JIM FENERTY has been around long enough to know, it doesn't make sense to deflect preseason praise, especially when it's well-founded.
So he won't.
"I just hope," he said, "that we'll be as good as everyone thinks we'll be."
In his first 23 seasons as Germantown Academy's coach, Fenerty produced eight outright Inter-Ac League champs and four squads that shared the title.
This season's crew boasts two Division I commits in brassy guard Nick Lindner (Lafayette) and still-blossoming center Julian Moore (Penn State), while small forward Greg Dotson is being stalked by numerous Ivies and the likes of Delaware, Lafayette, James Madison, etc.
Just as impressive is the fact that former Patriots have been aiding the cause.
Fenerty's son, Jimmy, now a senior hoopster at Dickinson, coached the squad in various summer endeavors. Alvin Williams, a longtime NBA guard and now the Toronto Raptors' director of player development, pops in for occasional practices, as does Ryan Ayers, who's home on a break from pro ball in France. Long-range bomber Jimmy Hammer, now at Johns Hopkins, has dispensed his shooting tips.
And then there's Beau Jones . . .
"The kids hate it when Beau walks into the gym," Fenerty said, laughing. "He's playing lacrosse at Delaware. When he's out there, practice is going to be very physical."
The coach added, "It's interesting to listen to our former players when they talk to the kids about what it takes to win the Inter-Ac. They've been through it all. Hopefully, their thoughts really mean a lot. I know they do to me."
Trying to predict which squad will give GA the most competition is rather dicey.
A good guess might be Haverford School, thanks to inside force Sema'j Reed, wing player Eric Anderson and floor leader Levan "Shawn" Alston, a sophomore of note.
There is one new coach. GA grad Jamie Chadwin is now in charge at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. His dad, Steve, is in season No. 34 at Abington Friends, of the Friends Schools League.
Coach: Craig Conlin, 3rd year. Education: La Salle, La Salle. Career: 20-29.
Last year: 1-9, 7-17.
Savvy seven: Adam Strouss, 6-3, G-F; Markuan Stutts 6-2, G-F; Matt Angelos, 6-2, G; Chris McNeal, 6-foot, G; Mike Jolaoso, 5-9, G; Samir Taylor, 5-10, G; Kevin Gayhardt, 6-4, F-C.
Conlin's comment: "The strength of the wolf is the pack, and the strength of the pack is the wolf . . . Hard work is the price of admission!"
Coach: Jim Fenerty, 24th year, missed final six games of '12 on medical leave (also Egan, 1982-89). Education: Dougherty, La Salle. Career: 501-322; 440-184 at GA.
Last year: 6-4, 20-10.
Savvy seven: Julian Moore, 6-9, F-C; Nick Lindner, 5-10, G; James Drury, 6-2, G; Greg Dotson, 6-5, F; Patrick Sawyer, 6-4, F; Earl Edwards, 6-5, F; Joe Taylor, 6-foot, G.
Fenerty's comment: "We have great kids with a lot of potential, though I can't say we looked too hot in our scrimmages. The kids are excited about getting to the GAMES."
Coach: Henry "Doug" Fairfax, 1st year; Education: Haverford School, Drexel. Career: 15-12.
Last year: 5-5, 15-12.
Savvy seven: Sema'j Reed, 6-6, F-C; Eric Anderson, 6-6, G; Levan "Shawn" Alston, 6-3, G; Chris Morgan, 6-2, G-F; Derek Mountain, 6-4, G; James Tarte, 6-1, G-F; Brendan Burke, 6-3, G-F.
Fairfax' comment: "We put a ton of pressure on ourselves to prepare at the highest possible level. These 10 battles should be fun!"
Coach: Jim Rullo, 7th year. Education: Malvern, Drexel. Career: 126-47.
Last year: 8-2, 24-3.
Savvy seven: Alex Dentinger, 6-4, F; Jim Gordon, 6-4, G; Ryan Ammerman, 6-4, F; Sam Ramagano, 6-foot, G; Jeff Hagen, 6-5, F; John Nassib, 6-5, F; Andrew Bargmann, 6-2, G.
Rullo's comment: "We are optimistic that the players who have been in our program the past couple of years are now ready to step up and take advantage of their opportunity."
Coach: Lynard Stewart, 2nd year; Education: Gratz, Temple. Career: 11-13.
Last year: 5-5, 11-13.
Savvy seven: Mike McGlinchey, 6-9, C; Dave Huber, 6-6, F; Austin Williams, 6-5, F; Kyle Drayton, 5-5, G; Anthony Campanile, 6-4, F; Sean O'Brien, 6-2, G; Demetrius Isaac, 5-11, G.
Stewart's comment: "Special things happen to those who work hard."
SPRINGSIDE CHESTNUT HILL ACADEMY
Coach: Jamie Chadwin, 1st year; Education: Germantown Academy, Delaware. Career: 0-0.
Last year: 5-5, 12-11.
Savvy seven: Andrew Dowds, 6-3, F; Bobby Keyes, 6-foot, G; Frank Jackson, 5-9, G; Patrick Costello, 6-1, G; Paul Dooley, 6-1, G; John DeAngelis, 6-2, F; Tom Hogan, 6-3, F.