Public schools are adding the 35 second shot clock to boys basketball games. (Algerina Perna, Baltimore Sun video)
Perry Hall, forward, senior
The 6-foot-9 All-Metro pick brings explosive skills to greatly affect a game at both ends of the floor. In helping the Gators (26-2) capture the program’s first Class 4A state championship last season, he averaged 12.9 points and 10.2 rebounds — including 15 double doubles — along with four assists and 2.1 blocks. He capped his junior season with double doubles in the state semifinal and title game wins.
The 6-8 standout is a mismatch nightmare for opponents on the offensive end with 3-point range, smooth moves and an ability to get teammates space for their shots. In earning All-Metro honors last season, he led the Class 4A champion Gators in scoring with 15.7 points per game. While scoring is his forte, he also contributes elsewhere, averaging 8.8 rebounds, two blocks and 1.2 assists last season.
The All-Metro second-team pick was enjoying a fine regular season as the Panthers’ go-to player last season, and he found an even higher level in the playoffs to lead the Panthers to the Class 4A state tournament. He averaged 18.5 points last season — 23 per game in the postseason — along with eight rebounds and five assists. Look for Jones to bring the same intensity and savvy play in his senior year with the confidence to make the big shot.
A transfer from Aberdeen last year, Jones got more and more comfortable as the season went on, and it was no coincidence the Cougars got that much better, too. He averaged 17 points and seven rebounds and was instrumental in Mount Carmel reaching the MIAA A and BCL title games. The All-Metro second-team pick is smooth around the basket and makes big plays when the team needs them most. His high basketball IQ and leadership will be leaned on heavily this season.
Wilde Lake, guard, junior
At 5-7, Keys plays much bigger than his size. Hard work and confidence go with his quickness, athleticism and game sense to offset his often being the smallest player on the floor. After limited time on the varsity team as a freshman, he emerged as the floor leader and averaged a Howard County-high 18.6 points last season to lead the Wildecats to a 17-9 mark. Keys can consistently hit 3-pointers, follows an explosive first step with crafty play around the basket, and shares the ball when extra attention comes his way.
One of the area’s finest pure shooters averaged 18 points per game last season, making 40 percent of his 3-pointers and converting 83 percent from the free-throw line. While scoring is Locke’s forte, the Florida commit emerged as a more complete player in his third season as a starter, averaging six rebounds and three assists, and adding quality leadership to earn All-Metro honors.
Set to become a four-year starter, Mims is one of the area’s finest two-way players. In helping the Engineers claim the program’s first state title in Class 3A last season, he averaged 14.9 points and 5.1 rebounds, and played strong defense to earn All Metro honors. With the departure of graduated All-Metro standout De’Vondre Perry, this is Mims’ team. The Long Beach State commit is 43 points away from 1,000 in his career.
Patterson, guard, junior
As Mungo goes, so do the Clippers. The 6-1, 185-pound All-Metro second-team selection brings do-everything skills to the point with a physical and confident approach. Named a captain, he averaged 13 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals last season. He also steps up in big games, including a 19-point performance in the state title win over Century last year.
One of the country’s most sought-after recruits, the Kentucky commit brings a lot of everything to the Patriots backcourt with polished play and leadership. A four-year varsity player and three-year starter, he averaged 23.7 points and 7.2 assists last season. The All-Metro Player of the Year as a sophomore and a first-team pick last year, he is determined to close his career with another title.
Mount Saint Joseph, forward, senior
In earning All-Metro Co-Player of the Year honors last season, Smith, 6-9, showed he could do everything on the floor. He averaged 17 points — scoring inside, in transition and from beyond the arc — along with nine rebounds and three blocks in leading the Gaels to a sweep of the MIAA A and BCL titles. The Maryland commit has improved in each of his first three seasons, and that should continue in his highly anticipated senior year.