The high school basketball season is upon us.
So today we’re taking an early survey of the teams, the upcoming season and players to watch.
Here’s the rundown.
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Providence Day: The Chargers are loaded with talent as all five starters have Division I basketball offers, and with 6-foot-7 senior forward, reigning Observer player of the year, Grant Williams, leading the way, Providence Day will be a NCISAA 3A state championship contender.
Butler: The Bulldogs were one of the hottest teams in the state last season, winning 22 of their last 24 games, including 17 in a row at one point. They return four starters from that team, led by guards, RaeQuan Scott and Orlando Robinson, who set a frenetic pace that they hope will help them repeat as Southwestern 4A (SW4A) champions.
Ardrey Kell: The Knights lost seven seniors, including all five starters from their 4A state runner-up team, but have some players back, including 6-foot-7 forward, Wes Morgan, who could help them reload quickly and contend in the SoMeck8 conference.
Charlotte Latin: The Hawks return a veteran group, led by seniors, Parker Julian and Caleb Jordan, which should give them a chance to be even better than their 19-win, NCISAA 3A state quarterfinal run from a year ago.
Charlotte Catholic: The Cougars return nine seniors, led by senior point guard, Josh Brodowicz, but will also benefit from the emergence of 6-foot-7, 240-pound forward, B.J. Mack. That combination of experience and talent should give them a good chance to compete for a SoMeck conference title and be a dangerous playoff match up.
Grant Williams, Providence Day, 6-7, Sr., F, Josh Howard, Providence Day, 6-6, Sr., F: The Chargers are loaded up front with three, four-year starters, major Division I recruits in Williams (18 ppg, 10 rpg/all-state), Howard (all-state) and 6-foot-8, senior, Isaac Johnson.
RaeQuan Scott, Butler, 5-9, Sr., G, Orlando Robinson, Butler, 5-11, Sr., PG: The Bulldogs’ backcourt is one of the most dynamic duos in the state with Scott (20.9) and Robinson (16 ppg) capable of being interchangeable playmakers at the point and on the wing.
Parker Julian, Charlotte Latin, 6-7, Sr., F: Hawks’ do-it-all forward (17 ppg) can be a match-up nightmare with his ability to go inside or outside, has interest from Big South, Ivy and Southern Conference schools.
Patrick Tape, Queens Grant, 6-9, Sr. F: Columbia University commit has quietly become one of South Charlotte’s finest and is a monster in the paint for the Stallions averaging 16 points, 14 rebounds and nearly 10 blocks per game.
Keyon Wesley, Rocky River, 6-9, F, Sr.: The Ravens’ all-conference forward (14.4 ppg) will use his talents, 7-foot-1 wingspan, to help Rocky River contend for a SW4A title, also a Division I recruit.
Players on the rise
Devon Dotson, Providence Day, 6-1, So., G: The Providence High transfer led the Panthers in scoring last season and is already a Division I recruit along with his new Charger, backcourt mate, Trey Wertz (6-3, So.).
B.J. Mack, Charlotte Catholic, 6-7, Fr., C/F: The Cougars’ standout freshman is also led by senior point guard, Josh Brodowicz (5-9, Sr.)
Marcus Thomas, Independence, 6-4, Sr, G: Patriots’ all-conference guard (15 ppg) looks to lead a team with all five starters returning back into SW4A contention.
Wes Morgan, Ardrey Kell, 6-7, Jr., F: If the Knights are going to reload rather than rebuild, Morgan (with Division I recruiting interest) will be a big part of their success.
Zailan Peeler, Myers Park, 6-3, Jr., G: If the Mustangs want to carry any postseason magic (4A state quarterfinalist) they will need the only returning starter to emerge as a major playmaker.
Greensboro Day at Providence Day, Dec. 1: The Chargers will get a major, early season test when the defending, NCISAA 3A state champion comes to Charlotte, which will also be a good measuring stick for the team.
Jay M. Robinson at Butler, Nov. 28 in the Charlotte Hoops Challenge at Myers Park: The Robinson-Butler match-up will pit two of the best backcourts in the state as Butler’s Scott and Robinson take on Robinson’s Lavar Batts, Jordan McKenzie and Daniel Spencer in a game that is sure to produce some offensive fireworks.
Charlotte Catholic at Ardrey Kell, Jan. 8 and Ardrey Kell at Charlotte Catholic, Feb. 9: The home and home battle between the Cougars and Knights should have a major impact on who wins the SoMeck8 conference title.
Providence Day at Charlotte Latin, Feb. 2 and Charlotte Christian at Charlotte Latin, Feb. 5: These two matchups in the first week of February will likely determine if anyone can challenge, Providence Day, for another CISAA conference championship.
Independence at Butler, Feb. 12: The Bulldogs and Patriots’ rivalry is most well-known on the football, but the archrivals’ regular season finale meeting is also likely to decide the SW4A conference title on the hardwood this season.
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.