The boys basketball season is underway for the private schools with the public schools beginning play Dec. 5, so it’s time to roll out the projections for this season’s top teams.
In the coming days, Varsity Letters will count down the top five with the area’s preseason No. 1 team posted Thursday. The Top 15 poll, along with the top players to watch, also will be available online Thursday with the entire preview package in Friday’s print edition of The Baltimore Sun.
Here’s a look at No. 2 Mount Saint Joseph:
Coach: Pat Clatchey
Last season: 37-4, No. 3
Postseason: MIAA A Conference and BCL champions
Key players: Jalen Smith, Sr. F; James Bishop, Sr., G; Tyree Myers, Sr., PG
Outlook: There’s no question — it’s already apparent with a 74-53 season-opening loss at No. 5 John Carroll on Monday — that the Gaels have a target on their back after sweeping last year’s titles. And there’s plenty of worthy competitors coming at them. At 6-foot-9, Smith brings dominant play at both ends and will have to emerge as the team’s leader after the graduation of All-Metro forward and current Terp Darryl Morsell. But Smith has plenty of talented and experienced players to help shoulder the load. Bishop, a lights-out scorer, quietly enjoyed a breakout season playing in the shadow of Smith and Morsell and will need to do more with more attention focused on him. Myers, Kendall McMillan, Tim McDonald and Ryan Marshall all played well last season and are ready for bigger roles. Responsible team defense, smart decisions on offense and taking care of the basketball have been constants in the program and have to continue if the Gaels want to stay on top.