It appears Derby’s boys basketball team is a popular destination for transfers.
The Panthers, who invade the Roundhouse on Tuesday to take on McPherson High in a matchup of highly ranked teams, have been bolstered by a tsunami of talented transfers that will turn what was expected to be a rebuilding Panther team into one that will be a legitimate contender for the Class 6A title.
The Panthers, who hammered the Bullpups 63-46 last year in Derby (though MHS was without Mason Alexander) and were 17-5, have added four players from other schools, two of them who already have committed to big-time programs.
The most notable is former Valley Center star Tyler Brown, who averaged just under 30 points a game last year to rank at the top of the state scoring charts. He had an amazing 50-point game against Newton and has signed to play at defending national junior college champion Hutchinson Community College.
Then there’s Bryant Mocaby, a 6-5 presence who has committed to play next year with Northern Kentucky. He left Goddard High School after averaging just under 17 points a game last season and brought along his younger brother Jared with him, a fine player in his own right.
Emilio Valentin played last year at Wichita East, where he was a part-time starter. He’s also expected to be a major factor.
Panther coach Brett Flory, who was formerly at Valley Center and is a good friend of MHS coach Kurt Kinnamon, was quoted in The Derby Informer as saying that on paper, this team has as much talent as any team he’s had.
In addition to the transfers, the Panthers do have some of their home-grown players coming back, including Grant Adler and Tre Washington.
When Derby comes here Tuesday, it will be the Panthers’ first game as they do not open this Friday. It will be interesting to see how this collaboration of transfers and returnees meshes early in the season.
It also will be interesting to see how much the Panthers improve in 6 weeks as they are back for the McPherson Invitational in January.
• DERBY GIRLS LOADED, TOO — McPherson High’s girls will also be facing a potential state champion.
The Panthers were second in the state last year in Class 6A, losing to Manhattan in the championship game.
They return 90 percent of their scoring and two players are NCAA Division I caliber. They will no doubt be eager to avenge last year’s 49-36 loss to the Bullpups.
Kennedy Brown, a 6-6 junior center, averaged 16 points and nearly 13 rebounds. She is being recruited coast-to-coast as she’s ranked the No. 2 center nationally for juniors and is No. 15 overall in the 2019 class by one rating service.
Junior guard Tore’E Alford already has committed to Missouri State. Add in Sydney Nilles, one of the state’s top sophomores, and the Panthers could practically beat some of the lesser teams on their schedule if they played 3-on-5.
These games with Derby are among the highlights on the MHS schedule. And remember, next Friday the Bullpups travel to Kansas City for throwdowns with Bishop Miege in rematches of last year’s two Class 4A Division I state championship games.
McPherson fans, already itching to see their Bullpups, will certainly turn out in droves for what should be one of the most highly attended Tuesday night games in recent memory.