Coach: Mike Daniel Last season: 23-2, ranked No. 1
Postseason: Class 2A champion
Outlook: With four starters back — including Maryland-bound senior guard Nick Faust — the Knights are poised to make it three straight state titles. The team plays relentless defense.
2. St. Frances
Coach: Mark Karcher Last season: 24-10, No. 5
Postseason: Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association AConference champion; Baltimore Catholic League semifinalist
Outlook: The Panthers will lean on savvy point guard R.J. Williams and the inside play of center Greg Lewis, both four-year varsity players. The supporting cast is talented but inexperienced.
3. Digital Harbor
Coach: Johnnie Grimes Last season: 17-4, No. 9
Postseason: Class 2A North semifinalist
Outlook: The starting five is entirely new, but the up-tempo philosophy remains the same. Transfer guards Kevin Smith (Huntington Prep in West Virginia) and Daquan Cook (St.Frances) will set the tone.
4. Mount St. Joseph
Coach: Pat Clatchey Last season: 32-5, No. 2
Postseason: MIAA A runner-up; BCL runner-up
Outlook: With their top three scorers lost to graduation, role players must step up. Clatchey has a deep roster, led by center Trey Clinton and guard David Windsor.
Coach: Harry Martin Last season: 14-7, No. 13
Postseason: Class 3A North semifinalist
Outlook: Point guard sensation Aquille Carr has a vastly improved supporting cast this season. St. Frances transfer Karell Goines joins the backcourt, and the Clippers have size and depth up front.
6. Milford Mill
Coach: Albert Holley Last season: 25-3, No. 4
Postseason: Class 3A champion
Outlook: Returning starters Isaiah McCray and Tevin Hanner are catalysts, and Cardinal Gibbons transfers Nick Smoot and Troy Parker bolster the lineup.
7. John Carroll
Coach: Tony Martin Last season: 9-18, unranked
Postseason: MIAA A quarterfinalist
Outlook: Senior guards Malcolm McMillan and Ronald Scott lead the way for the Patriots, who won six of eight to end last season. But three sophomores and two freshmen are among the top eight players.
Coach: Darnell Dantzler Last season: 19-3, No. 6
Postseason: Class 2A North finalist
Outlook: With four starters lost to graduation, the Red Storm will be hard-pressed to match last season's breakthrough campaign, which included the program's first Baltimore City championship. But senior point guard Rodney Pratcher knows how to win.
Coach: John Brady Last season: 20-2, No. 11
Postseason: Class 4A East quarterfinalist
Outlook: The defending Anne Arundel County and DistrictV champs are smarting from last season's early exit in the regional playoffs. Senior guard Delonte Joyce, one of three starters back, averaged 15points last season.
Coach: Cyrus Jones Last season: 19-5, No. 7
Postseason: Class 1A champion
Outlook: The Poets have lost all five starters from last season's state title team, but Jones likes the way the new players complement one another. Guard Evan Singletary, a transfer from Archbishop Curley, brings skills and toughness.
11. Oakland Mills
Coach: Jon Browne Last season: 17-6, unranked
Postseason: Class 2A South finalist
Outlook: The Scorpions are clear favorites in Howard County. Forward Greg Whittington can take over a game, and point guard Joe Kiely makes smart decisions.
12. Glenelg Country
Coach: Kevin Quinlan Last season: 20-5, unranked
Postseason: MIAA B semifinalist
Outlook: Forward Isaiah Miles and guard Warren Powers make the Dragons the team to beat in the B Conference. First-year coach Quinlan emphasizes defense.
13. Lake Clifton
Coach: Herman "Tree" Harried Last season: 15-6, No. 10
Postseason: Class 2A North semifinalist
Outlook: All-Metro Player of the Year Josh Selby and three other starters are gone, leaving Harried with his smallest and youngest team. The Lakers will lean on guards Leron Fisher and Aaron Parks — and players from a 17-0 junior varsity.
14. Forest Park
Coach: Greate White Last season: N/A, unranked
Postseason: Eliminated in Class 1A North opening round
Outlook: IBE (formerly Walbrook) transfers, led by Anton Waters and Quentin Judd, help make the Foresters an instant contender in Baltimore City.
15. Havre de Grace
Coach: Johnny Brooks Last season: 18-4, unranked
Postseason: Class 1A North finalist
Outlook: With three starters and four other key players back, the Warriors are primed to build on last season's Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference title team.
Others considered: Archbishop Spalding (8-17, unranked), Calvert Hall (21-7, No. 2), Douglass (16-4, unranked), Old Mill (21-4, No. 8), Owings Mills (20-7, No. 14), Parkville (19-6, unranked); South Carroll (15-9, unranked), Southern (13-10, unranked)Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun