The Star’s high school basketball preview zeroes in on five boys players to watch this season.
Mitchell Ballock, Eudora, senior
Averaging 18 points a game en route to earning All-State honors last season, Ballock is set to be one of the better players in the metro area this year. The 6-foot-5 senior announced earlier this year he was committing to Creighton, although he had offers from Kansas, Indiana, Missouri and UNLV, among others. A four-star recruit, Ballock is shooting for a healthier season after missing several games because of injury last year.
Darien Jackson, Blue Valley Northwest, senior
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The 6-foot-1 guard will be a leader for Blue Valley Northwest, set to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Kansas League. He’s ranked in Rivals’ top 150 list of the best recruits in the country (No. 142), and has offers from several Division I schools, including Kansas State, Illinois State and Tulsa. A four-star recruit, Jackson is ranked as the second-best player in Kansas.
Tyler Geiman, Blue Valley, senior
Geiman, a 6-foot guard, is expected to be one of the better players in the city. After missing the Kansas Class 6A state tournament last season, Blue Valley will lean on Geiman to improve on that this year.
Mikey Chalupa, Blue Valley West, senior
Chalupa received first-team All-Eastern Kansas League honors last season after an 11 points-per-game output. At 5 foot 9, Chalupa scores from the outside, but also isn’t afraid to plant his feet and take contact: He took 21 charges last season.
Semaj Ray, Bishop Miege, senior
The All-State and first-team All-Eastern Kansas Leauge swing player will pace the defending Kansas Class 4A-DI champions. He averaged 13 points a game on a loaded team, and is now receiving college interest from several Division I schools, including Drake, Denver and Florida Gulf Coast.