By Jordan Burton (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Basketball season is underway in Missouri. Below are the Class 5 Boys Basketball Players to Watch along with a breakout player.
NOTE: MSHSAA won’t be releasing new class and district assignments until Friday, Dec. 11. WE ARE USING LAST YEAR’S CLASSIFICATIONS for our watchlists. There will be SIGNIFICANT changes to classes when the new assignements come out, as Missouri is adding a sixth class of basketball this year.
• Trevon Brazile, Kickapoo Senior
The Mizzou signee didn’t put up crazy numbers last year at Parkview (11.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.2 blocks) but the 6-foot-8 combo forward is one of the state’s top athletes. A move to Kickapoo will not only showcase his above-the-rim finishing ability, but look for him to also prove his elite defensive potential with the Chiefs.
• Anton Brookshire, Kickapoo Senior
Missouri’s top-ranked point guard, and former Ozark Conference Player of the Year, is coming off a season that saw him average 20.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists. He scored 71 points in three days at the Bass Pro TOC. The Mizzou commit will be a top candidate for Mr. Show-Me Basketball.
• Kael Combs, Nixa Sophomore
Combs was extremely impressive as a freshman, averaging 7.7 points and 1.6 steals for a 20-win Nixa team. He’s dynamic off the bounce and getting to the rim, but can also hurt opponents as a catch-and-shoot player. His frame and athleticism should allow him to explode this winter. He’s yet another local player that has made a name playing in the MOKAN program.
• Isaac Haney, Kickapoo Senior
You can make a case that Haney is the best pure scorer on this list. As a junior he averaged 31 PPG and knocked down 114 triples. The 6-foot-2 guard is right at 2,500 career points and has a shot to become the sixth player in Missouri history to reach 3,000 points. He will also become the third player to make 350 career 3-point FG.
• Carter Harrell, Glendale Junior
Harrell is on a historic pace. The 6-foot-4 guard has poured in 772 points through two seasons, the third-highest total in Glendale history. As a sophomore he averaged 18.3 points and 4.1 rebounds. His size and ability as a three-level scorer have programs at all levels interested. Look for Harrell to make a run at 2,000-career points.
• Drew McMillin, Republic Senior
At this point it seems like he’s been in high school forever. McMillin has been a key cog in 59 Republic wins over the last three seasons. As a junior he earned All-COC honors, averaging 18.9 points and 3.3 rebounds. He also has an absolute burner, shooting 47 percent from three and knocking down 85 last year alone. He already holds Republic’s all-time 3-point record.
• Always Wright, Joplin Junior
Wright is the son of former Kansas State standout Joe Wright, and he’s on a similar trajectory. The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 12.4 points and knocked down 63 3-point FG at 41 percent clip. Also a stud quarterback, Wright is coming off a tremendous summer and will see plenty of opportunities with the loaded 2020 class graduated.
• Elijah Whitley, Parkview Junior
Each of the last four seasons Landon Cornish has had at least one player averaging 16 points or more. Whitley will be that next guy. As a sophomore he averaged 11.3 points and 3.8 rebounds, knocking down 52 3-point FG at a 42-percent clip. He’s much more than just a shooter, which he’ll look to prove this year.
OTHERS TO WATCH
• Haden Brown, Willard Junior
• Kyle Flavin, Ozark Senior
• Ethan Jones, Branson Junior
• Jason Jones, Nixa Senior
• Mike Lewis, Waynesville Senior
• Cameron Liggins, Kickapoo Senior
• Ethan Whatley, Ozark Junior
• Kaleb Wofford, Nixa Senior
Class 5 Breakout Player: Ahlante Askew, Republic
The 6-foot-1 guard was impressive as a freshman. He’s great defensively, he makes shots and he doesn’t turn the ball over. For a young player, he plays with outstanding pace. Republic graduated a loaded senior class, which means more opportunities for Askew to show just why he’s one of the top sophomores in Missouri. Expect his 5.8 points per game to balloon this year.