Three-time defending Catholic League titlist Neumann-Goretti returns six of its top seven players.

The Saints, also looking to repeat as PIAA Class AAA state champions, are paced by 6-foot-5 senior forward Derrick Stewart, 6-2 sophomore wing guard Ja'Quan Newton, and 6-4 junior forward Johnny Davis.

Neumann-Goretti has a trio of experienced guards: seniors Billy Shank and La'Quan Coaxum, and junior Hanif Sutton. Two other guards, sophomore Troy Harper and senior Shane Thomas, provide depth.

As if that wasn't enough, Lamar "Fresh" Kimble, a highly touted freshman point guard, came to South Philly after attending Life Center Academy in Burlington, N.J.

St. Joseph's Prep won't hand the crown to Neumann-Goretti. Steve Vasturia, a 6-4, 185-pound junior guard who recently committed to Notre Dame; 6-3 senior swingman Gene Williams, and junior guard Miles Overton form a rock-solid nucleus.

Roman Catholic is young, but quick and talented. Combination guard Shep Garner, 6-4 wing Shafeek Taylor, and point guard Rip Engel are high-caliber sophomores.

The Cahillites also are counting on junior guards Britton Lee and Raquan Brown-Johnson. Trevaughn Wilkerson, a 6-5 forward, is an up-and-coming freshman.

Behind junior point guard Yosef Yacob and senior wing Alec Stavetski, Archbishop Carroll hopes to remain near the top of the standings.

Father Judge's bid to be in the title hunt will be led by speedy guard Steve Griffin. He gets help from fellow junior Joe Robinson, a 6-4 forward and transfer from Franklin Learning Center.

La Salle, which graduated six starters, is ignited by two juniors: 6-1 guard Amar Stukes and 6-7 wing Steve Smith. Also in the mix are 6-4 senior Matt Murphy and 6-6 junior Matt Rodden, a transfer from Neumann-Goretti.

Bishop McDevitt brings back three starters: senior forwards Brahieme Jackson and Markeise Chandler, and junior guard Kenyatta Young.

Conwell-Egan centers its attack around Jamal Nwaniemeka, a 6-2 senior wing guard; junior point guard Ryan Pepito; and senior wing Dylan Pease.

- Rick O'Brien