Those Valuable Unsung Players (Part I)
In this article:
Prep Hoops Missouri takes a look at a group of unsung players who may operate in the shadows of dynamic teammates, but are very successful to the success of their respective teams. If these teams are to make deep state…
Prep Hoops Missouri takes a look at a group of unsung players who may operate in the shadows of dynamic teammates, but are very successful to the success of their respective teams. If these teams are to make deep state tournament runs, these players will play a big factor in what happens. You may not see their names in the headlines all the times, but they bring a lot to the table. As we get closer to the postseason, we will continue to feature these key unsung players around the state:
6’3″ Kickapoo: The headliners for the Chiefs’ state contender in Class 6 are Mizzou recruits , and Missouri State recruit . There’s not a better “fourth” option in the state as the talented wing could be the best player on a lot of winning teams. He showed his chops last year when he averaged more than 20 points in the state tournament to help the Chiefs to a Class 5 Final Four berth. He is a potent offensive player who can get hot from 3-point range at any time, as he did in his 23-point outburst in a victory over Greenwood. He is a Division I prospect in his own right.
Jemarco Burse 6’4″ South Iron: The Class 1 contending Panthers feature the dynamic backcourt combo ofand , but Burse is a big key to the team’s fortunes with his athleticism and energetic play inside. His importance was evident last year as he missed the season with a knee injury. Despite a 29-1 season, the Panthers’ season ended in the sectionals with a loss to eventual Class 1 state champion Dora. His absence was a big factor in that defeat. He has come back with a vengence as has been very good around the basket. He came up big in South Iron’s victory over CBC last week with 11 points and excellent work on the boards against the athletic Cadets.
6’2″ Chaminade: The Red Devils, who are Class 6 contenders, feature the outstanding 2022 Inside-Outside duo of Tarris Reed, Jr and . They have been a handful for the past two seasons. Whether he’s coming off the bench as the super-sub or starting, Straughter is instant offense with his 3-point shooting. He can put a charge into a team by knocking down three or four triples in succession, which is a valuable weapon to bring off the bench. He has always been a proficient offensive player, but his 3-point shooting has been game-changing at times this sesaon.
5’10″ Vashon: The Wolverines are a prime contender in Class 4 and are paced by VCU recruit Nick Kern and UNLV recruit , who are two tremendous perimeter players who can dominate. Bailey has been a solid point guard throughout his entire career at Vashon. He backed up current Saint Louis U. player for two seasons and now he was been a starter for the past two. Throughout that time, he has made himself a factor as a tremendous on-ball defender and floor leader. He’s quick and he keeps the Wolverines defensive intensity at a high level. He will also knock down an open perimeter shot or two when its needed.
Javin Shaw 6’2″ Liberty: The Class 6 Blue Jays feature some potent offensive weapons in Bennett Stirtz,and . Shaw is a solid performer who shoots the 3-pointer at a very good clip while playing very good defense and making hustle plays on a regular basis. What I like about him is that he is that player who is looking to take charges on the defensive end. He was doing it during the summer with his Marcus Denmon Elite team and he does it during the high school season. He’s a rock solid performer who is very dependable.
Jake Closser 5’9″ Blair Oaks: The Class 4 contenders from Blair Oaks feature the dynamic Inside-Outside combination ofand . They put up lots and lots of points for the Falcons on a nightly basis. The point guard of the team is Closser, who knows a little something about winning as he was a star receiver on the Falcons’ state-championship football team this past season. He is a tough kid who makes winning plays in both sports. He is also providing some timely s3-point shooting to go along with his ball handling duties and good defense. Closser signed with Truman State on a football scholarship this week.
T.J. Sorgenfrei 5’11″ Nixa: The Class 6 contenders have plenty of firepower withand Jarret Nelson inside Collin Ruffin, Caleb Wofford and on the perimeter. It’s easy to lose sight of this senior guard and what he brings to the table. He is a solid defensive player who usually gets the assignment of guarding other team’s top perimeter scorer. He is also a solid ball handler who will step up and make open shots when it is needed.