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Posted On: 11/13/18 5:00 AM
The season tips off just 16 days from now. So, it’s about that time that we reveal our Preseason First Team All State for each division. That includes a Division II team of Amari Davis, Joey Edmonds, Morgan Safford, Cade Stover, and Davin Zeigler.
For an extended breakdown of our criteria, check out yesterday’s article on the Division I First Team. The gist, though, is that team success and one’s value to their team is the most important component.
Between the four divisions, Davis’s place on this team was one of the easiest calls to make. The Green Bay commit has been productive throughout his career and Trotwood is our pick to win the Division II State Championship. ‘Nuff said!
Last season’s averages of 20.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 5.2 steals should actually see an increase considering the graduation of Myles Belyeu, their leading scorer. Davis will start possessions with the ball more often and will need to produce in the half-court time and again, despite being most dangerous when he’s coming at you on the break. He’s such an efficient scorer — shooting 57 percent from the field and 81 at the line last season — that his numbers could be outrageous as a senior.
Finally, as we alluded to, Trotwood will undoubtedly be one of the top teams in Ohio’s Division II. They’ve reached the State Championship two years in a row. With a guy like Davis back, they can realistically plan on a third-straight.
The four-year starter really took his scoring to another level as a junior, putting up 21 a game. He also maintained his team-leading assist numbers at 4.5 per while scoring efficiently, posting shooting splits of 47-43-88(!).
The missing element to Edmond’s junior year was team success. Wyoming went 15-8 last season, easily the worst season in his tenure at point guard. If you know anything about Edmonds, that’s the number he cares about. Forget the scoring.
We expect him and his developing supporting cast to return to form this season. He will likely take fewer shots as some underclassmen should’ve earned his trust. Even if the scoring output takes one step back, the number in the win column should jump by four to six games.
The keys to the Hartley program reside in Safford’s hands this season. It’s a team we have ranked at no. 7 in the preseason, which is the best among Central Ohio teams. Safford is the reason for excitement considering his dominance on the drive, especially when he gets out in transition.
Safford can play four positions (all but center) at the high school level because of his strength and bounce. Therefore, his rebounding numbers should be very high for a wing, along with averaging approximately 20 points.
On top of everything, Safford is hungry. He’s played like a man with something to prove over the past several months and remains one of the most talented uncommitted seniors entering the season. Not only will Safford be determined to make a postseason run, his individual numbers should spike if he continues to play with an extra motivation.
When we saw Stover in late-May at an AAU event, we had to ask the four-star linebacker and Ohio State football commit an obvious question: What are you doing here? Stover’s future is on the gridiron, after all, and that future could extend past his days at OSU. Stover, without hesitation, told us that he’s working on his hoop skills and not enrolling early in Columbus because he wants to win a State Championship for Lexington’s basketball program this year. So, the 6’4”, 206-pound man-child remains a problem that will have to be dealt with.
Last season, he took it upon himself to bring the Minutemen to the Final Four last season. Stover averaged an assertive 18.5 points and 13.0 rebounds as a junior and we don’t see why those numbers shouldn’t go up. Playing as their five, he may lack height on many nights throughout the season. But Stover’s power and relentless pursuit of the ball allows him to dominate the boards regardless. On the other end, good luck matching up with his combination of power and skill.
Barring another injury-riddled season, Zeigler should easily be one of the five most valuable players in Division II this season.
Because of the Bowling Green commit’s quickness with the ball, he opens up passing lanes or scoring opportunities for himself at will. Benedictine’s anticipated style of play should also favor Zeigler. They lack traditional post-up bigs who will meander in the painted area. Rather, Zeigler is surrounded by fellow guards, shooters, and one face-up forward in Kevin Bishop. With more one-on-one opportunities, Zeigler’s numbers should shoot through the roof.
Finally, Benedictine enters the season as favorites in the Northeast Ohio Region after being bumped down to Division II for this season’s Competitive Balance.