Whitesburg KY

14th Region preseason ratings

The 2007-08 boys’ 14th Region preseason player ratings are:

First team – Combo guard Clark Stepp, 6′ 3″ senior, June Buchanan. Lead/point guard Josh Whitaker, 6′ 1″ sophomore, Hazard. Combo guard Tate Cox, 6′ 0″ sophomore, June Buchanan. Forward Michael Campbell, 6′ 3″ junior, Hazard. Forward/center Zach Gay, 6′ 7″ senior, Buckhorn. Center Travis Smith, 6′ 7″ senior, Breathitt County. (We could not decide between Gay and Smith so we listed six instead of five players on the first team.

Second team – Combo guard Stuart Stamper, 6′ 2″ sophomore, Knott Central. Combo guard Zach Hurt, 6′ 2″ senior, Cordia. Combo guard Justin Holland, 6′ 2″ senior, Breathitt County. Forward Jason Kelly, 6′ 3″ senior, Perry Central. Center Garrison Collins, 6′ 8″ junior, June Buchanan.

Third team – Combo guard Chris Puckett, 6′ 1″ senior, Jenkins. Combo guard Andy Blank, 5′ 11″ junior, Buckhorn. Combo guard Charlie Banks, 6′ 3″ junior, Letcher Central. Forward Trey Short, 6′ 5″ senior, June Buchanan. Center Justin Jones, 6′ 5″ junior, Hazard.

Honorable Mention (best of the rest in the 14th Region ) – Jimmy Joe Morgan, Leslie County; John Yancy Amis, Perry Central; Nick Noble, Breathitt County; Blake Christopher, Estill County; Randy Lewis, Hazard; Clint Stepp, June Buchanan; Eric Back, Perry Central; Channing Fugate, Breathitt County; Drew Davidson, Jackson City; Jarrod Amburgey, Knott Central; Deron Scott Amis, Perry Central; Devin Blair, Letcher Central; Braxton Ratliff, Knott Central; Demetri Travis, Perry Central; Eric Ison, Letcher Central.

14th Region boys’ preseason

team rankings

1. June Buchanan – It will be interesting to see how this team handles being the hunted team on top instead of being the Cinderella team as in past two years. Super talent and size for a mountain team, could cause trouble for somebody if they make it back to Rupp Arena.

2. Hazard – JBS and Hazard should really be #1 and #1-A because with the addition of transfer Josh Whitaker, the Bulldogs are just as talented as anybody in mountains. How well the players adjust to veteran coach Al Holland’s system and the late arrival of football players may cause this team to peak late but right during March Madness.

3. Breathitt County – This team returns five of its top eight players from a 21-4 team that made a strong appearance in last year’s regional tourney. Could hurt some losing a transfer to Owsley County, but there’s plenty of talent to supplement four returning starters. Bobcats are just a notch below top two teams starting out season.

4. Perry Central – Commodores have been #1 or #2 starting out 12 of last 13 seasons in 14th Region, but not this year. New coach Allan Hatcher replacing veteran Al Holland was arguably biggest story in high school basketball during the off season. Hatcher doesn’t have the talent that Holland was used to having during his tenure, but the cupboard isn’t bare, just small in size and young. If the players will buy into Hatcher’s system and coaching style, this team will be dangerous in March.

5. Letcher Central – The Cougar basketball program is set to make a bold move just like its football team in the fall. Charlie Banks being healthy will be a great asset and if 6′ 8″ junior center Eric Ison can progress over the winter you can throw this team in the mix come March. Devin Blair will provide solid leadership from the point.

6. Knott Central – Coach Justin Amburgey got more out of the Patriots last year than was expected. Stuart Stamper is solid and a great go-to player to build around. If an inside game can be developed and with another solid scorer, this could be the dark horse team come March.

7. Buckhorn – Likable young coach John Noble has fought through the hard times and brought this small Class A school light years the last two years. Wildcats have a great inside/ outside combination in Zach Gay and Andy Blank. Only dissension could cause this team from winning a lot of basketball games this winter.

8. Estill County – Senior guard Blake Christopher will lead four returning starters back for the Engineers, who should be the class of the 56th District. Keep an eye on this team as the winter goes on. Just enough talent to be dangerous on a given night.

9. Jenkins – Senior guard Chris Puckett gives the Cavaliers instant credibility. He can light any team in the region up for 30 anytime he wants to. However, he needs a little help to be a solid threat to move into the top five in the region.

10. Cordia – Jeff Honeycutt’s Lions have the most underrated player in the mountains in 6′ 2″, senior guard Zach Hurt. He’s a super all-around guard who can make many things happen with his versatility offensively. His game alone puts this team in the top 10.

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