Posted On: 11/24/18 2:04 PM

We are less than 80 hours away and it is almost time to kick off the 2019 basketball season! The players below hope to get their team in contention and hopefully be in a position to get their team to Rupp Arena. These players listed have a legit chance to win their region come February.

Favorites:

Jackson Sivills, McCracken County: Jackson returns to the Mustangs coming off an early KHSAA Sweet 16 departure last season. He also was one of the three leading scorers on a dominant McCracken County squad (13.2ppg). The past two seasons Sivills has totaled 619 points and is in the position to get his team back to another regional championship this year. McCracken County finished last season with a record of 28-7 and show no signs of stopping this season. He currently holds high D1 offers; Northern Kentucky, Rice, UT Martin, Samford, Saint Louis, Murray State, and Kent State.

Dayvion McKnight, Collins: Collins is a traditional powerhouse in the 8th region and north-central Kentucky. McKnight returns to Collins for his junior season and he brings a set of accolades with him, he is our #2 rated player in the 2020 class and #1 PG overall for his class. Last year he averaged 12.3 ppg and only made 10 three-pointers, due to this, he mainly serves as a floor general and creates opportunities for his teammates. Collins finished last season 22-10 losing to the best team in the region Oldham County in the first round of the regional tournament. This season Dayvion should take advantage of a weaker region and attempt to get his team to a Sweet 16. He currently holds some major D1 offers from Winthrop, Western Kentucky, and Cleveland State.

Rashad Bishop, Ballard: standing 6’6, Bishop is one of the best forwards in the 2020 class. His ability to get down the court and rebound is one of his biggest strengths. Being in one of the toughest regions in the entire state, 4.5 ppg his sophomore season is nothing to hang his head on. Ballard finished last season with a 27-7 record and facing stiff competition night in and night out. Rashad and his teammates are looking to earn a trip to Rupp Arena and will face tough teams from Trinity, Male, St. X, and Waggener this year. Bishop is looking to step into a larger role this year and gain interest from college programs as the season progresses. 

Matt Cromer, South Laurel: South Laurel along with Corbin, usually compete for the 13th Region crown every year. Southeastern Kentucky is starting to become a well-known area for basketball talent and this year will be no different. Cromer and the Cardinals are looking to get back to a regional championship after losing to Andrew Taylor and the Corbin Redhounds last year. Matt averaging 13.1 ppg last season is looking to help contribute again to this years offense and senior JJ Ramey. Cromer returns as a guard who can just about do anything you need him to do and compliments any style of basketball. He still has two season to polish his game and get looks from college programs.

Alex Matthews, John Hardin: Matthews and the John Hardin Bulldogs had a great season last year, unfortunately losing to Pikeville in the first round of the state tournament. Averaging 9.8 ppg and 10.1 rpg, Matthews looks to solidify himself as one of the best forwards in the state. His play will help his team attempt to get back to another 5th Region title next spring and another Rupp Arena appearance. John Hardin finished last season 28-8 and have the tools to have a similar season this year. Alex looks to cap off another great year and land himself gaining interest from college programs.

Michael Mayer, Covington Catholic: Mayer still hasn’t joined the basketball team this season due to his team being in the 5A State Championship in football. But at the Kelsey Sorrell Memorial Tournament he was in attendance, hopefully meaning he suits up for the Colonels this year. Michael is a 6’6 forward who won’t shock you on offense (2.5 ppg) but compliments his teammates to provide whatever his team needs him to do. He recently committed to Notre Dame Football and looks to get another state championship ring before he heads off to college. Cov Cath finished last season at 35-4 and State Champions. This season they are looking to repeat bringing back all the necessary tools to do that.

Contenders:

Trey Minter, Butler: Butler is a traditional powerhouse in the 6th Region and show no signs of stopping this season. Minter is a combo guard that can do just about anything you need him to do. A great floor facilitator and the key to their offense. Butler finished last season 27-4 playing some of the best competition in the state. With no signs that this team has lost momentum, the Bears look to continue last seasons success to this one. Butler needs to capitalize in their opportunities on offense to avoid another early regional tournament departure. 

Ksuan Casey, Madisonville-North Hopkins: ranked as our #1 center for the 2021 class, Ksuan looks to improve his game coming off an impressive sophomore season. Averaging 15.8 ppg and just under 10 rpg, he is in the position to be a nightmare for teams this year. Standing 6’9, teams will have trouble having a game plan against him. Madionville-NH finished last season with 21 wins and 10 losses falling short of University Heights and Christian County. With both of those teams returning key players it appears the Maroons will have to fight to win their region this year. As Casey continues to grow, he will no-doubt be a high major D1 prospect by the time he graduates.

Howard Fleming, Male: Howard looks to shock his region this year and get his team in contention for the 7th Region title. Male generally falls short come tournament time, being behind some of the best teams in the state (Trinity, St. X, and Ballard) but in any other region Male would be a powerhouse. Fleming finished last season averaging 10.8 ppg as a sophomore and is sure to increase those numbers this year. He has the tools to make a nice college player once he graduates but first he should set his sights on a region title.

Terrin Hamilton, Scott County: as a sophomore he only appeared in 22 of Scott County’s game last year. Terrin steps into a new role for his junior season and Is looking to repeat as favorites to win the region. Scott County is believed to be the best team in the 11th Region and the only reason Hamilton is in the contenders slot is because he averaged 2.2 ppg. But, he is expected to step into a larger role and increase those numbers. With a 6’6 frame he has all the tools necessary to be one of the best players in the region and continue Scott Co. traditional powerhouse status.

Kobe Brents, Warren Central: Warren Central looks to repeat as 4th Region champions this year. Guard Kobe Brents wants to continue their success by providing a new spark to this electrifying offense. Kobe is our #9 ranked SG in his class and he wants to improve his numbers from last year. Central finished last year winning their region over Bowling Green and it appears those two teams are the frontrunners again this season. Brents, standing 6’2, has two more seasons to improve on his game and grow as a player.

Kaelin Drakeford, Mercer County: much like most of the teams represented in this article, Mercer County is a powerhouse in the 12th Region. Kaelin appeared in all of the Titans game last year and contributed to their offense posting 7.8 ppg. Drakeford is a 6’3 guard who will grow and improve his game before he graduates and will make a very good college player if given the opportunity. Mercer County had a record of 27-6 last year, but teams like Boyle Co. and Lincoln Co. all return star players to balance the region out. 

 

Other Players to Watch:

Kenny White, Madisonville-North Hopkins

Marcellus Vail, Collins

Noah Courtney, Male

James Taylor, St. Xavier

Riley Bodner, Lincoln County

Cody Potter, Shelby Valley

Grant Disken, Covington Catholic

Dallas Rufus, Waggener

Mark Goode, LaRue County

Nick Sorrell, Glasgow

Matthew Taylor, Corbin