Cabell Midland will certainly be a contender in the new AAAA classification when the season tips off March 5.
The Knights are loaded for a run, and it starts with one of the top players in the Huntington area, Chandler SchmidtChandlerSchmidt6'0" | CGCabell Midland | 2022StateWV
Here are some players to watch in the Huntington area.
Chandler SchmidtChandlerSchmidt6'0" | CGCabell Midland | 2022StateWV
, Cabell Midland, 6-1, Jr.
The slick guard helped the Knights to a 21-4 record, a second-place finish in the tough Mountain State Athletic Conference and a berth in the state tournament following a 66-50 win against Parkersburg in the regional championship.
Schmidt averaged 17.3 points per game for the Knights and led the MSAC in scoring at 18.5 points per game. He averaged 5.8 rebounds from his guard position.
He had 12 games of 20-plus point games and has led the Knights to 40 wins over the last two seasons and has started every game in his career, twice leading the Knights to the state tournament.
Last season Schmidt was a member of the Class AAA first-team all-state squad and was an all-conference team.
As a freshman he played himself into state tournament lore when he hit a shot with 0:11 left to lift Cabell Midland over defending state champion George Washington 64-62. He finished with 21 points in that game. The Knights qualified for the state tournament last year but the tournament was shutdown by Covid-19 concerns.
Schmidt is also a member of the preseason Evans Award watch list. The Evans is given to the state’s top player. He is garnering collegiate interest in both football and basketball.
A versatile athlete, Schmidt was named to the Class AAA second-team all-state squad as a defensive back.
Amare SmithAmareSmith6'5" | SFHuntington | 2021StateWV
, Huntington, 6-5, Sr.
Smith battled back from a torn ACL suffered in August 2018 to become one of the state’s top wing-forwards in the Class of 2021.
Despite losing his sophomore year Smith picked up where he left off his freshman year and then some, averaging exactly 17 points per game and 7.8 rebounds (both team highs) to earn Class AAA all-state second-team honors.
He is a handful when going to the rim, with an arsenal of moves around the basket and also has the ability to knock down shots from outside the paint.
Smith scored in double figures in 20 of the Highlanders 23 games and he topped 20 points eight times. Smith ended the season with 112 straight double figure games, and had a season-high 30 point effort against Parkersburg.
Eli ArcherEliArcher6'5" | CHuntington | 2021StateWV
, Huntington, 6-6, Sr.
Archer’s future is set after committing to West Virginia University football as a preferred walk on just before Christmas.
But the future Mountaineer has also enjoyed a stellar career at Huntington, last season joining the school’s 1,000-point club.
Archer, a physical player who was hard to control in the block, averaged 15.4 points for the Highlanders and had 17 double figure games, including seven where he topped 20 points. He had a season-high 30 against Hurricane and had five double-doubles.
That is evidence that he hit the glass with authority and he averaged 7.4 rebounds, second on the team to Smith. Archer had three games where he had 14 rebounds.
K.K. Seibert, Cabell Midland, 6-4, Sr.
Seibert has a solid senior season for the Knights and along with the Schmidt brothers form an imposing three-headed monster for the state tournament qualifiers.
Seibert was the man who cleaned the glass for Cabell Midland, and he averaged a double-double of 13.9 points and 10 rebounds per game.
“Kalen leads us in every game in rebounding,” coach J.J. Martin said. “We can always count on him to get us a rebound or a block when needed.”
The forward was named to the second-team all-MSAC team and Class AAA honorable mention all-state.
Jesse MuncyJesseMuncy5'9" | CGTolsia | 2022StateWV
, Tolsia, 6-0, Jr.
Muncy was one of the highest scorers in the Huntington area, averaging 21 points per game.
The guard wrote his name into the annals of the Rebels’ rivalry with Tug Valley when he hit a game-winning 3 pointer as a freshman. It was just the beginning for Muncy.
Muncy was a third-team all-stater last season.
He is an exceptional outside shooter but also has the speed to take opponents off the dribble and get to the rim. He excels on the defensive end as well.
He played his summer basketball for the WV MPact.
Jaylen MotleyJaylenMotley5'11" | CGHuntington St. Joseph | 2023StateWV
, St. Joe, 5-10, So.
Motley had a standout freshman season for the Irish, averaging 14.9 points.
He scored in double figures in 19 of the team’s 22 games including a streak of 11 straight midway through the season when he had all six of his 20-plus games. He also shot 70 percent from the free throw line (63-90).
He also had 38 3s, second on the team.
That effort helped Motley earn honorable mention all-state honors last year.
Motley is the son of former Marshall wide receiver Adrian Motley and the grandson of Pro Football Hall of Famer Marion Motley.
Dominic SchmidtDominicSchmidt6'1" | PGCabell Midland | 2023StateWV
, Cabell Midland, 6-1, So.
Schmidt was a starter as a freshman on last year’s state tournament qualifier, averaging 11 points for the Knights.
Schmidt runs the point for the 21-win squad. As a freshman Dominic SchmidtDominicSchmidt6'1" | PGCabell Midland | 2023StateWV
averaged eight assists per game and was the team-leader in 3-point field goals.
He is considered an excellent ball handler with outstanding court vision, a high basketball IQ and great passing skills.
“Dominic does more on the floor than most people see,” Martin said. “He runs our team, sees the floor like a senior.”
Dominic was named to the honorable mention all-state and all-MSAC teams.
Schmidt and his older brother Chandler, atop this list aren’t the only Schmidt’s on the Cabell Midland squad. Their mother Cristina is an assistant coach. Cristina and husband Travis played collegiate basketball at Purdue-Northwest, making the sport a family affair.
John BlankenshipJohnBlankenship6'5" | PFLincoln County | 2021StateWV
, Lincoln County, 6-5, Sr.
The big man had a solid junior year for the Panthers, averaging 16.0 points and 5.9 rebounds.
Blankenship had 17 double figure games and eight times he topped 20 points, including a season-best 30 in a season-ending loss to Scott in the sectional tournament.
It was a torrid finish to the season when he had four games over 20 in the final five and averaged 23.2 points and 8.2 rebounds. On of those was a 23-point, 10-rebound effort against Class AAA Nitro, one of two double doubles on the season.
Blankenship played for the WV MPact. in the summer and has several small schools on his radar to this point, including Division III Waynesburg and Marymount.
Zavion JohnsonZavionJohnson5'9" | CGHuntington St. Joseph | 2022StateWV
, St. Joe, 5-9, Jr.
Johnson tallied double figures in 11 of the 20 games he played in, including a season-best 21 points. He also had 20 against Man.
He had a team-high 51 3 pointers against just 32 2s, and and shot 67-percent from the free throw line (24-26). Interestngly, the Irish’s shooter saw 63.5 percent of his points come from 3-point range.
Johnson was an honorable mention all-state selection last season.
Chase Maynard, Spring Valley, 5-9, Sr.
Maynard averaged about 10 points for Spring Valley a season ago but will be counted on to be more of a scorer this season.