The area's boys basketball season promises to be an exciting one with plenty of quality teams and close races in the various counties and leagues. After rolling out team's five through two in The Baltimore Sun's preseason poll, we have reached the top spot.
The entire Top 15 poll, along with the top players to watch, will run Wednesday.
Here's a look at No. 1 Mount St. Joseph
Coach: Pat Clatchey
Last season: 31-8, ranked No. 4
Postseason: Baltimore Catholic League champion; MIAA A Conference final
Top players: Phil Booth, Sr. G; Jaylen Adams, Sr., G; Jordan McNeil, Sr., F; Kyle Doran, Sr., F; Daveyon Barnes, So. F
Outlook: The Gaels have all the ingredients found in a No. 1 ranked team. They have a leader and go-to player in All-Metro first-team guard Booth, a four-year varsity player that does everything well. They have another standout guard in Adams; versatility and experience in forwards McNeil and Doran; and a breakthrough player emerging in Barnes.
All that talent playing in an highly efficient system at both ends will add up to plenty of victories in Irvington.
Booth is the area’s most consistent player and he pays as much attention to defense (he was named the BCL’s Defensive Player of the Year last season) as offense. That sets the right tone and bodes well for the Gaels.
Scoring options are endless with Adams and McNeil topping the list after Booth.
Called up from the junior varsity midway through last season, Barnes had impressive minutes in key spots and will be tough to handle down low.
The schedule is demanding and the BCL and MIAA are stacked with formidable teams to make things difficult for the Gaels. But -- top to bottom -- their talent, experience and continuity makes them the preseason pick as the No. 1 team.