High school boys basketball: preseason Top 10 and players to watch

OUR PRESEASON TOP 10 (with 2016-17 records)

1. Westlake (29-7)

Talent abounds for the Chaparrals, who top the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches’ Class 6A poll. Four seniors have signed letters of intent, and 6-foot-9 junior Will Baker has offers from various blue blood programs.

2. Jarrell (33-4)

Longtime coach Drew Sumner has won more than 500 games at Jarrell, and T.J. Sykes, the reigning District 20-3A MVP, should help the Cougars stretch their playoffs streak to 15 years

3. Thorndale (27-10)

Last season, the Bulldogs fell a game short of playing for the third state championship in school history, but five returning all-district honorees bolster hopes for a return trip to state.

4. Lake Travis (24-11)

Four starters and seven letterwinners return from last season’s Class 6A regional quarterfinalist, including 6-8 junior post D.J. Thorpe, a three-year starter.

5. Connally (24-9)

Coach Kyle Jones had an impressive debut with the Cougars last season, and a wealth of returning talent makes Connally a favorite to top District 19-5A.

6. LBJ (20-5)

Expect point guard Shasirae Harvey and swingman Brian Batts to lead another postseason run for longtime Jaguars coach Freddie Roland, who has never had a losing season in 21 years at LBJ.

7. Hendrickson (22-11)

With four of their six all-district honorees back from last season, the Hawks expect to contend against crosstown rival and defending district champion Pflugerville for the 13-6A title.

8. Austin Waldorf (30-3)

Graduation hit the two-time defending TAPPS Class 2A champion hard, but coach B.J. Terrill has shown the ability to develop title contenders. Look for a big season from Connor Horton.

9. Reagan (21-10)

In the latest chapter of their East Austin neighborhood rivalry, Reagan handed LBJ its first district loss since 2009 last season. Chris Thomas, the reigning District 25-5A coach of the year, has enough returning talent for his team to claim a second straight share of a district title.

10. Lampasas (24-4)

The defending 19-4A champions, the Badgers lost plenty of talent after one of the best seasons in school history, but 6-foot guard Kyle Sims, a first-team all-district honoree, returns.

TEN PLAYERS TO WATCH (listed alphabetically)

Greg Brown III, soph., F, Vandegrift

The 6-foot-8 Brown III enjoyed a breakout freshman season highlighted by a triple-double against Hutto: 15 points, 14 rebounds and a school-record 18 blocked shots.

Davion Buster, sr., G, Lanier

A prodigious scorer — his 26.8 points per game ranked second in the Austin area — the 6-2 Buster led Lanier into the Class 5A playoffs while also averaging 4.4 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 3.5 steals.

Brock Cunningham, sr., F, Westlake

A hard-nosed 6-6 forward who has signed with Texas, the American-Statesman’s reigning player of the year averaged a double-double — 14.7 points, 11.3 rebounds — last season.

Qyrique Dabon, sr., P, Jarrell

The 6-7 post averaged almost 20 points per game during a playoff run that carried the Cougars to the state tournament for the second time in school history.

Caleb Golden, soph., G, Cedar Ridge

In a first-round playoff victory over Bowie, the 6-2 guard scored 31 points as the Raiders picked up the first postseason victory in school history.

Shasirae Harvey, sr., G, LBJ

The 5-10 Harvey led LBJ with 16 points, six assists and five steals a game while helping the Jaguars reach the Class 5A regional semifinals.

Overton Jefferson, sr., F, Connally

A 6-4 swingman, Jefferson led District 19-5A in rebounds last season and can guard everyone from guards to posts.

Richard Milliron, sr., F, Dripping Springs

The District 26-5A newcomer of the year, the 6-6 Milliron sparked the Tigers’ surprising run to a regional final, averaging 9.1 rebounds and 13.1 points per game while shooting 60 percent from the floor.

Ty Prince, sr., G, Thorndale

The co-MVP in District 25-2A last season, the 6-6 Prince averaged 15.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.6 steals a game.

Garrett Wilson, jr., G, Lake Travis

A multisport standout who’s an all-state candidate as a wide receiver and a track and field standout, Wilson averaged 17.7 points per game this past basketball season.

— Thomas Jones

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