Coach: David Thomas (second season)
Last season: 2-21
Key players: Ashton Rogers, jr., F; Elijah Clanton, sr., G; Jareth Morey, jr., F; Joey Callan, sr., G; Jaydon Lewis, sr., G
Outlook: Thomas continues the rebuilding project he inherited. The Cougars finished winless in conference play, but are hopeful that the duo of Rogers (12 ppg, 7 rpg) and Jaydon Lewis (9.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg) can get the team on track. Coronado will be speedy and bring intensity on the defensive end.
Coach: Jarris Krapcha (third season)
Last season: 22-4 (lost in state quarterfinals)
Key players: Brevin Brimble, sr., PG; Kayden Washington, sr., F; Emmanuel Burleson, sr., G; Alijah Bates, so., F; Nathan Knebel, jr., F
Outlook: The defending league champs return quite a bit of talent and should contend again for the league title. While Doherty must replace Dalven Brushier’s 18.3 points per game from last season, they return one of the state’s best guards in Brimble – who should see his shots and scoring increase. Washington and Burleson were solid role players and will have more chances to score.
Coach: Greg Williams (sixth season)
Last season: 6-16
Key players: Djimon O’Neal, sr., G/F; TJ Lucero, sr., G; Juwan Wynn, sr., G; Rashon Barron, so., G; Malcolm Williams, so., G
Outlook: The Trojans are coming off an uncharacteristically bad season, finishing 3-9 in league. Football star O’Neal is also talented on the hardwood, averaging 11.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg. He and Lucero will pack a tough punch, while the Trojans have several younger players who are ready for the limelight.
Coach: Ivan Chambers (fifth season)
Last season: 12-13 (lost in second round)
Key players: Mozamil Doria, jr., G/F; Caleb Kizewski, sr., G/F; Kyle Bohuslavsky, jr., G; Jacob Burns, jr., G; Thomas Peachey, jr., F
Outlook: Liberty lost seven of its top eight scorers to graduation. Doria – 8.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg – is the only player on the roster who averaged more than 1 ppg last season. Chambers has quite a challenge on his hands if his Lancers are going to make it back to the playoffs.
Coach: Jimmy Grantz (12th season)
Last season: 14-11 (lost in second round)
Key players: Dom Jackson, sr., F; Joey Stone, sr., G; Owen Lorentz, sr., F; Ty Mack, jr., G; Jadin Burney, jr., F; Torrell Crowell, jr., G/F; Will Lallis, jr., G/F
Outlook: Palmer had 12 seniors on varsity last season, which means it has zero returning players. The Terrors will be one of the youngest teams around, and Grantz will be tasked with easing the transition from junior varsity. Senior transfer Mike Ballard from Mitchell will have to sit out the first half of the season, but then hopes to contribute.
Coach: Joe Rausch (third season)
Last season: 7-16
Key players: Quinten Gutierrez, sr., SG; Dawson Thomas, sr., SF; Grant Wilkinson, so., PG; Charlie Maury, sr., C
Outlook: The Eagles were relatively young last season, which means more maturity and experience coming in. Gutierrez has led the team in scoring the past two seasons, and is Pine Creek’s all-time leading 3-point shooter. He’ll get support from fellow senior Thomas, who averaged 8 ppg and 4 rpg. Pine Creek is hoping to grab some big wins this season, and improve on its 4-8 conference mark.
Coach: J’on St. Clair (third season)
Last season: 17-8 (lost in second round)
Key players: Cal Zeb Roberson, sr., G; Jackson Ehrlin, sr., C; Josh Kavalec, sr., G; Malik Salley, sr., F; Dawson Carper, jr., C
Outlook: The Rams return just about every key player after going 9-3 in conference and finishing second. Rampart will be the biggest team in southern Colorado, with three players 6-7 or taller. This team will challenge for the league title and should once again be a playoff team – going deeper into the tournament this time around.
