The Inquirer TOP 10
PRESEASON BOYS' BASKETBALL
With last season's records.
1. Bishop Eustace 21-7
The Crusaders return four starters, led by All-South Jersey point guard Carson Puriefoy, who averaged 21.5 points. Senior swingmen Sho DaSilva and Dexter Harris are versatile players, and senior Trevor Norton is a three-point threat. St. Augustine transfer Ry'n Bland, a 6-foot-6 junior, adds bulk inside.
2. Paul VI 24-3
The Eagles will battle archrival Bishop Eustace for the Olympic National and South A titles. Senior point guard Ron Curry leads a team that also features senior guard Kris O'Connor, a defensive dynamo, and senior center Roosevelt Cubbage, an inside force. Sophomores Matt Risse and Jay Howard look ready to make a big impact.
3. Eastern 17-10
The Vikings return their top eight players. Senior Mike Wilson averaged 12 points and hit 64 three-pointers. Junior Devin Bell is a slasher who averaged 12.5 points. Senior Jared Ford averaged 11 points and eight rebounds, and junior Avery Walker led the team in blocks. Emerging 6-6 sophomore Matt Klinewski could make a major impact.
4. Willingboro 16-8
Like the top two teams, the Chimeras return a veteran point guard in Tyrell Maloney, who averaged 18.1 points. This team will get a huge lift from Trenton Catholic transfer Ronny Paden, a 6-4 swingman who has signed with St. Peter's. Burly senior Mike Owens is a top rebounder.
5. St. Augustine Prep 28-3
The defending Non-Public A state champions, last season's No. 1 team, return senior forwards Austin Johnson, a Penn State football recruit, and Brent Slotoroff. Guards Mike Greenman and Dom Palmieri played important minutes last March. Watch out for 6-10 senior center James Baumgardner, who has good hands for a big man.
6. Atlantic City 14-12
The Vikings are poised for a big bounce-back from a rare mediocre season. Senior forward Keyshawn Reynolds and senior point guard Martel Johnson are three-year starters. Senior Kashaun Dunston is a top outside shooter. This team should get a big boost in January, when 6-7 junior Jaleem Montague returns from a knee injury and Atlantic Christian transfer Gabriel Chandler becomes eligible.
7. Shawnee 19-11
The defending South Jersey Group 4 champions have top ball handlers and shooters in juniors Ryan Bodnar and Josh Borrelli as well as senior Donny DiVirgilio. Juniors Frank Destito and Jake Dean are gritty inside players. One big key is the eligibility status of senior point guard Dan Mumford, a talented transfer from Florida.
8. Rancocas Valley 19-12
The Red Devils have a top point guard in Tariq Jett, who averaged 13.2 points and raised his game in March to lead the team to the Central Jersey Group 4 title and the Group 4 state final. Burly forward Dom Twitty, a Minnesota football recruit, is another four-year player.
9. Camden Catholic 20-8
The Irish have one of the state's top juniors in Kyle Green, a 6-4 swingman who averaged 20.4 points. Senior Matt McElhatton is a veteran point guard, and the Irish will get a lift from athletes from the school's 10-1 football team.
10. Paulsboro 19-9
Junior forward Xavier Lundy, a versatile player who averaged 21.4 points, is a Division I prospect. The Red Raiders also return 6-8 junior Julian Davenport and experienced guards Calvin Johnson and Juwan Alford.
Under consideration (listed alphabetically): Holy Spirit (20-9), Lenape (23-6), Medford Tech (23-6), Middle Township (27-3), Wildwood Catholic (15-12).
- Phil Anastasia