Below is the preseason top 25 ranking of Kentucky high school boys’ basketball players for the 2018-19 season, as voted on by coaches in a statewide survey conduced by the Lexington Herald-Leader/Kentucky.com.
The top 10 players are listed with their school along with grade level, height and last season’s points per game in parentheses along with a brief comment. The remaining 15 players are listed with their school, grade level and last season’s ppg along with their college, if known.
Preseason boys’ top 10 players
1. Dontaie Allen, Pendleton County (Sr., 6-6, 31.8): Already in the mix for Mr. Basketball contention, Allen probably pole-vaulted to the top of many people’s ballots after eagerly accepting a scholarship offer from the University of Kentucky in August. The four-star recruit, ranked 73rd in the nation by 247Sports, averaged a double-double (11.4 rebounds) and shot almost 60 percent (59.1) from the field last season.
2. David Johnson, Trinity (Sr., 6-5, 13.9): It’s uncommon for a player to de-commit from a school and then commit to that school later on but that’s what happened for Johnson, who re-upped with the hometown Louisville Cardinals in September. Johnson, ranked right in front of Allen by 247Sports, also has the edge over him in overall team success — he’s played in two Sweet Sixteens to Allen’s none — in what could be a Mr. Basketball edition of the UK-U of L rivalry.
3. KyKy Tandy, University Heights Academy (Sr., 6-2, 30.5): Xavier landed Kentucky’s final four-star recruit over Mississippi after a lengthy recruitment that at one time included UK, though the Wildcats never offered. Tandy, who shot 47.9 percent from three-point range last season, dazzled in his Rupp Arena debut and hopes to get the Blazers back to the state tournament.
4. Michael Moreno, Scott County (Sr., 6-6, 20.2): While he lacks in star count — 247 considers him a three-star and a top-200 recruit — compared to the names in front of him, no senior in the state has a history of winning like Moreno. He’s played in back-to-back state tournaments, including last year’s state finals, and averages a double-double (10.8 rebounds) for the Cardinals.
5. Isaiah Cozart, Madison Central (Sr., 6-7, 12.7): Last month he became the latest in-state standout to join Rick Stansbury’s program at WKU. Cozart is a shot-blocking wizard who could own the state’s career record for blocks as soon as after the Indians’ first game, a home tilt with Madison Southern on Nov. 27; he’s only seven away.
6. Kyle Rode, Lexington Christian Academy (Sr., 6-5, 16.2): Rode last year helped lead LCA to its first All “A” Classic state championship and had the Eagles within a shot at the buzzer of knocking off Scott County for the 11th Region title. He’s headed to Liberty University after this season.
7. Dieonte Miles, Walton-Verona (Sr., 6-10, 7.1): Tandy wasn’t the first Kentuckian to join Xavier; Miles committed in August following a junior season in which he played only nine games because of a shoulder injury. If all stays well, Walton-Verona has a realistic shot at playing in its first Sweet Sixteen.
8. Zion Harmon, Marshall County (So., 5-9, 32.7): Several coaches who returned ballots put an asterisk beside Harmon, whose eligibility is still in doubt. The top-ranked point guard in the class of 2021 has played for three high schools in the last three years — including 2017 state champion Bowling Green and Adair County last season — and would make the Marshals an instant threat in the 1st Region if he gets to play.
9. Jackson Harlan, Clinton County (Sr., 6-5, 26.4): Harlan had not received much Division I recruiting interest before Western Kentucky offered him a scholarship following a team camp in June. He accepted and will get to focus on trying to lead his Bulldogs to their second Sweet Sixteen appearance (their only one came in 1960).
10. Jordan Graham, Clark County (Sr., 6-3, 11.7): The son of Clark County girls’ basketball coach Robbie Graham was the third-leading scorer last season for the Cardinals and led the team in three-point percentage. He has not yet committed but has an offer from Tennessee Tech in addition to several NAIA opportunities.
