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Boys basketball Top 5 countdown: No. 1 Mount Saint Joseph

After falling in the MIAA A and BCL title games last season, the Gaels are poised to break through.

It's time to reveal the team that has claimed the top spot in The Baltimore Sun's Top 15 preseason poll. On Thursday night, the boys basketball preview, including a feature on some of the area's top junior go-to players, the Top 15 poll and top players to watch, will be available online and will then the entire package will run in Friday's print edition of The Baltimore Sun.

Here's a look at No. 1 Mount Saint Joseph:

Coach: Pat Clatchey

Last season: 33-6, No. 3

Postseason: MIAA A finalist; BCL finalist

Key players: Darryl Morsell, Sr., G; Jalen Smith, Jr., C; Nigel Jackson, Sr., F

Outlook: An argument can be made for No. 2 Poly or No. 3 John Carroll to start out as the area's No. 1 ranked team. But the Gaels get the nod based on their experienced talent, level of consistency and added motivation from reaching the title games in both the MIAA A and BCL last season. And then there's intangibles the team has starting with first-team All-Metro swing guard Morsell. An across-the-board talent who does everything well -- last season he averaged 10.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists -- the 6-foot-5 standout had a banner summer playing AAU ball and then went on to commit to Maryland. He will be asked to lead and his competitiveness and will to win could rub off on a talented surrounding cast. Jackson and the 6-9 Smith have plenty of upside and are expected to take their respective games to a higher and more consistent level this season. The Gaels also have quality depth with senior guard Jaden Robinson taking on a bigger role this season to go with juniors Tyree Myers, Tim McDonald and Kendall McMillan, and sophomore James Bishop. 


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