"This year, the guys that are coming back are hungry," Fannin said. "It's been a while since Catonsville has been relevant in basketball and they have a chance to do something special."

Last year's squad was unsettled at the start of practice because several prospective players were still playing football on a 12-1 squad that reached a state semifinal.

This year's gridders were eliminated in the first round of the regional playoffs and junior football players Teddy Crayton (6-1, G/F) and Joey Getzendanner (5-10, G) are ready to go.

Juniors Christian Boxley (5-9) and Daniel Carver (5-8) will help in the backcourt and junior newcomer Nathan Hines (6-6) brings size to the paint.

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Fannin coached the Comet junior varsity from 2008 through 2010 and has been with some of his seniors for four seasons.

"James, Jamal and Jack, you can see by the way they are practicing, they want to make it happen," Fannin said.

Western Tech

Record last year: 13-5

Returning starters: Senior guard Tre Beverly (5-8)

Breakdown: The Wolverines graduated the dynamic inside duo of Andre Jackson and Keith Crowell and with them went 33 points and 22 rebounds-per-game averages, which makes coach Mike Slepesky aware that he will have to call on his entire 15-player roster to replace those numbers.

"They gave me a very good reason to keep 15," Slepesky said. "I think the teams is deeper than last year, we just don't have the star power."

Beverly is the only returning starter, but the Wolverines do have veterans in senior guards Brandon Luster (5-7) and Khalil Edwards (6-1) and senior forwards Tyrell Laster (6-1), Coyet Goodman (6-2) and Devin Collins (6-2).

Junior Chaz Lassiter (5-11) could shared point guard duties with Luster and junior Josh Miles (6-4) brings a physical presence to the interior.

"We are very good across the board," Slepesky said. "We will probably rotate 10 or 12 guys."

Seniors Daquane Skipwith (6-0), Earl Holly (6-0) and Lamar Briscoe Wortham (6-0) hope to work into the mix with juniors Donald Imes (6-0), Mike Haysbert (6-4), John Williams (5-11) and John Morant (5-11).

"This year we are going to have to rely on our fastbreaks, pressure and our outside shooting ability," Slepesky said.