Posted On: 10/8/18 1:00 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 fifteenth region as we near the end of our preview series. Pikeville graduated their best player in Wyatt Battaille but not before he led the Panthers to the Elite 8 at Rupp Arena in March. The region looks to be top heavy again this year as 3-4 teams could win the region but the quality of teams falls off after that top group.

Top 5 Teams:

  1. Paintsville – Mason Moore transferred out to Rowan County over the summer but Sheldon Clark’s leading scorer Brady Dingess moved in. Paintsville is very young this season but their youth does have varisty experience playing in the 15th region. With Juniors Seth WIlliams and Nick Keeton back and freshmen Dingess and Colby Fugate expected to see a lot of playing time, the Tigers have more talent than most in the 15th.
  2. Pikeville – Wyatt Battaile is gone but Connor Roberts and Kyle Watkins return in the backcourt for a Panthers program that has been to Rupp Arena back to back seasons. They lost some firepower and experience to graduation but this particular Pikeville team will have more experience in their starting lineup than most teams in the region.
  3. Johnson Central – the Eagles bring back their entire team from a 19 win season last year. Central is going to look to outscore opponents like they have for several seasons now.They play with a lot of pace and take a lot of shots but their wide open system is a fun one to watch and sophomores Isaiah May and Cory Vanhoose will combine with Senior Jacob Rice to have one of the more high powered offenses in the mountains.
  4. Shelby Valley – Cody Potter and Cameron Worrix are back for Coach Hicks squad. They combined for nearly 35 points per game a season ago. The question is who else will step up for the Wildcats team that won twenty games a season ago? For them to have a real chance to get to Rupp Arena, Shelby will need to have some role players step up.
  5. Floyd Central – In the school’s first season a year ago they finished 19-12 but did claim their first ever district championship. Senior Brady Conn returns for the Jaguars but they lost a lot to graduation and will need their younger players to step up. Look for freshman Rylee Samons to play a larger role after averaging 3 points per game as an 8th grader last year.

Top 5 College Prospects (plus one):

  1. Trey James – Initially a terrible oversight when this article was first published, James is the best college prospect in the region by far. The issue for James is going to be that Sheldon Clark should struggle to win many games this season. They lost 2 of the top 3 scorers from an 11 win team last season. Trey will get plenty of blocks because everyone in the region is smaller than him and he will score around the rim but he will face double and triple teams in the post all year long.
  2. Cody Potter – Potter has good size at almost 6’5 and is bouncy enough that he will try to dunk on anyone, even in traffic. Cody shot 42% from 3 as a sophomore while averaging just over 16 points per game. His biggest hurdle as a college prospect is his lack of lateral mobility. If Cody wants to play at the highest level he will have to be able to defend quicker wings.
  3. Isaiah May – May is another solid wing prospect whose biggest hurdle as a potential college player is going to be a lack of lateral mobility. Isaiah averaged 15 points and 5 rebounds as a freshman last season and will keep upping his averages over his high school career. 
  4. Brady Dingess – Brady averaged nearly 20 points per game as an 8th grader at Sheldon Clark last season. This year he’s enrolled at Paintsville where he should have the ball in his hands early and often. Dingess’ ceiling depends on his development but right now he has an entire hype machine pumping him up as the top kid in the state in 2022. He should have chances to prove them right this season.
  5. Seth Williams – Williams is known for his abilities on the baseball field but he’s also one of the best basketball players in the region. Just a Junior, Williams is one of the leading returning scorers in the 15th and should combine with Nick Keeton, Dingess and Colby Fugate to make a formidable combination.
  6. Connor Roberts – Roberts enters his third year as the starting point guard at Pikeville and only keeps getting better as he grows and develops his game. Connor has been an integral part of Pikeville’s back to back regional championships and should find a home at the small college level as a point guard if he doesn’t end up playing football in college.