The Kentucky All-Stars boys' basketball team that was announced Monday is mostly a roll call of stars who made this one of the strongest senior classes in years.
The roster includes Anthony Hickey (Mr. Basketball) and Donovan Kates of state champion Christian County; four Division I prospects from Eastern — Remy Abell, Lyonell Gaines, Arman Marks and Kameron Woods — along with University of Louisville signee Zach Price, and first-team all-staters George Fant of Warren Central and Ryan Taylor of Western.
The big surprise on the 12-man roster was little guy Jordan Gilbert, a 5-foot-10 point guard from Mason County.
"He's amazing in his ability to make everybody else better," said Kentucky All-Stars Coach Glen Drury of Anderson County. "He doesn't back down from more athletic kids. He's like a smaller version of (last year's Mr. Basketball) Elisha Justice."
Mason County's 6-8 Treg Setty also made the all-stars, as did Corey Rogers of 10th Region rival Clark County.
Drury said it was difficult to make the final roster cuts.
"Oh, man, this was one of the most competitive tryouts I've ever been involved in," he said. "You could've taken the next 12 players and easily had a team as good as they've had in some other years."
Eastern, rated No. 1 most of the season, is the first school to have four All-Stars since 1971 when Male had Henry Huskey, Larry Haralson, Bill Gordon and Robert Shackleford.
Drury said he was impressed that Eastern standouts Abell, Gaines, Marks and Woods "didn't just show up and say, 'I'm here.' They competed hard. That speaks volumes about the kids, their coach and their school."
Eastern Coach Jason Couch said he sometimes worried that his players' individual talents might have been overlooked because of the Eagles' team-first style.
"So I'm excited they all get this chance. They're four great kids who are already equipped to play in college because they're used to playing with other talented kids and understand they don't have to have the ball in their hands to contribute."
Drury likes the versatility of his all-star team, but he's not sure what Indiana's roster will look like.
"I think if we can get down and do what we need to do, we should really be able to guard because I think we're athletic enough," he said. "I think we've put together one of the better teams we've had."
The 11th Region doesn't have a player on the boys' all-stars for only the fifth time in the past 20 years.