Posted On: 09/24/18 12:01 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 fifth region region today where LaRue County is the favorite but any number of teams can win the region and make it to the Sweet Sixteen in March.

Top 5 Teams

  1. LaRue County – The Hawks return the majority of their scoring from the Regional Runner-Up team a season ago. They should be able to handle any opposition in the post with Anthony Adkins, Warner Bryan and Mark Goode and they have solid guard depth. The issue with LaRue will be slow pace as they play zone most of the game and look to walk the ball up the floor. As a team, they only shot 31% from 3 last season. To win the 5th, they’ll need to knock down more perimeter shots.
  2. Central Hardin – Gavin George and Jacob Hobbs return this season and bring a lot of scoring and experience back to the Bruins. Coach Nickell’s team has a strong veteran core coming back to compete for the crown in the 5th. The one thing this team lacks is quality post depth. If they can find the posts to compete with LaRue and John Hardin, they have a shot to win the 5th.
  3. John Hardin – Pearson and Wright are gone but the Junior class has some quality pieces and the Senior class has guards Aaron Scott and Jachai Walker ready to step up in leadership and scoring roles. If Alex Matthews and Trevon Harris can step up, the Bulldogs could be right back at Rupp Arena for a second year in a row.
  4. Bardstown – A very young and inexperienced Tiger team went 17-12 last season and gained invaluable experience. There were times last year that Coach Brewer had lineups of all freshmen and sophomores on the floor. This team should benefit from the experience and be more ready to compete in the post season after failing to make the regional last March.
  5. Campbellsville – Junior Malachi Corley and Senior Taj Sanders return for the Eagles and the sophomore class should provide them some quality depth. Look for Campbellsville to challenge Bardstown for the district title this season. And if things break perfectly for them, they could be a sleeper pick for the region title.

Top 5 College Prospects

  1. JJ Traynor – Traynor may have the most potential of anyone in the 2020 class but it’s time to turn potential into production as a Junior. Traynor is long and athletic at 6’7 and will dunk on anyone and everyone that gets in the way. Look for JJ to average a double double this year as he continues to make strides as a player and big time prospect.
  2. Jacob Hobbs – Already committed to Lipscomb and expected to sign with the Bison in a month or so, Hobbs started AAU with no offers and not much interest. He ended up with 3 D1 offers and a ton of lower level offers. Jacob is an athletic player who will out hustle almost anyone. 
  3. Trevon Smith – Smith is a lefty scorer with an offer from Morehead State in addition to a Campbellsville offer. Smith has already announced a move to the 2020 class and a prep year after graduation. If he wants to reach the highest levels, Smith has to develop a better right hand and more consistent perimeter jump shot as a Senior at Taylor County.
  4. Malachi Corley – A two sport star, Corley’s future is likely on the football field but he is a good prospect on the basketball court as well. Malachi is strong and quick and able to bully his way to the rim. You can expect Malachi to maximize his talents because he plays with a great motor.
  5. Alex Matthews – Coming off a sophomore season where he averaged a double double, Matthews should have a more prominent role as a Junior. Alex has a tremendous motor but will now be a featured part of every opponent’s game plan after being a role player last season. If Alex can reach his potential this year, coach McCurry’s team has a good shot to get back to Rupp Arena.