DANVILLE — Westville coach Jeff Millis has seen more than 20 seasons of high school basketball in Vermilion County.
So, when he was asked about this year’s Vermilion Valley Conference boys basketball season, the veteran coach found the perfect word.
“Parity,’’ he said. “This league looks to be as good competitively as it has ever been since it was formed about 10 years ago.’’
And that’s because the Vermilion Valley Conference is going to be senior-laden league with six of the 11 first team all-conference players returning this year and those six players represent five different schools.
Only the Salt Fork Storm, who finished second in last year’s VVC standings behind Bismarck-Hennis, have two returning first-team all-league players in Max Stutsman, who was a first-team Commercial-News All-Area selection, and Ross Learnard, a second-team all-area pick.
“We are very fortunate to have that kind of experience returning,’’ said Salt Fork coach Andrew Johnson. “Those guys know what it has taken to be successful and they understand what they will need to do to contribute.’’
But when asked if his team, who also returns senior Cole Taylor, an all-area honorable mention selection, was the favorite to win the league title, Johnson had a very politically correct answer.
“I think everyone is 0-0 right now,’’ he said.
And that’s true, even for the Bismarck-Henning Blue Devils, who return three starters from last year’s conference championship team.
Wilde Garowski, a 6-foot-8 senior center, was a second-team all-area selection last season, while 6-5 senior guard Andy Bott and 6-1 senior foward Chase Conelly were honorable mention selections.
“Like a lot of teams in this conference this season, we have a good senior class,’’ said Bismarck-Henning coach Jon Clapp. “Wilde gives us considerable size and a force on the inside. Andy is a very good shooter from the perimeter and a touch matchup at 6-5. While Chase Connelly is a guy that does a little bit of everything for us on both ends of the court.’’