Coach: Adam Pierce (second season)
Last season: 6-17
Key players: Dacian Sullivan, sr., G; Brandon Farnsworth, sr., G; Jarett Koch, sr., G; Robert VanHoff, sr., F
Outlook: Cañon City must replace the 17.6 ppg that Dante Teigen provided last season. Sullivan posted 9.8 ppg and will need to bump that up. Farnsworth, Koch and VanHoff saw little playing time last year and will need to step into starting roles.
The Classical Academy
Coach: Kevin Wenger (second season)
Last season: 9-14
Key players: Adam Selvage, sr., PG; Chase Rogers, sr., C; Jared Belcher, jr., SG
Outlook: The Titans have a lot of experience returning in four starters. TCA can be a lethal team when its shots are falling but has struggled to string four good quarters together in recent years. Selvage and Belcher each averaged double-digit scoring, and Rogers was tallying 10 ppg and 10 rpg before missing the end of the season with a knee injury.
Coach: Orlando Sanchez (first season)
Last season: 7-16
Key players: Eric Montgomery, sr., F; Orlando Westbrook, so., PG; Quinzel Harding, sr., SG; Enrique Johnson, sr., G
Outlook: The Panthers have four of their top six scorers back and are hoping a blend of seniors and younger players will lead to a winning season. Harding, a four-year varsity player, led Harrison with 14.6 ppg, while quarterback Westbrook will take his leadership ability from the gridiron to the hardcourt. The Panthers will be athletic and quick, and want to push the tempo and force opponents to make mistakes.
Coach: Paul Mileto (fourth season)
Last season: 12-12, lost in first round
Key players: Dylan Mileto, sr., SG; Dalen Jackson, sr., PG; Deven Nelson, jr., G; Caleb Stewart sr., F; Zach Ring, so., F; DJ King, so., SG
Outlook: The Grizzlies return four starters who all averaged double-digit scoring, including Stewart’s 12 ppg, 8 rpg. Nelson has an offer from Air Force, and Dylan Mileto led the league in 3-pointers made and 3-point shooting percentage. Mesa Ridge is also bringing up a few players from a junior varsity team that went 19-0, so there will be plenty of role players.
Coach: Jamie Anderson (first season)
Last season: 10-14 (lost in first round)
Key players: Quindell Bryant, sr., G; Erick Mitchell, sr., G; Ty Williams, sr., G
Outlook: Quincy Bryant led Mitchell with 17 ppg, and now his younger brother, Quindell (12 ppg), will look to pick up the slack. Anderson’s team is strong at guard, but will lack depth inside. Stingy defense will be the key to making up for a height disadvantage.
Coach: Terry Dunn (seventh season)
Last season: 20-5 (lost in second round)
Key players: CJ Jennings, Darein Reed, Stephon Deedon, Dondre Savage
Outlook: While the Stallions will be lacking in size, their defense and quickness could make up for it. Jennings is the focal point offensively and Dunn always has his players buy in on the defensive end.
Coach: Mark Munoz (fourth season)
Last season: 14-10 (lost in first round)
Key players: Tre Pierre, jr., F; TJ Davis, jr., F; Daz Rodgers, sr., PG; Lucas Lacy, jr., G
Outlook: The Gladiators are poised for a big season with their top four scorers returning from a team that went 10-4 in conference play and made the playoffs. Juniors Pierre and Davis combined for 32 ppg and have plenty of backup in Rodgers and Lacy. Widefield tied for second in the league last season and should be one of the favorites to win it.
Coach: John Paul Geniesse (third season)
Last season: 1-22
Key players: Skye Ciccarelli, so., G; Josh Bodin, jr., G/F; Sam Levy, sr., G; Dempsey Battin, jr., F
Outlook: There were few bright spots for Woodland Park in a 2015-16 campaign that saw just one win and an 0-14 conference mark. However, Ciccarelli emerged as one of the best young players, averaging 17 ppg for the Panthers. There’s plenty of room for improvement, and Woodland Park is hoping the 1-2 punch of Ciccarelli and Bodin can lead the way.
