The Power 14 - Combined KCK, KVL power rankings

By NICK SLOAN, NJSloan212@gmail.com

I'm going to try and do something a little bit new this year.

Beginning today, I'm going to do a combined KCK/KVL power rankings list. Yes, that includes all 14 teams. It's pretty early in the season, so this will be a bit flawed.

Let's get right into it.

1. Lansing (7-0)

This is a no-brainer for week one. They're the only undefeated team in either league right now and at times, they've looked very good. They almost gave up a 19-point lead against Mill Valley, but don't let that fool you. This is a deep team where five or six guys can step up to the plate any night. Joe Schneider (13 ppg) and Zack Jackson lead the way in scoring, but Clay Young, Khalil Bailey, Lucas Mein and Roy Clayter are other players who can score 10-15 points any given night. There are some potential issues with too much depth, but having a lot of good players probably is good thing --- and "The Briggs Squad" has a lot of good players right now.

2. Washington (4-2)

Washington had a few hiccups last week against Shawnee Mission Northwest and Lee's Summit West. However, both of those teams have a chance to be really good this year. You can't forget that the Wildcats had a great week in Leavenworth to begin the season, blowing out Word of Life and smoking Leavenworth in a virtual road game in the championship game. Deandre King is beginning to step up and making a case for All-KCK Preps First Team. Two back-to-back 20 point games has him going in the right direction. Kindred Williams and James Jappa have been huge inside as well.

3. Mill Valley (3-2)

Basehor and Piper fans may be a little upset that I put a two-loss team over them, but here's my case. Mill Valley beat Piper on the road, they're a good team and their two losses may have come to the two best teams in Kansas 5A: Shawnee Mission South and Lansing. Nathan Stacy is having a heck of a year so far, including a 25-point game against Lansing.

4A. Basehor-Linwood (4-1) and 4B. Piper (6-1)

I'm going to chicken out and put Basehor and Piper together. I'm not including Ben Johnson when I project Basehor here, so once he comes back, I could see Basehor overtaking Mill Valley. Basehor's Chase Younger has a 39-point game and 30-point game under his belt to begin the season. Meanwhile, Piper is arguably the most improved team in Kansas City metro area. Still, I think Piper needs a bit of a signature win. Four of their wins came against 0-5, 1-4 and 2-4 (twice) teams. Another came against a 3-2 Harmon team and 3-3 Paola team. You could argue their loss to Mill Valley was their best result. I think Piper is for real, but the next step in the program resurrection at Piper is beating a team that they shouldn't. If they beat Lansing in early January coming out of the break, that will be a major wake-up call for KVL fans and many high school hoops followers in Kansas City. Meanwhile, if Basehor can knock off Topeka-Hayden on the road, the Bobcats could overtake Mill Valley in next week's poll.

6. Harmon (3-2)

I'm not sure what to feel about Harmon quite yet. Mike Carson and JaJuan Taylor are the best big man-guard duo in the Kansas City Kansas - Atchison League. However, the Hawks need a third guy to step up and become a consistent force in order for them to win league and get back to Topeka. Carson and Taylor can't do it by themselves. On paper, Harmon can win league. However, they've had some odd results - barely beating Bishop Ward (a team Lansing beat by over 30) and losing to Wyandotte at home. This is a team that can be pretty good this season - but it's time to step up and perform better on a consistent basis.

7. Sumner Academy (2-4)

The Sabres have played a tough schedule to begin the season and freshman Derek Sykes has stepped up early in the year. The senior class at Sumner Academy - Jowell Daniels, Deon Tripp and Alex Garvin - should provide Sumner some experience during the year as they look to turnaround their season.

8. Schlagle (3-3)

Sumner Academy's played a tougher schedule, so I stick Schlagle behind Sumner Academy in light of that. Houston Shackelford, David Patton and Deion Wilson all average double-figures points wise. Still, the Stallions need to beat a good team. They get a shot at Washington to begin the 2013 calendar. Win that game and I'll put the Stallions in the Top 6.

9. Bonner Springs (2-4)

I still think this team can get it together despite the rough two weeks and four straight losses. Austin Twombley, Jordan Jackson and Tyler Howell are all guys who can have good games and come together. A win against Turner entering the break would be very helpful.

10. Wyandotte (2-5)

The young Bulldogs have a very nice win against Harmon this year, but they need more of them to crawl up The Power 14. Sophomores Theo Bass, Deionta Nunnally and Kendall Dale have played well this season, giving Bulldogs fans some hope about a bright future. The sophomore class is the best in KCK in my opinion and they could be the class that finally turns Wyandotte around. Still, the reason they're this low on the power rankings is the five losses, one of which was an ugly 43-point loss to Olathe South.

11. Atchison (2-3)

Here's my first bizarre prediction for 2013 - Atchison is going to beat a KCK team this year. The Red Men have been winless in boys basketball since the formation of the KCKAL. I think they'll snap that streak against someone this year. Tanner Huntington and Tyson Downing have already led Atchison to two wins, though the schedule isn't the strongest. But I think Atchison improved and they'll pull an upset in league this year.

12. Turner (0-5)

I almost put Turner ahead of Atchison, but the zero wins hurt their case even though the Golden Bears have played a tough schedule to begin the year. They played well for three quarters against Basehor. De'Andre Fenrick and Sam Worthy have done a nice job this season for the basketball team. A win against Bonner Springs to enter the holidays would be very nice to have.

13. Tonganoxie (1-4)

Freshman Jack Dale has provided Tonganoxie some nice production this season. Tyler Ford, John Lean and Eric Tate should also help the Chieftains try to climb out of the bottom.

14. Bishop Ward (1-5)

The Cyclones had a pretty tough loss this week, losing a 13-point halftime lead. Still, Cole Henley and Evan Brull are providing Ward fans some nice moments this season. The two underclassmen have played pretty well at times. However, like Harmon, Ward needs a third and fourth guy to step more and more in order for the Cyclones to take the next step and earn some wins.