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BOYS' BASKETBALL: Twenty players to watch this season

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Silver Creek’s Branden Northern puts up a shot during the Dragons’ 54-46 victory over Guerin Catholic in the Class 3A Seymour Semistate on March 20.

In the previous four seasons, Clark and Floyd counties have combined to produce an incredible amount of talent on the hardwood. Included among that were a Mr. Basketball, a Mr. Basketball runner-up and six Indiana All-Stars.

That trend could continue this season with another solid crop of players within our borders ready to add their names to the recent list that includes New Albany’s Romeo Langford (2018’s Mr. Basketball) and Sean East, Floyd Central’s Cobie Barnes, Jeffersonville’s Tre Coleman and Silver Creek’s Trey Kaufman-Renn (2020’s Mr. Basketball runner-up) and Kooper Jacobi.

With that in mind, here is a quick look at 20 players to watch during the 2021-22 season.

MATTHEW ARTHUR (NEW WASHINGTON)

The 5-foot-11 junior guard averaged 19.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, while making 70 3-pointers, on his way to earning Southern Athletic Conference Player of the Year honors last season. This season he’ll likely surpass the 1,000-point mark for his career.

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New Washington's Matthew Arthur puts up a shot during the Mustangs' game at Providence last season. Arthur averaged 19.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game as a junior. 

“You’re going to be hard-pressed to find someone that works harder than he does,” New Washington coach Kyle Brown said in the preseason.

TUCKER BIVEN (NEW ALBANY)

The 6-1 senior guard, who is also a standout on the baseball diamond, averaged 17.4 points, five rebounds and 2.5 assists a game as a junior on his way to earning Underclass Large School All-State honors from the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association. He’ll be the Bulldogs’ go-to guy this season.

DAKOTA CAPPS (CLARKSVILLE)

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Clarksville senior Dakota Capps pulls up for a shot during the Generals’ 48-45 loss at the Doghouse on Wednesday night.

The 6-2 senior guard appears primed for a big senior season. He averaged 17.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game as a junior en route to earning All-State honorable mention from the IBCA. If his 22 points in the Generals’ season-opening 48-45 loss at New Albany earlier this week are any indication, Capps should thrive under first-year head coach Kyle Hankins.

WESLEY CELICHOWSKI (FLOYD CENTRAL)

The 7-0 senior center averaged four points and four rebounds primarily as a reserve last season. Like most his size, though, he’s a late-bloomer on the hardwood.

MARIAL DIPER (ROCK CREEK)

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Rock Creek junior Marial Diper puts up a shot during the Lions’ 57-38 road victory at Henryville on Tuesday night.

The 7-0 junior center, who has only been playing basketball for three years, is another work-in-progress. If the season-opener (Diper had 11 points and seven blocked shots in the Lions’ win at Henryville on Tuesday) is any indication, the big man could be ready to turn the corner.

BRADY DUNN (CAI)

The 6-2 senior guard averaged 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists per game last season for the Warriors, who made a Cinderella run to the Class A Borden Sectional final, on his way to earning All-State honorable mention from the IBCA.

SAM GUERNSEY (HENRYVILLE)

The 6-3 senior forward is the Hornets’ top-returning scorer and rebounder (8.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game) from last season.

COLE HARRITT (FLOYD CENTRAL)

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Floyd Central’s Cole Harritt puts up a shot during the Highlanders’ game against Silver Creek last season. The 6-4 forward averaged seven points per game as a junior.

The 6-4 sharp-shooting senior wing, who helped the Highlanders to the sectional title in 2020, averaged seven points a game as a junior.

JAKE HELTON (CHARLESTOWN)

The 6-2 junior guard averaged 2.3 points and two rebounds per game as a reserve on the senior-laden Pirates last season. He’s expected to play a much larger role this season, especially with senior forward Chase Benner sidelined by a broken foot at least until Christmas break.

CASEY KAELIN (PROVIDENCE)

The 6-3 junior wing averaged 11 points, five rebounds and two assists a game during his breakout sophomore season. He’s the top returner for the Pioneers, who could contend for a sectional title.

BRADY MOORE (FLOYD CENTRAL)

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Floyd Central’s Brady Moore goes up for a shot against Jeffersonville last season. On Wednesday, the senior forward scored 11 points to help the Highlanders outlast Avon 56-55 in their final game of the Paul Loggan Memorial Invitational at North Central.

The 6-5 senior forward averaged 11 points and five rebounds per game in a breakout junior campaign for the Highlanders, who posted their seventh straight winning season, en route to earning All-State honorable mention from the IBCA.

BRANDON RAYZER-MOORE (JEFFERSONVILLE)

The 6-5 senior guard enjoyed an outstanding junior season, averaging 18 points and 5.9 rebounds a game, after transferring over from Jeffersontown (Ky.), en route to earning Underclass Large School All-State honors from the IBCA.

KASYM NASH (BORDEN)

The 6-0 sophomore guard, the oldest son of Braves’ coach Doc Nash, averaged around 14 points per game, while making the most 3-pointers for a freshman in program history and shooting 84 percent from the free throw line last season.

BRANDEN NORTHERN (SILVER CREEK)

The 6-foot senior point guard averaged 14.9 points, 6.8 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game last season while leading the Dragons to their second straight Class 3A state championship and earning Underclass “Supreme 15” honors from the IBCA. The Indiana Junior All-Star, who has never lost a postseason game in his career, began his third year as a starter with a 31-point effort in Wednesday night’s season-opening win over Columbus East.

TREY SCHOEN (SILVER CREEK)

The 6-foot senior guard, a football standout, made a name for himself as a defensive stopper last season while helping the Dragons to their second straight state title. He’ll be counted on to score more this season.

KOBE STOUDEMIRE (JEFFERSONVILLE)

The 5-8 senior point guard averaged 11 points per game as a junior while helping the Red Devils to their 39th sectional title.

JAYDEN THOMPSON (NEW ALBANY)

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New Albany's Jayden Thompson shoots a 3-pointer during the Bulldogs' loss to Bedford North Lawrence in a Class 4A Seymour Sectional semifinal last season. He averaged 6.4 points and 4.5 rebounds as a junior. 

The 6-4 senior forward averaged 6.4 points and 4.5 rebounds a game as a junior. He’ll likely score more this season following the transfer of point guard Kaden Stanton.

LADARIUS WALLACE (ROCK CREEK)

The 5-8 junior point guard is beginning his third year as the Lions’ floor general. He got his junior season off to a solid start, scoring 19 points in Creek’s win at Henryville on Tuesday night.

CALEB WASHINGTON (FLOYD CENTRAL)

The 6-6 junior forward put up 10 points and six rebounds a game as a sophomore on his way to earning All-State honorable mention from the IBCA.

WILL LOVINGS-WATTS (JEFFERSONVILLE)

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Jeffersonville’s Will Lovings-Watts hangs in the air before taking a shot against Silver Creek last season, when he averaged 16 points and 6.1 rebounds for the Red Devils.

The 6-5 senior wing, who recently committed to Drake University, averaged 16 points and 6.1 rebounds per game while winning his second sectional title with the Red Devils. After the season he was named to the IBCA’s Underclass “Supreme 15” team and was an Indiana Junior All-Star. He should be poised for an outstanding final season.

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