Thanksgiving is time to be thankful for many things. For some, that includes the start of the high school basketball season. Here is a look at 10 Towson-area boys basketball teams heading into the 2013-14 season.
2012-2013 record: 22-5
Returning starters: 2
Coach Cliff Rees' quote: "It's a phenomenal record. I told the kids, 'I could coach at Boys' Latin and not have that record again.'"
Breakdown: The Lakers have gone from a floundering program into a flourishing one under third-year coach Cliff Rees.
Rees insists that duplicating that type of success will be difficult this season, with a youthful team competing in the B Conference.
"This year, I have only two seniors on the roster and I will be starting two sophomores," the coach explained. "There will be teams in the league with more seasoned rosters."
He'll head into this season with a revamped starting lineup. Gone are three standouts, including Rees' son Casey (averaged 18 points per game), Colin Heacock (14 pts., 8 reb.) and Brendan Fields (10 pts., 9 reb.).
The backcourt of the cousins, senior shooting guard Jordan Brooks (6-2) and junior point guard Blair Brooks (6-1) will be a strength, even without Casey and Heacock.
After averaging 9.8 points per game last year, Jordan Brooks could lead the Lakers in scoring.
Blair Brooks, who played shooting guard a year ago, will be running the offense this time around.
He has point guard skills and can provide plenty of offensive assistance.
"He is an exceptional athlete who handles the ball well and has very good court vision," Rees said.
The inside game received a boost with the transfer of sophomore Kodye Pugh (6-6) from Archbishop Spalding.
Pugh should have an immediate impact. He's a solid rebounder and defender who should be an effective offensive player.
"He will be a terrific player," Rees said. "He has a ton of upside. There's been a bunch of interest in him from big schools. Maryland, Syracuse and Texas have come to see him work out."
Freshman guard Brandon Bradsher (5-8), junior guard Devin Shewell (6-1) and senior forward Fredrick Bopst (6-3) will work as the top subs off the bench.
Sophomore forward Shawn Stepney (6-1), sophomore guards George Greene (5-11) and Michael Morsberger (6-2) and junior guard Jerel Archer (5-11) will contend for minutes.