Central League boys' preview
Lower Merion lost nine seniors to graduation, but has the talent and quickness needed to capture the Central League title.
The Aces are led by ever-improving junior Raheem Hall, a 6-foot-2 point guard who averaged 8.2 points and earned second-team all-league honors last season.
Lower Merion coach Gregg Downer also has back 6-2 senior wing guard Mike Robbins (7.2 ppg.), 6-6 senior forward Darryl Reynolds (5.2 ppg.), and 6-5 junior wing guard B.J. Johnson (7.4 ppg.).
Upper Darby, the defending Central champ, lost most of its scoring to graduation. Yusef Ross, a 6-0 junior guard, is the lone returning starter.
Also in the Royals' rotation are junior guard Zafir Copeland, senior guards Da'Quan Timmons and Brendan Brown, 6-3 senior forward Sam Choudhary, and 6-5 senior center Mahamane Toure.
Ridley, guided by new coach Mike Snyder, is banking on continued production from Shawn Church. The 6-2 senior forward averaged 17 points and was a first-team all-league pick last season. Church is joined by fellow seniors Dan Steiber, a 5-11 point guard, and Matt Zang, a 6-0 forward. Junior Jon McGill is a 6-3 forward.
After spending 11 seasons at Ridley, Keith Heinerichs is now at Haverford High. The Fords center their attack around 6-4 senior forwards Pat Morgan and Kevin Gladstone. Haverford also has junior guards Gabe Armando and Ed Durkin, and senior forwards Mike Gentile and Miles Mansell.
Marple Newtown has four returning starters, all seniors: 6-5 forward Ryan Furst, 6-8 center Andrew Brandt, 6-3 forward Pat McGee, and 6-0 senior guard Joe Kelly. Mike McDevitt, a junior point guard, is the floor leader.
Garnet Valley returns six players with varsity experience, but lacks overall height.
Two seniors, 6-3 forward John Guest and 5-8 guard Jules Raucci, join the Jaguars after helping the football squad reach the District 1 Class AAAA playoff semifinals.
Joe Rapczynski, Garnet Valley's second-year boss, is also expecting contributions from juniors Jonathan Vandenberg and Zach Jones, and senior Ryan Kelly.
Chris Monahan, previously at Thomas FitzSimons in the Public League, is the new coach at Radnor.
- Rick O'Brien