With the return of Amile Jefferson, a 6-8 senior and blue-chip recruit, Friends' Central is favored to claim its third consecutive Friends Schools League championship.
Jefferson, The Inquirer's Southeastern Pennsylvania boys' player of the year in 2010-11, is joined by junior combo guard Karonn Davis and sophomore point guard Conrad Chambers.
The 6-1 Chambers, a pure scorer and terrific ball handler, has scholarship offers from Seton Hall, Iowa State, and Rutgers.
Billy Cassidy, a junior wing guard, transferred to Friends' Central from Monsignor Bonner. Also in the mix for the Phoenix are three seniors: 6-4 forward Franz Hueber, 6-5 forward-center Shea Norcini, and guard Pedro Rangel.
Westtown's bid for the FSL title is headed by 6-10, 240-pound senior forward Daniel Ochefu. The Villanova recruit, a quality rebounder and shot-blocker, averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds last season.
Westtown also brings back 6-7, 230-pound junior Yilret Yiljep and 6-0 sophomore point guard Floyd Preito. Jeremy Schulkin, a 6-4 senior wing guard, and 6-1 sophomore guard Marcus Howell transferred in from Solebury School and Phoenixville, respectively.
With Division I recruit Savon Goodman now playing at Constitution, of the Public League, Academy of the New Church revolves around 6-5 senior swingman and Fairfield recruit Marcus Gilbert.
ANC, runner-up to Friends' Central the last two seasons, also is boosted by senior guards Daniel Pittman and Dinjiyl Walker.
Shipley has a formidable lineup anchored by three seniors: 6-4 guard Chima Nwakpuda, 6-7 forward Isaiah Baker (Holy Cross recruit), and sharpshooting guard Stephen Gentry.
Abington Friends is rebuilding. The Kangaroos are led by three junior transfers: guard Montana Mayfield, formerly of Roman Catholic; 6-7 center Jerimyjah Batts (Communications Tech); and guard Jared Wright (Souderton).
"We're not that big," longtime AFS coach Steve Chadwin said. "We're going to have to rebound well and play good team defense."
- Rick O'Brien