Imhotep Charter trusts its system.
Despite losing five players from last season's Public League and Class AAA state-championship team, including Providence recruit and leading scorer Brandon Austin, Imhotep doesn't expect to miss a beat as it leads a strong, six-team Public League A division.
Basil Thompson, a St. Francis (Pa.) recruit, improved his outside shot and will lead Imhotep. The team also expects contributions from returners Devin Liggeons, Jajwan Jones, Dymir Logan, and Deion Evans, as well as transfers Sean Lloyd (Haverford School) and Khalief Tinley (Vaux).
Imhotep leads a packed, six-team A Division and will be challenged by Math, Civics, and Sciences and Martin Luther King.
MC&S brings back only one senior, Norfolk State commit Louis Myers, who will be counted on to score and lead a defense-first team.
King jumps from the C Division after a 24-5 season. Despite losing a large senior class, it expects a more talented team with transfers Sammy Foreman (Vaux), Jahmir Taylor (Del-Val Charter), Rasool Samir (Imhotep), Tyheem Harmon (MC&S), Chase Rodgers (Plymouth Whitemarsh), and Jabri McCall (Abington Friends).
Dobbins, Freire, and Washington finished tied atop the B Division with 9-3 division records.
Dobbins expects a stronger offensive team this season. Andre Cannedy, Devante Laws, Jerelle Pinckney, and Tyron Roberson return for their senior seasons.
Freire lost its two leading scorers from last year's team, but coach John Brown expects a big season from Elijah Elam, whom he compares to Ray Allen for his ability to come off screens and shoot.
Washington looks to compete with more balanced scoring and defense after losing its two leading scorers from last year, with Kendale Truitt graduating and Devante Truitt transferring to Philadelphia Electrical.
With King out of the C Division, Olney, which finished second last year, looks like the favorite. Tyheim Monroe, Shakeem Stevens, and Daquan Wilkerson, three of last season's four leading scorers, all return.
Central and Northeast will challenge Olney. Central expects a big season from junior Kahlil Williams, who worked on his ballhandling and became stronger since last season.
Northeast lost eight players to graduation, but expects a deep team built around combo guard Elmange Watson, the only underclassman who played significant minutes last season.
Kensington won the D Division last season and expects Jerrell Richardson's strong outside shot to lead an up-tempo attack.
New Media captured the E Division and moved up to the D, making room for Philadelphia Academy Charter, which finished second last year. PAC coach Dave Brown has told center Muhammad Laws that he wants 25 points per game from him.
- Nick Carroll