The City boys basketball team may not have entered the 2009-10 season with the most hype of any Baltimore-area team.
"It's been great," said City assistant coach Tony Biggers. "I'm getting kind of spoiled. Now I'm kind of expecting it every year."
Senior center Jordan Latham was an integral part of both City championships. As a junior, Latham was known as a defensive stopper who occasionally stepped up as a scorer. This season, Latham maintained his defensive intensity while also developing into one of City's go-to offensive threats. The Xavier-bound big man averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per game.
"We really counted on him this year to up his scoring," Biggers said. "He was very huge for us throughout his whole career. He set the tone on the court. He accepted his leadership role and he got us two state titles."
Latham will join a Xavier squad next year that's readying for its fifth straight NCAA tournament appearance. The sixth-seeded Musketeers face 11th-seeded Minnesota on Friday in Milwaukee. Biggers said the Xavier coaches are counting on contributions from Latham next season.
"They have very big hopes for him next year," Biggers said. "At the next level, you've got to put the work in. He actually came to me [Monday] and said, 'Coach, can we get in the gym and do some skill work?' So he wants to get better. Each year he progresses, so the sky's the limit for him."
City's leading scorer for the year was junior shooting guard Nick Faust, a 6-foot-4½ transfer student from John Carroll. Faust averaged 20 points per game, including a team-high 19 in the Knights' championship game win.
"When he first got here early in the year, he was a little impatient and shot selection was a big factor," Biggers said. "Once he understood his shot selection, man, he was tremendous. He really started to blossom this year. He came in and had played with some of our guys in AAU. He fit in well. He put the work in shooting, working on his ballhandling and gave a great overall team effort."
Faust will suit up for Nike Baltimore Elite this summer, but several college programs have already started to notice his play. Biggers said Faust is receiving plenty of high- and mid-major interest.
"Penn State, Oregon State, South Florida, Towson, Delaware, UNLV, I think Florida State took a look at him, [and] St. Joseph's," Biggers said. "Most of those guys have offered, or are heavily considering offering him. The scary part is what you see now and what you like is going to be even better next year. He's going to get stronger, he's going to get quicker and Nick's going to be real good."
Faust will return next season for the Knights, along with classmates Mike Cheatham, Rashaun Rasheed and Charles Tapper -- all Division I prospects, according to Biggers. City also adds another John Carroll transfer in junior combo guard Lionel Greene. Needless to say, City will have high expectations again next year.
"It feels tremendous," Biggers said. "I think we're getting it too good. It's spoiling me now, because I know we may not be done. We have a great team coming back and a great class coming in. It's possibly going to be the next wave of champions."
Baltimore Sun photo of Jordan Latham dunking over Patterson's Tyrell Addison by Kenneth K. Lam / Feb. 2, 2010