Have the pro-sports blues?
The Philadelphia Catholic League basketball season could provide ample excitement.
Last season, Roman Catholic ended Neumann-Goretti's six-year reign en route to a championship sweep. The Cahillites claimed the Catholic League, District 12 Class AAAA, and PIAA Class AAAA titles.
According to MaxPreps' national rankings, the Cahillites are No. 8 in the nation and the Saints are No. 14. The teams begin the season ranked by The Inquirer Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
"I feel like it's more of a challenge this year just to try and stay on top and stay on our P's and Q's," Roman senior guard Tony Carr said. "We know everybody will be giving us their best shot, so we have to come out every night focused and ready to play."
Carr is a 6-foot-4 point guard leading a trio of seniors who have signed with Penn State.
Lamar Stevens is a 6-foot-7 transfer who led the Inter-Ac in scoring (19.1 points per game) last season at the Haverford School. Nazeer Bostick is a 6-foot-3, do-it-all wing who supplied 25 points and feisty play in last season's league championship at the Palestra.
That triumvirate will help Roman defend its titles before officially becoming Nittany Lions.
Quade Green and the Saints will be in hot pursuit in league play.
"They better be ready to come to play," a smiling Green said at a recent Neumann-Goretti practice. "That's what I'm going to tell them. They better be ready to defend that title. They better protect that title like it's gold. We're coming to get it."
Last season, the 5-foot-11 junior guard earned a reputation as a maker of big shots.
Green hit the game-winning, buzzer-beating three-pointer in the District 12 title game against Public League champion Imhotep. He also made a game-winning three-pointer on the road in the regular season against Derrick Jones (now at UNLV) and Archbishop Carroll.
Green said an injury to his right ankle over the summer made him even more dangerous.
After missing about a month of action, Green said he returned as a limited, less-athletic version of himself, which helped refine other parts of his game.
"I had to outsmart bigger, stronger, faster people," said Green, who has offers from Villanova, Louisville, Maryland, Syracuse, and Temple. "I had to pick my spots and get my teammates involved. If I get my teammates involved, you can't really [just] worry about me."
Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, a 6-foot-8 junior with offers from Villanova, Penn State, St. Joseph's, Syracuse, Temple, La Salle, and others, has developed an offensive game to add to his already established presence as a shot blocker.
Zane Martin, a Towson recruit, provides versatility and toughness as a 6-foot-3 senior wing. Martin also scored a team-high 26 points in the Saints' AAA state championship victory last season against Carroll.
In addition to the Catholic League finale, Roman also defeated N-G in the regular season, two losses that still sting.
"Still, to this day," Green said, shaking his head, "To this day."
He added: "It feels like we have to work harder. We came in with a dynasty, but we messed it up last year. We have to restart it now."
Carr and the Cahillites will be ready.
"I'm sure there's going to be great games this year," Carr said. "I'll be the first one to say that I'm definitely looking forward to it. It feels good being the champs and we're ready to take on everyone's challenge."