2006 Fifth Third Bank Classic Participating Teams

2006 by Ron Harrison

Apollo – Coach Tony Hopper’s Eagles finished 25-11 last season and was runner-up in the state tournament.  Apollo graduated three seniors but there is enough talent returning to again challenge for the 3rd Region title.  6-2 Jr. guard Tyler Brown averaged 15 ppg last season and had an excellent tourney run.  Other players expected to contribute include 6-2 Jr. Terrance Johnson, 6-1 Sr. Carlos Alas, and 6-3 Sr. Justin Little.

Bourbon County  – The Colonels finished 16-10 last season but new head coach Mike Flynn, who coached last year at Ashland, inherits a team that graduated three starters.  The Colonels are relatively inexperienced and face a difficult schedule including their 10th Region opponents.  Several players will be expected to step up this season including 6-2 Sr. Brandon Coons, 6-4 Sr. Nick Sosby, 5-10 Jr. Matt Wigglesworth, 6-3 Jr. Nate Combs, and 6-4 Sr. John Rankin.

Boyle County – Coach Ronnie Bottom’s Rebels finished 21-10 last season and captured the 12th Region title.  The Rebels graduated seven seniors including four starters.  Boyle County is still expected to be a very competitive team this season.  6-4 Spencer Perrin is a talented senior who transferred in from Danville.  6-4 So. Jordan Aumiller, 6-2 Sr. Grant Tamme, 6-3 Jr. Bryce Perry, and 6-3 Sr. Andre Alcorn are also expected to log quality minutes.   6-2 Jr. Christian Williams is another transfer from Danville expected to contribute.

Brossart – Coach Mike Code’s Bishop Brossart Mustangs finished 19-12 last season and represented the 10th Region in the All “A” State Classic last season.  Coach Code has three key performers returning in 6-5 Sr. center Troy Cooper (15 ppg), 6-5 Sr. forward Nathan Mutsch, and 6-2 Sr. guard Jimmy Uebel.  The Mustangs had nine juniors on the roster last season, leaving experience to draw on this season.

Clark County  – Coach Scott Humphrey’s Cardinals finished 22-9 last season and should have one of the best teams in the 10th Region again this season.  The Cardinals have plenty of firepower returning in 6-2 Sr. guard Preston Knowles (21 ppg) and an inside force in 6-4 Sr. Tristan Jones, who averaged 16.5 ppg last season.  Jones suffered an injury during football but is intimidating inside when healthy.  6-0 Sr. footballer Robelle Rogers will make an impact, especially on the defensive end.

Clinton County – Coach Todd Messer’s Bulldogs finished 17-11 last season and play in the 4th Region.  Clinton County will be led by 6-4 Sr. Justin Vitatoe who is finishing up a stellar career with the Bulldogs.  Other veteran players expected to help this season include 6-4 Sr. John Papineau, 6-1 Sr. Josh Choate, 6-0 Sr. Shawn Parrish, and 6-0 Sr. Michael Conner.

Covington Catholic – Coach Mike Listerman’s Colonels finished 24-7 last season and should contend for the 9th Region crown this year.  The Colonels will be led by 6-0 Sr. guard Todd Jacobs, who averaged 16 ppg and can score from anywhere on the floor.  6-1 Sr. Kurt Bovard is another skilled backcourt performer and 6-0 Sr. Brandon Brown is counted on to help in the backcourt.  Coach Listerman has good size in the frontcourt in 6-7 Jr. Aaron Noll, 6-4 Jr. J. D. Schmerge, 6-7 Jr. Clay Lampl, 6-5 Sr. Billy Schult, and 6-3 Jr. Michael Grimes.  Covington Catholic plays a very controlled style of ball and is always a dangerous foe. 

DeSales – The Colts finished 21-10 last season and will enter the 6th Region battles with a new head coach in Lance Hammond.  The Colts have an excellent guard combo in 6-1 Jr. Jeff Mullaney (13.5 ppg) and 6-0 Sr. Aaron Tandy.  6-4 Sr. Eric Wilkie and 6-7 Jr. James Melloan will also be counted on this season.

Doss – Coach Shawn Purlee’s Dragons finished 23-7 last season and should be a top contender for the 6th Region crown this year.  Doss is talented and has a lot of depth this season.  6-8 Sr. Jeff Brooks averaged 11 ppg and 8 rpg last season but exploded on the national scene with an excellent summer campaign.  6-1 Sr. Davin Anderson averaged 15 ppg last season and is always a threat to put up big numbers.  Other key contributors should include 6-2 Sr. Josh Pile, 6-6 Sr. Tony Brown, and 6-2 Sr. Theron Brown.

