Tonight's Schalick at Gloucester game will mark the debut for new coaches Eric Cassidy of Schalick and Kevin Hagan of Gloucester.
But it will be special in another way. Cassidy and Hagan played together at Gloucester in the late 1990s and remain good friends.
Kevin Crawford, son of longtime Camden Catholic coach Jim Crawford, is the new coach at Pitman. He takes over a strong team that should contend with Salem for the Classic Division title.
Todd Powers takes over at Gloucester Catholic, replacing longtime coach Pat Murphy, who became the school's athletic director.
Kingsway could make a run at the Royal Division title behind the play of its frontcourt. The Dragons return four starters from an 18-9 team, including top rebounders Tom Dickson and Steve Pigford, a pair of senior forwards.
Deptford has some inside muscle, too, in veterans Erv Ezell and Ellwood Clement.
Clearview senior Chad Gravinese and Highland junior Sean Daniels also will mix it up inside, along with Williamstown's Marcus Hampton.
Gloucester Catholic has a young team, but senior forward Steve Rotella is a physical presence inside. Schalick's Carlton Thomas is another top frontcourt player.
The Classic Division has perhaps the conference's top inside player in Salem's Derrick Parsley, who helped the Rams to the South Jersey Group 1 title last season.
The Classic has another intriguing big man in Clayton's 6-foot-10 senior Davis Follis, who is on the verge of a "break-out year," according to coach Frank Rago. Follis had 120 blocks last season and averaged 12.9 points and 9 rebounds.
Pitman sophomore Luke Dickson is a top playmaker who also can score. He averaged 19.1 points as a freshman. His classmate, Dylan Colgate, averaged 11 points as the Panthers featured a pair of freshman starters.
Gloucester Catholic could feature four sophomores in the rotation, including sharpshooter Steve Mainart, who has battled back from a serious leg injury. Gloucester could have four sophomores in the regular rotation.
Kingsway senior guard Tom Juhring hit 49 three-pointers last season.
He's among the top marksmen in the conference, along with Pitman's Dickson, Salem's Quayshon Morris, Pennsville's Ryan Carr, Deptford's John Lewis, Woodstown's Scott Fisher, Glassboro's Tim Breaker, and Williamstown's Kevin Booth.
Thinking man's game.
Williamstown's Justin Chaney is a returning starter at point guard for the defending Royal Division champions. Coach Bill Hunt regards Chaney as one of the team's smartest players.
Wildwood's Matt Schiff is a student council member, ranks in the top 10 of his class, and is closing in on 1,000 points. Kingsway's Jared Fynn is another heady player, along with Highland's Zach Sanchez and Pitman's Marcus Corbitt.
Deptford forward Jared Winningham was one of the top returning players in the conference. His presence, along with veterans Ezell and Clement, made the Spartans the team to beat in the Royal Division.
But Winningham broke his ankle on the second day of practice. He's projected to be out for eight to 10 weeks, which means he could return sometime between late January and the middle of February.
"You hate to see it happen to anybody but especially a senior," Deptford coach Bill Hoskins said. "Jared probably will come back with even more fire, although he plays hard on every possession now. But we have to try to hold the fort, and hopefully he can come back and still make something special of his senior year."
- Phil Anastasia