Will Lakes be celebrating again at the end of this season? The Lancers open the season at No. 2 in Class 3A.
When it comes time to rank teams every year, regardless of the sport, there is usually a pretty good sense of which teams belong in the top 10.
I send out e-mails to coaches, check with reporters and editors from other newspapers and, after looking through the responses, there is generally a rough outline of where teams belong.
This year, though, that is not the case when it comes to Class 4A basketball. After getting responses from 17 coaches and a handful of media outlets, the consensus is that it’s a wide-open year and no coaches seem all that certain about what teams fit where.
Davis of Yakima seems like a good choice at No. 1. The Pirates finished fifth in the state last season and bring back plenty of talent, including standout David Trimble. Jackson Marquis, last year’s leading scorer, graduated, but Davis has enough to contend for a title. Last year’s state roster had seven juniors and a sophomore.
After the Pirates, though, there is a long list of teams that could make a case for a spot in the top 10. There are no clear-cut favorites this year, which makes it tough to find good fits at Nos. 2-5.
I played with the order a lot and, in the end, I decided to gamble, roll the dice on some teams I know are talented. The key will be how that talent comes together over the course of the season.
In a move that may surprise some, I put Bothell at No. 2 to open the year. The Cougars took their lumps last year, going 4-16. But they were young. Zach LaVine, a 6-foot-2 junior who can play either guard spot, is now a junior and should be one of the most explosive players in the state. He’ll have plenty of help.
Junior guard Perrion Callandret transferred from O’Dea, giving Bothell one of the best backcourts in the state. The Cougars also have a shooter in senior Prince Lacey and, after a visit to practice last week, it looks like they have some post players as well.
I didn’t expect to put Bothell this high, this early, but the program seems to have as much talent as anyone this year and, in a wide-open year, anything can happen. Skyline has two standouts who will be key to the third-ranked Spartans’ success. Will Parker is a senior guard who will play his college basketball at Seattle Pacific University and Lucas Shannon is a 6-foot-8 senior post player, who has signed with Saint Martin’s.
Mount Rainier brings back sophomore Adrian Davis and has talent around him to make the Rams another team that could make a run in a wide-open year.
There is also some very good talent down in Vancouver this year. Union has Jordan Chatman (signed with BYU) and Tanner Nelson in the backcourt and Evergreen has Caleb Dressler (signed with Hawaii). It sounds like Battle Ground will also be very good.
I’m not quite sure what to think about this preseason top 10. I’m sure it will change early and often. I really like the teams in the top 10, but the bottom five could easily swap places with teams at the top and there are a bunch of bubble teams that could be there late in the year as well.
Class 3A, well, that was a little bit easier to sort out. There’s a ton of talent in that classification. I went back-and-forth between Seattle Prep, Lakes and Rainier Beach at No. 1.
Seattle Prep returns all five starters and Josh Martin should have a huge sophomore season. The Panthers, who are ranked No. 47 in the nation according to ESPNHS, also add D.J. Fenner, so they’re as deep as any team in the state. Mitch Brewe (signed with UC Santa Barbara) will be the Panthers’ senior leader.
Second-ranked Lakes is the defending champion with Zach Banner returning to occupy the post and I really like Nate Guy, who is back as well. The Lancers lost a few pieces, but they’ll be as good as anyone this year.
For the past two seasons I’ve started with Rainier Beach in the top spot. The Vikings, once again, have a ton of talent. But they’ve got some new faces, so I’m going to give them time to see how they come together before putting them in the top spot.
They added Anrio Adams — who recently gave a verbal to Kansas — and Will Dorsey, who will combine for a very talented backcourt. Then there’s Naim Ladd, who dropped 28 points as a freshman in a game against Seattle Prep.
After that, I really like O’Dea. Sekou Wiggs is back. Jalen Ward is one of the best point guards in the state and Dana Abe has developed a lot since last season.
It should be an exciting season. There is a ton of talent in 3A, which will be a lot of fun to follow, but I’m excited for the 4A season. I can’t wait to see what teams establish themselves as favorites.
1. Davis (Yakima)
3. Skyline (Sammamish)
4. Mount Rainier (Des Moines)
5. Union (Vancouver)
6. Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma)
7. Curtis (University Place)
8. Gonzaga Prep (Spokane)
9. Evergreen (Vancouver)
10. Federal Way
Keep an eye on: Ballard, Battle Ground, Ferris, Garfield, Jackson, Kamiak, Kent-Meridian, Kentridge, Kentwood, Redmond, Roosevelt.
1. Seattle Prep
2. Lakes (Lakewood)
3. Rainier Beach
5. University (Spokane)
6. Kamiakin (Kennewick)
7. Lake Washington (Kirkland)
8. Lincoln (Tacoma)
10. Foss (Tacoma)
Keep an eye on: Bellevue, Chief Sealth, Decatur, Kennedy Catholic, Mercer Island, Mountain View, Mountlake Terrace, Mount Vernon, Oak Harbor, Sammamish, Shadle Park, West Valley.