Henry Clay – The Blue Devils finished 19-9 last season and should be very competitive in the 11th Region again this year.  Coach Daniel Brown took over as head coach from veteran coach Kirk Chiles, who retired at the end of the season.  Coach Brown must replace the point production of graduated seniors Aaron Dunaway and Aaron Miller.  6-5 Jr. Victor Moses averaged 15 ppg and 7.5 rpg and has the ability to be a special player.   Victor is a force in the paint.   6-4 Jr. wing Aaron Boyd averaged 11 ppg last season.  Coach Brown will expect senior leadership and playmaking from 6-1 Chase Minnifield and 6-0 Travis Bowman.  5-11 Fr. Ge-lawn Guyn brings a lot of energy and athleticism to the game.  6-0 Sr. Stephon Burton, 5-8 Jr. Brian Nichols, 6-5 Michael Gardner, and 5-11 So. Prince Stewart are among the players who will contribute.  The Blue Devils could be very good this season if they get consistent ballhandling and perimeter shooting.

Holmes – Coach David Henley’s Bulldogs finished 19-9 last season and has enough talent and athleticism to capture the 9th Region crown.  The Bulldogs received a blow when 6-0 Sr. point guard Duran Jefferson suffered an injury during football season and it is uncertain when he will return.  6-1 Sr. Austin Hill averaged 16 ppg last season and 6-0 Jr. Arrez Henderson averaged 13 ppg and 7 rpg and plays much larger because of his explosive “hops”.  6-3 Sr. Greg Rice has re-joined the team and is capable of putting up big numbers every night.  5-10 Jr. Braeon Avery and 6-4 Jr. Josh Nelson will be counted on this season.

Johnson Central – Coach Mark Starn’s Golden Eagles finished 19-12 last season and captured the 15th Region title last season.  They will be considered one of the favorites to capture the crown again.  Johnson Central will be led by 6-3 Sr. James McCarty, who averaged almost 17 ppg last season.  Jr. guard Jaryd Crum transferred in from Sheldon Clark and adds leadership and quickness.  Other players expected to contribute include 6-2 Sr. Zach Sargent, 6-0 Sr. Jesse Meek, 6-3 So. Ian Welch, 6-1 So. Joe Whitaker, 5-11 Sr. Justin Blanton, and 6-1 Jr. James Blankenship

June Buchanan – Coach Gary Stepp’s Crusaders finished 23-6 last season and are one of the top contenders for the 14th Region crown this season.  6-3 Jr. Clark Stepp averaged 24 ppg last season and approximately eight assists per game.  5-11 Fr. Tate Cox averaged 17 ppg as an 8th grader.  6-9 So. Garrison Collins is a rapidly improving big man.  Several other players are expected to contribute including 6-3 Sr. Ryan Conley, 6-6 Jr. Trey Short, 6-3 Jr. Joe Hall, 6-4 So. Brent Hall, 5-11 Sr. Brock Childers, and 5-11 Fr. Clint Stepp.

Lexington Catholic – Coach Brandon Salsman’s Knights finished 23-7 last season.  Lexington Catholic graduated six seniors but return enough firepower to challenge for the 11th Region championship.  6-3 Sr. Zach Newton is a strong defender and will be the vocal and emotional leader of the team.  Newton also averaged in double figures coming off the bench.  6-5 Jr. Nathan Novosel averaged 14 ppg and 10 rpg last season, finishes well, and can nail the mid-range shot.  6-5 Jr. Taylor Stewart has both the ability and athleticism to have a big year.   6-6 Jr. Jordan Smart has excellent shooting range and creates matchup problems.  6-2 So. Taylor Botkin, is expected to be a major contributor.  Other players expected to contribute include 6-4 Sr. Seth Hillenmeyer, 6-8 So. Andy Donovan, 5-10 Jr. John Tribble, and 6-2 Jr. Tyler Corvin.  Coach Salsman utilizes a pressing running style that will allow him to play 10-12 players per game.  This is Coach Salsman’s second year as head coach with this team and, despite a brutal schedule, could challenge down the stretch.

Lincoln County – Coach Jeff Jackson’s Patriots finished 16-13 last season and are poised to make a run for the 12th Region championship this season.  Coach Jackson has a lot of depth with several scoring options in the rotation.  5-10 Jr. Daniel Ralston, 6-0 Sr. Braxton Miller, 6-1 Jr. Ryan Young, and 6-2 Sr. Chase Overstreet are returning starters.  Other players expected to contribute include 5-10 Sr. Trent Calhoun, 6-2 Jr. Noah Keeton, and 6-2 So. Ethan Spurlin.  The Patriots have a nice combination of athleticism, perimeter shooting, and experience to have an excellent season.

Louisville Central  – Coach Doug Bibby’s Yellowjackets finished 18-12 last season and despite the loss of some key players could again be among the better teams in the 6th Region this season.  Central should be led by 6-0 Jr. Randy Skeens.  The Yellowjackets have an extremely strong group of underclassmen led by 6-4 So. Lee McGee, 6-5 So. Ridge Wilson, and 6-5 So. Paul Bunton.  The team will be relatively inexperienced and must find a team leader but have the talent to be very good over the next few years. 

