Below is the Herald-Leader’s preseason top 25 ranking of high school boys’ basketball players for the 2017-18 season.
The rankings were derived from ballots submitted by coaches during an annual preseason survey. A total of 94 schools returned surveys to the Herald-Leader, but some schools who participated declined to vote due to unfamiliarity with players and teams outside of their own. A complete list of schools that returned surveys is below.
The top 10 are listed with their school along with grade level, height and last year’s points per game in parentheses. The remaining 15 players are listed with their school and grade level.
Preseason Top 25
1. Trevon Faulkner, Mercer County (Sr., 6-4, 24.2): The Northern Kentucky signee finished first in the preseason rankings by just three points. Faulkner’s only chances of having a head-to-head meeting with the runner-up would be in the King of the Bluegrass tournament or in the Sweet Sixteen.
2. CJ Fredrick, Covington Catholic (Sr., 6-4, 19.7): He played in only 19 games last season for the Colonels because of a foot injury suffered in December, but the Iowa signee shot nearly 55 percent from the floor when he was on it.
3. David Johnson, Trinity (Jr., 6-5, 10.5): An early favorite for the 2019 Mr. Basketball award, Johnson wasn’t far off from being elected the top player by the coaches this preseason. He decommitted from the University of Louisville in October following upheaval in the program.
4. Michael Moreno, Scott County (Jr., 6-6, 21.8): Last year the Cards star increased his points per game by about seven points and averaged a double-double for the second straight season, leading to honorable mention status on MaxPreps’ All-America team as a sophomore. He’s received scholarship offers from Iowa, Bradley and Eastern Kentucky.
5. Andrew Taylor, Corbin (Sr., 6-3, 29.5): Furman commit hopes to lead the Redhounds to their first Sweet Sixteen appearance since 2010, when his brother, Madison Johnson, was a member of the program.
6. Zion Harmon, Adair County (Fr., 5-9, 16.8): Terry Taylor was named MVP of last year’s Sweet Sixteen champion, Bowling Green, but Harmon was a major part of the Purples’ first title. Now he’s paired with Indians star Corey Melton, a senior who could end his career with 2,000 points scored.
7. KyKy Tandy, University Heights (Jr., 6-2, 23.6): UHA leads the state with eight All “A” Classic state titles but hasn’t won one since 2008. Tandy, the top player in Western Kentucky, will have the Blazers among the favorites to take the small-school championship in Richmond come January.
8. Mickey Pearson, John Hardin (Sr., 6-8, 22.2): Lexingtonians will get a chance to see Pearson when the Bulldogs play Scott County on Feb. 3 as part of the Jock Sutherland Classic at Lafayette. He’s signed with Saint Louis, which is coached by former UK and Madisonville star Travis Ford.
9. Adam Kunkel, Cooper (Sr., 6-2, 16.3): Earlier this month Kunkel signed with Belmont, where former Russellville star Pedro Bradshaw is now. Former Lexington Christian star Taylor Barnette played for the Bruins until graduating in May.
10. Steven Fitzgerald, Southwestern (Sr., 6-4, 25.5): He led Pulaski County to a Sweet Sixteen last season for the first time since 1992. Fitzgerald will play at Samford University under former UK star Scott Padgett.
Coaches’ next 15: 11. Dontaie Allen, Pendleton County (Jr.); 12. Anthony Wales, Fern Creek (Sr.); 13. Kyle Rode, Lexington Christian (Jr.); 14. Jaylen Scrubb, Trinity (Sr.); 15. Jake Walter, Covington Catholic (Sr.); 16. Trey Hill, Pleasure Ridge Park (Sr.); 17. Cooper Robb, Scott County (Sr.); 18. Cobe Penny, Anderson County (Sr.); 19. Skyelar Potter, Warren Central (Sr.); 20. Gage Hughes, Greenup County (Jr.); 21. Isaiah Cozart, Madison Central (Jr.); 22. Shorty Cager, Hopkinsville (Sr.); 23. Zan Payne, Lexington Catholic (Sr.); 24. JJ Reed, Paducah Tilghman (Sr.); 25. Carter Hendricksen, Lexington Christian (Sr.).
Schools that returned surveys: Adair County, Allen County-Scottsville, Apollo, Atherton, Ballard Memorial, Bath County, Berea, Bourbon County, Bowling Green, Boyle County, Breathitt County, Brown, Bryan Station, Buckhorn, Burgin, Carlisle County, Christian Academy of Louisville, Christian County, Clark County, Cooper, Corbin, Covington Catholic, Daviess County, DeSales, Eastern, Eminence, Estill County, Fern Creek, Fleming County, Floyd Central, Frankfort, Franklin County, Frederick Douglass, Garrard County, Glasgow, Graves County, Harrison County, Henry Clay, Heritage Academy, Holmes, Hopkins County Central, Hopkinsville, Iroquois, Jackson County, John Hardin, Johnson Central, Knox Central, Lafayette, Leslie County, Letcher County Central, Lexington Catholic, Lexington Christian, Louisville Holy Cross, Madison Central, Madison Southern, Mason County, McClean County, McCracken County, Mercer County, Metcalfe County, Middlesboro, Model, Newport Central Catholic, Oldham County, Owensboro Catholic, Paris, Pendleton County, Perry County Central, Pineville, Portland Christian, Powell County, Rockcastle County, Rowan County, Sayre, Scott County, Shelby Valley, Sheldon Clark, Somerset, South Oldham, Southwestern, Spencer County, St. Patrick, St. Xavier, Tates Creek, Trinity, Waggener, Walton-Verona, Wayne County, Western Hills, Whitefield Academy, Whitesville Trinity, Williamsburg, Wolfe County, Woodford County