4A Pikes Peak
Coach: Barry Clark (ninth season)
Last season: 10-13
Key players: Kristian Hooker, jr., G; Troyer Morse, jr., G, AJ Murphy, sr., F
Outlook: The Kadets are two years removed from winning the state title, but have zero returning experience. Air Academy will be quick and aggressive, and will need to shoot well from the outside to make up for a lack of size inside. Clark has proven he can develop talent, and needs to once again.
Coach: Elgin Fitzgerald (second year)
Last season: 10-13
Key players: Luke Martin, jr., F; Ben Jepson, sr., G; Will Frost, sr., C; Ryan Wallis, jr., G; Nick Bassett, so., G; Will Louis, so., G
Outlook: Cheyenne Mountain was in the middle of the pack last season, finishing 7-7 in conference play. The Indians return Martin, who nearly averaged a double-double and will look to make the leap to a true game-changer. The team adds Frost, who is 6-7, and is hoping Jepson can become a factor.
Coach: Mark Watley (fourth year)
Last season: 8-15
Key players: Reece Warren, jr., G; Noah Martinez, jr., G; Mitchel Ballage, jr., F/C; Morisse Daniels, sr., F; Jalen Hernandez, sr., G; David Palmer, sr., C
Outlook: Falcon ended last season on a three-game winning streak and is hoping that’s a sign of things to come. The Falcons are an experienced team, with a roster made up mostly of upperclassmen. The defense, which gave up 64 ppg last year, will need to improve. On the offensive end, Warren and Martinez, who each scored more than 8 ppg, will need to do even more.
Coach: Bill Benton (fourth season)
Last season: 24-2 (lost in quarterfinals)
Key players: Eli Burkett, sr., G; Angelo Battestelli, sr., F; Drew Blomberg, sr., G; Billy Cook, sr., G; Joel Scott, so., G/F
Outlook: The Rangers were a No. 1 seed last year, and a team many picked to win the title before they were upset by Vista Ridge in the quarterfinals. Now, it’s time for Lewis-Palmer to rebuild. The team lost its top five scorers, which did the majority of the damage on the offensive end. This year’s squad will have some outside shooting ability and will play with physicality.
Coach: Nick Mayer (ninth season)
Last season: 10-13
Key players: Cory McLellan, jr., G; Noah McLain, sr., G; Tyler Trego, sr., G; Nathan Kugler, jr., G; Nick Boldvich, jr., G; Zach Hester, jr., F
Outlook: Palmer Ridge’s main strength will be that all five starters are interchangeable, and the Bears have a lot of depth at guard. Trego, McLellan and Hester combined to average about 20 ppglast season and will need to increase those numbers. If the Bears can find some depth inside, they have a chance to be dangerous.
Coach: Rob Hawkins (first season)
Last season: 15-9 (lost in first round)
Key players: D’shawn Schwartz, sr., G; Bryce Petersen, jr., G; Tony Taylor, sr., C; Devon Young, sr., G; Elijah Hobdy, sr., F; Jeffrey Gary, sr., G
Outlook: Sand Creek already had one of the best players in the state in Schwartz, a CU commit who averaged 19.9 ppg, 8.5 rpg last season. Now, the Scorpions have added Gary, a 6-4 transfer from Austin, Texas. Gary is already garnering college attention and will be a big addition.
Coach: Joe Hites (fifth season)
Last season: 20-7 (lost in state semifinals)
Key players: Hunter Maldonado, sr., F; Noah Beatty, sr., G; Raymon Harper, jr., G; Caleb Warren, jr., C; Julius Dowell, so., G; Micah Hilts, so., F
Outlook: Vista Ridge announced itself as a state title threat last season, making a run to the semifinals. The Wolves return one of the best players in the state in Maldonado, who’s Wyoming-bound. Maldonado averaged 22.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg, and has Beatty (10.6 ppg) back with him. Vista Ridge has several impact underclassmen who will step up and contribute to another deep playoff run.
Not reporting: Discovery Canyon