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Posted On: 10/22/18 1:25 PM
Basketballs have started bouncing all around Kentucky in the last 5 days as we are officially underway with the 2018-19 basketball season. It’s still several weeks until games start and we won’t have scrimmages for a few more weeks but it’s never too early to make predictions on who will win the regional and which senior player will represent their region at the Mr. Basketball banquet in March. Here’s an early breakdown of regions 9-12.
Champions: South Laurel. They fell 4 points short of Rupp Arena in overtime last season. That should drive them to get the job done this season. It helps that threturn two of the best players in the region in Matt Cromer and JJ Ramey. Knox Central and reigning champion Corbin should be factors in who ultimately wins the 13th.
Mr. Basketball Finalist: JJ Ramey, South Laurel. Ramey is likely to end his season as one of the best players in school history for the Cardinals. JJ is an athletic scoring machine who holds offers from Pikeville and Campbellsville and is on several low D1 radars. Don’t be surprised if South has the Mr. Basketball nominee in addition to winning the region.
Champions: Knott Central. Yes they graduated their leading scorer but Knott has some nice young players that will get more playing time this season and Coach BB King is a mountain legend for a reason. Look for Knott to fend off Perry Central and Hazard to get back to the Sweet Sixteen.
Mr. Basketball Finalist: Noah Back, Perry County Central. Noah is likely the best Senior in the region and should be crowned the regional player of the year as long as he stays healthy and performs up to expectations this season. Noah is known for his ability as a shooter and could make a run at the state record for most 3 pointers made in a career this year.
Champions: Pikeville. A lot of people like Johnson Central or Paintsville to win the 15th this year but I like the experience that Pikeville brings back from their Elite Eight team a year ago. Johnson Central will use their typical run and gun offensive system and Paintsville is really young and inexperienced relative to both Johnson Central and Pikeville.
Mr. Basketball Finalist: Jacob Rice, Johnson Central. Connor Roberts could also be the winner here. Rice is going to have huge numbers for the season and for his career by the time voting rolls around. Roberts may not be as statistically impressive as Rice will be but he is likely to be the most valuable player on the best team and has been a starter on the last two regional championship teams.
Champions: Elliott County. With the return of Korbin Spencer, Elliott finds their way back to the top of the region. They are going to have so much firepower with Tanner Dickerson, Gage Evans and Collin Porter that they will be hard to stop. Ashland Blazer is the only other team I can see knocking off Elliott to take the top spot and get to Rupp Arena.
Mr. Basketball Finalist: Korbin Spencer, Elliott County. After spending his junior season at Hargrave Academy, Spencer returns home to where he averaged over 20 points per game as a sophomore and should pick up where he left off and role to Mr. Basketball finalist honors unless voters hold it against him that he left for a year. If that’s the case, Devaunte Robinson from Ashland would likely be the choice for the award.