Male – Coach Tom Crews’ Bulldogs finished 19-7 last season and return seven of their top nine players.  Several of their top players also play football so they should improve throughout the season, making them a threat for the 7th Region title.  They will be led by Mr. Football winner 5-10 Sr. Doug Beaumont who averaged 17 ppg last season.  Other players expected to be key contributors include 6-2 Sr. Kris Carree, 5-11 Sr. Ben Holman, 5-11 Sr. Corey Gainey, and 6-4 Jr. Dexter Heyman

Mason County – Coach Chris O’Hearn’s Royals finished 25-9 last season and captured the 10th Region title.  Mason County returns four starters and is the early favorite to capture the 10th Region crown again.  6-6 Jr. Darius Miller is considered on of the best players in the state and averaged 15.7 ppg and 6.2 rpg.  The Royals have another future star in 6-3 So. point guard Russ Middleton.  5-7 Sr. Tyreese Scott and 6-4 Sr. Brad Pawsat also return to the starting lineup.  Other key contributors are expected to be 6-3 Sr. Nathan Stahl, 6-3 Sr. Tony Browning, 6-3 Jr. Trevor Setty, and 6-1 Jr. Ethan King.

Pendleton County  – The Wildcats finished 28-4 last season and was one of the premier teams in the 10th Region.  The team will have a different look this season as Coach Buddy Briggs departed and later took the Ashland coaching job, and six of the top players graduated.  Coach Chad Simms is the new head man and will build around 6-7 Sr. Kane Belcher.  Other players got varsity experience last season and will attempt to step up this season.

Russell – Coach Steve Dodd’s Red Devils finished 18-14 last season and captured the 16th Region crown.  Russell returns their key players and are favored again to capture the title.  6-3 Sr. Jonathan VanHoose is one of the best perimeter shooters in the state.  6-3 Sr. Scott Gill is an outstanding leaper and 6-1 Sr. Austin Blair is poised for a good campaign after a season marred by injuries and illness.  Other players expected to help include 6-2 Sr. Austin Robinson, 6-3 Sr. Ross Turner, and 6-2 Sr. Jacob Sizemore.

Simon Kenton – Coach Trent Steiner’s Pioneers finished 20-11 last season and return the talent and depth necessary to be a strong contender for the 8th Region title.  They will be led by spark plug 5-9 Sr. guard Mike Hester who averaged 18 ppg last season.  6-2 Sr. Seth Blevins is expected to man the other guard position.  The Pioneers will be solid in the paint with 6-8 Sr. Josh Hurd and 6-4 Sr. Josh Elbert.  Simon Kenton has good depth both in the frontcourt and the backcourt.

St. Mary – Coach Greg Overstreet’s Vikings finished 20-11 last season and are expected to be one of the best teams in the 1st Region this season.  6-2 Sr. forward Jonathan Roof had a good year and his athleticism allows him to work inside against larger players.  6-2 Sr. swingman Gabriel Shaw is a solid performer in all aspects of the game.  Sr. guard Wes Overstreet is a good perimeter shooter.  Jonathan Byrd, who runs the point, is recovering from an injury and will hopefully return before January.  The Vikings lack size but return some solid performers and appear to have good depth.

St. Xavier  – Coach Joe Bergamini’s Tigers finished 18-12 last season but graduated nine seniors from that squad.  However, as usual Coach Bergamini will field a competitive team for the 7th Region wars.  6-9 Sr. Daniel Vollmer and 6-7 Sr. Aaron Robison give the Tigers excellent size in the paint.  6-2 Sr. Lee Stiden averaged almost 6 ppg last season and played well during summer competition.  Other players expected to contribute include 5-10 Sr. Daniel Passafiume, 6-0 Sr. Michael Krebs, and 5-11 Sr. Hans Schneider.

Trinity – Coach Mike Szabo’s Shamrocks finished 16-15 last season and graduated a lot of scoring punch from that squad.  However, there is enough returning talent to be very competitive in the brutal 7th Region wars.  6-7 Sr. Tanner Jacobs averaged 9.7 ppg and 9.7 rpg and attacks the boards.  6-5 Jr. Sam Robey and 6-4 Jr. Alex Kupper should also be strong in the paint.  Coach Szabo also has solid backcourt performers in 6-0 Jr. Matt Chambless, 6-2 Jr. Aaron Tierney, 5-11 Sr. Jeff Kirksey, and 5-11 Sr. Brett Berry.  The Shamrocks also have a talented freshman in 6-3 Josh Sewell.  Trinity should have good defense and be strong in the paint this season but will have to improve their perimeter shooting to be a major factor in the region.

Please send your comments and questions to Ron Harrison at prephoops@yahoo.com.

Ron Harrison’s reports on this and other basketball events appear on http://www.kyprephoops.com.