Considered the biggest bust of last year's 4A prep basketball state tournament was the showing - or lack thereof - of the Region 4 teams.
Granted, the league's postseason participants ran into some hot teams - a la Bingham, Hillcrest, and others - but not one Region 4 team played on the final day nor ended up among the top eight 4A finishers. The result was, in the eyes of some outside of Utah County, a tainting somewhat of the team traditions and glossy regular-season records of the Region 4 members.Not to worry, though, as most of Region 4 appears to be back on track this season. Timpview had gone through its preseason undefeated, while Provo has suffered only one loss. Orem and Mountain View started the preseason with six- and five-game win streaks, respectively. Pleasant Grove sports a 7-3 mark, and American Fork's four losses have been at the hands of 4A and 3A state tournament finishers.
American Fork: The only true returning starter back for the Cavemen is 6-5 senior forward Mike Hansen, while 6-3 forward Toby Adamson is the next most-experienced varsity player for Coach Bob Eckles.
Expect to see a bunch of bodies move in and out of the AF lineup as the Cavemen stick with their patented man-to-man defense. Newcomers of note to the rotation include 6-3 junior guard Chris Bates and 5-11 senior guard J.P Stoddard, a move-in from Nevada.
Mountain View: The Bruins are lacking in size and experience - only 6-5 senior center Bryan Kitcher, a part-time player last year, can best fill in either of those two areas for Coach Carl Ingersoll.
That means a whole host of newcomers for Mountain View, including the junior trio of 6-1 guard Stoney Hunter, 6-2 forward Eric Gentry, and 6-1 guard Ryan Lewis.
Orem: Brian Rasmussen, a 6-4 starting forward who averaged 9 points and 7 rebounds a game last year, returns for his senior season, along with part-time starters 5-11 senior guard Bryce Hull and 6-3 junior forward Tyler Nelson.
Coach Robert Louder also has a little more size than previous Tiger teams, with Rasmussen joined by 6-6 senior forward Cameron Johnson, who has stepped into a major role in fine fashion by leading the team in scoring. Seeing more time in the backcourt are the senior duo of 5-11 Jon Sanders and 6-1 Steve Mackay.
Pleasant Grove: Coach Bruce Bushnell is hoping that experience pays big divendends for the Vikings this year, since five of the team's first six players return for the 1990-91 season.
Four starters are back - 6-0 Danny Schoonover, 5-11 Darek Robinson, 6-2 Eric Johnsen and 6-6 Rob Strasburg - as is 6-2 sixth-man Danny Norman. And there's new size to be tapped, too, in 6-8 Greg Garrett and 6-5 Jason Lindquist.
Provo: The Bulldogs' front line stays at least partially intact with the return of 6-2 Matt Lohner and 6-3 Terence Saluone. And Coach Craig Drury even has some size in 6-9 senior Nate Reynolds - more individual height than the 'Dogs have had in recent years.
However, Provo is likely to stay with what has worked in the past - a passing attack keyed by quickness around the perimeter. A deep 'Dog squad includes 6-1 Kip Rollins, 5-10 Tyler Jackson and 6-1 Matt Campbell.
Timpview: It's a little quirky, but it works - 6-6 Richard Jackson has been playing guard for the T-birds, even though he's one of the taller players on the team. Expect to see the all-stater (who has committed to play collegiately at Stanford, following a two-year LDS mission) a little more on the front line this season, especially with the likes of 6-2 senior Ryan Olsen and 6-1 senior Matt Bateman holding down backcourt responsibilities.
Besides Jackson, Coach Don Chamberlain returns another starter in 6-4 senior center Bob Bearns, who will be joined underneath by 6-4 senior Paul Disbrow. Timpview benefits from depth, too, since last year's junior varsity only lost one game in league play.