The Mr. Basketball field is crowded and does not have a clear-cut favorite. Only seniors are eligible. Dontaie Allen of Pendleton County was last season’s winner and Zion Harmon, a junior at Marshall County, is the favorite to win next season.
Here is a look at three seniors that have signed to play at in-state Division 1 schools.
Dayvion McKnight 6’2 G – Collins
Last season, McKnight led the Titans to the King of the Bluegrass finals. During that tournament, they posted impressive wins over Male, Madisonville-North Hopkins, and (state champion) Louisville Trinity. Before his junior year ended he already had more steals and rebounds than anyone else in school history. He is averaging 21 points and 8 rebounds per game this season. What impresses me most about McKnight is how much he means to his team. Watch Collins play and it will be evident how different the team looks when he is on the bench in foul trouble versus when he is in the game. He is a lockdown defender and is almost impossible to stop off of the dribble. He has committed to Western Kentucky. He picked the Hilltoppers over Northwestern, Middle Tennessee State, Murray State, South Florida, and many other schools.
Jackson Sivills 6’6 G/F – McCracken County
Sivills put the state on notice in 2018 when he posted 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks in the Mustangs first round sweet 16 loss to Oldham County. Last year he led McCracken County to a 31-4 record and a region runner-up finish. This season he is averaging 22 points and 9 rebounds per game. He is the leading rebounder in school history and also an excellent passer. Sivills can beat defenders by posting up or by shooting from long range. He is an 82% free throw shooter. He has committed to Murray State, where his father played from 1989-1993. He picked the Racers over Florida Gulf Coast, Furman, Vanderbilt, and Wofford.
JJ Traynor 6’8 F – Bardstown
Traynor rocketed from relatively unknown to the only 4-star senior in the state, after an impressive summer. He has tremendous upside due to his athleticism, knack for rebounding, and ability to block shots. Traynor averages 20 points and 12 rebounds, and is currently ranked as the #89 player in the country. He has committed to Louisville, where his father Jason Osborne played. In high school, Osborne played at Male and was Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball in 1993. Bardstown’s coach, James “Boo” Brewer, also played at Louisville. Traynor picked the Cardinals over Cincinnati and Western Kentucky, among others.
Three More Strong Contenders:
Alex Matthews 6’5 G/F – John Hardin
Matthews is averaging 23 points and 11 boards. He is a tenacious rebounder, has great court vision, and finishes well through contact. This will be his third-straight season averaging a double double. Last year he led the Bulldogs to an undefeated regular season.
Kenny White 6’7 G/F – Madisonville North-Hopkins
White is a highflying, explosive wing averaging 19 points and 8 rebounds. He is a good ball handler and a human highlight reel. Last year he totaled 48 points in the Maroons two Sweet 16 games.
Marques Warrick 6’3 G – Henry Clay
Warrick may be the best pure scorer in the state. He is smooth and makes scoring look easy. Whether it be pulling up off the dribble, spotting up from deep, or finishing at the rim in traffic, he can flat out fill it up. He also anticipates well on defense and is lethal in transition. Warrick averages 22 points and is a 41% 3-point shooter.
Other Seniors to Watch:
Grant Disken 6’0 G – Covington Catholic
Disken averages 16 points and shoots 44% from deep and 82% from the line. He has a knack for shutting down the opposing team’s best player.
Tyren Moore 6’0 G – Male
Moore averages 18 points and shoots 44% from deep and the 82% from the line. His scoring and playmaking ability is a big reason why Male is one of the favorites to win the state championship.
Cody Potter 6’4 G/F – Shelby Valley
Potter averages 24 points and 9 rebounds, and shoots 42% from deep. He scored 34 points in the 15th region All “A” finals.
Note: North Oldham’s Justin Powell, an Auburn signee, was on track to be one of the top candidates before being sidelined with an injury only 8 games into the season. Of all the Kentucky players I watched play this season, Powell impressed me the most.
One senior that has not been getting a lot of press, but is having a fantastic season, is Bourbon County’s Amirion “AJ” Joyce. He is a transfer from Paducah Tilghman and is averaging 20 points. He is the leading scorer on a Bourbon County team that is having their best season since the 1980s. They reached the finals of the 2A tournament earlier this year, and have a good chance to end a 35-year Sweet 16 drought. On February 4, Joyce scored 29 points in a victory over George Rogers Clark, ending the Cardinals 32 game winning streak over the Colonels.