Posted On: 11/16/20 6:00 PM

Despite losing one of the best senior classes in the state, coach Lenny Bert and the Putnam City West Patriots are among the early contenders for the 6A title.

Tobias Roland Jr Tobias Roland Jr 6'3" | SG Putnam City North | 2021 State OK . (Joshua Cleary/Prep Hoops)

The reunification of P.C. West and Tobias Roland Jr Tobias Roland Jr 6'3" | SG Putnam City North | 2021 State OK ., who played at West as a freshman before transferring to the rival P.C. North, will undoubtedly be a significant factor in the Patriots’ success. Bert said he will be one of the best players in the state this season.

"Tobias, right now, to me it’s not a weird dynamic, because he played here a year," Bert said, "I mean, he’s the hardest worker in the gym, and he’s vocal, he talks, he does all of things. . . to me, it’s an easier game when you have somebody like that coming in."

Roland, a touted Division-I prospect, has leadership skills to go with his work ethic, too.

"[Tobias] is a great person," Bert said. "He’s the first one in the gym. When you have guys like that, it’s easy to follow him.

"And he’s talented," Bert added.

[player_tooltip player_id="773474" first="Tobias" last="Roland Jr"]. (Joshua Cleary/Prep Hoops) The reunification of P.C. West and Tobias Roland Jr Tobias Roland Jr 6'3" | SG Putnam City North | 2021 State OK ., who played at West as a freshman before transferring to the rival P.C. North, will undoubtedly be a significant factor in the Patriots’ success. Bert said he will be one of the best players in the state this season. "Tobias, right now, to me it’s not a weird dynamic, because he played here a year," Bert said, "I mean, he’s the hardest worker in the gym, and he’s vocal, he talks, he does all of things. . . to me, it’s an easier game when you have somebody like that coming in." Roland, a touted Division-I prospect, has leadership skills to go with his work ethic, too. "[Tobias] is a great person," Bert said. "He’s the first one in the gym. When you have guys like that, it’s easy to follow him. "And he’s talented," Bert added. [player_tooltip player_id="938857" first="Daylon" last="Andrews"] (Joshua Cleary/Prep Hoops). Sharing the spotlight with Roland Jr. will be the impressive Daylon Andrews Daylon Andrews 6'0" | PG Putnam City West | 2021 State OK , a fellow senior and the Patriots’ leading returning scorer. The sharpshooting point guard had memorable performances in the postseason in 2020, including a 31-point night to help the Patriots outlast top-ranked Southmoore. "[Daylon] really had a big playoffs," Bert said. "He’s just getting better and better, he’s increased his athletic ability. A lot of people know him as a shooter, but now he’s attacking the rim a lot better. "One thing that I love is that he’s probably our best defender right now," Bert continued. Another important shooting presence to the Patriots’ rotation is Jacob Blount. "I think he’s probably one of the best shooters," Bert said. "I mean, he gets it off quick, and he goes right with the ability of Tobias and Daylon." Boomer Barnes (left) and Jordan Warrior (Joshua Cleary/Prep Hoops). A pair of junior footballers, Elijah James Elijah James 6'0" | CG Putnam City West | 2022 State OK and Corey Gordon Corey Gordon 6'3" | SF Putnam City West | 2022 State OK , will also be significant contributors, Bert said. James has started since his freshman season, while Gordon played after sitting due to transfer restrictions late in his sophomore season. "Both of them guys are talented," Bert said, "so they’re going to bring something." Gordon, Bert said, is among the most talented athletes in the state, standing about 6-foot-4-inches with great finishing skills at the rim. James, meanwhile, is a smooth two-way guard who can distribute the ball efficiently and attack the rim. In the paint, senior Boomer Barnes is helping P.C. West get back to its old style-of-play at the five, Bert said. "When [Boomer] is moving, active, we’re a different team," Bert said. "He’s gonna get better and better. . . the iso moves that he has available for him." A new addition is junior transfer Payton Ackerman Payton Ackerman 6'0" | PG OKC Storm | 2022 State OK , a shifty point guard with long-range shooting capabilities. "He can shoot the ball, getting stronger with the handle," Bert said, "and he’s doing some good things defensively for us." [player_tooltip player_id="964490" first="Elijah" last="James"] (Joshua Cleary/Prep Hoops). Freshman Jordan Warrior, the younger brother of 2020 graduate MJ Warrior MJ Warrior 6'1" | PG Putnam City West | 2020 State OK , is an important new piece to the Patriots’ attack. "[Jordan] is a true point guard," Bert said. "He understands the game, he understands spacing. . . he hasn’t turned the ball over much during scrimmage season." Another young, talented guard, O’rian Scales O’rian Scales 5'10" | PG Putnam City West | 2023 State OK , has shown improvements to his already crafty game, Bert said. "We’re gonna have a deep rotation," Bert said. Bert cited team chemistry and health as important factors for P.C. West, as well as players stepping into bigger roles. "It’s a lot of new dynamics to what we do," Bert said, "like for [Daylon}. . . now, he’s the first or second option." Bert also said that this year’s P.C. West will resemble teams he coached from 2014 and 2015, and Barnes’s interior presence will play a big part of that. "Last year, it was kind of a blessing and a curse with most teams focused on one player," Bert said, "now, it’s like ’what do we stop’ with all of these moving parts."

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