The rapidly growing Mt. Juliet area now loops in Cookeville High School with the edited basketball districts. Interestingly, Lebanon High and Wilson Central are as strong as at any time in recent memory, so there are no weak programs in the new District 9-AAAA.
Here is our D9-4A Preview.
Perhaps the biggest story line in District 9 is the addition of Cookeville to the Mt. Juliet-area large schools.
Jarred Hall Jarred Hall 6'8" | SF Lebanon | 2023 State #65 Nation TN will be a handful. In the last two years his development has been astronomical. From moderately timid baby doe to fleet-footed deer, Jarred is an attacking wing with tenacious post defensive tendencies. In another year he will be an average to above average wing defender and by the time he begins his illustrious college career he will be a strong wing defender at 6-foot-8. The ceiling is laughably high. Yarin Alexander Yarin Alexander 6'6" | SF Lebanon | 2022 State TN is a player that the state only found out about in June, when BCAT rightfully invited him to the BCAT 100. Yarin is active as a high school 3/4. Corey Jones is really, really sneaky good. Former opponents know him. He has an outside shot at landing on the All-District 1st Team.
Top Contenders: Green Hill
The time for Paxton Davidson Paxton Davidson 6'3" | PG Green Hill | 2022 State TN is now. Through hard work and skill development Paxton earned his way into this exciting position. PD will not be alone as center Jason Burch Jason Burch 6'5" | C Green Hill | 2023 State TN and scorer Mo Ruttlen return. The coaching situation and the veterans make Green Hill my top contender for the crown. Lebanon is simply more talented and springy, but Green Hill is capable of defeating them.
Cookeville is probably a year away from fighting for the title.
The Pack: Cookeville, Wilson Central, Mt. Juliet
Cookeville’s 2024 class is up there with the most skilled sophomore group in Tennessee. Joshua Heard Joshua Heard 6'6" | SF Cookeville | 2024 State TN , Dontae Potts-Heard Dontae Potts-Heard 6'3" | PG Cookeville | 2024 State TN , Colin Ayers Colin Ayers 5'9" | PG Cookeville | 2024 State TN .
With nine seniors graduated, Mt. Juliet is building anew.
Adler Kerr Adler Kerr 6'2" | PG Wilson Central | 2022 State TN is very good for Wilson Central, but he needs help offensively. He will miss Zack Markus Zack Markus 5'11" | PG Wilson Central | 2021 State TN .
21-22 Conference Predictions
- Green Hill
- Wilson Central
- Mt. Juliet
Partial Squads with Starters*
#2 SG Wyatt Bowling (2023)
#4 PG Corey Jones* (2022)
#5 SF Jarred Hall Jarred Hall 6'8" | SF Lebanon | 2023 State #65 Nation TN * (2023)
#10 SG Rolando Dowell (2022)
#22 SF Jaylen Abston (2023)
#23 SF Yarin Alexander Yarin Alexander 6'6" | SF Lebanon | 2022 State TN * (2022)
#31 C Landen Engles (2023)
#20 SG Caden Baird (2023)
#30 SF Jack Cinard (2024)
#1 SG Bryce Njezic (2024)
Lebanon Head Coach Jim McDowell, on Lebanon High School Media Day, listed Jarred Hall Jarred Hall 6'8" | SF Lebanon | 2023 State #65 Nation TN , Corey Jones, Yarin Alexander Yarin Alexander 6'6" | SF Lebanon | 2022 State TN , Wyatt Bowling, Rolando Dowell, Jaylen Abston as key returners.
Newcomers of note: Landen Engles, Caden Beard, Jack Cinard, Bryce Njezic.
#2 Parker Overath (2023)
#3 Garrett Brown (2023)
#4 Seth Taylor (2023)
#5 Kaleb Carver (2023)
#10 Kenny Ellis (2024)
#11 Rex Harmon (2024)
#12 Paxton Davidson Paxton Davidson 6'3" | PG Green Hill | 2022 State TN * (2022)
#14 Jordan Lukins* (2023)
#15 Blake Stacey* (2022)
#20 Niko Duffie (2024)
#21 Braylen Austin (2024)
#22 Mo Ruttlen* (2022)
#24 Carter Lee (2023)
#25 Davis Fox (2024)
#43 Jason Burch Jason Burch 6'5" | C Green Hill | 2023 State TN * (2023)
“ Jason Burch Jason Burch 6'5" | C Green Hill | 2023 State TN is our center,” said Head Coach Troy Allen. “He started every game as a sophomore. I think he averaged 12 and 7. Gotten stronger. He has gotten to where he can shoot the ball outside. Sort of expanded his game a little bit. Last year we just wanted him to touch the ball. We feel good about getting him the ball in the high post, trail. He can play on the perimeter and roll into the post. I think his skill is much better.”
