The Hutchinson Community College men's basketball team might not have Robert Goff for awhile.
Even at that, it might not matter.
The Blue Dragons were picked to win the Jayhawk West on Monday during Jayhawk Conference media day. Hutchinson was also No. 4 in the NJCAA preseason poll released on Monday.
"The talent level is up, big-time, in both the East and the West," Hutchinson coach Steve Eck said. "And we've got lots of experience and lots of leaders."
Goff, a 6-foot-9 forward committed to Oklahoma, had to have "minor knee surgery" according to Eck, and would be out for "a little while," but gave no exact length.
Even without Goff, Eck returns All-Jayhawk West guard Joe Mitchell, a 5-foot-10 Wichita Southeast product committed to Ohio, and 6-6 post player Bruce Reed, a second-team All-Jayhawk West selection.
Mitchellled the Blue Dragons at 16.6 points per game last year and shot 50 percent from the field.
Coffeyville and Cowley tied as the preseason favorite in the Jayhawk East.
The Tigers return sophomore Tyrus McGee, a 6-2 guard committed to Iowa State. McGee averaged 16.6 points last season and was All-Jayhawk East.
The Tigers are also bolstered by the addition of 6-8 forward James Watson, who transferred from Washington State after being declared academically ineligible.
" (Watson) could be an exciting player," Cowley coach Tommy DeSalme said. "What we need from him right now is consistency. Right now, it's one day good, two days bad.
"It's Tyrus and (sophomore guard) Dominick Cornelius that are making this team go right now."
Defending Region VI champion Butler was picked to finish fourth after losing the nucleus of its title team.
"Last year, we had a sophomore-heavy group that spent a lot of time together," Butler coach Mike Bargen said. "It's a little frustrating to have to feel like you're starting all over again, but that's where we're at."
The Hutchinson women, No. 17 in the NJCAA preseason poll, were picked to win the Jayhawk West. Independence was picked to win the East.
"We've got a young group that maybe doesn't know what's coming for them," Hutchinson coach John Ontjes said. "We know every team is going to give us their very best shot, every time out."