A lot of eyes will be on Kahleah Copper, one of the top girls' basketball players in the area, as she tries to lead Prep Charter to another overall Public League championship. Fans also will be watching new coaches at two of the league's division champions.
The 6-foot-2 Copper, who has committed to Rutgers, led Prep Charter to a 25-3 overall record, the league's Class AAA division crown, and a spot in the PIAA playoffs.
With Copper joining other starters - Erick Sowell (6-0), Indiah Cauley (5-8), and Ciera Nimmions (5-9) - back from last year, the Huskies are a heavy favorite to win the Class AAA championship and the overall crown again.
Freire Charter (16-9) will look to 5-10 Chelsea Woods to make a run at the Huskies.
Ashley Morris, a 2004 graduate of Central, returns to her alma mater to take over coaching for Vince Parziale and Frank Greco, who had shared the duties. After playing for the Lancers under Greco, she went on to play for Dawn Staley at Temple, then helped at Central. This is her first head-coaching job.
She will count on 5-11 Melissa Livingston and Asia Mosee to lead the Lancers in their bid to retain the league's Class AAAA title. Central bowed to Prep Charter in the Public League championship game last season.
Frankford and Northeast are expected to challenge Central in AAAA.
Ray Pace, who helped with the boys' junior varsity last season, replaces Dave Hargrove as girls' coach at Engineering & Science. The Engineers are the Public League's reigning Class AA champs.
Pace will rely on 5-9 Monique Whaley-Briggs, 5-9 Yolanna Snypse, and 5-9 Aaliyah Worley.
Look for Imhotep Charter, under second-year coach Sabrina Allen, to challenge E&S in AA. Among her key players are point guard Deja Reynolds, 6-2 sophomore Ashley Murray, and Destiny Russell.