Even though the Hilliard Davidson High School boys basketball team returns only one player, 11th-year coach Kevin Logsdon is optimistic the Wildcats will exceed outsiders' expectations this season.
Davidson lost six players from last season to graduation, including four regular starters in guards Brandon Gleim and Davonte Peterson and wing players Cole Lawson and Chris Logsdon.
Logsdon, the coach's son, averaged 11.3 points a year ago and was first-team all-OCC-Central Division and honorable mention all-district. Peterson averaged 10.2 points and was special mention all-league and honorable mention all-district and Gleim averaged 10.8 points and was honorable mention all-league. Lawson averaged 7.2 points.
The Wildcats, who opened Dec. 4 against Worthington Kilbourne and begin league play Friday, Dec. 7, at Dublin Coffman, finished 13-10 overall last season. Their only returnee is 6-foot-6 sophomore center Michael Simon, who averaged 4.1 points last season.
"Most people probably think we're going to be down because we lost so many good players and our only returning player is a sophomore, so I hope we can use that to our advantage to sneak up on some teams," coach Logsdon said. "We're definitely young in terms of our experience, but we're progressing and I haven't seen any difference at all from a maturity or effort standpoint. We definitely have the potential to be a lot better than most people think. What that will equate to record-wise remains to be seen."
Also on the team are seniors Luke Brorein (6-2, wing player), Michael Kreiser (6-4, post player), Kyle Martin (5-11, point guard), Scottie Munson (6-1, wing player) and Adam Pierce (5-11 point guard), junior Josh Stimmel (6-0, wing player), sophomores Jay Peterson (5-11, guard) and Nick Potts (6-5, wing player) and freshmen Jack Klein (5-10, point guard) and Jimmy Ratliff (6-4, wing player).
"This is definitely the biggest team I've coached here," coach Logsdon said, referring to his team's overall height. "Michael has gotten bigger, stronger and better, and we have four guys we can put inside this year. Our five seniors are good basketball players. They were just behind a good class the past two seasons."
Last season, Davidson went 7-7 in the OCC-Central to place sixth, behind Upper Arlington (12-2), Coffman (9-5), Thomas Worthington (9-5), Kilbourne (8-6) and Westland (8-6) and ahead of Hilliard Darby (3-11) and Central Crossing (0-14).
As part of OCC realignment last summer, Darby and Kilbourne moved to the OCC-Cardinal and were replaced by Marysville and Olentangy Liberty.
Last season, Liberty went 21-3 and lost to eventual Division I state champion Pickerington Central 60-58 in a regional semifinal.
Davidson swept Thomas Worthington and Coffman in league play last season, defeating the Cardinals 44-43 and 56-51 and beating the Shamrocks 42-37 and 50-44.
The Wildcats also beat Thomas Worthington in the first round of the Division I district tournament, 54-47, and upset 10th-seeded Grove City 54-40 in the second round before losing to Reynoldsburg 57-47 in a district semifinal.
"The experience, obviously, isn't there, so we're going to be the underdog in a lot of games this year," Simon said. "But we have a lot of height and we play hard, so I think we're going to catch a lot of teams off guard. We just want to win as many games as we can because we want to prove all of the doubters and haters wrong."