The boys basketball season is underway for the private schools with the public schools beginning play Dec. 5, so it’s time to roll out the projections for this season’s top teams.
In the coming days, Varsity Letters will count down the top five with the area’s preseason No. 1 team posted Thursday. The Top 15 poll, along with the top players to watch, also will be available online Thursday with the entire preview package in Friday’s print edition of The Baltimore Sun.
Here’s a look at No. 5 John Carroll:
Coach: John Zito
Last season: 21-13, No. 11
Postseason: MIAA A and BCL quarterfinalists
Key players: Immanuel Quickley, Sr., G; Montez Mathis, Sr. G; Yavuz Gultekin, Jr., SF
Outlook: The Patriots have already made an early-season statement with a convincing 74-53 win over defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference and Baltimore Catholic League champion Mount Saint Joseph on Monday, so expect them to make a move up in next week’s poll. They did it without star guard Immanuel Quickley, who is out with an illness (mononucleosis) and is expected to rejoin the team soon. The combination of Quickley and Mathis will be tough to match for any opposing backcourt. They are both dominant players who can score, distribute and bring confident play every time out. Gultekin, a 6-foot-7 transfer from Turkey, adds to the mix with versatile inside-outside play. Qadir Ismail and Cameron Byers return to fortify the frontcourt while Tennessee transfer Brandon Craig joins them in the middle. Last season, injury and illness — both Quickley and Mathis missed time — hindered the Patriots and they are banking on a healthier season this time around. The private school leagues are stacked with deep and talented rosters — most notably Mount Carmel and St. Frances joining Mount Saint Joseph and John Carroll — and the Patriots clearly have the goods to close out the season with championship hardware.