The 2022-23 boys basketball season is upon us and there’s no question that it is going to be extremely competitive at the 6A level. After watching guys play in the summer and fall and attending a number of open gyms and practices to get a closer look at everyone, here’s our pre-season top ten.
- South Medford
2021-22 was a magical run for South Medford as the Panthers made it to the state tournament and came away for a fourth place trophy. Head coach James Wightman loses several key seniors and sophomore guardtransferred to Cascade Christian but he’s got enough back to be considered the favorites in the Southern Oregon Conference. It will all start with the one-two punch of junior and , who are arguably one of the top offensive duos in the entire state. The rest of the supporting cast is young and untested but talented.
- West Salem
Now that Summit has moved down to 5A, West Salem is ready to make its move back to the top and head coach Travis Myers is excited about the opportunity. The Titans have the roster to get things done as many of last year’s key contributors are back.will step in at the point and guards and provide plenty of outside shooting. Junior big man Trenton Ferguson – who just picked up an offer from Oregon for football – and senior will man the middle. Others will contribute off the bench as West Salem has arguably the most depth in the Central Valley Conference.
- Central Catholic
The Rams fell one game short of making it to the Chiles Center last season but have what it takes to make up for it in 2022-23. Head coach David Blue has a young roster –is the only senior – but there’s plenty of talent. Sophomore guard is ready to make the ascent up to leading man and junior swingman has continued to develop into an all-around offensive threat. Sophs and can run and jump all long and added to the mix is one of the top freshmen in the state, Duce’s younger brother Zamir “Bam” Paschal.
You’d think there would be a letdown at Tualatin this season as a one-of-a-kind senior class that was the heart and soul of the 6A title team as well as the head coach have moved on. But new head coach Brandon “Bubba” Lemon was promoted from within and there are some key guys back to defend the title. Senioremerged during the state tournament as a legitimate force and junior will inherit a leading role. Senior point guard will run the show and athleticism dots the roster all over the place with D-I level athletes such as Jack Wagner, Richie Anderson, , and .
One can wonder what might have happened this season had Terrence Hill returned but head coach Yusuf Leary isn’t crying over spilt milk. The Roughriders still have some incredible impact players back including arguably the top junior backcourt in all of 6A inand . Both are essentialy unstoppable to guard one-on-one and they will be heavily counted upon on both ends of the floor. Senior is one of the most athletic leapers in the state and sophomore guard are two others who will contribute heavily and the key for the Roughriders is how their depth develops.
In one of the more competitive multi-team races in the PIL in quite some time, it was Cleveland that came out on top and also made it to the 6A state tournament. The Warriors will try to get it done again under brand new coach Sam Glasgow, who has many of the same pieces back from last year’s run. Senioris one of the top big guys in the state and is back to run the show at the point. The explosive transferred out but that opens up opportunities for others like to fill in the gap.
While many might consider 2021-22 a “down” year for Jesuit – largely since they missed out on the state tournament – the Crusaders still managed to come away with the Metro League title. It would be a huge mistake to look past head coach Gene Potter’s team this year as many of the key players are back, starting with seniorsand . Football stud Peyton Roth and Gonzaga soccer signee Drew Petersen will have increased roles and some members from the dominant JV squad the likes of , , , and will give Jesuit plenty of depth.
Head coach Heather Seely-Roberts made a serious splash in her debut at Lincoln as the Cardinals finished one game shy of making the state tournament. Could this be the year they make that next step? Lincoln certainly has the size to get it done as the biggest team in the state, led by senior(6-foot-11), junior (6-foot-9), and Seely-Roberts’ twin sons Malachi (6-foot-8) and Moroni (6-foot-6). The Cardinals won’t just be a plodding team either as you can expect them to run and press at a fast tempo. The key may be with their guard play and who can step up and knock down open shots.
The Beavers were going to be good in 2022-23 with who was coming back but with the addition of a couple of key transfers, Beaverton looks to be a major state title contender. First Team All-Metro League point guard(Sunset) and 6A leading shot-blocker (Glencoe) are huge pieces to add to returnees , , and as head coach Andrew Vancil has a squad that can basically score and defend anywhere on the court. Add in their trademark zone defense and this being the last year before the shot clock is implemented, the Beavers look awfully tough on paper.
- West Linn
There’s been a lot that has changed across the 6A landscape since last year ended but one thing hasn’t much – and that’s West Linn being the pre-season #1 team. The fact that returning 6A player of the yearis back is a huge reason but the Lions have also added last year’s PIL Player of the Year, senior to the mix, as well as 6A’s leading three-point shot maker last season in from Wells. Other returning starters and are back and new head coach Robert Key has plenty of young guys who can knock down open threes to fill out the roster.