ability college programs covet. Draud could easily be a 6’7 wing shooter before he graduates. His ceiling is higher than most in the state but Scotty will need to develop his body and add strength to become a big time prospect.
  2. Nick Thelen – Thelen has an offer from Bellarmine and he is the type of player who thrives in that system. Nick is a lot like current Bellarmine player and former 9th region standout Ben Weyer. Not to say that Thelen can’t land a D1 offer, but he should be a big time D2 player for 4 years of college.
  3. Pete Knochelmann – Pete has good size at 6’8 and should get more post touches under new coach Brandon Grammer. Knochelmann is skinny and needs to add muscle while improving toughness and perimeter skills. Don’t be surprised to see Pete wind up at the D2 level or better because everyone needs size.
  4. Makhi McGuire – McGuire is a good shooter who could be one of the best players in the region this season. Makhi is long but not especially athletic. He would benefit from a prep year where he can add bulk and get better putting the ball on the floor. If he doesn’t prep, some Juco could get a steal by taking McGuire for a year or two.
  5. Wyatt Vieth – Vieth, like Draud, is just a sophomore but he has potential that comes with his great size for the position and returns to St. Henry after being their leading scorer and rebounder as a freshman last year. Vieth should see increased stats as he has more experience under his belt now and should only keep getting better.