JTL's 3A Preview

#1 Globe Strengths- Simply the best team in the 3a. This squad ran rough-shod over everyone that stood in their path during summer ball, including 5a powerhouses. They return five of seven players that saw the floor during last years state title game.......

JTL's 3a Top Ten
 
#1 Globe
Strengths- Simply the best team in the 3a. This squad ran rough-shod over everyone that stood in their path during summer ball, including 5a powerhouses. They return five of seven players that saw the floor during last years state title game, including three starters. Will have the deadliest outside shooting duo in the small school ranks in Bennett (6-3) and Radonovich (6-1). Tomerlin (6-5, 230+ pounds) is the best post in the 3a. The improvement he made during last season was incredible, and in my opinion, he surpassed allstate teammate Messman in the playoffs. The other post will go to another wide body, the 6-3, 220lbs Golden, who is another athletic bruiser. PG Boykin completes the starting lineup, and is one of the better floor generals in the 3a. The little lefty can handle to ball and also knock down the three. Sixth man Cunningham (6-1), is not flashy, but gets all the lose balls and plenty of garbage baskets.
Weaknesses- No depth. Last year they used only seven players, this year they may use only six. Also all the turmoil that has surrounded their coaching situation has to be a distraction.
Outlook- These guys could run the table much like Coolidge did last year. This team would, in no doubt, be a 5a playoff squad.  
 
#2 Tuba City
Strengths- Just like Globe, return five of their top seven players from last year. Wing Dugi (6-5) could be a great one. He can handle the ball, shoot, and is very tall for a wing. For some reason he didn't play against Globe in the playoffs last year, but it appears that any troubles are behind him. Guard Justice (6-0) is a terrific shooter, and post Curtis (6-1) can also be counted on to score. Tuba may actually have a commodity that few other Rez squads can boast- height. Tsingine (6-4) and Brown (6-3) could factor in the minutes.
Weaknesses- Posts will have to prove themselves by the playoffs, or they could get bounced again. Will need someone to step up and take over PG.
Outlook- The top dog in the 3a North. Maybe with a little of the famous AWA Rez magic, could get another state title.
   
#3 Snowflake
Strengths- A team that loses only three players, and bring back their top three scorers. Caldwell (6-1) is probably the best athlete in the 3a. Definitely the top 3a QB and an allstate guard in hoops. He lit Monument Valley up for nearly 40 points in last years playoffs. He is joined by another returning starter in the backcourt, Jacobson (5-10), who can also knock down the three. Elkins (6-3) returns as center. He is another premier 3a athlete, but he will need help from Maxwell (6-2) inside.
Weaknesses- Not much height. Unless they get someone new to man the posts, they will start 6-3 and 6-2 up front, while both are very athletic, this could be a problem when facing the tall teams from the 3a South.
Outlook- The North champs. Definite final four capabilities.
 
#4 Safford
Strengths- Safford played everyone tough last year and beat final four squads Globe and Seton during the season. Return two of the 3a's top players in post Tomlin (6-5, 240+ lbs) and PG Turner (5-11). Both could end up allstate. Tysoe (6-4), could give extra height inside. Safford boasts one of the highest 3a enrollments, so there is always the athletes to fill out the roster.
Weaknesses- A lot of of unanswered questions outside of their big stars. Who will play off guard and provide outside shooting? Who will come off the bench?
Outlook- Definitely in the top three in the 3a South. If the other positions fall into place, they could play at AWA.
 
#5 Monument Valley
Strengths- A perennial 3a power, last years squad was distracted by their 6-7 post Walls, who never really fit into the MV game plan. This years team will be more of a traditional MV team, with little quick guards and no posts taller than 6-2. Phillips (6-2) returns, and will be one of the region's best. Edd (5-9) finally gets to take over PG. He could have a breakout season. Tiny guards McKerry and Delmar (both 5-7) could see time in the backcourt. Doctor (6-2) will most likely be the center.
Weaknesses- No real go-to guy as of right now. Phillips may be the closest to being that, but he'll need help. These guys will be VERY small, even for a Rez team, as only two players over six feet return.
Outlook- As a team that never rebuilds, and always reloads, these guys are still a threat for the 3a North. Will compete for the region crown, will be heard from at state.
 
#6 Coolidge
Strengths- Coach Glasgow may be the best coach in the 3a and he has started a terrific 3a South dynasty. Coolidge has advanced to four of the past five state title games, winning three of them. Coolidge could return up to nine players from last years undefeated champs. The backcourt could be the quickest and most athletic in the 3a if Jeffries (5-11) and White (6-0) start. Post Rutledge (6-6), will be one of the 3a's finest. He is terrific defensively, but will be counted on for more offense this year. If 6-8 Spence returns (he quit before last years playoffs), Coolidge will have the tallest small ball twin towers in the state.
Weaknesses- Lost just about every major contributor from last years undefeated champs. There will be a complete turnover in the lineup and guys that never saw the floor last season will be counted on to start. Also, the athlete well looks to be running dry as their JV wasn't very impressive.
Outlook- Down, but still dangerous. Definite playoff team, could pull an upset or two off at state.
 
