In the first edition of our weekly CPHR Power Rankings Poll, which for the remainder of the season will be released every Sunday evening along with our players of the week feature, we had some tough choices to make in the middle section for both polls. While we at CPHR feel confident at the #1 spots, it is very easy to debate the order of the next nine, as well as some of the teams that just missed the rankings. Surely these rankings will change significantly early in the season as some teams will surprise and some teams will disappoint, but for now this is our best shot at the teams to beat in the Cincinnati area....
Division I Preseason Poll
1. Walnut Hills: Easiest decision that CPHR had was to rank the Eagles number one. Addition of DJ Wingfield gives them another elite player to match with Isaiah Johnson on a senior dominated team without a weakness at any one position. Eagles are big, quick, deep and experienced; if they shoot it well then a State Title run is not out of the question.
2. Moeller: It's always tough to pick against Moeller, this year is no exception. Josh Davenport leads a deep Crusaders team with great size. Will the guard play hold up? Coaches are raving about point guard Trey Hawkins, we'll find out sooner rather than later.
3. Lakota East: Thunderhawks have talent, size and will be excellent defensively. They're a little young, but Myo Baxter is a stud and Stedman Lowry should have a huge year coming off of injury.
4. Lakota West: The Firebirds have a three headed scoring monster with Monty Boykins, Ali Barnes and Tyler Williams. Will the talent mesh together? If it does then this team could be Cincinnati's best.
5. St. Xavier: Bombers have the most team size, are full of shooters and have senior experience. If junior forward Roderick Mills is ready to breakout then this team is going to be really, really good.
6. Winton Woods: Deepest and most talented team besides Walnut Hills. Will all the pieces come together for this team to thrive? If they do then they'll rise quickly in the rankings.
7. LaSalle: Lancers are used to winning. Jeff Larkin and Connor Speed plan to keep it that way on a team that can really shoot the basketball.
8. Withrow: Tigers have as much talent on the perimeter as anyone, led by Tim Coleman and Corey Wise, while also having the athleticism to physically dominate.
9. Fairfield: Indians will scrap on the defensive end and have more young offensive talent then you think, led by junior point guard Tim Fleming.
10. Princeton: Vikings speedy senior backcourt will create mismatches and give opponents fits. Senior leader Dorian Jordan is small, but he's a flat out winner at every level.
Just Missed: Middletown, Turpin, Colerain, Elder, Milford, West High
Division II-IV Preseason Poll
1. Summit Country Day: Silver Knights return top two players from last year's state title team, plus pick up a high scoring transfer in MaCio Teague.
2. Aiken: Falcons return senior star Austin Grimes and have a tough minded nucleus with athleticism.
3. Hughes: The Big Red plan on breaking out this year behind the play of seniors Angel Rivera and Terry Cook, as well as junior wing Kevin Daniels.
4. Roger Bacon: Spartans return most of last year's team that made the regionals, including three top scorers in Carlas Jackson, Erik Edwards and Austin Frentsos.
5. Taft: Senators are young and inexperienced but they are very good defensively, have speed, and are accustomed to winning big games on Friday nights.
6. Madeira: Mustangs might have the best scorer in the area in senior guard Andrew Benintendi.
7. Finneytown: Wildcats are led by senior wing Bradley Nelms and should contend for CHL crown.
8. Bishop Fenwick: Junior point guard Frank Catrine is the best are guard you've never heard of.
9. Hamilton Badin: Always solid, always underrated, expect another big year in the GCL.
10. Clark Montessori: Young but talented team will always play with passion for coach Kerr.
Just Missed: North College Hill, Mariemont, Wilmington, Indian Hill, Lockland