2013-14 record: 16-3, 20-5
Coach: Jon Browne
Top players: Seniors Mamadou Ndiaye (F) and Will Robinson (F); juniors Larry Aaron (C), Tre Hopkins (G) and Daniel Kiely (G); sophomore Naquan Williams-Day (G).
What you need to know: With size and athleticism at every position, along with several prominent players returning, this year’s Scorpions team has the potential to be among the best coach Jon Browne has had during his tenure. And that’s saying something considering Oakland Mills has produced undefeated regular seasons twice in the last four years.
The question becomes whether all the pieces can come together for one cohesive unit, especially early on.
“We’ve got the talent, no question about that … the issue really is do we have enough basketballs for everyone and can we play unselfish,” Browne said. “Athleticism and talent only takes you so far and that’s going to be the big test for this group … can we play together?”
The team’s depth will be tested out of the gates, as Ndiaye — the team’s leading returning scorer (19.1 ppg) and rebounder (9.8 rpg) — is still nursing a foot injury. He’s missed the entire preseason and could be back anywhere between mid- to late-December.
The good news is that Robinson, a transfer in from St. Frances, is ready and waiting to announce himself as one of the county’s best. Explosive around the rim, terrific in transition and one of the team’s best 3-point shooters, the 6-foot-4 forward can literally do a little bit of everything. “He could be our best all around player … the guy can literally do it all,” Browne said.
The most important player, though, is arguably Kiely. The junior point guard is the glue guy for the team and is coming off a year last winter where he averaged 9.9 points and 3.6 assists a game.
The other big-time returners are Aaron — a 6-foot-5 center — and Williams-Day — a 6-foot-4 wing player. During last year’s playoff run to the region finals, both guys averaged over nine points a game. The duo also brings some momentum with them from a banner season on the football field, where the Scorpions had the program’s best finish in the last decade.
In fact, the roster features three other guys — Hopkins, Shawn Harris and Jordan Campbell — that starred as the football team as well. The athleticism that Hopkins and Harris bring, particularly on defense, will be a tremendous asset for the Scorpions on the hardwood.
Other guys to keep an eye on are 5-foot-5 back-up point guard Deion Graves, a transfer in from Mount St. Joe, and senior forward Kaiyon Stanfield.