A look at the York-Adams boys' basketball players to watch this season

ROB ROSE
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Central York's Jacobi Baker, left, and Greg Guidinger, right, listen to Head Coach Jeff Hoke during YAIAA boys' basketball action against Northeastern at Central York High School in Springettsbury Township, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. Northeastern would win the game 71-68. Dawn J. Sagert photo

After taking a quick look at the Central York boys' basketball roster, one might expect the Panthers are headed for a down season.

With 2021 starters Nolan Hubbs, Taylor Wright-Rawls and Judah Tomb off playing college sports, the Panthers are missing several key players this season.

However, Central York head coach Jeff Hoke has different plans for the Panthers this season. With the combination of returning players, who got valuable experience when the aforementioned trio were out with injuries, and some young talent, Hoke expects the team to remain in the conversation for the York-Adams League Division I title.

“We did lose a lot of seniors, but we had three returning starters and we had a great junior varsity team that only lost two games,” Hoke said. “I think we're going to surprise people with how we play this year. We're inexperienced, but these kids played a lot of basketball together and they get along really well.”

Two of those returning starters that Hoke is really excited about are senior guard Jacobi Baker and sophomore forward Greg Guidinger. Baker got a lot of time running the offense with Hubbs hurt last season and averaged 11.5 points per game.

Guidinger returns after a strong freshman season. The 6-foot, 6-inch, 185-pound sophomore was a Y-A League D-I first-team all-star after he averaged 16.4 ppg, good for No. 8 in the league.

Central York's Greg Guidinger, left, works to get past Red Lion's Mitchell Burchett during boys' basketball action at Central York High School in Springettsbury Township, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. Central York would win the game 78-75. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Guidinger, a potential D-I player-of-the-year candidate, spent extra time this offseason training to elevate his game. He worked with former Kennard-Dale standout Charlie Parker and is prepared for teams that will game-plan to stop him every night.

“We've done a lot to prepare for it,” Guidinger said. “All the other guys know, they're all ready because it's just simple basketball, there are going to be games where other guys are going to need to step up. I'm only one player (and) you need five guys and they're all ready for it. We have scorers across the board and I think we're going to be a really good team.”

Northeastern's Karron Mallory, right, moves the ball down the court while Central York's Jacobi Baker defends during YAIAA boys' basketball action at Central York High School in Springettsbury Township, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. Northeastern would win the game 71-68. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The York-Adams season starts Friday night. Here are some other players to watch this season:

DIVISION I

Karron Mallory, Northeastern: The junior point guard comes off a special sophomore season. Mallory ran the Bobcats’ offense and averaged 12 points per game. Without Kaden Hamilton this year, Northeastern’s offense will run through the junior, who was a Y-A League D-I first-team all-star in 2020.

Dallastown's DJ Smith moves the ball down the court during boys' basketball action against South Western at Dallastown Area High School in York Township, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. Dallastown would win the game 51-43. Dawn J. Sagert photo

DJ Smith, Dallastown: The Wildcats lose Y-A D-I Player of the Year Michael Dickson, but return a talented young point guard, along with several other athletes on the roster. Smith handled the ball a little bit last season, but with football standouts Kenny Johnson, Michael Scott and Dylan Lease on the team, Dallastown should have a solid season.

Shilo Bivins, Seth Sager and Sam Stefano, South Western: The Mustangs return a talented trio this season. Senior Shilo Bivins and junior Seth Sager were Y-A League D-I honorable-mention all-stars, while senior Sam Stefano averaged 13 points per game last year.

Susquehannock's Jalen Franklin during boys' basketball action against Kennard-Dale at Kennard-Dale High School in Fawn Township, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Kennard-Dale would win the game 50-48. Dawn J. Sagert photo

DIVISION II

Jalen Franklin and Josh Franklin, Susquehannock: Jalen Franklin is the likely front runner to become Y-A League D-II Player of the Year. The senior was third in the league in scoring at 22.3 points per game last year, but also has the playmaking skills to run an offense. One of the players he will be passing to is Josh Franklin, who averaged 10 ppg during an Y-A D-II honorable-mention all-star season as a sophomore.

