TOPEKA (KSNT) – Highland Park boys’ basketball finished with an impressive 18-5 record last season, but it ended in the first round of the 5A state tournament.
“Very disappointing because I feel like we didn’t succeed to where we wanted to go, so, we’re going to make up for it this year,” Highland Park forward Jahmir Kingcannon said.
How does this team make up for it? A state championship. With multiple high-flying athletes on the team, that goal isn’t out of the picture.
“Our whole starting five actually,” Kingcannon said when asked who all on the team can dunk.
Star football player Tre Richardson is trading the cleats for sneakers. After a stellar football season, he wasn’t sure if he’d play basketball, but he’s back on the court.
“Coach Mike asked me, told me, that I should go out because this is the year we should win state,” Richardson said. “So I might as well go out.”
Plus, Highland Park has Ketraleus “Bo” Aldridge, who has multiple Division I basketball scholarship offers under his belt.
“Probably one of, if not the best player in the state,” head coach Mike Williams said. “Just a crazy talent, he makes me look good. Even when I don’t look good.”
Highland Park makes it clear it isn’t just about its athleticism, however.
“When I first came over here, I had people telling me like, ‘You know Mike, them guys can’t run plays. They’re not going to remember plays. They’re athletes, you might have to just dumb it down and let them go,’ and I didn’t believe that,” Williams said. “…I think everyone knows the athleticism that Highland Park brings to the table…they bring a level of IQ, that allows that level athleticism to go up a notch.”
The players can sense their game has gone up as well.
“Without IQ, you can’t really play the game of basketball correctly, so we all upped our IQ, and that makes us a better team overall,” Kingcannon said.
Highland Park begins its season Tuesday against Bonner Springs.
Full Court Press, the Friday high school basketball show on 27 News, starts Friday.