Scots 2011-12 Season Preview

Nov 28, 2011

Coach Ken Darting enters his 11th season at Highland Park.


The 2011-12 Highland Park Scots basketball team is aiming for another state tournament appearance.


Ken Darting returns for his 11th season as the head coach at Highland Park.  In his 10 seasons with the Scots, he has guided the team to four state titles (2004, 2007, 2008, 2009) with a 196-42 record and seven state tournament appearances.


After back-to-back 17-5 seasons without a state tournament appearance, the 2011-12 squad is looking for a return to the Kansas ExpoCentre.


“I think we’re really talented, we’ll play hard, we have good basketball skills, going to play real fast so I really do believe that when we get to February and March, we’ll have a chance to play with anybody we play,” Darting said.  “We’re not overpowering and big so it’s not like the ’07 group, but it’s a group that is not afraid of going on the floor and playing against anybody.  They are a fun team and I’m expecting good things from them when it’s all said and done.  And of course the next couple of years should be real good.” 


Last year’s team finished with a disappointing loss to Lansing in the sub-state finals.  The Scots will be looking to replace four senior starters in A.J. Downing, J.B. Brooks, Tre’Vell Luarks, and Shaka Thomas. 


The 2011-12 Scots have just three seniors on the roster, but a number of young players in the program have a bright future.


Junior forward O’Shai Clark and junior point guard Tray Wheeler will be two of the Scots top players this year.  As far as filling out the rest of the starting lineup, it’s up in the air at this point.


“Every day I change my mind,” Darting said.  “It’s really even.  We have 12 that you could pick out of a pile literally.  The doghouse will be deep and the well will be deep so you better play hard every day in practice because there’s somebody waiting to take your spot.” 


Hayden transfer Mike Johnson, a third-team all-city pick as a junior, is also expected to be a key player. Johnson averaged 9.3 points last season and 11.7 as a sophomore with the Wildcats, who won 18 games both seasons.


“He gives us a new dimension,” Darting said.  “We can post him against little guys, take him outside against big guys, and he has a great feel for the game.  He gives us a dimension that we don’t have him.  We don’t have anybody like him, no back-up or anything.  He’s a big, athletic, perimeter-type player that will make an impact when he’s eligible in January.  We’re excited about him.” 


Sophomore 6-5 forward Shaffee Carr could have a breakout season for the Scots.


“He’s going to be a player, a Blake Griffin-type player on the high school level, not major college or NBA,” Darting said.  “He’s very active, very athletic, a sprint champion in track, can run and jump, kind of immature, but he’s a 15-year old sophomore, and as he develops we can be really pretty good.”


The Scots begin their season on December 8 at the Leavenworth Invitational.  The eight-team, three-day event pits some of the best teams in Kansas and Missouri against one another.  The other seven teams in the tournament are: KC-Washington, Leavenworth, KC-Wyandotte, Raytown South (MO), Hogan Prep (MO), KC-North (MO), and Nixa (MO).


“That tournament we might be in over our heads, but we’ll see,” Darting said.  “I think that will be good for us no matter what happens.  It will be a really, really good tournament.”


Other schools in Topeka begin action this week.





SG Mike Johnson, 6-4, Senior – Due to transfer rules, Johnson will miss the first six games of the season and will be allowed to play beginning on January 6.  He’s received interest from Central Michigan, Colorado State, Marquette, Missouri State, Northern Iowa, and Wichita State among others.


F O’Shai Clark, 6-0, Junior – Clark is expected to be the team’s top post player this year after averaging 5.8 points and 3.8 rebounds as a sophomore in a reserve role.  He’s an aggressive player with good athleticism. 


PG Tray Wheeler, 5-8, Junior – Wheeler averaged 3.0 points and 2.0 assists a game last season as a part-time varsity/junior varsity player, but will be a starter this year.  Wheeler is a good defensive player a good distributor.  He’ll be expected to lead the Scots.