Austin Bausman, Eastern York: With only one D-II first-team all-star returning this season, several D-II players will have a chance to grab those spots. The 6-4 junior averaged 14 ppg as a Y-A League D-II second-team all-star last season.

Littlestown vs West York during boys' basketball action at West York Area High School in West Manchester Township, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. Littlestown would win the game 66-60. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Jaden Walker and Anthony Williams, West York: The Bulldogs return a talented senior duo looking to win games for West York. Walker averaged 13 ppg as a Y-A League D-II second-team all-star, while Williams added 12.3 ppg and was an honorable-mention all-star.

Susquehannock vs Kennard-Dale during boys' basketball action at Kennard-Dale High School in Fawn Township, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Kennard-Dale would win the game 50-48. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Koy Swanson, Kennard-Dale: The Rams come off a strong 2020 season, but lost their top talent. With Carter Day now in college and Jake Roupe no longer coaching, Kennard-Dale will look different this year. Junior Koy Swanson, a Maryland baseball commit, could be the focus of their offense after he averaged 9.3 ppg as a D-II honorable-mention all-star last year.

Trenton Ramirez-Keller, Gettysburg: Ramirez-Keller returns for his senior season after an elite junior year. The guard was fifth in the league in scoring at 18 ppg and was a D-II second-team all-star.

York Suburban's Brady Stump beats Mechanicsburg's Tyree Morris for a shot in a District 3 Class 5-A boys' basketball first-round game at York Suburban Tuesday, March 2, 2021. The Trojans went on to win 67-54. Bill Kalina photo

Brady Stump, York Suburban: With D-II Player of the Year Aidan Hughley and all-stars Alon Gorham and Camden Brewer on the team, the Trojans didn’t ask much from Stump a year ago. With that trio no longer on the squad, the 6-7 senior will be asked to be a big part of the Trojans’ plan this season. Stump has already committed to play D-I volleyball in college for Saint Francis.

Bermudian Springs vs York Catholic during boys' basketball action at York Catholic High School in York City, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. Bermudian Springs would win the game 46-45. Dawn J. Sagert photo

DIVISION III

Luke Forjan, York Catholic: The league’s leading scorer returns after a sensational sophomore season. Forjan averaged 23.6 ppg and was a D-III first-team all-star last year and could take the next step to become the division’s player of the year this season.

Littlestown vs West York during boys' basketball action at West York Area High School in West Manchester Township, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. Littlestown would win the game 66-60. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Jake Bosley, Littlestown: The Thunderbolts’ recent run of D-III titles could be challenged after the losses of Jayden Weishaar and Rachard Holder. Bosley returns as the Bolts’ top scorer at 10.4 ppg during a D-III first-team all-star campaign.

Around the league: Red Lion (D-I), Suburban (D-II) and Littlestown (D-III) will attempt to defend their division championships from a season ago.

Red Lion (17-3 last year) will need to replace standouts Davante Dennis and and AJ Virata, but do return Evan Watt (13.0 ppg). Northeastern (11-7), Dallastown (11-7) and Central York (12-7) look like the main threats to dethrone the Lions, although South Western (6-9), with its strong returning cast, could also be a threat.

Stump will try to help Suburban (15-5) defend its D-II crown, but West York (11-6), Susquehannock (9-7), Kennard-Dale (13-6) and Eastern York (5-13) will look to step up.

In D-III, Littlestown (17-4) will aim for another division crown. Forjan will try to help York Catholic (11-8) move up to the top spot, while defensive-minded Bermudian (11-6) may also be a contender. Fairfield (9-6) will have to make do without Nik Nordberg, who averaged 15.9 ppg last year. He's transferred to Scotland Campus prep school.

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.