Friends' Central boys' basketball coach Jason Polykoff made no bones about it.
"We feel like we can certainly win the Friends Schools League," he said.
On the surface, that's a bold statement. The Phoenix posted losing campaigns over the last two seasons.
But with an influx of transfers, things may change.
Junior swingman Travis Robinson headlines a crop of talented transfers. Robinson (6-foot-4) and junior point guard H.J. Gaskins played at Penn Charter last season. Robinson was an all-Inter-Ac League selection.
He and Gaskins aren't the only transfers who will start for the Phoenix. Dominic Morris (6-7), who came from Caravel Academy (Del.), will start at power forward.
Returnees Devon Coleman and Peter Chawaga (6-7) will join the newcomers in the starting lineup.
Coleman, a sophomore shooting guard, is a returning all-Friends Schools League selection.
Sophomore guard Malique Killing, junior shooting guard Mark Margulies, and freshman forward Amile Jefferson (6-5) will provide depth.
Like Friends' Central, the Westtown Quakers have several transfers. The Yiljet twins, Nan and Long, are sophomore forwards from Nigeria. So is freshman center Daniel Ochufu (6-9). Sophomore guard/forward Berk Atuk is from Turkey.
They will improve a team that returns standout juniors in forward Doc Walker (6-6) and guards Luisito Jimenez and Matt Lee. The Quakers will use multiple starting lineups.
The Abington Friends Kangaroos return three starters from a team that finished 19-8. But that may be misleading.
"We are very young," coach Steve Chadwin said. "We don't have the experience up and down the roster. We are trying to put it together slowly."
For now, Chadwin will rely heavily on sophomore point guard Joey Gripper, senior shooting guard Jake Lerner, and sophomore center Will Wise (6-7) - his returning starters.
Senior point guard Kenny Ross (6-0) is the only returning starter for the two-time defending league champion Academy of the New Churck. But winning a third consecutive title won't be impossible. Junior swingman Warren Gillis is talented.
Freshman forward Savon Goodman (6-6), sophomore shooting guard Jonathon Rawls, and sophomore center Malcolm Gilbert (6-11 1/2) round out the starting lineup. In Goodman, Rawls and Gilbert, ANC has the area's best group of young talent.
Second-year coach Andre' Brown's goal is to turn the Shipley Gators into annual league-title contenders. This season, he will have to depend on young talent for that to happen.
Junior forward Armond Leaks and sophomore point guard Bakari White are the only returning starters.
Sophomore Ky Howard, a combination guard who transferred from Ridley; freshman guard/forward Chima Nwakpuda, and freshman guard Stephen Gentry are the other starters.
Pair is back.
The Friends Select Falcons return two starters in senior center Corey Smith (6-5) and senior point guard Brad Presant. Good things are expected from sophomore swingman Brett Negle.
George School senior guard Kyle Scott, senior center Tom Wayda, and sophomore guard Malik Garner (6-3) are the returning starters for coach Sean Casey.
"I like this team," said Casey, who has seven key contributors back. "I think we have a chance to be pretty good."
- Keith Pompey