The 2022-23 Kentucky boys’ basketball season is scheduled to tip off Monday. Here are 11 of the 11th Region’s best players in order of how they were voted for by the region’s coaches in our @HLpreps preseason survey. Coaches were asked to rank the “top 10 players in the region.” This list includes their height, class, last year’s points per game and a brief note.
1. Reece Potter, Lexington Catholic (7-0 Sr., 16.1 points): Potter, who recently signed with Miami (Ohio), impressed recruiting analysts last year with his “footwork, mobility, excellent hands and touch.” Potter can face the basket and is a willing three-point shooter when the occasion arises. He made 56.7 percent of his field goals last season, shot 77.6 percent from the free-throw line and grabbed at team-high 7.6 rebounds per game.
2. Malachi Moreno, Great Crossing (6-11 So., 11.9 points): Moreno looks to be the most heavily recruited player in the 11th, having already generated six major Division I offers, including Ohio State. He averaged a double-double last year to go with four blocks per game. “He’s an inside presence who has improved his all-around game this offseason,” Coach Steve Page said.
3. Nick Spalding, Paul Laurence Dunbar (6-1 Sr., 20.1 points): Named to the all-region and all-city teams each of the last two years, the Bulldogs’ Mr. Big Shot is “arguably one of the top three players in Region 11,” Coach Murray Garvin said. Garvin’s peers agree. Spalding has a knack for clutch baskets and cannot be forgotten about in a big spot.
4. Jaylen Davis, Madison Central (6-5 Sr., 17.6 points): Offered by Eastern Kentucky at the first flashes of his potential in 2019, Davis has been a menace from the three-point line for the Indians his entire career, making the deep ball at a 42.1-percent clip last year. His 35 points and five three-pointers against Lexington Catholic in the 2021 11th Region tournament will forever be legend.
5. Vince Dawson, Great Crossing (6-5 So., 15.6 points): Great Crossing’s leading scorer enters his third year as a varsity starter as part of a core of outstanding sophomores for the Warhawks, who coaches have picked as the 11th’s early favorite. He has a “great inside-out offensive game,” Coach Page said. He has already been offered by Eastern Kentucky and Southeast Missouri.
6. Jay Rose, Madison Southern (6-3 Jr., 21.5 points): Rose, who has been offered by South Alabama, set a school record with 668 points in a season last year as the Eagles made history with only their third 44th District title and first win in the 11th Region tournament. “He’s a proven scorer,” Coach Bill Bevins said.
7. Hagan Harrison, Madison Central (6-1 Sr., 24.4 points*): Before transferring, Harrison led Montgomery County in scoring his sophomore and junior* years. He took the COVID-19 bonus year offered by Senate Bill 128, but the KHSAA denied his eligibility appeal to play basketball last season even though he was cleared to play football, where he started at quarterback each of the last two seasons. Fully eligible now, Harrison is sure to be a force in the 11th.
8. Kai Simpson, Frederick Douglass (6-2 Sr., 12.9 points): Simpson emerged as a key player for the Broncos two seasons ago and has been a double-figure scorer since. He comes back as an SB 128 super senior as Douglass tries for a fourth straight 42nd District title and a breakthrough at the region tournament where they’ve been runners-up the last two years. He has offers from Delta State and several NAIA schools.
9. Robby Todd, Madison Central (6-7 Sr., 12.8 points): Todd, an Eastern Kentucky commit, transferred from Rowan County last year when his father Greg Todd was hired as the EKU women’s basketball coach. He quickly fit right in for the Indians. Another SB 128 super senior, Todd figures to improve his averages, including his 8.1 rebounds per game as a junior.
10. Konlin Brown, Henry Clay (5-10 Sr., 11.0 points): Brown, a two-sport athlete who also plays baseball, steps into more of a leadership role this year for the defending 11th Region champs coached by his father, Daniel Brown. “He shoots the ball very well and makes everyone better,” said Coach Brown, who believes he’s one of the top point guards in the state.
11. Armelo Boone, Frederick Douglass (6-3 So., 10.1 points): Boone could be ready for another breakout year after a sensational freshman campaign in which he was rostered a few inches shorter than he is now. Boone tied a team-high 13 points with teammate Kai Simpson in the Broncos’ thrilling come-from-behind overtime win over Henry Clay in last season’s 42nd District championship.
Bryan Station: Jaden Biggers, Trenton Cutwright; Franklin County: Zac Cox; Frankfort: Jordan Blythe; Lafayette: Demarcus Surratt; Lexington Catholic: Hudson Sparks, Tyler Doyle; Lexington Christian: Tyler Hall, Andersen Green, Gavin Mirus; Madison Southern: Zach Hudson; Model: Keshav Bhandari; Paul Laurence Dunbar: Max VanDyke; Scott County: Micah Glenn, Nick Mosby; Tates Creek: Eric Hackett; Western Hills: Walter Campbell, Javeon Campbell.
The 11th Region’s 19 coaches were asked to rank the 10 best players in the 11th Region. The list reflects all the players put forth by the 15 coaches who responded to the top 10 players question in the survey.
2022-23 SEASON PREVIEW
This is the fifth of eight stories the Herald-Leader and Kentucky.com is publishing in the coming days previewing the 2022-23 high school boys’ and girls’ basketball seasons, which are scheduled to tip off Nov. 28.