A look at the Jayhawk Conference
11/03/2012 12:00 AM
11/03/2012 3:12 PM
Coach: Mike Bargen, 89-61 in five seasons
2011-12: 10-20, 4-12 Jayhawk West
Outlook: Last year’s 4-12 mark in the Jayhawk West was Bargen’s worst since his first season, and the Grizzlies have finished below .500 in league play the last two seasons. The Grizzlies have 12 freshmen and three sophomores, led by 6-foot-6 sophomore guard-forward Sean Osler, a Cheney product. Osler averaged 10.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and shot 83.8 percent from the free-throw line as a freshman. Fellow sophomore Ja’ln Williams led Butler in assists (57) and turnovers (89) as a freshman.
Coach: Tommy DeSalme, 70-29 in three seasons
2011-12: 24-10, 11-7
Outlook: Sophomore shooting guard James Milliken averaged 17 points on his way to being Jayhawk East freshman of the year and second-team All-Jayhawk East. Milliken (6-foot-2) is a dynamic scorer and should benefit from the addition of 6-5 point guard Ben Vozzola, who transferred to Cowley from the University of San Diego in January. The Tigers haven’t won the Region VI title since 1957.
Coach: Steve Eck, 78-20 in three seasons
2011-12: 25-7, 11-5
Outlook: The Blue Dragons return one of the nation’s best big men — 6-9 sophomore forward Alex Davis, who has already committed to Penn State. Davis averaged 11.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks even though foul trouble was a recurring issue. Eck brings in UTEP transfer D’Von Campbell to shore up the Hutchinson backcourt, which already has 6-3 sophomore Rozell Nunn (6.3 points). The Blue Dragons, picked second in the Jayhawk West, are No. 13 nationally in the preseason.
Coach: Mike Helmer, 56-60 in four seasons
2011-12: 8-14, 6-10
Outlook: Butler will need sophomore guard Jamillah Bonner, a Wichita Southeast product, to continue doing the things she does well — 16.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.8 steals — and hope she’s improved on the bad. Bonner led the Grizzlies with 108 turnovers and shot 63 percent from the free-throw line, but had almost no scoring help as Butler’s second-highest scorer averaged 4.8 points. Helmer has managed a winning record in the Jayhawk West once, when he went 9-7 in 2010-11.
Coach: Todd Clark, 182-75 in eight seasons
2011-12: 22-10, 12-6
Outlook: The Tigers are the preseason favorite in the Jayhawk East behind the strength of seven returners, including 6-1 forward Brittany Bush, the top returning scorer (8.1 points) and rebounder (5.7 rebounds). Bush’s frontcourt mate, 6-foot sophomore Montia Johnson (7.5 points, 5.3 rebounds) also returns.
Coach: John Ontjes, 150-22 in five seasons
2011-12: 36-1, 16-0
Outlook: Hutchinson’s only loss last season was in the NJCAA Division I championship game to Trinity Valley, and they lost all five starters. The Blue Dragons are ranked No. 6 in the preseason despite being picked third in the Jayhawk West. Ontjes has a pair of transfers who should help right away, 5-8 guard Chrisstasia Walters (Arkansas) and 6-foot forward Stacy Mgbike (Missouri Western).