Preseason Top Boys Teams (Div. I & II)
Divisions III & IV coming soon!
PRESEASON TOP 5 TEAMS (DIV. I)
#1 CENTERVILLE: The Elks come in as the DI favorites while not bringing back much experience they have loads of upcoming talent. Senior big man Mo Njie (6-10/Sr.) is the area's top prospect and for good reason. He's a defensive force and has made amazing strides these last few years. Freshman Gabe Cupps (5-10/Fr.) has been somewhat of a social media sensation but with his dad being the coach, I'm he's told his son how much of a target he will be. Cupps is an elite shooter and has an IQ beyond his years. Mo's younger brother Kebba Njie (6-6/So.) will be a big piece this year as his game has developed tremendously. Good range on his jump shot and great defensively. The mystery men for this team will be Rich Rolf (6-5/So.) who saw some time last year but has battled injuries along with TJ House (6-2/So.), who hasn't had his shot yet but has had a great summer and will be a solid wing prospect.
#2 WAYNE: This year's Wayne team could be fun to watch as they are loaded with potential. Starting with Stebbins transfer Damiene Boles Jr. (6-1/Sr.) who averaged 15.6 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.9 APG, & 2.4 SPG last season. He is a slashing wing with lots of athletic ability. Juniors Cam Fancher (6-1/Jr.) & Malcolm Curry (6-0/Jr.) will be major pieces as well. Both have the potential to be major scoring threats for this team. Fancher is an elite shooter with a good feel for the game. Curry went off this fall in the 937HoopDreams league against some of the area's finest sand could keep that energy coming into the season. Jalen Orwig (6-3/Sr.) and Ben Palma (6-7/Jr.) could be X-factors for this team with their size and athletic ability. Orwig has consistently gotten better while Palma is just waiting to have his coming-out party. He's 6-7 and can stretch the floor and defend a little.
#3 SPRINGFIELD: Springfield boys team is back and ready to surprise some people. After losing Moss & Sanford they will rely on the senior duo of Larry Stephens III (6-1/Sr.) & Jalan Minney (6-2/Sr.) to take care of the scoring load. Stephens is a savvy wing that can handle the ball as well. He averaged 9.1 PPG, 2.3 RPG & 2.9 APG last year on a loaded team. On the other hand, Minney averaged 8.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.7 APG & 2.3 SPG while being more of a do-it-all player for this team. He knows how to step up in the bigger moments and defend at a high level. They also have guys like Jeff Tolliver (5-9/Sr.), Raymans Cole (6-5/Sr.), & Jordan Howard (6-3/Sr.) who are vet players and will be major pieces. These kids have played together since they were in elementary school and have amazing chemistry on both ends of the floor.
#4 BELMONT: Our first Dayton Public School we will mention are the Bisons from Belmont and it all starts with 4-star big man Shawn Phillips (6-10/So.). Phillips has made huge strides in his game throughout the summer. He can shoot it from the mid-range area, defend everything at the rim as well as post up and finish strong with explosive dunks. He's already receiving interest from some of the top colleges in the country. Ohio's top sophomore alone makes this a potential contender. Senior Logan Moore (6-1/Sr.) will take over his brother's job from last year as he will have an expanded role and look to do some nice things. He's an elite 2-way guard that always is in attack mode on both ends. They are still missing that 3rd notable guy that they can rely on as they are loaded with shooters, but once they find him they can be a scary team.
#5 BEAVERCREEK: Our final team to look at in Division I are the Beavers from Beavercreek. The team overall has the size and good guard play to compete with anyone. Chris Herbort (6-2/Sr.) is the returning top guy on this team after averaging 11.0 PPG, 2.1 APG, 4.3 RPG & 1.3 SPG. He is a combo guard that's one of the area's best players and a great leader for this team to have. After losing junior Isaiah Moore you can expect Adam Duvall (6-7/So.) & Yousef Saleh (6-0/Sr.) to become legit threats. Duvall is still developing as a prospect but has a ton of potential as well as a great jump shot. Saleh missed the majority of the season last year with an injury. He's an elite defender with good ball control as well as the ability to get to the rim. Expect this group to get boards with 8 guys 6'3" or taller. I expect some sparks to come from guys who may be ready to emerge like Mali Harris-Strayhorn (6-3/Sr.) & Gabe Phillips (6-7/So.).