The next 15
11. Jacob Hobbs, Central Hardin (Sr., 6-6, 12.0): Lipscomb
12. Nick Thelen, Covington Catholic (Sr., 6-8, 5.9): Bellarmine
13. JJ Ramey, South Laurel (Sr., 6-4, 19.3): Uncommitted
14. Jackson Sivills, McCracken County (Jr., 6-6, 13.2): Uncommitted
15. Jaago “JJ” Kalakon, Waggener (Sr., 6-4, 13.2): Uncommitted
16. Dayvion McKnight, Collins (Jr., 6-1, 12.3): Uncommitted
17. Cam Wilson, Valley (Sr., 6-2, 14.5): Uncommitted
18. Korbin Spencer, Elliott County (Sr., 6-2, DNP): Uncommitted
19. Jamarion Sharp, Hopkinsville (Sr., 6-10, 2.9): Uncommitted
20. Keaston Brown, Henry Clay (Sr., 6-1, 13.0): Uncommitted
21. Howard Fleming, Male (Jr., 6-4, 10.8): Uncommitted
22. Trey James, Sheldon Clark (So., 6-10, 11.5): Uncommitted
23. Tre’Von Smith, Taylor County (Sr., 6-2, 19.9): Uncommitted
24. Kobe Poole, Breckinridge County (Sr., 5-10, 23.6): Uncommitted
25. Jacob Rice, Johnson Central (Sr., 5-11, 17.3): Uncommitted
Our annual survey was emailed to all 271 KHSAA boys’ basketball coaches in Kentucky, using their email registered with the KHSAA. Multiple attempts were made to encourage every school to participate. Coaches were asked to select their top 10 players and points were assigned based on a player’s position on the ballot (10 points for No. 1, nine points for No. 2, eight points for No. 3, etc.), and tabulated across all ballots received; some schools participated in the survey but declined to vote due to unfamiliarity with players and teams outside of their own.
A total of 127 schools (46.9 percent) responded to the survey and are recognized here: Adair County, Allen County-Scottsville, Ashland Blazer, Atherton, Ballard Memorial, Bardstown, Barren County, Bath County, Beechwood, Belfry, Berea, Boyle County, Breathitt County, Breckinridge County, Brown, Buckhorn, Butler County, Campbellsville, Carlisle County, Central, Central Hardin, Christian Academy of Louisville, Christian County, Clark County, Clinton County, Collegiate, Collins, Cooper, Corbin, Covington Catholic, Covington Holy Cross, Danville, Daviess County, DeSales, Dixie Heights, Eastern, Elliott County, Estill County, Fairdale, Fleming County, Floyd Central, Franklin County, Frederick Douglass, Fulton County, Gallatin County, Garrard County, Glasgow, Graves County, Grayson County, Greenup County, Hancock County, Harlan County, Harrison County, Henderson County, Henry Clay, Hickman County, Highlands, Hopkinsville, Iroquois, John Hardin, Johnson Central, Kentucky School for the Deaf, Knox Central, Lafayette, Lawrence County, Letcher County Central, Lexington Catholic, Lexington Christian Academy, Louisville Holy Cross, Ludlow, Madison Central, Madison Southern, Madisonville, Male, Marshall County, Mason County, Mayfield, McCracken County, Mercer County, Metcalfe County, Middlesboro, Monroe County, Montgomery County, Muhlenberg County, Newport, Newport Central Catholic, North Laurel, Owen County, Owensboro Catholic, Paintsville, Paris, Pendleton County, Perry County Central, Phelps, Pineville, Portland Christian, Prestonsburg, Rowan County, Sayre, Scott, Shelby County, Shelby Valley, Sheldon Clark, Simon Kenton, Somerset, Southern, South Oldham, Spencer County, St. Mary, St. Patrick, St. Xavier, Tates Creek, Trinity, University Height Academy, Villa Madonna, Waggener, Walton-Verona, Warren Central, Warren East, Wayne County, West Jessamine, Western, Western Hills, Whitesville Trinity, Williamsburg, Wolfe County, Woodford County