“Blake will start. He is our 4-man. He was our 6th man last year. He had a real good summer shooting the ball. Expanded his range. We played good this summer. He played really well. He was a back up 4/5 last year. He is real smart. We are trying to stick with him at the 4. Our 4-man shoots the ball a lot. Hopefully, he can do that the entire season and have more of a spot than being a utility guy.”
“Probably our backup point guard will be Kenny Ellis.”
#2 Evan Riggan* (2022)
#4 Austin Alexander (2023)
#10 SG Sam Elrod (2022)
#12 SF Ethan Thomas* (2023)
#23 PF Damion Fayne* (2022)
#24 Adler Kerr Adler Kerr 6'2" | PG Wilson Central | 2022 State TN * (2022)
#32 C Alex Harville (2022)
#51 C Tucker Jones (2024)
Adler Kerr Adler Kerr 6'2" | PG Wilson Central | 2022 State TN had a great summer during AAU. His senior season should be All-District, perhaps All-Region in quality.
Wilson Central High School Head Coach Michael Teeter considers Adler, Evan Riggan, and Ethan Thomas to be his key returning players.
Coach Teeter runs a more up-tempo style than most teams.
“Yeah, I definitely like [our style of play],” said Evan Riggan during the 9AAAA Media Day. “With the people we have, I think it works the best. Getting the people to the right spots.”
As an undersized outfit Wilson Central will need to play scrappy and devoted on defense.
“We are definitely not the tallest team in the league and we make up for that in how we are going to defend,” said Coach Teeter. “You mention hair on fire and frenetic…that is how we are going to have to play. We do not have somebody, unfortunately, that can protect the rim. We have some guys that are going to slide underneath and take a charge and just make things as difficult as we can.”
#5 C/PF Osize Daniyan (2023)
#14 SG Eric Williams* (2023)
#20 Braxton Corey (2024)
#24 PG Carson Cole (2024)
#43 C/PF Isaiah Campas (2023)
The Bears of Mt. Juliet do not return much from last season. Last year’s team finished with 10 wins in 28 tries, but determining this season’s success based off that campaign is impossible. Outside of the Head Coach Jonathan Drake little remains from the 2020-2021 season, which was bizarre in itself with Co-Vid looming over the entire winter. Impact performers are a bit unclear heading into November.
#1 Colin Ayers Colin Ayers 5'9" | PG Cookeville | 2024 State TN * (2024)
#3 Jackson Clark (2024)
#10 Jack Oakley (2024)
#12 Presley Jared (2024)
#14 Alex Clark (2023)
#22 Bennett Reeves (2024)
#24 Joshua Heard Joshua Heard 6'6" | SF Cookeville | 2024 State TN * (2024)
#32 Jackson Madewell (2024)
#44 Windle Oakley Windle Oakley 6'5" | PF Cookeville (lax) | 2022 State TN * (2022)
DJ Potts-Heard DJ Potts-Heard 6'3" | SG Cookeville | 2022 State TN * (2022)
Dontae Potts-Heard Dontae Potts-Heard 6'3" | PG Cookeville | 2024 State TN (2024)
Jalen Heard (2025)
Lukas Hardin (2025)
Sawyer Stone (2025)
Colin Ayers Colin Ayers 5'9" | PG Cookeville | 2024 State TN reminds of a young Zach Amonett Zach Amonett 6'2" | PG Pickett County | 2022 State TN . Colin is exceptionally quick with the ball. Maybe, he also has some Eli Federman Eli Federman 5'10" | PG Christian Brothers | 2021 State TN in his blazing feet. Ayers is more of a classic point guard than both Amonett and Federman though. During his freshman year, Ayers created problems with the dribble and frequently dished off the pill at the tail end.
Windle Oakley Windle Oakley 6'5" | PF Cookeville (lax) | 2022 State TN stands tall. The center must stay out of foul trouble, because CHS gets very small, very fast without him on the floor. The skill is high teamwide, but size matters.
DJ Potts-Heard DJ Potts-Heard 6'3" | SG Cookeville | 2022 State TN and Dontae Potts-Heard Dontae Potts-Heard 6'3" | PG Cookeville | 2024 State TN transferred to Cookeville High from Georgia this off-season. Both can play. Joshua Heard Joshua Heard 6'6" | SF Cookeville | 2024 State TN made the second team for PrepHoopsTN D9-4A Preseason All-District. He is also a Top 40 prospect in the loaded 2024 class.
Importantly, Cookeville is the only new team here. The other four were all 9AAA last season.