Selected after consulting with area coaches.
1. Calvert Hall
Coach: John Bauersfeld
Last season: 29-8, No. 3
Postseason: Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association
A Conference semifinals; Baltimore Catholic League final
Outlook: The Cardinals have championship makeup: a deep senior roster, experience from last season's playoffs, and the hunger to make this their year. All-Metro selection Drew Edwards is the starting point guard, but the team has other quality options, including guard-forward Nico Clareth and center Evan Phoenix. Calvert Hall goes into the season as the favorite in the stacked MIAA A Conference and the BCL.
2. St. Frances
Coach: Nick Myles
Last season: 25-13, No. 9
Postseason: MIAA A final; BCL semifinals
Outlook: A deep backcourt plus size and skill up front make the Panthers a real contender. Guards Daquan Bracey, Khalil Richard and Kurk Lee are talented and interchangeable, and 6-foot-8 Josh Ayeni gets help down low with the addition of 6-foot-8 Florida transfer Eric Cobb.
Coach: Harry Martin
Last season: 21-5, No. 5
Postseason: Class 2A North final
Outlook: How quickly a largely new cast comes together will tell the story, but the Clippers are loaded with talent. Senior point guard Dereck Oliver is the lone starter back, but a mix of role players from last season's team and incoming transfers make up for losses. Shooting guard Gary Blackston and small forward Demetrich Williams are key senior transfers, and 6-foot-8, 260-pound sophomore center Koran Moore could emerge.
4. Mount Saint Joseph
Coach: Pat Clatchey
Last season: 34-5, No. 2
Postseason: MIAA A and BCL champion
Outlook: While a strong senior class featuring All-Metro Player of the Year Phil Booth was leading the Gaels to a sweep of the
A Conference and BCL last season, a talented group of underclassmen was gaining valuable experience in secondary roles. Guard Randy Miller and forwards Daveyon Barnes and Jarvis Doles get their chance to lead along with promising newcomers from last season's 29-1 junior varsity.
Coach: Darnell Dantzler
Last season: 20-5, No. 4
Postseason: Class 1A state champion
Outlook: With a formidable inside tandem of Kani Coles and Robert McClain paired with a strong supporting cast, the Red Storm is primed for another run at a state title in the tough Baltimore City league. Point guard DeAndre Lloyd will be in charge of the ball handling, and Northwestern forward transfer Keandre Cook is another quality option.
6. Lake Clifton
Coach: Herman "Tree" Harried
Last season: 21-4, No. 7
Postseason: Class 1A South region final
Outlook: The Lakers played their typical scrappy defense and had different players step up on offense to make it to the Baltimore City championship game and the region final last season. They could go further this season with a talented roster. An already strong frontcourt led by senior Derrick Green is bolstered by the addition of Archbishop Spalding transfer Gary Jefferson.
7. John Carroll
Coach: Tony Martin
Last season: 25-15, No. 15
Postseason: MIAA A and BCL semifinals
Outlook: With an experienced backcourt and talent elsewhere, the Patriots will be able to hang with powerhouse teams in the MIAA A and BCL. Guard Kimbal Mackenzie is the team's do-everything leader, and forward Michael Tertsea is a quality option inside. If the Patriots play strong team defense and control the tempo, they could surprise in the postseason.
8. Milford Mill
Coach: Ryan Smith
Last season: 18-6, No. 6
Postseason: Class 3A state semifinals
Outlook: No team has more motivation going into the season than the Millers. Last season, Milford Mill failed to repeat as state champion and saw its run of five straight Baltimore County titles end. Smith, an assistant coach under former head coach Mike Silverman, has a talented and determined group led by All-Metro guard Justin Jenifer and forward Elijah Cooper.
9. Oakland Mills
Coach: Jon Browne
Last season: 20-4, not ranked
Postseason: Class 2A South final
Outlook: An already potent lineup gets a significant boost in St. Frances forward transfer Will Robinson. The Scorpions have the size, athleticism and experience to make them the favorites in Howard County. Standout forward Mamadou Ndiaye will miss the first month of the season with an injury.
Coach: Pete Corriero
Last season: 17-7, not ranked
Postseason: Class 4A East Section I semifinals
Outlook: Coming off a second straight 17-win season, the Mustangs have the talent and experience to enjoy a breakthrough season. Junior guard Tristan Easton is the leader of a deep lineup that also includes fourth-year varsity guard Jerry Washington. Combo guard Bruce Spruell, a transfer from Arundel, helps make the Mustangs the team to beat in Anne Arundel County.
Coach: Matt Lochte
Last season: 20-5, not ranked
Postseason: Class 4A North final
Outlook: Senior-laden after a second straight 20-win season, the Lions have the pieces in place. Dulaney has three senior starters and eight seniors in all, led by wings Isaiah Lamb and Scott Harrelson, who combined to average 33 points per game last season. The Lions are seeking their first state tournament appearance since 1977.
Coach: Daryl Wade
Last season: 27-0, No. 1
Postseason: Class 3A state champion
Outlook: Last season, the Knights completed their first perfect season behind a talented, experienced team. Blair Davis and Greg Miller are the only holdovers, but a new cast taken mostly from last season's JV Baltimore City champion is eager to maintain the program's strong foundation.
13. River Hill
Coach: Matt Graves
Last season: 14-9, not ranked
Postseason: Class 3A East quarterfinals
Outlook: With one of the area's most dominant inside players, Wisconsin-bound forward Charlie Thomas, and an experienced supporting cast, this year's Hawks have a makeup similar to that of their 2007 state championship team. Relying on strong team defense, a patient offense to control play, and Thomas' talent, River Hill could go on an extended playoff run.
14. Boys' Latin
Coach: Cliff Rees
Last season: 19-9, not ranked
Postseason: MIAA B final
Outlook: Highly touted junior forward Kodye Pugh is the centerpiece of a deep roster primed to take the final step in the B Conference. Returning four starters and seven letter winners, the Lakers will rely on experience and execution. Two starters, Blair Brooks and Jerel Archer, open the season with injuries, so Pugh and others will need to carry the early load.
15. Mount Carmel
Coach: Tom Rose
Last season: 16-13, not ranked
Postseason: MIAA A and BCL quarterfinals
Outlook: The private school leagues are stacked with the usual top teams, but the Cougars can work their way into the mix. Forwards Will Jenkins and David Erebor can dominate inside, and guard Frank Webb Jr. is the backcourt catalyst. With nine letter winners in all, Mount Carmel is experienced.
Others considered: Aberdeen (16-1, not ranked), Annapolis (18-8, No. 11), Century (20-4, not ranked), Gilman (9-15, not ranked), New Town (20-6, No. 10), Poly (14-9, not ranked), Randallstown (22-4, No. 8), St. Paul's (17-8, not ranked), St. Vincent Pallotti (13-12, not ranked), Woodlawn (15-6, not ranked)