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.
Running through next Tuesday (excluding Saturday and Sunday), we’ll count down to No. 1 with a detailed daily roll of the area’s top five teams.
4. John Carroll
Coach: Tony Martin
Last season: 30-8, No. 5
Postseason: MIAA A champion; BCL finalist
Outlook: The Patriots will once again be deep in the mix for championships in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Assocation A Conference and Baltimore Catholic League, bringing experienced guard play, and good size and athleticism up front.
The roster has a mix of returnees and newcomers that will have to quickly mesh to produce a third straight 30-plus win season.
Senior guard Rodney Elliott plays a major role. The departure of fellow guards Kamau Stokes (Dunbar) and Justin Jenifer (Milford Mill) puts a lot more responsibility on Elliott in terms of controlling the flow of the game and providing consistent offensive production.
With do-everything forward Jarred Jones off to college, the team also has a leadership void that Elliott must help pick up.
The Patriots have plenty of strengths, and the biggest may be their big and athletic frontcourt. Leading the way is 6-foot-9 senior Mike Owona, who can change a game at either end of the floor, and help comes from his two brothers -- 6-8 junior Lionel and 6-7 senior Christian.
Sophomore guard Kimbal Mackenzie is one of a number of newcomers expected to make an immediate impact.
The Patriots once again have a great opportunity to add more championships, but they will need to find out answers first.
Can they take full advantage of the mismatches they can create up front? Who will be the go-to player who wants -- and can make -- the big shot late in games?