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With around 120 school districts in the southwest Missouri coverage area, it is a given that there are many great players that fall through the cracks and do not get the recognition that they deserve. This is especially true in the outlying areas that simply do not get the same kind of media coverage that players closer to Springfield, the hub of southwest Missouri, receive. And then there are those players that are overlooked because they play on teams with more heralded teammates.
Here, we cover a few players on the boys side that we feel do not get their due attention. We feel that colleges looking for good potential recruits should pay attention to these players, some of who have not committed yet or much less received due attention. This is the second part of this series. To read part one, click here
Crishawn Haggard, 6’0 Hillcrest 2021 – Haggard gets a bit overlooked amongst the crowd of stellar Springfield public school players, but players that score 20 ppg, with 4 rpg and 4 apg thrown in aren’t exactly common, and it was a huge breakout junior season for the lead guard. His ability to get to the rim and finish in a variety of ways is near the top of the list amongst area players and he can knock down triples with regularity as well. His aggressive and high basketball IQ should bode well as Hillcrest looks to improve on last season. An exciting player to go watch.
Wyatt Snelson, 6’5 Galena 2021 – Snelson led his team to a 15-win season last year and with the addition of several quality players, he could lead his squad to even more wins and perhaps a deep playoff run this time around. Snelson put up 18 ppg, 10 rpg and over 2 spg last season and going into his fourth season as a varsity starter. He has matured physically and has a motor that only runs in overdrive, so look for him to be instrumental in what could be shaping up to be a special season for the Galena boys team.
Zayne Gale, 6’5 Galena 2021 – Gale is a transfer from Spokane who is expected to take on one of the leading roles for an unsung Galena squad that will surprise people this season. Gale put up 17 ppg and 6 rpg last season and also had a good number of assists, steals and blocks. He is an inside-outside force on offense, can hit the three ball with regularity and also post up smaller players. His unselfishness and passing ability will lead to a high number of assists on a Galena squad with multiple weapons. And his length enables him to block or alter shots on the defensive end. He will pair with teammate Snelson and others to make life difficult for any team they play this season.
Garrett Davault, 6’2 Norwood 2022 – Davault has averaged wellover 20 ppg his first two seasons at Norwood and should continue to put up big time numbers, especially since he has added a bit of height and strength. And his offensive skills have improved as well, specifically shooting off the bounce and getting his shot off quicker. That is a scary proposition for Norwood’s opponents considering that he is already over 1000 points for his career and he’s half way through it. Davault scored 38 points in their season opening 69-43 win over Sparta and those kinds of point totals may be the norm this season. If you get a chance to watch this kid play, do not hesitate!
Marcus Price, 6’3 Pleasant Hope 2022 – Price helped his Pleasant Hope squad post their first winning season in 10 years last season, thanks to the 18 ppg and 10 rpg numbers he put up as a sophomore. Price is an athlete who deftly scores around the basket and boasts a nice mid range game too, and gets a lot of points in transition, using his athletic ability to finish at a high percentage at the rim. As Price develops his perimeter game, look for him to become one of the most dynamic players in the area.
Joel Kleeman, 6’0 Miller 2021 – Kleeman is an athletic wing who put up 16 ppg and 7 rpg for his Miller team, and is expected to shoulder an even larger role during his senior season. He uses his hops and quickness to get to the basket and finish or draw the foul and is a high motor player. At just 6′ tall, he can play above the rim as well, which makes him an exciting player to watch.
Landon Austin, 5’11 Neosho 2021 – Austin had a breakout season last season, going from a sophomore who played sparingly to a player who put up 17 ppg, 6 rpg and 4 apg, taking over the point guard position for his Neosho crew. His mid range shot and penetration ability is top notch and with an improving perimeter game, Austin should have a huge season in his final go around at the high school level. He is strong, aggressive, and has a nose for the ball.
Owen Duddridge, 6’0 Willow Springs 2022 – Duddridge is going into his junior season having started since his freshman year and is the leading man for a Willow Springs team that won 16 games last season. He put up 15 ppg, 3 rpg and 3 apg from his point guard spot, stellar numbers for a sophomore, and looks to up those numbers this year. With his poise and leadership on the court, abd his all around skills, Duddridge has the makeup that every winning team aspires to have.
Mason Ballay, 6’0 Mt Vernon 2021 – Mount Vernon loses several seniors from last season’s 20-win squad but are in good shape with Ballay back in the fold. Last season he put up 15 ppg, 5 rpg and 4 apg, great all around numbers that should only get better this time around. Ballay is expected to lead a youthful Mountaineer team on and off the court. He is an all around offensive and defensive talent who excels at knocking down 3’s, often from well behind the line, getting to the rim and using his superior strength to finish through contact, and setting up his teammates.
Luke Lawson, 6’4 Diamond 2021 – Lawson put up 17 ppg and 5 rpg for his Diamond team last season and looks to up those numbers during his senior year. He works hard on his game and is a high character player and student who sets a great example on and off the court with everything he does. Lawson is a knock down perimeter shooter who can also get to the rim and finish adeptly with either hand, and is a smart overall player. It is telling that Diamond’s record has improved with each season in unison with Lawson’s role and numbers on the team and with several good players back in the fold to go with Lawson, Diamond should have a good season.