Lamel Robinson, Desi Williams and Saadique Perkins will be well-knowncommodities.
How coach Dan Parra develops Park Hill South’s supporting cast will determine if the Panthers make a playoff return after last season’s disappointing finish. They lost in the Class 5 District 14 semifinals at home against North Kansas City, cutting short a very promising season.
With the three leading scorers back, Park Hill South knows the possibilities for a quick rebound.
“We have a good nucleus to grow with for sure,” Parra said. “Three out of our top nine are seniors, but we have a lot of experience; I think we’re young but a lot of experience with guys that have played in our program now for two or three years.”
Robinson and Williams — now juniors — have been starters their entire careers. Perkins immediately became a threat after transferring in last year for his junior season.
One of the best scorers in the area, Robinson averaged 22.4 points per game as a sophomore for Park Hill South and enters the season with 795 career points — less than 500 from Ivo Baltic’s school record of 1,255. Williams runs the point guard again after averaging 11.2 points and 3.1 assists per game.
Perkins, a 6-foot-3 small forward, scored 8.8 points per game to go with 5.3 rebounds per game in his first year with the Panthers.
However, Park Hill South moves on without guard Jacob Kline and undersized forward Connor Lee. The duo combined to score about 20 points per game while also being responsible for many of the small details — organization, rebounding and defense.
Kline was the last holdover from Park Hill South’s 2015 state runner-up, having started the majority of his final three seasons.
Park Hill South went 7-3 in Suburban Conference Red Division play a year ago, finishing second and one game back of Raytown. The Panthers were coming off back-to-back playoff appearances and seemed headed back in that direction, but they struggled to develop any scoring off the bench.
The simple goal will be to return to the playoffs with a deeper lineup.
“That has been the mindset from the beginning of the year,” Parra said. “I don’t think the motivation is as much to win 20 games, but it’s to win games that matter.”
A junior, Dawson Owen will add another outside threat to the backcourt after earning significant bench minutes in the second half of last season. Parra also expects juniors CJ Lee, Anthony Bell and Dylan Brougham to add size and compete for the minutes Connor Lee vacated.
Out of the group of forwards, only CJ Lee played much a year ago.