A promising boys basketball season is upon us, so let's take a closer look at some of the finest teams in the area and what we can expect from each.
Our detailed daily roll of the area’s top five teams concludes today with No. 1.
1. Mount St. Joseph
Coach: Pat Clatchey
Last season: 28-8, ranked No. 3
Postseason: BCL champion; MIAA A finalist
Outlook: With plenty of talented boys basketball teams in the area, arguments could be made for some others to stake claim to the top spot at the start of the season.
But no team has a more settled situation than Mount St. Joseph, which captured the Baltimore Catholic League title and reached the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference title game last season, and brings most of their players back.
It starts in the backcourt with the All-Metro tandem of Kameron Williams (also the BCL Player of the Year) and Phil Booth. The two players bring dominating skills, a comfort level having played together for three seasons and whatever-it-take-to-win attitudes that sets the tone for a strong supporting cast.
Junior guard Jaylen Adams and senior forward Charlie Jones also return to bring stability and other valuable intangibles to help produce wins.
The Gaels did lose some size with 6-foot-7 forward Phil Lawrence graduated and 6-6 Lavon Long transferring to Oakland Mills, but Clatchey is confident those voids can be replaced with a mix of veterans and newcomers ready to step up.
Junior forward Kyle Doran is a key role player who plays strong defense and rebounds and 6-foot-10 junior center Alexander Wear -- up from the junior varsity -- is one of a number of newcomers expected to contribute underneath.
The Gaels will have plenty of challenges in the BCL and MIAA with St. Frances and John Carroll at the front of a deep list.
But with Williams and Booth providing a stable starting point that is difficult to match, and a veteran group of players that all have their roles well established, the Gaels will be tough to beat when the games count the most in the postseason.