Courier News area boys basketball capsules

Courier News area boys basketball capsules


Courier News area boys basketball capsules





Coach: Gene McAteer, 14th season (201-135)

Last Season: 20-8

Letterwinners: 7 returning, 7 lost

Roster: Matt Miliotis (Jr., G.); Raymark Abogado (Sr., G.); Bennett Kautz (Jr., G.); Griffin Figel (Sr., G.); Cole Harper (Jr., F.); Billy Thompson (Sr., G.); Nick Scimone (Jr., G.); Liam Kelly (Jr., G.); Matt Mancuso (Jr., F.); Eric Nickel (Jr., F.); Ryan Owens (Sr., F.); Jared Rappoport (Sr., C.)

Outlook: The Panthers are returning seven players from the team last year, but the top three scorers in Vincent Pace, Ben Miler and Andrew Wieczenski all are lost due to graduation. There is good experience coming from this Panthers squad, but with nobody averaging over five points last season, it remains a mystery who will fill the scoring void.


Coach: Corey Floyd, first season

Last season: 0-22

Letterwinners: 6 returning, 5 lost.

Roster: Asiah Avent (Sr., G 6-4); Timothy Bradley (Sr., C/F 6-5); Kendal Fletcher (Sr., G 5-11); Kareem Cotton (Sr., G 6-1); Matthew Harris (Sr., C/F 6-6); William McDaniel (Sr., G 6-0); Irving Callender (Jr., G/F 6-4); Elijah Jones (Jr., C/F 6-5); Tyler Linen (Jr., PG 5-10); Justin Orsini (Jr., G 5-10); Cameron Silver (Jr., G 5-9); Malachi Walker (Jr., F 6-4); Gregory Williams (Jr., G 5-9); Jordan Williams (Jr., G 5-9).

Outlook: There’s some optimism in Franklin as Floyd takes over after spending the previous two years as the girls coach at Piscataway and previously as the girls coach at Somerville. He’ll look to instill some discipline on his team as the Warriors do have some pieces they could build with. Avent and Harris, transfers from Piscataway and Timothy Christian, respectively, join the forces as Floyd appears to be a strong fit to take on this major rebuilding process. There’s nowhere to go but up for the Warriors.


Coach: Mergin Sina, 12th season

Last Season: 19-8

Letterwinners: 10 returning

Roster: Tyus Battle (6-5 Jr., G.); Ian DeMarest (6-4, Sr., F.); John Michael Mea (5-11, Sr. G.); Jonas Stakeliunas (6-8, Sr., F.); Adam Mitola (6-1, G.); Harrison Demaira; Matt DelPrior; Julius Stomas; Alex Schacne (5-9, Fr., G.)

Outlook: Fielding one of the best players in the county in Tyus Battle, the Knights will look to sweep the compeitition as they bring back all five starters from the 19-8 team just a year ago. Battle will shoulder the load for the Knights, coming off a 2013 season where he averaged 21.7 ppg. With so many players returning, the goals are high for this Knights team, who want to get to the Somerset County final and the state sectional finals. With Battle, who is being looked at by almost every major Division I college around the nation, at the helm, the Knights are certainly in the running for one of the best teams in the state.


Coach: Ian Progin, 12th season (173-104)

Last Season: 22-3

Letterwinners: 5 returning, 7 lost

Roster: Rob Askes (Sr. SF, 6-3); Joe Suseck (Sr. F, 6-4); Mike Reilly (Sr. G, 6-0); Mike DeCicco (Sr. G, 6-0); Kyle Bergen (Sr. C 6-4); Dyan Finer (Sr. G, 5-11); John Clifford (Sr. G, 6-0); Ken Schengrund (Sr. C, 6-4); Sam Wakai (Jr. G, 5-8); Jimmy Suseck (Jr. C, 6-3) Kyle Jerney (Jr. SF, 6-4); Luke Finer (Jr. G 6-2); Steve Rudd (So. C, 6-3); Jackson Parham (Fr. G, 6-3)

Outlook: The Raiders come into the season with some inexperience. Losing seven players from last year’s squad, including Jalen Parham, who is redshirting at East Stroudsburg this season, the Raiders will for one of their players to step up and fill the void. The Raiders may not have another 22-3 season in them, but they will look to stay competitive as they build chemistry and learn to play with one another. The Raiders would love to defend their conference and Somerset County championships from a year ago, and head coach Ian Progin wants his team playing their best basketball come tournament time.


