The boys basketball season has started for the private schools, and the public schools will begin play Thursday. That means it’s time to start rolling out the projections for this season’s top teams.
In the coming days, you can go to Varsity Letters for a countdown of the top-five teams. The area's preseason No. 1-ranked team will be posted Tuesday. The entire Top 15 poll, along with the top players to watch, will be available online Tuesday night and in Wednesday's print edition.
Here's a look at No. 5 Patterson:
Coach: Harry Martin
Last season: 17-8, unranked at season's end
Postseason: Class 3A North regional semifinal
Key players: Dereck Oliver, Jr., G; Kwynten Brooks, Sr., G; Rysheed Corbin, Sr., G.
Outlook: A number of teams could have slipped in at No. 5 with the Clippers getting the nod because of their experienced guards, some key transfers and overall depth.
Oliver, who averaged 16 points per game last season, makes the team go at point guard with smart decisions and an ability to score and distribute. Brooks and fellow guard Dawan Bass also averaged in double figures last season.
The addition of Corbin, a Forest Park transfer, provides another scoring option. Sophomore center Desmond Brown (6-feet-8) is a strong rebounder and defender, with newcomers Emerson Atkins (6-8) and Fortune Okigweh (6-6) giving the Clippers good size and athleticism inside.
Martin also has a couple players up from last year's junior varsity who are ready to make regular contributions, enabling the Clippers to go deep into their bench.
With the depth and flexibility, Patterson will can go with a big or small lineup to create mismatch problems. While City is a heavy favorite in Baltimore City, Patterson appears best equipped to give the Knights a push.