Liberty Division. Trenton Catholic Academy was 10-0 in the Liberty Division last season, and with players like seniors Dondre Whitmore, Frantz Massenat, and Marquise Tucker returning, most of the division is expecting more of the same from TCA this season.
"TCA will win the division with little to no problem," said Rancocas Valley coach Jay Flanagan.
Rancocas Valley was runner-up in the division last season. The Red Devils also entered the Group 4 tournament as the No. 1 seed before being upset in the second round by Washington Township. With five new starters, Rancocas Valley enters this season as a work in progress.
"We just have to play harder than everyone else and be outstanding on defense to compete," Flanagan said. "Our goal is to improve immensely by the end of February and strive to make this our best defensive team yet at RV."
Westampton Tech and Pemberton - coming off a trip to the Group 3 finals - look strong, but right now it looks as if they'll be fighting for second place.
Patriot Division. You can't tell by looking at last season's final standings, but the Patriot is filled with veteran teams ready to compete with reigning champion Willingboro.
Holy Cross, coming off a dismal 7-17, 4-7 season returns starters Joe Cain, Jerod Kain, Chris Keating and Nick O'Brien. Kain, a 6-foot-4 forward, once again gives the Lancers a strong presence in the low post.
"We are coming off a nightmare season where I did a horrible job, but we have a great team attitude and appear to be improving," said Holy Cross coach Barry Harper. "If everyone stays unselfish, we will surprise some teams."
Last season's runner-up, Cinnaminson, is led by guard Mike Gallo, who enters his senior season with 653 career points.
"He has the ability to put up some big numbers," said Cinnaminson coach Mike Fries. "We hope to compete for the division title. But Willingboro is the favorite in the Patriot."
Freedom Division. Defending champ New Egypt is the favorite in the division, but it will have to overcome the loss of 6-7 forward Kevin Janowski, who averaged 16.3 points per game last season. New Egypt will try to do so with Desmond Hubert. The 6-8 junior is already considered one of the best centers in the state.
Palmyra also lost a lot to graduation - it is replacing three of its top starters - but coach Mike Tumelty isn't expecting this to be a rebuilding season.
"I believe if we can take advantage of our size, learn our roles and play together as a team, we will have a chance to contend for the division title," he said.
Burlington City is returning three starters in Shaquille Butler, Shaquan Hall, and Alphonso Bradford. Butler, a 6-foot-2 forward, was a first-team all-conference selection last season, and Hall is an all-county football player. Coach Jim Flynn is fully expecting Hall's success on the football field to translate to the hardwood floor this season.
"The key to our success is to have a balanced scoring attack," Flynn said.
"We have to keep the defensive pressure on and play an up-tempo game."