FIELDER’S VOICES: Maybe league predictions can stir some trash talk

Basketball could be the best sport for trash talk.

And reader banter in the comments section during football season often rivaled Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier smack talk.

Yet in the first three weeks of basketball-only Fielder, no one has commented.

Do you just not care as much about basketball as you did football?

Have I become too tame?

Well, whatever the excuse, I’ll give you plenty of reason to trash talk this week: league predictions.

Boys predictions will run this week, followed by girls next.

Remember, keep the comments clean and fun. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother to hear, OK?

Northeast League: Eldorado — This was a tough nut to crack, being that Eldorado, Canyon Springs and Desert Pines have combined for a 36-16 record out of the gates.

But the Sundevils get the nod based on experience — Mitrell Clark and Marcus Moreland are back from last year’s co-champion team that made it all the way to the Sunrise Region title game.

Clark is averaging 23.8 points through 12 games, and Moreland puts up 13.2 points and 8.6 rebounds.

Northwest League: Cheyenne — Legacy — no, seriously, Legacy — is 3-1 to match its number of league wins from a year ago.

And Palo Verde, as expected, looks strong.

But even with some of the issues Cheyenne has faced — Kansas signee Elijah Johnson’s minor knee injuries and Northwestern State signee Mike Cutright’s ineligibility after transferring from Cimarron-Memorial — the Desert Shields are the team to beat.

Here’s why:
• Cheyenne is more playoff-tested than anyone else in Southern Nevada. As in, five points away from winning last year’s Class 4A state championship.

• Talent. All the hype goes to Johnson, but look at all the riches the Desert Shields have: Demetric Williams, Chris McCall and Jaylen Henry. All three deserve college scholarship offers at some level.

• Schedule. Six of Cheyenne’s final nine league games are at home, which could give a lift toward the end of the regular season.

Especially with the way Mojave has disappointed — the Rattlers have already lost to Legacy, Valley, Eldorado and Silverado — take Chey-town in this one.

Southeast League: Silverado — Sure, the Skyhawks are streaky and had a cupcake-filled schedule to start the season.

But they still boast what looks like the top outside-inside combination in the league in Ali Sabra and Division I prospect Wade Collie.

Not to mention, an 11-game winning streak.

Still, Bradley signee Milos Knezevic and Liberty will provide a challenge.

And don’t forget about Foothill, which beat Liberty 70-63 in overtime Friday.

Southwest League: Bishop Gorman — I know, you Mountain Lions are probably screaming at the computer monitor that you beat the Gaels 86-82 in overtime Friday.

An impressive win indeed.

Sierra Vista so happens to be the only hope this league has to stand up to Gorman, and the first stone has been cast.

But expect the Gaels to bounce back in a hurry.

There is a lot of underrated talent in this league, just not on the same team.

Therefore, the Gaels will win league, though it will be harder than last year’s 11-1 romp.

John Loyd is as fun to watch as any point guard in the valley. Kylel Coleman, Czar Robotham, Anson Winder and freshman sensation Shabazz Muhammad will be too much for any team to overcome.

3A Southern League: Faith Lutheran — Come on, you didn’t really think it’d be anyone else, did you?

The four-time defending 3A state champion Crusaders have no starters back from last year’s team, but they get the nod until someone can knock them off.

Post player Brett Lubbe is one of the top sophomores in the valley, and Chase Saunders is a versatile guard who can score in bunches.

Look out for Moapa Valley, which has some familiar faces from football putting up impressive numbers.

2A Southern League: Needles (Calif.) — Darra Russell and Stevie Kidd (hey, more football names) are back from last year’s state runner-up team.

What’s more, six players from last season’s league champion junior varsity squad have given a huge lift.

If you haven’t seen this team play yet, it’s your loss. So crank some “California Love” on your iPod, head south on U.S. Highway 95 and check out those Mustangs.

1A Southern League: Lake Mead — This is close to a no-brainer.

Sure, Budweiser Hawkins and Trinity, as well as Pahranagat Valley, will be tough, but no one else will have a prayer against the Eagles.

Facing injuries and a rugged schedule, Lake Mead hasn’t been able to breeze through this season the way it did while going 32-1 last season. But the Eagles still have proven their mettle with wins over South Miami Senior, Faith Lutheran, Lincoln County and Agassi Prep

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