Coach: Brian Feath, 4th season (68-17)

Last Season: 24-5

Letterwinners: 5 returning, 4 lost

Roster: Padraic Brady (Sr., G., 6-2); Derek Lyons (Sr., G., 6-1); Dan McCreesh (Sr., G., 5-11); Jack Smith (Sr., F., 6-1); Max Mahoney (Jr., F., 6-6); Mark Szeluga (Sr., F., 6-1); Austin Melville (Sr., G., 6-0); Sean Melville (Jr., G., 5-11); Danny Doolan (Jr., G., 5-11); Angad Singh (Jr., F., 6-5); Alex Alano (So., G., 5-10).

Outlook: Coming off a 24-5 season last year, the Red Devils will be looking to pick up right where they left off. The Red Devils will certainly be looking to avenge their loss in the North Group IV sectional final, and the talented squad will need other players to step up in the absence of Kevin Doolan, Ryan Byrnes and Tommy Chiriaco, who were a large part in their successes last season. With tons of talent still left on the roster, the Red Devils will be looking to stay competitive every night, and eventually get back to the county and sectional finals where they don’t expect to lose twice.


Coach: Alex Mahony, first season

Last season: 13-11

Letterwinners: 10 returning, 0 lost.

Roster: Karl Charles (Sr., G, 6-5); Levi Holmes (Sr., G, 6-4); JaDon Robinson (Sr., G, 6-); PJ Strahm (Sr.,G,5-10); Dan Schantz (Jr., F, 6-4); Greg Smith (Jr., G, 6-1); Jayson Oweh (So., F, 6-5); Jake Needleman (So., G, 5-6); Miles Johnson (So., G, 5-11); Zach Brown (So., G, 6-2); CJ Howell (Jr., F, 6-5); Lyle Zullo (So., G, 5-5); Luigi Apollon (So., G, 6-); Chris Phillips (Fr., G, 5-6).

Outlook: A lot has changed for the Argonauts over the offseason – they’ve joined the ranks of the Skyland Conference and Mahony has also slid over from the assistant’s seat to the head coaching position for his mentor Tim Ortelli. The Argonauts will be happy to welcome back Charles, who missed all of last season with an ACL injury. Him paired with Holmes presents a strong 1-2 punch as both are athletic and capable of playing in a multitude of ways. The Argonauts have a very experienced varsity roster and are a hard-working bunch as they have the tools to be a strong contender in the Skyland Conference.



Coach: Mike Falco, third season (27-26)

Last Season: 10-15

Letterwinners: 10 returning, 4 lost

Roster: Myles Thomas (Sr. G 5-9); Ryan McCarthy (Sr. F 6-1); Pat Clare (Sr. F 6-3); Anthony LaRagione (Sr. C 6-5); Colin McNeil (Jr., G 5-11); Cole Hanntz (Jr. G 6-1); Christian Shaw (So. G/F 6-3); Tucker Richardson (So. G 6-1); Chad Dreswick (So. C 6-7); Connor Coiante (Jr. F 6-1); Mark Meddleton (Jr. G 5-11); Cole Macknight (Jr. C 6-5); Frank Dapaola (So. F 6-1).

Outlook: Mike Falco’s squad is looking to be competitive night in and night out, and with an experienced squad he just might be able to do that. The Red Devils come into this season with 10 players on their roster returning from last season, and the team will look to outpace their opponents with up-tempo play and quick transitions to the basket. The Red Devils will certainly be looking to get back and avenge their loss in the county quarterfinals, where they lost just a season ago.


Coach: Ryan McKeever, second season

Last Season: 7-17

Letterwinners: 8 returning, 5 lost

Roster: Julian Alexis (Sr., G, 6’3); Gianni Buarne (Sr., G, 6’1); Christian Medley (Sr., F, 6’3); Chase Munkholm (Sr., F, 6’4); George Browning (Jr., F, 6’3); Colin Martin (Sr., G, 5’10); Kyle McGovern (Sr., F, 6’2); Jared Chambliss (Fr., G/F, 6’3); Chris Golankiewicz (Jr., F, 6’3); Brandon Yu (Jr., G, 5’10); Brock Manning (So., F, 6’4); David Hoffman (So., C, 6’4).

Outlook: The Spartans come into this season with a good amount of players returning with varsity experience. A team with great depth, the Spartans will use that to their advantage as they could play eight or nine players per game. The quick team can outpace their opponents, and they look to get up and down the court in a hurry in order to score quick transition baskets. Fr., Jared Chambliss could be an x-factor for the Spartans, as he can score with his very athletic and long body.


