Head coach: Terry Mumau
(fifth season, All-County COY)
Last year: 19-5, 12-4 (third in SMAC)
Athletes to watch: F D.J. Blackwell (Sr.), F Damien Thomas (Sr.), C Antjuan Mason (Sr.)
Key personnel losses: G Derrell Armstrong (Sr., All-SMAC MOP,
All-County POY), G Devon Yates
(All-County), G/F Joel Pease
(All-County), F Joe Gannon
Strengths: The Braves are coming off an outstanding 2008-09 campaign that saw it finish just a game shy of second in the conference and reach the semifinal round of the Class 3A South region playoffs. Mumau's brings back a senior core, while the youth of the team shows promise for the future.
Weaknesses: Experience is a weak point for the Braves this year, according to Mumau. Losing the conference's and the county's player of the year will mean someone will have to step up and fill some big shoes.
Coach's comments: "Their youth gives us hope for the future and since they're young, we have to see continual improvement. [Our goal] is to show consistency and improvement."
Key games: Dec. 21 at Glen Burnie, Dec. 29 Southern Maryland Holiday Tournament, Jan. 8 at Leonardtown
Head coach: Frank Peck (sixth season)
Last year: 5-18, 3-13 (11th in SMAC)
Athletes to watch: F Basil Moye (Sr., All-County), F Mykel Harris (Sr.),
G Moe Queen (Sr.)
Key personnel loss: F Tyler
Strengths: Peck believes this year's version of the Hornets is a versatile group compared to year's past, at both ends of the floor. With that comes the release of the one-dimensional aspect of the team. Peck believes the Hornets can score from the inside or the outside. Another strong point for the Hornets is the rebounding of the bigs, both offensively and defensively.
Weaknesses: Heading into the start of the season, Peck wants to see an improvement in free-throw shooting from his team. In addition, he would like to see the offense carried through more thoroughly as opposed to rushing the offensive sets. Defensively, he does not want the Hornets to relax or take possessions off leading to easy baskets.
Coach's comments: "We have some new guys coming in, but we are really excited. There is a lot of energy in the gym, along with a lot of optimism with the guys. We are doing really well, and we are meshing as a team a lot quicker than I thought we would. As of right now, things are looking up."
Key games: Dec. 18 vs.
Leonardtown, Jan. 6 vs. North Point, Jan. 15 vs. Chopticon
JAMES A. McCRAY III
Head coach: Jamie Copsey
Last year: 15-9, 10-6 (tied for sixth in SMAC with Northern)
Athletes to watch: Copsey refused to list individual athletes
Key personnel losses: F Jeff
Wettengel (All-County), G Mo Stone (All-County), G/F Gerrell Shingles
Strengths: Copsey takes over for Jake Heibel, who headed the Raiders for four seasons. With a good number of returning players, experience playing together is a positive for the Raiders.
Weaknesses: Copsey reports the need to execute and protect the ball more accurately. The Raiders will need to do those things if they want to have a similar or better campaign this season.
Coach's comments: "Our success will be dependent on how well we play as a team and our ability to get stops."
Key games: Dec. 18 at Great Mills, Jan. 8 vs. Chopticon
St. Mary's Ryken
Head coach: Dave Tallman
Last year: 12-17, 6-12
(seventh in WCAC)
Athletes to watch: PG Kai Smith (Sr., All-County), G Elijah Matthews (Sr.), G Treveon Graham (Jr.)
Key personnel losses: G R.J. Buck, C Gokhan Sirin (All-County,
All-WCAC), F Gorkem Sonmez
Strengths: Tallman has been pleased with his team's commitment level during the offseason, particularly in the weight room. According to the third-year coach, each player has put on 10 pounds of muscle, bulking up for the tough WCAC conference.
Secondly, Tallman's bench goes nine deep, adding depth to his squad. Depth leads to fresh legs, fresh legs lead to energetic play, and, if all works well, energetic play will lead to a successful season.
Weaknesses: With the loss of guard Buck, Tallman and the Knights lost their three-year leader on the floor. With a tough schedule this season, in conference and out, Tallman would like to see a player step up and help lead the team.
Another point of concern this season for the Knights is, in fact, its schedule. With five games against nationally recognized teams, there are no soft spots for Ryken.
Coach's comments: "We want to get better each day. I told our guys that we have never had a team make it to American University [site of the WCAC tournament semifinals, and finals]. ... We have a lot of work to do to get to that level. We're capable, but our mindset has to change. We were happy to build this program into one that is competitive in the WCAC, and I am not downplaying what we have accomplished. However, I'm not happy with just being competitive. We want to win."
Key games: Dec. 12 vs. Montrose Christian at Henry Wise High School, Jan. 12 at DeMatha, Jan. 14 vs.
JAMES A. McCRAY III