This could be a rewarding season for Oak Park and boys basketball coach Fred Turner.

This could be a rewarding season for Oak Park and boys basketball coach Fred Turner.

The Northmen are the choice of the  coaches to claim the Suburban Small Six title. Kearney placed second followed by Grandview, Platte County, Staley and Liberty North. A coach couldn’t rank his own team.

Turner takes a 576-301 record into his 36th year of coaching.

“We hope to be better this year,” he said.

That appears likely because of eight lettermen from a 16-11 team, Erin Jones, Kris Reed, Will Frazier, Nick Deason, Matt O’Brien, David Wingerson Jacob Sullivan and Darrell Jones.

“We are four extra large, four large and one medium,” said Turner in sizing up the Northmen.

KEARNEY

The Bulldogs rebuild after losing seven seniors off a state Class 4 championship 28-3 team.

“Moving up to Class 5 will be challenge,” coach Gary Belcher said. “We have changed the schedule in hopes of preparing us for a new district and class.”

Returning letter winners are Damen Williams, Alex Prewitt, Ryan Bech, Shane Hartzler, Chris Head, Eric Farley, A.J. Shippert and Calton Michael.

“We must develop varsity experience,” Belcher said.

GRANDVIEW

Perennial conference standout Grandview returns only R.J. Leverette, Terik Lewis and Chris Spotser from a 16-11 team.

“We will be young but it helps to have our all-state point guard (Leverette),” coach Randy Farris said. “We will be ready by the time the district tournament starts.”

PLATTE COUNTY

Prospects are bright at Platte County. Four players, Zach Boswell, Brendan Conner, Jordan Mitchell and Freddie Manyawu, return from a 10-17 team.

STALEY

The Falcons may be hard-pressed to improve upon a 12-15 record.

“Our team does not return much experience and we starting from the ground up to learn a new system,” new coach James Wheeler said.

“I believe size will be a problem. Our quickness will be a strength and the kids are receptive and willing to work hard.”

LIBERTY NORTH

The new Liberty North has no players who lettered at Liberty.

‘It’s an exciting opportunity to see who steps up and takes ownership of the team,” coach Chis McCabe said. “We have an unselfish group who people will enjoy watching develop.”

Suburban Small Six

Boys Basketball Poll

School    1    2    3    4    5        TP

1. Oak Park    5    0    0    0    0        5

2. Kearney    0    4    1    0    0        11

3. Grandview    1    1    3    0    0        12

4. Platte County    0    1    2    2    0        16

5. Staley    0    0    0    3    2        22

6. Liberty North    0    0    0    1    4        29