Just how tough is Region 5 expected to be this season? Ogden Coach Mitch Wilcox not only talks in terms of the seven-team prep basketball league, but the whole 3A size classification itself.
"Five teams from our region could take the state tournament," said Wilcox, mindful of Ogden, Mountain Crest, Ben Lomond, Sky View and Bear River.And league strength equates a tough league season for Region 5 - wins on the road will be at a premium in the battle for the region championship. "An 8-4 (record) will probably win the dang thing," said Wilcox.
Bear River: The Bears started the season in style, with Coach John Garfield's squad winning six straight through mid-December. Bear River carries a half-dozen 5-10 and 6-0 guards.
The frontline features a pair of 6-2 seniors in Shawn Hess and Mark Giles, while the inside holds 6-6 senior center Colby Nish and 6-8 senior center Jonathan Elmer.
Ben Lomond: The optimism with the Scots this season begins with a trio of talented seniors who are returning starters - 6-7 center Cam Quayle, 6-6 Ryan Nebeker and 6-4 forward Kim Hester.
While the Quayle-Nebeker-Hester group comprises the basic bill of fare for Coach Evan Excell, others moving into more prominent roles in the varsity rotation this year include 6-3 senior forward Eddie Morris, 5-9 senior guard Justin Wimmer and 5-10 senior guard Ryan Heninger.
Box Elder: Coach Kim Peterson has a trade-off of sorts this year with his Bees - only 6-2 junior guard Bill Bergeson can claim considerable quality varsity playing time from the past season. However, the streaky shooter may be the shortest Box Elder player on the court at times this year.
Yes, the Bees boast some big bodies, with 6-6 senior forward Jason Wojtyna, 6-7 junior center Steve Josephson, 6-3 junior forward Eric Dodson, and 6-5 sophomore forward Ryan Shaw. Wojtyna will be counted on for his senior leadership while the underclassmen mature.
Logan: Kenny Sorenson, a 6-6 senior forward, will be leading the Grizzlies' attack this season, while fellow seniors like 6-0 guard Kirk Hansen and 6-1 guard Brandyn Jenkins playing even more prominent roles for Logan.
Coach Larry Comadena has several underclassmen - such as junior guard Greg Raymond, junior swingman Chris Thomsen and sophomore forward Shane Hart - not only waiting in the wings but earning spots in the rotation.
Mountain Crest: The Mustangs' youth movement last year should pay off, seeing how Coach John Nielsen has 12 returning varsity players, including a trio that tower between 6-7 and 6-8. The Hyrum height advantage is as follows - 6-71/2 junior forward Aaron Thatcher, who averaged 10.5 points last year as a sophomore; 6-71/2 senior center Jeff Howell, who averaged 10 points; and 6-71/2 junior center Brandt Wilcox.
The backcourt falls into the hands of 6-0 senior Jeff Thatcher, 5-10 sophomore Ryan Pond, 6-2 junior Jason Lyle and 6-1 sophomore Cory Andersen.
Ogden: The Tigers were state finalists last season for the first time in 50 years - they could be back again this year, what with a returning frontline of 6-3 junior forward Brandon Parker and 6-5 all-state senior center Tramyne Watson, who averaged 16 points and 10 boards a game last year. Toss in transfer Matt Russell, a 6-6 senior who sat out last year.
The backcourt has been gaining valuable starting minutes in the preseason and features 5-10 senior Sheddric Mickles and 5-10 junior Neal Geddes. "We've got really good potential - we're putting some things together," said Coach Mitch Wilcox. "Still, it's going to be another month until we're good with the system we're playing."
Sky View: After making waves as a high-scoring sophomre, 6-0 guard Shane Mecham is back with the Bobcats for his junior year. Scott Jackson, a 6-0 senior guard, is another Sky View player with varsity experience.
Coach Alan Wamsley also has a number of other players who may not have logged top varsity time but who have benefited from being in the Sky View system. Such newcomers to the main rotation include 6-2 senior center John Roe, 6-2 junior forward Greg Robertson, and 6-5 senior forward Cory Wilkins.