HAVE THE pro sports blues?
The Philadelphia Catholic League basketball season could provide ample intrigue.
For the first time since 2008, a team other than Neumann-Goretti enters the year wearing the PCL crown.
Roman Catholic unseated the Saints last season en route to a championship sweep in which the Cahillites claimed the PCL, AAAA District 12 and AAAA state titles.
According to Max Preps' Xcellent 25 national rankings, the Cahillites are ranked No. 8 and the Saints No. 14 in the country.
"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," said Roman senior guard Tony Carr. "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 6-4 point guard leading a trio of seniors who already have signed with Penn State.
Lamar Stevens is a 6-7 transfer who led the Inter-Ac in scoring (19.1 points per game) last season at the Haverford School. Nazeer Bostick is a 6-3, do-it-all wing who supplied 25 points and feisty play in last season's PCL 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 PCL play.
"They better be ready to come to play," said Green, as a smile creased his lips at a recent N-G practice. "That's what I'm gonna 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 5-11 junior guard earned a reputation as a big-shot maker.
Green hit the game-winning, buzzer-beating three-pointer in the AAA city title game against Public League AAA champion Imhotep. He also made a regular-season, game-winning three-pointer on the road against Derrick Jones (now at UNLV) and Archbishop Carroll.
An injury to his right ankle last summer, Green said, has made him even more dangerous.
After missing about a month of action, Green said he returned 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 6-8 junior with offers from Villanova, Penn State, Saint 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-signee, provides versatility and toughness as a 6-3 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 PCL finale, Roman also defeated N-G in the regular season, two losses that still sting.
"Still to this day," Green said, shaking his head, "still 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."