Private school basketball in the area hasn't always been competitive, as local schools have had a hard time competing with Charlotte-area powerhouses, such as defending state champions United Faith and Victory Christian. But the infusion of new talent in the past few years has drawn attention to NCISAA boys' basketball. That will be even more so this season.
Cannon, Davidson Day and Southlake Christian reached the postseason last season, although neither had much luck. Although most of the local schools lost a lot of talent this offseason, the Patriots are a big exception, having added six new player and returning a strong core that won a school-record 22 wins last year.
Coach: Ron Johnson.
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2009-2010 record: 22-7.
Davidson Day returns its top scorer from last season, point guard Rashun Davis, to lead a strong Patriot team. With the addition of six new players, including all-conference Division I prospects Bernard Sullivan (North Meck transfer) and Keith Belfield (Cannon transfer), the Patriots are deep and should be one of the favorites to compete for a state title at the end of the season. But coach Ron Johnson knows there’s still a lot of work to do before Davidson Day can reach its potential.
Bernard Sullivan: Former Viking averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds last season.
Lake Norman Charter
Coach: Troy Simko.
2009-2010 record: 8-10.
The Knights suffered a big blow in the offseason, losing its top two scorers from last season, junior guard Shivaughn Wiggins, who transferred to North Meck and Nick Daddio. Senior Jalen Jones, the team’s top returning scorer, will have to step up to give Lake Norman Charter a chance to stay competitive. 6-foot-6 center Amr Saleh could be a big help with his size.
Jalen Jones: Senior’s leadership and scoring will be key for Knights to be successful.
Coach: Jamie Seitz.
2009-2010 record: 8-13.
The team lost eight players from last year - between transfers and graduation - so the Eagles will also be in rebuilding mode. Lincoln Charter returns two starters, senior guard Mac McLanahan and senior forward Charlie Splain. Coach Jamie Seitz will be able to rely on his new assistant, his father, Dennis, who has won more than 540 games in western New York.
Charlie Splain: The 6-foot-1 forward will be heavily depended on as the Eagles regroup.
Coach: Glen Taylor.
2009-2010 record: 16-14.
The Cougars lost nearly everything from last season including all-state guards, Jarrell Eddie, who is now at Virginia Tech, and Keith Belfield, who transferred to Davidson Day. But Cannon will look to battle back in the CISAA with a talented list of newcomers that begin with Alec Wintering, who moved to the area from Arizona and is already a college prospect. The Cougars will rely on a talented frontcourt that includes 6-foot-3 Will Nork, 6-foot-5 Matthew Godley and 6-foot-6 Hans-Christian Lauer.
Alec Wintering: 5-foot-9 Arizona transfer is already getting college attention as a sophomore.
Pine Lake Prep
Coach: Mike Hartshorne.
2009-2010 record: 3-10.
Pine Lake is again young, with two of five starters being underclassmen. The team has some potential and will be led by sophomore Hayden Goins, who scored 23 points in the team’s season opener, and junior Keenan Gilmore, who was the leading scorer and rebounder for the young program last season.
Keenan Gilmore: Last season’s team MVP looks will be essential for Pine Lake.
Coach: Ben Handlogten.
2009-2010 record: 6-15.
The Eagles only return three players - Austin McEntire, Andrew Webber and Demetri Allison - from last season’s team, so Southlake is looking to rebuild this season.
The team is in good hands, as former assistant coach Ben Handlogten, who had a long professional basketball career in both Europe and the NBA, took over the reigns of the team.
Austin McEntire: 5-foot-10 sophomore guard is the team’s lone returning starter.