The Inquirer TOP 10
Team 2008-09 Record
Last season's final rank in parentheses.
1. Neumann-Goretti (4) 26-3
The defending Catholic League champions ooze talent, with four Division I signees: Tony Chennault (Wake Forest), Tyreek Duren (La Salle), Mustafaa Jones (Hartford), and Danny Stewart (Rider).
2. Friends' Central (5) 27-2
The Phoenix are sparked by 6-7 forward Dominic Morris and guards Travis Robinson, Devin Coleman, and H.J. Gaskins. Amile Jefferson, a 6-7 junior forward, has received interest from the likes of Duke, North Carolina, Texas, and Wake Forest.
3. Plymouth Whitemarsh (6) 25-6
Can the Colonials take a few more steps and claim the PIAA Class AAAA state championship? That effort will be led by forwards C.J. Aiken and Jaylen Bond. Also in the mix are speedy guards Sam Pygatt, Whis Grant, and Brandon Dixon.
4. Penn Wood (1) 28-4
Last season, the Patriots lived up to their advanced billing by winning the state title. The bid to repeat is spearheaded by point guard Tyree Johnson, 6-5 swingman Aaron Brown, and 6-9 forward/center Shawn Oakman, back from the gridiron.
5. Academy of the New Church (NR) 15-12
The quick-footed Lions are fueled by 6-9, 230-pound junior Rakeem Christmas, a transfer from North Catholic; 6-6 sophomore Savon Goodman; 6-11 junior Malcom Gilbert; and 6-2 senior guard Warren Gillis.
6. Imhotep Charter (2) 32-1
Coach Andre Noble says the Panthers are even more balanced than last season. The standouts include a trio of juniors: 6-8 center Erik Copes, who has orally committed to George Washington; 6-4 point guard David Appolon; and 6-5 guard Ameen Tanksley.
7. Roman Catholic (NR) 18-9
The Cahillites are powered by Tulane-bound combo guard Rakeem Brookins, 6-5 swingman Kevin Regan, and 6-8 forward Anthony Mayo. The X-factor could be the addition of Fortunat "Junior" Kangudi , a 6-7 transfer from Canada.
8. Westtown Friends (NR) 18-6
Even without Lusito Jimenez and Berk Atuk, both lost for the season with knee injuries, the Moose should make plenty of noise. They return 6-10 sophomore Daniel Ochefu (10 ppg.), wing guard Matt Lee (Bryant), and 6-7 forward Dockery Walker (Brown).
9. Archbishop Carroll (3) 27-3
The Patriots boast a lineup that features point guard D.J. Irving (14.7 ppg.), combo guard Juan'ya Green (13.4 ppg.), and 6-4 swingman Ben Mingledough (8.1 ppg.). Matt Donaldson, a 6-4, 215-pound junior football player, provides much-needed muscle.
10. Chester (10) 24-5
The Clippers' lightning-quick lineup is spurred by senior guards Laquan Robinson and Maurice Nelson. Early-season tests will come against Reading, Plymouth Whitemarsh and Bartram. "We're young, but I still expect us to win a lot of games," coach Larry Yarbray said.
Under consideration (listed alphabetically): Bartram (18-9), Frankford (17-5), Malvern Prep (22-9), Phelps School (25-4), Strawberry Mansion (18-5), Wissahickon (11-11).
- Rick O'Brien