Key scenarios, opening dates for the 2021-2022 boys’ high school basketball season
Heading into the Alabama high school basketball season this Thursday, here are some key storylines going into the 2021-2022 season.
Who catches the JD Davison star?
Calhoun’s JD Davison – the state’s two-time Mr. Basketball and the state‘s most recognizable high school player in recent years – is now in Alabama.
Who takes his place as the state’s first player?
It could be McGill-Toolen senior forward Barry Dunning Jr. Remember it was Dunning – not Davison – who was named Gatorade Alabama Player of the Year last season. Arkansas’ 6-foot-6 engagement averaged 21.5 points and 11.3 rebounds per game for the Yellow Jackets. He also recorded 3.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks per game.
Other returning players from all states or regions include: Cottage Hill junior forward Trent Thomas, Spanish Fort senior guards Colby McAllister and Kolby Horace, Fairhope senior forward Hunter Ivy, senior guard Enterprise Quentin Hayes, Senior Guard Sparkman Calen Lightford, Vestavia Hills Junior Guard Win Miller, Senior Oxford Forward Rylan Houck, Senior Guard Eufaula Josh Paige, Senior Guard Sipsey Valley Martavious Russell, Senior Guard Charles Henderson Akeives Shorts, Guard Senior Alexandria De’Anthony Walton, Brooks Senior Guard Kyler Murks, Plainview Senior Guard Cole Millican, Piedmont Junior Guard Alex Odam, Senior Midfielder Guard Anthony Johnson, UMS-Wright Junior Bridges Simmons, senior guard / forward Decatur Heritage Brayden Kyle, junior guard RJ Johnson of Grissom, senior forward Hazel Green TI Scruggs, senior guard James Clemens Jordan Frazier and senior guard CJ Blount, who transferred from Carver-Birmingham to Huffman during the offseason.
Missing in action
One possible Mr. Basketball candidate we won’t see this year is former Oak Mountain big man Will Shaver.
Shaver, who helped the Eagles win the Class 7A state title in 2021, signed up to North Carolina and decided to reclassify and enter early.
Coach Chris Love said last week that Shaver is currently finishing his final academic year. He will sign at Oak Mountain on November 10 and enroll at UNC in January.
Pull the double duty
It has become a trend for football’s top rookies to graduate early and enroll in their respective colleges in January.
At least three of Alabama’s top football rookies this year have chosen not to. Nevertheless.
Alabama running back Emmanuel Henderson of Geneva County, Northwestern athlete Evan Smith from Oak Mountain and Alabama athlete Antonio Kite from Anniston all said they were staying to play. basketball for their schools.
Kite led Anniston to State 4A a year ago. Smith helped Oak Mountain win the 7A title. Henderson received several basketball offers from the SEC before committing to playing football for the Crimson Tide.
Linebacker Shemar James, who is not signed at the moment, is also expected to play basketball at Faith Academy.
Names to know
Watch out for playmaker Baker Labaron Philon.
The 6-foot-1 runner-up was the AL.com Coastal Alabama Newcomer of the Year for the 2020-2021 season as a freshman.
He scored 409 points for a 16-9 Baker team and averaged 15.8 points per game, 4.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists. The most successful freshman in school history, Philo made 91 of 133 free throws and recorded a high of 37 points.
Another rising star is Chase McCarty of Westminster Christian. The 6-foot-4 runner-up averaged 16.1 points and 7.3 assists last season. He had five double-doubles and 34 blocked shots to help Ronnie Stapler’s side establish a 19-7 record and a perfect 6-0 final in the play area. He was the newcomer of the year. from AL.com Tennessee Valley.
The dossier Doss-ier
Hall of Fame member Jack Doss returned to the field last year as the head coach of Grissom High School after three years of retirement.
Doss, 73, retired in 2017 after leading Mae Jemison to a 33-4 record and to the State Class 5A title. It was the 10th state title of his career.
Doss first team Grissom struggled to finish 5-17, but junior guard RJ Johnson could put the Tigers in the running this year. Additionally, the Tigers added Efrem Johnson’s transfer in the offseason, giving Doss a nice 1-2 punch.
No Bucky, no problem
In the first season without Bucky McMillian on the sidelines, Mountain Brook once again dominated.
Under the guidance of longtime first-year head coach and assistant Tyler Davis, the Spartans defeated Spanish Fort 56-43 to claim the Class 6A state title in 2021. Davis’s team won 18 consecutive matches to end the season.
Mountain Brook, who lost in the Class 7A title game in 2020, has won four of the last five state championships and six of the last nine.
The Spartans will enter the year as repeat favorites, though last year’s runner-up Spanish Fort sacked some elite staff, including Citadel hiring Colby McAllister and running mate Kolby Horace. The Toros must find a way to make up for the loss of point guard Carl Fauntroy, who tore his ACL during the football season.
Dunning could put McGill-Toolen back in the running for Birmingham this year. Hazel Green, Hueytown, Carver-Montgomery, Huffman and Pinson Valley are also expected to make some noise.
Is Class 7A racing wide open?
Maybe more than ever before. Shaver’s departure from Oak Mountain leaves a big – literally – hole for the defending champions.
Enterprise finished second a year ago and returns several key pieces. Vestavia Hills returns a slew of talent from a team that has been ranked No.1 much of the year, and Grissom is expected to have a rebounding season in Doss’ second year.
Other contenders include Auburn (a last four team a year ago), Fairhope, James Clemens, Hoover, Baker, Spain Park and Sparkman.
High level coaching change
Cottage Hill had the most successful season in its AHSAA history last season under John Price.
The Warriors went 26-2 a year ago, won 18 games in a row at one point, secured the school’s first No.1 ranking in Class 3A and reached the bottom four for the first times.
However, Price – AL.com’s Coastal Alabama Co-Coach of the Year – resigned after the season and is now the head coach of Trinity Christian Academy in Texas. Adam Thomas, who led the team from 2010 to 2014, is now returning as head coach.
He back has a talented and experienced roster that includes his Twin Tower sons, Trent and Tyler Thomas.
The Warriors are set to fight for the 3A title with the continuing threat Plainview and the talented Montgomery Catholic, who lost to Fyffe in the final a year ago. Winfield, Piedmont and Hale County are also threats.
Who is the favorite in 5A?
Lee-Huntsville reached the title a year ago, choking Ramsay 47-29 in the championship game. The Generals have only played 14 games, winning 13 of them by at least 16 points. They have won their last two games with a total of 60 points.
Lee has lost key players, but Jacari Lane and Dexter Smith should once again make the Generals a threat. Other possible candidates include Ramsay, Charles Henderson, Sipsey Valley, Sylacauga, Alexandria, and Faith Academy.
Key dates 2021-2022
November 4 – First official games
February 5-12 – AHSAA Boys Zone Tournaments
February 7-9 – AISA Elite 8 tournament at the Cramton Bowl Multiplex
February 10-12 – AISA State Final Four Tournament at the Cramton Bowl Multiplex
February 14-15 – AHSAA sub-regions
February 17-24 – AHSAA Regionals (Garrett Coliseum and Alabama State in Montgomery, Jacksonville, Hanceville)
February 28-March 5 – AHSAA Finals (Birmingham)
Reigning State Champions
7A: Oak Mountain
6A: Mountain stream
AAA: Pike Liberal