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.