SF Shaffee Carr, 6-5, Sophomore – Carr started a couple games last season as a freshman including the first game of the postseason.  He is the top underclassman in the Scots program and is a premier athlete.  In middle school, he won the 100, 200, and shot put in track.  He’s been putting up impressive numbers in the weight room and if he matures quickly, he could carry the Scots.  Last year, he averaged 13 points in two quarters of action on the junior varsity level.


G Jahmal McMurray, 5-11, Sophomore - McMurray averaged nearly 21 points a game on the junior varsity team last year and is a great 3-point shooter with good instincts and is a good passer.  He’s grown five inches in the past year and is looking to have a key role on the team this season as either a point guard or off-guard.  As a player that lives in the gym, he could have a bright future.


SG Steffon Kyles, 5-10, Junior – Kyles is a good outside shooter with good instincts.  He’s also a good rebounder for his size, which will enable him to take on taller players. 


SG Jovan Barksdale, 5-9, Sophomore – Jovon is the son of former Highland Park great Tony Barksdale.  Like Tony, Jovon is a natural scorer.  He averaged nearly 20 points a game on the junior varsity team last season and is a strong athlete.


SG Tez Scroggins, 5-7, Freshman –Scroggins was ranked as the 41st-best player, 8th-ranked shooting guard, at the 2010 Adidas Junior Phenom Camp in San Diego, Calif. by  He’s not expected to have a large role on the varsity team this year, but likely to receive some playing time.

PF Jalen Jenkins, 6-2, Senior – At 235 pounds, Jenkins gives the Scots a physical presence.  He’s considered a good interior passer, who can shoot the ball. 


F Payton Inyard, 5-11, Senior – He’s the younger brother of former Scot Patrick Inyard, who won two state titles (2007, 2008) and was a walk-on at UMKC.  Payton is a good athlete that has a similar game to Patrick—a solid, gritty, defensive player that does a lot of the little things well.


G Tony Barksdale Jr., 5-8, Freshman – Another one of Tony Barksdale’s sons in the program that is expected to have a bright future.  He’s strong, aggressive, and can score.


G Jamon Fulton, 5-6, Junior – Fulton has played sparingly the last two seasons with the varsity team and is a very good 3-pointer shooter, who could fill the role as a situational player. 


G Pat Glover, 5-10, Junior - Glover was a steady performer on the junior varsity team last year and looks to fill a bigger role this season.


PG Tyrece Parker, 5-11, Freshman – Tyrese is the younger brother of former Scot Tyson Parker, who won a state title as a senior on the 2007 team.  Tyrese is expected to be a better player than Tyson and could still be growing. 


F Daniel Kingcannon, 6-3, Freshman – Daniel is the son of former Highland Park great Danny Kingcannon.


F Brian Harness, 6-2, Freshman - Brian is the nephew of former Highland Park guard Antwan Harness and is likely to continue to grow as his dad is 6-8.



2011-12 SCHEDULE



12/8/2011 vs. Nixa MO (Leavenworth Tourney)
12/9/2011 TBD (Leavenworth Tourney)
12/10/2011 TBD (Leavenworth Tourney)
12/16/2011 at Topeka West
12/20/2011 Coffeyville
1/3/2012 Hayden
1/6/2012 at Topeka High
1/10/2012 at Emporia

1/13/2012 Seaman
1/19/2012 Topeka Invitational
1/20/2012 Topeka Invitational

1/21/2012 Topeka Invitational
1/26/2012 Manhattan
2/3/2012 at Hayden
2/7/2012 at Shawnee Heights
2/10/2012 Emporia
2/14/2012 Topeka High

2/17/2012 at Washburn Rural
2/21/2012 Junction City
2/24/2012 Topeka West




Family on 3” is a book written by Christopher Stock about the Highland Park Scots undefeated season in 2007 that will be coming out soon.  Highland Park High School is located in Topeka, Kansas.