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Posted On: 11/6/18 3:49 PM
We are 6 days into November and it is almost time to kick off the 2019 basketball season! The players below hope to get their team in contention. With less than a month away from the most exciting time of the year, it’s time to analyze the top favorites and contenders to come out of the 2019 class.
David Johnson, Trinity (Louisville): Johnson has emerged as one of the states top prospects after a stellar junior season. Ranked as our #2 prospect, David is looking to lead Trinity to another Sweet 16 after a disappointing loss to Scott County in the first round. Johnson is a 6’5 guard who elected to stay home for college and committed to Louisville. Trinity is looking to re-claim their 7th Region title and turn around an early Sweet 16 departure. With a career 954 points, Johnson is looking to join the ranks of the best in Trinity history.
Michael Moreno, Scott County: The Cardinals are looking to repeat as 11th Region champions once again. Michael was the leading scorer on a state runner-up team (20.2 ppg) and looks to get his team back to Rupp Arena. Moreno listed as a 6’6 forward should have already caught the eye of in-state college coaches and can continue his success at a local D1 program. Under head coach Billy Hicks, Scott County has always just been a step above other teams in the 11th Region and are serious contenders to repeat as champions.
Dekeyvan “KyKy” Tandy, University Heights: Tandy recently wrapped up his recruitment with a commitment to Xavier and new head coach Travis Steele. Dekeyvan is one of the best guards in the state and is ready to lead UHA past the first round of the Sweet 16. His junior year, KyKy averaged 30.5 ppg and everyone should expect him to continue with those numbers heading into this season. UHA will face off with Christian County for control of the 8th District and 2nd Region, but look for Tandy to get his team back to Rupp Arena this spring.
Nick Thelen, Covington Catholic: It would be hard to have a favorites list and not put a defending state champion on it. Thelen is once again poised to lead a stacked Covington Catholic squad back to Rupp Arena for the third time in six years. Nick recently committed to Bellarmine this fall and hopes to get Cov Cath off to a hot start in the coming weeks. Posting relatively low numbers his junior season, Nick is hoping to improves those once he steps into a larger role this season. The 9th Region is the least competitive its been in recent years and the sky is unlimited for this years CCH team.
Isaiah Cozart, Madison Central: Cozart is back at Madison Central and is ready to contend for an 11th Region title. Recently committing to play at Western Kentucky next season, Isaiah is welcoming the competition this year. Already solidifying himself as one of the best shot-blockers in the state, he still has a lot to prove. Teams in the 11th Region are very strong this year and it is shaping out to be a dog fight as the season progresses. Finishing last season at 25-8, the Indians are ready to claim the region and knock off favorites Scott County and Lexington Christian.
Kyle Rode, Lexington Christian: Rode has already proven himself as one of the best players in the 11th Region. Averaging 16.2 ppg his junior year has led to his commitment to Liberty next season. Lexington Christian finished last season at 27-8 and is up there with Scott County and Madison Central as the top teams in their region. Regular season matchups will tell which teams are the contenders or favorites but until then all three of them are on equal playing fields. Kyle has an opportunity to prove to the state why their team belongs at Rupp Arena and they are excited to get the season going.
Jordan Graham, George Rogers Clark: Graham is looking to lead a loaded GRC team to Rupp Arena for the first time since 2012. Jordan, still undecided as to where he will be attending next year, has the tools to make a very nice college player. Clark County are the favorites to head to Rupp Arena from the 10th Region. This team has to figure out how to work together come tournament time, finishing last season at 29-5 but coming up short of a Sweet 16 appearance.
Dieonte Miles, Walton-Verona: Dieonte was apart of a special WV team last season, finishing 26-6 he looks to continue that success into this season. One of the tallest players in the state (6’10), Miles looks to carry Walton-Verona to their first Sweet 16 in over 20 years. Dieonte recently joined by KyKy Tandy, look to carry over their Kentucky grit to Xavier next year and compete for a Big East title. First, Miles will have to solidify himself as one of the best big men in the state and contend with the heavyweights in the 8th Region.
JJ Ramey, South Laurel: Had a disappointing ending to his season last year as South Laurel lost to Corbin in the 13th Region championship. Averaging 19.3 ppg his junior year, he looks to take advantage of a weaker region this year. South Laurel are favorites to win the region and make a Rupp Arena appearance for the second time under head coach Jeff Davis. Ramey is still undecided as to where he will attend college next year, but this 6’3 crafty guard surely will land himself on a college roster.
Jacob Hobbs, Central Hardin: Hobbs has made a name for himself as one of the best forwards in the state. Averaging 12 ppg and around 9 rpg, he looks to lead Central Hardin to contend in the 5th Region. Now that Adair County’s Zion Harmon was ruled ineligible, the region is wide open and ready for a contender to step in and emerge as favorites. Jacob will be taking his talents to Lipscomb when the season is over.
Korbin Spencer, Elliott County: ranked as our #18 prospect and #3 Point Guard, Korbin looks to lead his team to the Sweet 16 since their appearance in 2017. Elliott County has risen to be the favorites out of the 16th Region. Spencer took a year off to attend Hargrave Military Academy but has returned to Elliott to make noise this year. His sophomore season he averaged 22.3 ppg and now looks to bring back a spark to this young team. Korbin should end up on a college roster once the season is complete.
Other Players to Watch:
JJ Kalakon, Waggener
Dontaie Allen, Pendleton County
Reid Jolly, Campbell County
Jamarion Sharp, Hopkinsville
Jackson Harlan, Clinton County
Derrin Boyd, Caldwell County
Anthony Russell, Fern Creek
Connor Guthrie, Mayfield
Chase Sanders, Corbin