Coach: Kris Grundy, 10th season (147-90)

Last Season: 27-2

Letterwinners: 6 returning, 5 lost

Roster: Chase Ta (Sr., G, 6’3); Alex Miller (Sr., G, 6’2); Darron Wallace (Sr., F, 6’4); Mitch Chugunov (Jr., G, 6’0); Matt Stagnitta (Jr., G, 5’10); Matt Remsen (So., G, 5’10); Ashwin Prakash (Jr., F, 6’4); Connor Griffin (Jr., F, 6’2); Lucas Goldoni (Jr., G, 5’10); Matt Summers (So., G, 6’0); Danny Engels (So., G, 6’2); Mike Remsen Jr. (Sr., F, 6’2).

Outlook: Coming off a 27-2 season, the Cougars will look to be right back in the thick of things this season. With great depth and a lineup that is able to hang with the best of them, the Cougars will look to get back to the Central Group IV championship game, where they were upended last year. There are big goals for the Cougars, who have their eyes set on deep county and state tournament runs. With head coach Kris Grundy at the helm, the Cougars will certainly be one of the toughest teams in the Skyland Conference.


Coach: Kyle Rehrig, fifth season (52-51)

Last Season: 12-14

Letterwinners: 4 returning, 4 lost

Roster: Brandon Votek (Sr, G, 5-10); Matt Schaedel (Sr, G, 5-11); Terre Hellander (Sr, F, 6-2); Chris Tywanick (Jr, F, 6-2); Ryan McDonald (Sr, F, 6-2); Doug Brightly (Sr, F 6-4), Cyrus Sethna (Sr, F, 6’3); Matt DelSantro (Sr, G, 6); Colin DelSantro (Jr, G, 5-11), Dan Hett (Jr, G, 5-10), Connor Lane (Jr, C, 6-8), John Walton (Jr, G, 5-10).

Outlook: Consistency will be the key for the Lions, as they look to build on their 12-14 season last year. Head coach Kyle Rehrig has big plans for his team this season, hoping to make a deep run in the Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex tournament, as well as qualify for the state tournament. The Lions have a tough schedule, including the likes of Easton (PA), but the talented squad is hoping that their team chemistry and the depth of their team can grab them victories. The Lions come in with little varsity experience, but Rehrig is hoping his teams hard work will guide them throughout the year.


Coach: Justin Salton, seventh season

Last Season: 10-12

Letterwinners: 8 returning, 2 lost

Roster: Evan Meyers (Jr., PG, 5-6); Justin LaCapra (Jr., F, 6-2); Adam Goldstein (Jr., PG, 5-5); Mark Ball (Jr., C, 6-5); Devyn Spruell (Sr., F, 6-2); David Weidlich (Sr., G, 6-0); Anthony Rocchietti (Sr., G, 6-3); Joey Giacomo (Sr., PG, 5-10); Dan Pilsbury (Freshmen, PG, 6-0); Mitch Jones (So., C, 6-3); Lucas Hackett (Jr., F, 6-4); Timmy Hsueh (Jr., G, 5-10); Andrew Steinhardt (Jr., G, 5-10); Isaiah Allen (Sr., F, 5-7).

Outlook: The Warriors are looking to take a step forward this year as they return almost all of their key pieces from a year ago. It may take some time for the group to come together as many players have been battling injuries this preseason. Adam Goldstein is out until February, and Devyn Spruell and Mark Ball have been slowed up this preseason due to lingering football injuries. The Warriors will also be without the services of returning starting point guard, Joey Giacomo, for at least 4 weeks due to a football injury. However, the Warriors should have depth, as up to 12 players could see time when the team is at full strength.



Coach: Tim Palek, second season (8-16)

Last season: 8-16

Letterwinners: 9 returning, 3 lost

Roster: Kyle Verduin (Sr., PG, 5-9); JP Tantleff ( Seniro, SF, 6-1); Luke Bowerbank (Sr., SG, 5-9); Amiyr Crosby (Sr., SF/PF, 6-2); Chevy Ellis (Seniro SF/PF 6-2); Mike Isselin (Jr., SG 5-9); Danny McDonnel (Sr., C, 6-4); Jake Cawley (Jr., C, 6-3); Andrew Martin ( Sr., SG 5-10); Zach Walljasper (Jr., SG/SF, 6-2); Max Berg (Jr., 5-10, SG); Steve Gribbon (So., SG, 5-11).

