Posted On: 10/18/18 10:49 AM

Basketballs have started bouncing all around Kentucky in the last 4 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 5-8.

Fifth Region:

Champions: LaRue County. The Hawks feasted on a pretty weak schedule overall last season with a record of 29-3 but two of those three losses came to regional champion John Hardin. LaRue brings back most of their team, including a big, strong front court of Anthony Adkins and Mark Goode. The thing that worries me about these Hawks is that they play a lot of zone and they play very slow on offense. Teams like John Hardin, Central Hardin and Bardstown are all going to look to push the pace when they play LaRue.

Mr. Basketball Finalist: Jacob Hobbs, Central Hardin. Jacob has made a meteoric rise as a player and prospect over the last 6 months. When his Junior season ended, Hobbs had some D2 and D3 interest. Now he’s committed to Lipscomb after earning a bunch of college offers (including 3 D1 offers). Look for the 6’7 forward to end his ascent with a seat at the Mr. Basketball banquet.

Sixth Region:

Champions: Butler. In a region that was hit hard by graduation overall, Butler is the most likely to reload. Juniors Trey Minter and Cam Underwood join Senior Reese Tolley to form a high scoring trio and Butler has more quality depth than most teams in Louisville. Look for coach KC Goodin to get the Bears to Rupp Arena in March. Look for Fern Creek, Jeffersontown, Bullitt East and Pleasure Ridge Park to be the biggest threats to a Butler championship.

Mr. Basketball Finalist: Cam Wilson, Valley. Last year Valley had the regional player of the year with Curt Lewis. Look for them to repeat that feat this season with Wilson. The sixth region is the youngest we have seen it in several years and Wilson is likely to put up monster numbers all year long for a Valley team that plays a very wide open system and will allow him to take and make a lot of shots.

Seventh Region:

Champions: Trinity. You can talk all you want about the losses of Justin Powell and Jay Scrubb from last year’s Sweet Sixteen team but they still have David Johnson and several role players that have quietly been waiting their turn for a bigger role with the Rocks. If Stan Turnier and Jamil Hardaway can step up on offense, Coach Szabo’s defense shold take care of the rest.

Mr. Basketball Finalist: David Johnson, Trinity. Johnson is a top 50-100 player in the nation depending on where you look. His size, skill and athleticism are unique in Kentucky and David could find his way to the NBA after his career at Louisville ends. His selection as the regional player of the year is about as close to a lock as you’ll see, barring injury.

Eighth Region:

Champions: Walton-Verona. This region should be super competitive. I give Walton the edge for their size advantage. They are going to be much bigger than every opposing team in the region. With Ethan Brook and Dieonte Miles they have two bigs who can play inside and out. The question mark will be their guard play. Teams like Collins and Simon Kenton will have the advantage over Walton in the back court and either of those teams could beat Walton to advance to Rupp Arena.

Mr. Basketball Finalist: Dieonte Miles, Walton-Verona. If Dieonte stays healthy all season, he should have a monster season both statistically and in impacting the game. Committed to Xavier, Miles is looking forward to a breakout season for Walton and should be the nominee to win Mr. Basketball. If Miles gets hurt or struggles, Gallatin’s Troy Coomer should be the nominee from the 8th.