Basketball practice has officially begun for high schools in Oklahoma. Which means scrimmages and even games for some teams are only a month away, it’s time to take a look forward and start breaking down what looks to be a…
Basketball practice has officially begun for high schools in Oklahoma. Which means scrimmages and even games for some teams are only a month away, it’s time to take a look forward and start breaking down what looks to be a very competitive season of hoops this winter.
Oklahoma’s largest classification was wide open last year, and eventually saw a sophomore laden Edmond North team claim the Gold Ball. With much of their team back, can the Huskies defend their crown?
Look for more team and player previews in the upcoming weeks as we ramp up our High School Basketball Season coverage.
Defending Champ and Preseason Favorites
The Huskies return nearly every player from last year’s State Title team. And many of those key contributors are still only juniors this year. There’s a strong argument to make thatand are the best One-Two punch in the state. Both are still juniors, have multiple “D1” offers and seemingly are only getting better and better. Barrett is the backcourt leader, but fellow junior guards and would make for a potential State Tournament quality backcourt on their own. While Warlick is continuing to improve his perimeter skills, he’ll still be among the most productive rebounders and post scorers in the state. Joining Warlick in helping own the paint are senior , juniors and . Edmond North easily could argue to have 8 Class 6A “quality starters” when factoring in junior shooting specialist Bryson Buckingham and sophomore utility forward to the previously mentioned 6 standouts.
Flying the banner as the preseason eastside favorites will be the Tigers of Broken Arrow. They were eliminated in Area last year, giving a senior laden group a chip on their shoulder entering December. They’re one of the few teams with depth across their frontline to match up with the big Huskies. They are led by new Oklahoma State commit, who saw his game reach a new level this summer on the EYBL circuit. Dow made waves as a shooter and a sneaky good athlete last year, but now there’s nothing sneaky about the gritty wing’s game.
At 6 foot 6 for many other teams Dow would need to carry more of the burden down-low, and while he doesn’t mind getting his nose dirty he’ll have plenty of size around him. Fellow seniors, and all stand 6’6 or taller. What could really elevate this team’s state title chances will be the growth of sophomore lead guard David “DJ” Howell, who has a high ceiling thanks to his combo of size and athleticism.
The Bulldogs are replacing a lot of production from last year’s team, but still have a healthy mix of size, shooting and coaching that should keep them among the top teams in Oklahoma. They’re another team with great size thanks to the blend of height and athleticism from seniorsand along with sophomore . All three can mix it up around the glass but rather it be the skill level of Hjelmstad or the tantalizing athletic upside of Brown and Handcuff, all have the versatility to play around the perimeter as well. There’s also untapped upside in the junior class with the strength and athleticism of aggressive guard Ciaran Pedulla, crafty lead guard and gritty utility forward .
Putnam City North
Last season saw the talented but young Panthers teams have peaks and valleys, which ended up with them coming up just short of a state tournament appearance with an Area elimination. Now they return one of the better scorers in the state in senior lead guardand the addition of 6’5 athletic senior . Smith along with senior Kejuan Payne are both outstanding athletes that should help take pressure off Baker. Baker proved he could fill it up in a variety of ways, and it’ll be interesting to see his role as a creator with talented teammates next to him. After a strong grassroots season, sophomore guard could be ready for a bigger offensive role as well.
Putnam City West
From a talent standpoint, the Patriots might be the preseason number two in Class 6A. Senior guardwas a strong contributor as a junior sharpshooter, who made a leap over the summer. He’s a physical representation of the identity of PC West basketball under Head Coach Lenny Bert. Scales is a quick and gritty two way guard, who gets under defenders the full length of the court, while also never backing down as a driver on the offensive end. The returning junior class is anchored by guards , Jadon Constant and post player .
What really raises the ceiling of this Patriot team are two newcomers, juniorand sophomore . Tramble established himself last year as one of the top guards in the state thanks to his poise at running the show for Moore, and his addition to West should be mutually beneficial. With Tramble bringing scoring and playmaking, especially in the halfcourt, while the Patriots’ playing style should help maximize his athletic abilities for the next level. At 6 foot 8 and only a sophomore, Rayfield has one of the highest upsides in Oklahoma thanks to his combination of height, athleticism and potential the play on the perimeter. But he’ll also be needed this winter to protect the rim and rebound for the fast paced Patriots.
Dark Horse Team
The Jaguars last made the State Tournament in 2017 and last won a playoff game in 2018. At the very least the Jaguars should be extending their season beyond the opening round this year, and should stand a strong chance to make a run at State. Last season was a mixed bag for the Jaguars as they did notch signature regular season wins over Class 6A State Tournament semifinalist Edmond Santa Fe, Class 3A champs Millwood, Class 5A state tournament team Midwest City and took down Class 6A State Tournament team Norman North on the Timberwolves’ senior night. But struggled offensively in a close opening round of the playoff loss.
Seniorsand are one of the top 1-2 scoring punches in the state. The duo alone will keep Westmoore in games all season. Teams were often able to focus defensively on the duo last season, so the continual development of younger prospects like the three Loper brothers will be crucial for the Jaguars to breakthrough this February.