Preseason rankings for Suburban Big Seven boys basketball teams

A repeat is predicted for the Liberty boys basketball team in the Suburban Big Seven.
The Blue Jays, in The Examiner’s poll of the coaches, are the solid choice to successfully defend. Lee’s Summit placed second followed by Blue Springs South, Lee’s Summit North, Blue Springs, Raymore-Peculiar and St. Joseph Central. A coach couldn’t rank his own team.
Liberty coach Roger Stirtz returns letter winners Christian Brinser, Tyler Sullivant, J.T. Nixon, Kevin Starr, Marcus Lucas and Colten Mehrer from an 18-8 team.
“The success of this team will be determined by how hard we play defense and how well we rebound,” Stirtz said.
LEE’S SUMMIT: The Tigers return to the Big Seven should be a success because of lettermen Luke Sealer, Trey Cox and Anthony May from a 16-8 titlist Suburban Big Six team.
“The strength of our team will be our senior guard play,” coach Keith Miller said. “We are good perimeter shooters and dribble drivers. We will also have a solid bench, who will make significant contributions. Weakness could be post play. We need to improve defensive rebounding as well.”
BLUE SPRINGS SOUTH: The Jaguars struggled last season to a 7-17 record. And only letter winners Brandon Murillo and Michael Vann return.
“Shooting will be improved as well as overall team size,” coach Jimmy Cain said. “Rebounding and experience are the biggest concerns. We will need to play very good defense, take care of the ball and shoot well.”
LEE’S SUMMIT NORTH: Because of letter winners B.J. Dunbar, Donny Herron, Chase Salazar and Aaron Williams, North could rebound from a tough 7-18 season.
“The youth movement that began last year at Lee’s Summit North will continue,” coach Mike Hilbert said. “Six of our top nine players are underclassmen and four of those are sophomores.
“Fortunately for us, all of these kids were in our program last year and they all worked hard this summer. I feel good about where we are as a team and have high hopes for this season.”
BLUE SPRINGS: It also will be an inexperienced Blue Springs team because only Greg Wisner and Jordan Nubine are the only returnees from a 10-15 team.
“We have very few returning players, so we need to find a starting lineup,” coach Frank Wheeler said. “We will hot have  great team size. I like our kids and I know they will work hard.”
RAYMORE-PECULIAR: The Panthers come off a tough 5-21 season.
But optimism reigns because of letter winners Craig Bonnett, Colby Arnold, Cameron Coffman and Deron Washington.
“I am really excited about this year’s team,” coach Scott Jermain said. “The players are excited to get the season under way. I think the players will work together for the better of the team. We are going to have a challenge moving up to the big conference.”
ST. JOSEPH CENTRAL: Clay Linebach, Justin Love, Braden Bigham and Jared Fox return for the Indians, who were 8-18 in the Suburban Big Six last season.
“We have four returners that will shoulder the load of leadership, experience and scoring as take on the challenge of the tough Big Seven Conference,” coach Neal Hook said.