HOWARD COUNTY, MD — 2016-17 record: 9-2 county, 16-7 overall (County Champions)
Coach: Matt Graves
Top players: Seniors *Jaden Martin (G), Jacob Krause (G), Luke Champion (G), Dylan Daniels (F); junior Oj Okojie (F)
What you need to know: After a surprising county title run last season, River Hill should be even better this year and considered one of the preseason county favorites.
The Hawks return all five starters and nine returners overall, which coach Matt Graves said gives this team all the pieces to contend for another league crown.
Their success starts with senior Jaden Martin, a 6-foot-1 shooting guard that enters the season as a three-year starter. Last year, Martin earned first-team All-County honors after scoring a team-high 14.5 points and grabbing 5.7 rebounds per game. River Hill will lean on Martin again this year, Graves said, but don’t expect him to carry the team.
“They know how to play together,” Graves said. “We have bigs, we have guards, we have facilitators, so it’s nice.”
The Hawks bring back guards Luke Champion and Jacob Krause, who combined to score 16 points per game last year but could both end up scoring in double digits as seniors. They also have a reliable three-point shooter in senior Josh Mann.
In the frontcourt, Graves will use 6-foot-6 senior Dylan Daniels (7.6 points per game) and Oj Okojie, who may be one of the lone underclassman contributors on a senior-laden squad.
“All of them have improved in their way of play,” Graves said, “and I think it’s going to boil down to all of them doing it together.”
* — First-team All-County