#7 Payson
Strengths- Payson has one more basketball season to make noise before heading to the 4a. As a 4a school playing in the 3a, Payson will have resources that other schools don't- an extra-large enrollment. Payson will return nine players, so open spots will be scarce. Payson is led by post Barr (6-6). He is right behind Globe's Tomerlin for best 3a post, and will be 1st team all 3a. Starting guard and football star Pettet  returns and will be one of the White Mountain's best. Payson has plenty of height, returning seven players over six feet tall, including a trio of 6-3 forwards in Hubbard, Accord and Swartwood.  
Weaknesses- I don't see a whole lot of speed or pure shooters on the roster. These guys will be big, tough and physical, but a Rez team could give these guys fits.
Outlook- Definite top ten squad and playoff squad. If they get an outside shooter to compliment their big men, they could make a playoff run in their final 3a year.
 
#8 Sedona Red Rock
Strengths- Return eight players and four starters from last year. Guard Cunningham (6-1) and forward Williamson (6-3) will be on the 3a West all region team. Plenty of height returns with 6-3 Colon, 6-2 Fierro, 6-2 Burns, and 6-2 Freeman. 6-8 soph Johns is still rough around the edges, but could become a dominant post within the next few years.
Weaknesses- Longtime coach Sells is gone, and I haven't heard who his replacement is yet. These guys have the elements to be a winner and move up higher in the rankings, but it could take some time to get acclimated to their new coach.
Outlook- No doubt, will be 3a West champ. Could move up higher in these rankings.
 
#9 Ganado
Strengths- A team that always seems to be in the running for a playoff spot, but gets left on the outside. Ganado has looked impressive during summer ball, and they will have a great shot at getting at least the 3a North's #3 or #4 seed. Will have plenty of shooters and speed, and from what I gather, has solid depth. Guard Lynch will be one of the premier players on the Rez, and potentially all state.
Weaknesses- Height. Their tallest man stands at 6-2. This will present match up problems at state.
Outlook- Will be in a dogfight for a 3a North playoff berth. The region will be very unpredictable this year, and Ganado could be left out of the dance once again.
 
#10 Fountain Hills
Strengths- Another school with a large enrollment bordering on 4a. Always a solid basketball team with height throughout the roster, this years squad will be no different. Graduation cleaned out the starting lineup, but return height in the 6-5 Goldberg, 6-4 D'Amore, 6-4 Vipperman, and a pair of 6-3's in Smith and Russo. Their JV was solid as always, and will fill in holes in the backcourt. 
Weaknesses- Return a lot of height, but someone needs to step up and prove themselves on the post. Will start a very tall lineup, with no one under six feet starting, but needs scorers to step up.
Outlook- Will be down for the first time in a while, but still will be a playoff team as the 3a West is down as a whole. Will get bounced in the 1st round of state.
 
Allstate Teams
1st team
Guard- Caldwell, 6-1, Snowflake
Guard- Radonovich, 6-1, Globe
Wing- Dugi, 6-5, Tuba City
Post- Tomerlin, 6-5, Globe
Post- Barr, 6-6, Payson
2nd team
Guard- Lynch, 6-0, Ganado
Guard- Cunningham, 6-1, Sedona (almost went with Safford's Turner)
Wing- Phillips, 6-2, Monument Valley
Post- Tomlin, 6-5, Safford
Post- Ruttledge, 6-6, Coolidge
 
Region Rankings (based on teams with playoff possibilities)
 
East
1- Snowflake
2- Payson
3- Blue Ridge
4- Alchesay
5- Show Low
(Was the 3a's worst region last year, but will be much improved this year. Snowflake will be a power. Payson is right behind them. Both Blue Ridge and Show Low will fall off, but Alchesay should return to form and make the playoffs)
 
North
1- Tuba City
2- Monument Valley
3- Ganado
4- Greyhills
5- Holbrook
6- Winslow
7- Hopi
(Will be a deep region, with traditional powerhouse Winslow potentially near the bottom. Judging by football, even Hopi could have the athletes to make the playoffs)
 
South
1- Globe
2- Safford
3- Coolidge
4- Seton
5- Queen Creek
6- Eloy Santa Cruz
(sleeper here could be Queen Creek. They have some good athletes coming into the school every new semester)
 
West
1- Sedona
2- Fountain Hills
3- Parker
4- Wickenburg
5- River Valley
6- Camp Verde
7- Higley
(Will be the weakest region in the 3a. Half the playoff spots will be a crap shoot. Look for teams #3 and #4 to get destroyed in the 1st round of state)

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