Welcome to the equalized Region 7, what with two-time state champion Emery County having graduated 7-6 standout Shawn Bradley and the rest of the top eight players from the Spartan squad of a year ago.
That means that Region 7 could become well-balanced when it comes to league competition. Or it could result in a return to a non-descript status for the state's long-distance 3A league.Carbon: First of all, the Dinos have played a limited preseason schedule, with Coach Darrell Stewart instead opting for in-house practice over non-counting non-league games. Second of all, there's still a 7-footer down near Castle Country this season - Carbon's 7-0 junior center Travis Raby, whose coming around just fine in the varsity rotation.
Experience for the Dinos can be found with 6-4 all-region center-forward Curtis Cook, 5-9 senior guard Shane Callahan, and 6-0 senior guard Chris Philips. Besides Raby, 6-3 senior forward Rod Jewkes will see considerable varsity time.
Emery County: Coach Todd Jeffs graduated the top eight players from his nationally traveled 23-2 Spartan squad, which won last year's 3A crown after taking the 2A title the year before. Jared Butler, a 6-6 senior center, is the player back with the most varsity experience, along with returnees 6-1 senior guard Gus Childs and 6-0 junior guard Mike Gagon.
Newcomers along the frontline are 6-4 senior forward Jason Huntington and 6-2 junior forward Ryan Burke.
Lehi: The Pioneers have spent the preseason getting to know Coach Chad Wilson, who has come in to Lehi from California as a first-year coach.
While lacking a lot of size, the Pioneers have a blend of experience and fresh faces at nearly every position - the backcourt includes 5-11 Chad Atwood and 6-0 Judd Kirkham; the frontline features 6-5 center Ryan Peterson, 6-3 forward John Chamberlain, and 6-1 forward Gary Wells; and the swing spots have 6-0 Johnny Revill and 5-11 Jason Willes.
Uintah: Coach Derrin Gardiner is hoping that experience pays off, what with eight seniors back and a trio of Ute players who have seen quality varsity time since their sophomore seasons. Plus, Uintah has considerable size and depth inside the paint.
The top returning players include 6-1 all-region senior guard Scott Mansfield, 6-5 senior forward Marshall Buker and 6-4 senior center Ben Wilson.
Expected to make major contributions this season are the likes of 6-6 senior forward Kirt Christensen, 6-8 junior center Jason Moore, and 5-10 junior guard Lance Stevens.
Union: Perhaps the top featured individual performer in the league can be found in Roosevelt - the Cougars' Tai Riser, a 6-3 senior wingman who averaged 24 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists last year as a junior. Also back for Coach Dan Lunt are perimeter partners 6-0 senior Mike Larsen and 6-0 junior Adam Gurr, so it's no surprise that Union is considered an excellent shooting team that likes to quickly push the ball up the floor.
A threesome of juniors moving into the varsity rotation this year at 6-5 forward Aaron Weight, 6-4 forward Cameron Evans, and 6-1 wing Jonny Angel.
Wasatch: Coach Bill Farr's Wasps gave Emery its toughest battles in Region 7 play last year, and a trio of starters return for Wasatch - 5-11 senior guard Craig Kohler, 5-10 senior guard Brandon Lindsay and 6-3 senior post Corey Berg. All three averaged in double figures last year and are the nucleus of seven Wasps players who shot 40 percent or better from 3-point range.
William Summerhays, a 5-11 senior guard, started a half-dozen games last year and will be bumped up into more quality playing time. Other newcomers for the run-and-gun Wasps include 5-11 senior forward John David Besendorfer and 6-2 senior forward Hans Hoffman.