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Boys' basketball: Preseason Top 20

By Phil Anastasia

Here's a look at the preseason Top 20 in South Jersey boys' basketball:

1. Camden Catholic (21-7 last season): The Irish have a top forward combination in 6-6 senior Brendan Crawford and 6-2 senior Courtney Cubbage, plus a force in the middle in 6-8 senior Demola Onifade. Another veteran is 6-3 senior swingman Jimmy Robinson. Look for junior point guard Jamal Parker, a top athlete, to handle the ball and build on a strong football season.

2. Camden (22-10): The Panthers return four starters from last year's South Jersey Group 2 champions. Leading the way will be juniors Brad Hawkins, a 6-1 guard, and Jamal Holloway, a 6-3 forward. Senior guards Rasool Hinson and Will McCants also are returning starters. Senior transfer Cory Whitehead is a good ballhandler.

3. Haddonfield (28-1): The Bulldogs return three starters from a team that won its first 28 last season and lost to Camden in the sectional semifinals. Senior twins Rob and Nick DePersia are four-year varsity veterans who form one of South Jersey's best backcourts. Senior swingman Jake Robinson is 6-3 and a top athlete, a Temple recruit in football. Seniors Tyler Klaus and Luke Leverick will patrol the paint.

4. Atlantic City (19-8): The Vikings will be led by senior forward Kevin Allen and junior lead guard Lamar Thomas. They will get a big lift from three transfers, including 6-2 senior guard Leon Daniels from Holy Spirit as well as 6-2 senior Aishon Centrino from Plasantville and 6-11 sophomore Keonsis Hearns from Oakcrest.

5. Bishop Eustace (20-9): The Crusaders have a top guard in 5-10 junior Mike Cohen, an Auburn recruit. Senior center Brandon Cazan (pictured) and senior swingman Conor McLaughlin are returning starters.

6. Holy Spirit (21-7): The Spartans have one of South Jersey's top players in 6-2 senior guard John Middleton and a strong inside player in 6-6 senior Jordan Taylor. Senior Matt Sommers is a three-point threat.

7. St. Augustine (23-5): The Hermits have one of South Jersey's top sophomores in 6-7 forward Justyn Mitts. Junior Sa'eed Nelson is a top point guard. Soph Trey Grier could be an impact player.

8. Delsea (21-10):  The Crusaders return four starters from the South Jersey Group 3 championship team, led by seniors Keith Braxton, a 6-4 swingman, and Kwame Morton, a 6-9 small forward. Another key veteran is 6-4 junior Kaleb Morton. Watch for 6-10 senior Will Conrey.

9. Cherry Hill West (14-13): The Lions won their first playoff game since 1988 last season and return four starters, including 6-6 senior swingman Can Oztamur, one of South Jersey's best players. Other veterans include 6-0 senior Elijah Bey and 6-5 juniors Danny Buckwalter and Jack Goan.

10. Cherry Hill East (23-8): The Cougars might have South Jersey's top point guard in 6-1 senior Jake Silpe, a Penn recruit. One key will be the development of 6-8 junior Tim Perry.

11. Paulsboro (23-5): The Cougars have three returning starters led by 6-4 senior forward Saleem Little and 6-3 senior forward Theo Holloway, a pair of four-year varsity veterans. Senior guard Brandon Hamilton is another returning starter.

12. Middle Township (12-14): The Tigers should be led by the Greer brothers, 6-2 senior Trai and 6-0 freshman Cory. They are the sons of former Middle Township star Lamar Greer.

13. Pemberton (24-5): The Hornets pushed Camden to the brink in the South Jersey Group 2 title game last season and return three seasoned veterans in juniors I'Javion Ivory, a forward, and guards Antoine Wilson and Tyrae Johnson.

14. Schalick (26-4): The Cougars have a top player in 6-8 senior forward Mike Holloway, a Fairleigh-Dickinson recruit, and a seasoned point guard in junior Tyler Lunsford.

15. Shawnee (8-18): The Renegades took their lumps last season but should bounce back with a veteran squad led by senior sniper Alec Warren as well as 6-6 senior Luke Cooper and versatile junior Dean Austin. Junior forward Anthony Mague, a football standout, could be an important addition.

16. Haddon Heights (14-12): The Garnets have a top player in senior guard Lucian Brownlee, a Coppin State recruit. Senior Kwame Dokes is a force in the paint and junior Nick Smith is a top athlete. Soph point guard Robert Tindley could be an impact player.

17. Collingswood (19-9): The Panthers return three starters including 6-5 senior Isaac Destin, who averaged 12 points and nine boards. Senior guard Jordan Wallace is a top athlete and senior guard Tyree Mann-Barnes is a three-point threat who can finish in transition.

18. Gloucester Catholic (15-11): The Rams return several veterans led by four-year starter Fran Kinsey, a 6-0 guard who averaged 10 points, and 6-4 senior swingman Matt Green, who averaged 12.1. Senior forward Keanu Kelii and junior forward Tyler Mondile are top athletes.

19. Eastern (24-5): Under new coach Kevin Crawford, the Vikings have an experienced backcourt in senior guards Logan Edwards and John Salicandro and a top shooter in junior swingman Maliq Sanders.

20. Medford Tech (19-10): The Jaguars lost senior center Dennis Tunstall, who transferred to Life Center. The top returners are junior guards Shakwel Vincent and Derrick Jones.

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