By Jordan Burton (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Basketball season is underway in Missouri. Below are the area’s Class 6 Boys Basketball Players to Watch this year.
Ahlante Askew (Junior Guard), Republic
Te arrived on the scene as a freshman facilitator and defender, but his sophomore season showed why he’s a future D1 guard. He averaged 14 points and three assists, while still taking on tough defensive assignments. His skill and IQ are elite.
Zaide Lowery (Junior Guard), Kickapoo
Last year he was a role player for the Class 6 state champions, but anyone that has seen Lowery play over the last two summers has seen what is coming. The 6-foot-4 guard is an elite athlete, using that ability to change games at the rim. He will put up monster numbers this winter and currently holds multiple high-major offers as a top 150 player nationally.
Colin Ruffin (Senior Guard) & Kael Combs (Junior Guard), Nixa
You can’t talk about dynamic backcourts without starting in Nixa. Ruffin was a triple-double waiting to happen last year, averaging 12 points, 6.3 assists and five rebounds. A 6-foot-3 point guard, he has the elite ability of creating offense for others, which is why D1’s continue to keep tabs on the All-State senior. Combs is blowing up on the football field, but make no mistake, Combs is a hooper. The 6-foot-4 guard can play on or off the ball and has elite defensive ability. He averaged 13.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 steals as a sophomore and should’ve been All-State.
Antonio Starks-Fewell (Sophomore Guard), Springfield Central
Not many freshmen locally have had the kind of season Starks-Fewell had last year. The 6-foot-2 guard has a pace and physicality that is rare for players his age, which is why he averaged 14 PPG and earned All-District honors. He’s going to have a chance to go down as an all-time great at Central when all is said and done.
Max Templeman (Junior Guard), Carthage
Templeman exploded for 14.6 points and 4.1 steals as a sophomore, quickly emerging as one of the area’s top point guards. His shiftiness and finishing ability make him a dynamic playmaker for the Tigers.
Ethan Whatley (Senior Guard) & Tyler Harmon, Ozark
Mark Schweitzer always has some guards that can score it and Whatley and Harmon have been sensational at doing just that over the last several seasons. Whatley is a 6-foot-3 guard that put up 13.7 points and four rebounds per game last year, while Harmon added 10.5 points and 4.6 boards. They’ll both be All-COC caliber players again this season.
Always Wright (Senior Guard) & All Wright (Sophomore Guard), Joplin
The local version of the Splash Brothers is Missouri’s best-shooting backcourt. Last year Always, a senior guard holding D1 football and basketball offers, averaged 16.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists. All, a Power 5-caliber combo guard, averaged 17 points and 3.6 rebounds as a freshman. Back to that shooting thing, Always hit 53 3-point shots at 40% and Always added 52 at 45%. Elite shooters.
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Others to Watch
Colten Berry, Nixa Senior
Tyrique Brooks, Wanyesville Sophomore
Harrison Doennig, Kickapoo Junior
Whit Hafer, Joplin Sophomore
Greydon Miller, Ozark Senior
Avery Moody, Republic Senior
Jaret Nelson, Nixa Senior
Trae Oetting, Kickapoo Junior
Joel Pugh, Carthage Senior
Justin Ray, Carthage Sophomore
Brayden Shorter, Kickapoo Junior
Sterling Vincent, Springfield Central Senior
Tristan Wilson, Lebanon Senior