If Dulaney boys basketball fans were impressed with an offense that averaged 71 points a game last season, they will be excited to know the scoring average could be even higher this year.
The Lions graduated four starters from last year’s 18-6 squad, but they have four starters that head coach Matt Lochte thinks have the potential to play Division I college basketball in the future.
Shooting guard Josh Cornish (6-feet, 1 inch), a senior transfer from Calvert Hall, has already committed to play at Southern Utah next season.
“He is one of the best shooters around,” Lochte said. “The kid really fills it up.”
Sophomore Che Evans (6-7) is the lone returning starter from last season when he averaged 17 points a game and he’s getting Division I interest, including the University of Florida last week.
Two other starters who will most likely be sought after by college coaches are freshman point guard Ryan Conway (6-0) and freshman forward Ike Cornish (6-6), who is Josh’s younger brother.
“Between Che, Ike Cornish, Ryan Conway and Josh, we have four future Division I players on our roster,” Lochte said. “Although we are young and inexperienced, we have extremely skilled and talented players.”
Conway has really impressed his coach in pre-season practices and scrimmages.
“He’s a do-it-everything type of point guard,” Lochte said. “He’s a scoring point guard. He can really score in high volume.”
Joining the quartet in the starting lineup is junior forward Cameron Amoruso (6-4), a varsity reserve last season.
Senior forward Kevin Sharp (6-6) adds depth to the front line and junior Taevan Bradley (5-10), will back up Conway at point guard.
“We are six or seven deep and in a month we hope we will be eight or nine deep,” Lochte said.
Candidates who could emerge as key reserves are senior forward Pat Unger (6-2), junior forward Kyrome Fox (6-5), sophomore forward Cole McGee (6-4) and sophomore guard Tshepho Mahlangu (5-10).
While Lochte is confident in his team’s ability to score in bunches, the coach, in his 14th season, does have two major concerns — youth and depth.
“We are likely to start two freshman and a sophomore and my concern is depth,” Lochte said. “These are all future Division I players, but they are still 15-year olds.”
A pressing defense could also take its toll with fatigue and foul trouble.
“We’ve always been a pressing team and we plan to press, so we’ve got to make sure we stay out of foul trouble,” Lochte said.
On the plus side, Lochte expects to have a strong free-throw shooting team like he had last season.
That pinpoint shooting from the charity stripe surfaced in a 79-66 victory over Catonsville in the sectional semifinals.
The Lions made 13 consecutive free throws and 15 of 18 when they pulled away in the fourth quarter.
“We plan on going to the line a lot because we have offensive-skilled players and we will be attacking the basket,” Lochte said. “The goal is 80 percent as a team. If we can do that, we are going to be in a lot of games.”
He also expects his team to win a lot of those games.
“What I love about the team is we are extremely skilled, great ball skills and I think we can score in bunches and I’ve got a really good group of kids too,” said Lochte, citing his squad’s 3.5 grade point average.
Dulaney opens the season at home on Friday, Dec. 8 against Western Tech at 7 p.m. and the following day they will take on Mount Carmel at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9 at Coppin State University in the 3rd annual Shirts vs. Skins Classic.
“Its a big weekend next weekend for us,” Lochte said. “We are super excited.”