The Kansas Basketball Coaches Association (KBCA) released its preseason poll heading into the 2016-17 season.
Three of the seven Topeka schools are ranked including Highland Park (No. 5 in 5A), Shawnee Heights (No. 6 in 5A), and Hayden (No. 7 in 4A-II), which have all made state tournament appearances in the last three years.
Highland Park is coming off a 17-8 season finishing fourth in Class 5A. It was the Scots’ fourth state tournament appearance in the last five years. Highland Park will be looking to replace a number of key players from a year ago as a number of players will be looking for breakout seasons including Will White, Larry White, Dasani Giardina, and Kenny Stewart.
Shawnee Heights went 15-7 last year led by a junior class that will be looking to guide the T-Birds to the state tournament in their final season. Shawnee Heights has one state tournament (2015) in the 14 years, but this year’s team is an impressive group led by Missouri Western signee Trey Brown and Poncho Freeman, who were key reserves on the 2015 state tourney team.
Hayden’s group of young talent is a year older after a 12-10 season. The Wildcats are led by junior point guard Jett Canfield, an All-City pick last season, and sophomore guard Zach Harvey, a top 100 national prospect with Division I offers. Junior DeShawn Hanika also returns as a vital piece to the Wildcats’ success. Hayden will be looking to get back to the state tournament after missing out the last two years and will be looking to make a run towards winning the school’s first state title since 2008.
The other four schools in Topeka will be looking for successful seasons and ending their state tournament droughts as Seaman (15-7 in 2015-16) has not been since 2008, Topeka High (8-13) in 2012, Washburn Rural (7-14) in 2011, and Topeka West (2-19) in 2010.