It's unfair how talented Lone Peak's boys basketball team is. Bracken Funk (Fresno St.), Josh Sharp (Utah) and Justin Hamilton (Iowa St.) have already committed to Division I schools. Then there's Tyler Haws, who was named 5A MVP as a sophomore last year and is one of the most highly-recruited players from Utah in a decade.
Despite the boatloads of talent, Lone Peak isn't the runaway favorite to repeat as 5A state champions, which speak volumes to the overall depth of the state's largest classification this year.
No one would be surprised if Davis or Pleasant Grove, both of which are still undefeated, dethroned the champs later this season, whereas teams like Alta, Brighton, Bingham and West Jordan also should factor in the mix.
"I think that 5A is better than it was last year overall, there's some very good teams," said Lone Peak coach Quincy Lewis, whose team posted a 24-1 record last year.
Many thought Lone Peak had a realistic shot at 25-0 this season, but those aspirations were quickly dashed on opening night when the Knights were bested by Provo. Funk did not play in that game, and his void was obvious.
"Funk is really, really important to that team, he brings a lot of energy," said Davis coach Jay Welk, whose Darts currently occupy the top spot in the state.
With only two returning starters (Haws and Funk) experience could be an issue for the Knights, especially when league play begins in the ultra-competitive Region 4.
"This team has a lot of talent, but it's just going to be a little bit of a process before we get all the way there," said Lewis. "Honestly, we could lose a few more games. But really, all I'm concerned about is where we're at in the end, on March 1."
If Lewis is correct, the team most likely to knock off the Knights is Pleasant Grove.
Lone Peak without question has the best front court in the state, but the same can be said about the Vikings' back court.
Led by junior sensation C.J. Wilcox, along with LeSean Wilcox, Brady Thurgood and Craig Tucker, the Vikings are blessed with numerous scorers.
"I think they're four of the top guards in the state and to have them all on the same team is just a real plus for us," said P.G. coach Randy McAllister.
Region foes Lone Peak and Pleasant Grove meet twice this season, at P.G. on Jan. 18 and at Lone Peak on Feb. 8. Both games could be a preview of the eventual 5A state championship.
The Region 4 party could easily be crashed by Davis, which has been dominant defensively in its four wins this year. Ironically enough, Welk believes the Darts' strength is its balanced scoring led by Connor VanBrocklin and Mitch Florence.
"I think we have a good team, but I think we can play a lot better than we have so far," said Welk. "We're very inconsistent right now."After the big three, there's a slight dropoff in 5A, but that's because it's mid-December. Once teams like Bingham, West Jordan, Alta, Brighton and several others get more experience, the quality of 5A should only get better.
5A preseason boys basketball rankings
1. West Jordan
4. Copper Hills
1. Lone Peak
2. Pleasant Grove
3. Spanish Fork
4. American Fork
Note: preseason rankings determined by coaches' votes.