Back to School Special – Kansas’ Most Athletic Players
In this article:
We spent the summer getting to know new, up-and-coming players and monitoring the progress of risers. But with another school year in session, it’s time to get reacquainted with the best of the best in the state. We’ve looked at…
We spent the summer getting to know new, up-and-coming players and monitoring the progress of risers. But with another school year in session, it’s time to get reacquainted with the best of the best in the state.
We’ve looked at a lot of different skills. Now we turn our eyes to the best “athletes” on the floor. The term athlete can cover size/speed/agility combination, explosiveness, and eye-hand coordination. Sometimes these guys are the ones you notice first. They just look different. But other times, they surprise you after you watch a while and notice the plays they make.
(FYI, obviously, some guys could have qualified in more than one category. But in order to cover the best in the state, we only considered each individual player for one of seven categories. No repeats.)
Kansas Best Athletes, 2023-2024:
, 6-foot-4 forward, 2024, Bennington (pictured):
Smith’s nickname – “Mister” – suits him. He has a man’s body and mature physical tools. He combines the size, strength and explosiveness that is rare. He moves like a guard and yet has the power of a big. He runs the floor and plays above the rim. Those talents make him one of the most versatile players in the state.
, 6-foot guard, 2024, McPherson:
Thompson is smooth and explosive. He’s not a huge guy, but he has great hops. He has a wiry frame and long arms. With a lot of talent around him, Thompson does a lot of different things for the Bullpups, and his athleticism allows him to excel at every role. And he makes it look easy.
Gavin Hoffman, 6-foot-5 center, 2024, Blue Valley Northwest:
6-foot-5. 220 pounds. Physical. Explosive. Sounds like a star tight end. And that’s exactly what Hoffman is, having recently committed to the University of Iowa. He brings those talents to the court, exceling at protecting the paint, fighting on the block and gobbling up rebounds. With so many talented big men at Northwest, Hoffman didn’t have a standout junior season. But he has all the physical talents you could ask for. If he decides to play again as a senior, he won’t be among the best basketball players in the state, but he will be one of the best athletes.
, 6-foot-3 guard, 2024, Ellsworth:
Cravens is a lot of fun to watch. He makes it all look easy. He can make plays in the paint with his length and effortless elevation. He can handle the ball and glide in the open court. He’s got great length for a guard, quickness and a solid build. But the thing that really pops is his hops.
, 6-foot-2 forward, 2024, Junction City:
Boganowski is in the same category as Hoffman in terms of physicality. His combination of size, power, speed, agility and coordination make him an elite football prospect, albeit on the defensive side of the ball. Those talents translate into a forward who can guard bigs, run with guards, rebound and make acrobatic plays with the ball. Junction City usually has a lot of fast, athletic guards, and Boganowski fit right in and was the team’s best player last year. If he plays his senior year, he will be one of the best athletes on the Kansas’ basketball scene.
Other top athletes (in alphabetical order):
, Olathe North