Saturday, December 20, 2014

Boys' Basketball: Preseason Top 10 for 2013-14

Lower Merion, Imhotep Charter, and Roberts Vaux returned from Hershey with PIAA state-championship trophies in tow.

Boys' Basketball: Preseason Top 10 for 2013-14

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Sophomore forward Derrick Jones and Archbishop Carroll are ranked No. 1 in The Inquirer's preseason top 10 for the 2013-14 season. (Betsy Lucas, Scholastic Play-by-Play Network)

Lower Merion, Imhotep Charter, and Roberts Vaux returned from Hershey with PIAA state-championship trophies in tow.

With the 2012-13 campaign in the books, it's time to take a look ahead and project which teams should make considerable noise next season.

That said, here's our early preseason top 10 for Southeastern Pennsylvania, with this year's final record in parentheses:

1. Archbishop Carroll (23-7). Despite the loss of lead guard and Binghamton commit Yosef Yacob, things look quite promising in Radnor. Especially in the frontcourt.

The Patriots, who surprisingly advanced to the Class AAA final before losing to Imhotep, are expected to return the up-and-coming sophomore duo of Derrick Jones and Ernest Aflakpui.

The 6-foot-6 Jones, a Division I recruit, averaged 14.2 points, including 16 during the playoffs. Aflakpui, a 6-9 native of Ghana, is likewise a shot-blocking force.

Guards Joe Mostardi (43 three-pointers) and Nick Jones (40) are perimeter scoring threats.

2. Imhotep Charter (28-5). The Panthers and Carroll could again battle for top honors in Class AAA.

Andre Noble anticipates the return of five impact players, including a trio of 6-6 forwards: Basil Thompson, Deion Evans, and Dymir Logan.

Jakwan Jones and Devin Liggeons, who missed the latter part of the season with a broken arm, should also be in the mix. A player to keep an eye on is speedy guard Jaekwon Carlyle.

3. Neumann-Goretti (23-6). Guards Ja'Quan Newton and Lamarr "Fresh" Kimble are the cornerstones for the five-time defending Catholic League champions.

Also expected back for the Saints are 6-5 forwards Tony Toplyn and Jamal Custis, and guards Troy Harper and Vaughan Covington.

4. Roman Catholic (19-7). The Cahillites could be in position to win their first Catholic League title since 2007.

Barring any changes, the headliners for Chris McNesby will be guards Shep Garner and Rashann London, and 6-6 forwards TreVaughn Wilkerson and Manny Taylor.

5. Haverford School (17-9). Levan "Shawn" Alston, one of the state's top sophomores, should have the Fords in the thick of the Inter-Academic League title race.

Eric Anderson and Sean Lloyd are other anticipated returnees. Will lightning-quick guard Sammy Foreman, with Vaux set to close in June, return to the Main Line?

6. Lower Merion (30-3). The Class AAAA state champs lose B.J. Johnson, Yohanny Dalembert, and Raheem Hall, but are expected to bring back two key players.

Floor general JaQuan Johnson and swingman Justin McFadden are the anticipated returning starters. Guard Corey Sherman (28 threes) and 6-5 forward Jule Brown saw significant minutes off the bench this year.

7. Chester (28-4). The Clippers have some rebuilding to do, as they lose nine of the 10 players who appeared in last Saturday's 63-47 loss to Lower Merion.

Still, Chester is Chester. It's hard to imagine Larry Yarbray's squad disappearing from prominence.

8. Constitution (18-10). This year's squad, which advanced to the Class AA quarterfinals before losing to Holy Cross, was without a senior.

The anticipated returnees for the guard-oriented Generals include Ahmad Gilbert, Kimar Williams, Raheem Liggins, Floyd Preito, and Akeem King.

9. Great Valley (28-4). Unless he decides to finish his high school career elsewhere, Mikal Bridges, a 6-6 forward and Division I recruit, will remain the Patriots' go-to scorer.

Lead guard Cyree Ames, swingman Nate Cohen, and 6-5 forward Ryan Buchholz are the other likely returnees for the Ches-Mont League American Conference champs.

10. Math, Civics and Sciences (26-3). It's a good bet that Mighty Elephants boss Danny Jackson will find a way to recover from the loss of valued seniors like Jeremiah "Lump" Worthem and Britton Lee.

Louis Myers, Tyrese Hester, and Tyheem Harmon, who began this year at Imhotep, are likely to return to North Broad Street.

Under consideration, listed alphabetically: Abington Friends (20-7), Archbishop Wood (14-10), Friends' Central (20-8), Martin Luther King (24-5), Penn Wood (16-9), St. Joseph's Prep (24-6).

 

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