Last week I was fortunate enough to check out the three-time defending state champions in Kansas, Blue Valley Northwest. I attended one of their open gyms to get an early look at them to see how they’d stack up this year before heading into their season. The Huskies lose a critical piece with Christian Braun having graduated and heading off to Kansas University to play basketball.
But when it comes to Blue Valley Northwest, they don’t rebuild, they simply reload.
The Huskies are going to be young, but the presence of their veteran leader Markell Hood will take the youth laden team as far as he can take them. Hood is a natural leader who is constantly talking on both ends of the floor, which is a quality in a leader that goes a long way. Hood continues to work on his midrange game which is the strongest part of his game, to go with his slashing ability from the wing.
To help with leading the team the Huskies will have Jack Chapman along side Hood. Chapman is a slasher with great instincts on the basketball court who also isn’t shy when it comes to talking on both ends of the court. Expect Chapman to take a big leap forward this year for the Huskies and step up in the absence of Christian Braun.
While the Huskies are young, they are talented in that aspect. Alston Mason, a junior point guard was quite possibly the most impressive player at their open gym. Alston is new to the Blue Valley Northwest team, transferring over from Olathe West. The point guard was absolutely automatic from three and proved to be the best floor general in the state of Kansas during the short time at the open gym. Mason’s a smooth guard with elite court vision who will make Blue Valley Northwest one of the hardest teams to beat.
Mason wasn’t the only young gun that impressed during my time at their open gym, Joey Robinson was impressive as well. Robinson, like Mason, was automatic from three. Every time he was left open it was almost certainly going in. The 2022 guard is a sniper from three but very crafty as well, he’s going to be a key piece to their rotation during the season.
Overall, Blue Valley Northwest will be young, but their veteran players who have been on the biggest stage for them will take them as far as they need to go. It also helps that they’re coached by the legendary Ed Fritz, who is no stranger to winning.
The Huskies will certainly have the talent to contend for a championship once again, and I suspect you’ll be hearing about them come March when the State basketball tournaments are happening.