PRESEASON TOP 4 TEAMS (DIV. II)
#1 TROTWOOD-MADISON: The defending state champs have a chance to make the trip back to Columbus in March. They are loaded with guards and wings that are scrappy and athletic. Carl Blanton (6-2/Sr.) will be their go-to guy this winter after averaging 18.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 3.1 APG & 2.1 SPG last year. Sammy Anderson (6-2/Sr.) was a great player for this group last year averaging 11.0 PPG & 4.7 APG. He's an intense defender that can guard 1-3. DaMontay Raglin (6-4/Jr.) has saw mild success this summer and fall and should have a breakout year with heavy minutes. Deuce Blake (6-2/Jr.) transferred this summer and will be a great piece for them with his deep range shooting ability as well as high IQ. Guards Carter Mims (5-7/Jr.) & Sellers Littles (5-6/So.) will have great seasons while both have risen their confidence over the summer with strong AAU seasons. Both are shifty ball handlers with a flare and competitive edge.
#3 THURGOOD-MARSHALL: It was really hard starting this group off at #3 but any of the teams listed 1-3 are interchangeable. This will be the most entertaining team out of all of the divisions. They return 2 All-City League 1st Team guards Anthony McComb (6-2/Jr.) & Mekhi Elmore (6-0/So.). McComb is an elite all-around player that can score the ball at a high rate with his smooth jump shot or his great driving ability. Elmore is one of the area's premier scoring threats. Every game it seems like he's scoring with ease and not much effort which is a crazy thing considering how young he is. Chanze Amerson (6-1/Jr.) is an athletic wing that is a great playmaker and defender. If you forget about him he can put up some points on you as well. We all know that Thurgood's MO will be their defense and speed and adding Prophet Johnson (6-2/Jr.) just fits the mold. Johnson is a Northmont transfer and an elite athlete and amazing defender while also being able to shoot & finish strong at the rim.
#2 ARCHBISHOP ALTER: Our preseason #2 team in Division II is the team from Alter. Their boys have all of the tools to be successful this season if they can limit turnovers as well as defend. They return their leading scorer from last year Brady Uhl (6-1/Sr.). Uhl was always in attack mode every game and will be a load to gameplan for as he averaged a stat line of 18.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.8 APG, & 1.6 SPG. The next 2 guys in line to fulfill that scoring role are Conor Stolly (6-8/Sr.) & Jack Smith (6-1/Sr.). Stolly is developing more and more every time he steps on the floor after averaging 7.0 PPG & 4.0 RPG. Smith is a strong 2-guard that can shoot it as well as slash to the rim at a high rate while he averaged around 8.0 PPG last year. Sophomore Jacob Conner (6-6/So.) is for sure the big X-factor in this group. He has the potential to be the team's second scoring threat while also having great length and athletic ability. I'd believe senior Rich Kolb (5-8/Sr.) will be doing most of the PG duties as he is a veteran varsity guy returning.
#4 TIPPECANOE: This Tipp City duo will be a problem for almost every team in Division II. Nolan Mader (6-4/Sr.) is a stud player and area standout. His best feature is his smooth jump shot and how calm he plays. He put up 18.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.3 APG & 1.2 SPG on 46.4% from the field and 39.5% from deep. His running mate will also fight with him for Player of the Year honors unintentionally. Ben Knostmas (6-3/Jr.) had a breakout summer and fall where his unique skill set has people talking about him potentially being the area's best PG. He's long and smooth with everything he does while playing and is an immediate problem for most. Zach Frederick (6-3/Jr.) & Jack Rowland (6-4/Sr.) will be a couple of other guys looking to help lead this team to deep tourney runs. Frederick comes off of a 9 PPG season while also shooting around 41% from three-point range.