Outlook: The Mountaineers come into head coach Tim Palek-s second season without their two leading scorers from last year in David Weber and Doug DeMarris, but Palek is hoping his team-s experience and some top newcomers will fill that void. Mike Isselin returns as the Mountaineers leading scorer, and Kyle Verduin will be a force behind the three-point line. Zach Walljasper, who transferred from Seton Hall Prep, should shoulder most of the scoring load for the Moutaineers, who are looking to build off last year-s successes, and be in the running for a conference championship at the end of the year.


Coach: Anthon Melesurgo, 11th season (172-93)

Last Season: 17-10

Letterwinners: 4 returning, 5 lost

Roster: Anthony Perez (JR., G., 6-3); Najee Williams (Jr., F., 6-1); Kevin Pacheco (Sr., G., 5-7); Daniel Leinbach (Sr., G., 5-8); EJ Vargas (So., C., 6-4); Darius Brown (Jr., F., 6-2); Nick Cuba (Sr., G., 5-11); Kyle Frauenheim (Fr., F., 6-0); Peter O-Connor (Fr., G., 5-11); Tyson Amaker (So., F., 6-0).

Outlook: The Crusaders come into the season as a very young, inexperienced team. Moving up from the Valley Division to the Raritan Division, the Crusaders will look to be competitive every night they are on the floor. With out of conference teams like St. Anthony-s, Watchung Hills, Bridgewater-Raritan, South Hunterdon and Timothy Christian on the schedule, head coach Anthony Melesurgo is hoping his team can get it together early on in order to get wins. The Crusaders are a new team, but the still-talented squad will look to get back to the Somerset County quarterfinals, where Montgomery upended them just a season ago.


Coach: Anthony Culcasi, second season

Last Season: 13-15

Letterwinners: 4 returning, 7 lost

Roster: David Giordano (Sr., C, 6-6); Josh Christ (Sr., G/F, 6-3); Frank McHugh (Sr., F, 6-3); Jesse Neighbour (Sr., G, 5-10); Alex Pfreundschuh (Sr., C, 6-7); Nicholas Zmuda (Sr., G, 5-11); Lake Cole (Jr., G/F, 6-0); Shane Power (Jr., G/F, 5-11); CJ Schaible (Jr., F, 6-2); Jacob Brogan (Jr., F, 6-2); Ethan Templeton (Jr., F, 6-2); Joseph Donnelly (Jr., G, 6-1); Jackson Lee Fisher (Jr., C/F, 6-3); Kevin Scanlan (So., G, 5-9).

Outlook: The Terriers are boasting a young squad that will look to be competitive right from the start. Losing two key players in Travis Crawford and Jack Del Greco, head coach Anthony Culcasi believes that the team has the talent to fill the void left. Fielding incredible height, including 6-7 Alex Pfreunschuh and 6-6 David Giordano, the Terriers will look to use that height to get them far into the state tournament, as well as the Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex tournament.


Coach: Joe D’Alessandro, 25th season (463-149)

Last Season: 15-10

Letterwinners: 2 returning, 5 lost

Roster: Mike Bunnell (Sr., 6-5); Nasir Clark (6-2, F., Sr.); Joe Mosca (Jr., G.); Randy Walko (Jr., G.); John Jimenez (Jr., 6-1, G/F); Robert Melillo (5-10, G., So.); Dave Ventura (6-1, Jr., F.); Alex Willenbrock (6-3, F., So.).

Outlook: The Pioneers haven’t had a losing season in 31 years, and this year’s team will certainly be looking to keep that trend going. The talented squad has high hopes for this year’s team, with defense being the key to their success. Challenging for conference, county and state sectional titles is high on the list for head coach Joe D’Alessandro, who could inch will inch closer to the 500 career win mark in his 25th year as the Pioneers’ head coach.


Coach: Jeff Franz, first season

Last Season: 6-16

Letterwinners: 3 returning, 8 lost

Roster: Kyle Pierson (Sr., F, 6-4); Mike Snellen (Sr., G, 5-8); Sean Szymzcak (Sr., G, 6-0); Kyle Reiter (Sr., G, 5-5); Scott Thompson (Sr., F, 6-2); Evan Aronowitz (Jr., G, 5-9); Nick Cregar (Jr., F, 6-3); Zack Cregar (Jr., F, 6-3); Joby Jacob (Jr., G, 6-0); Tyler Kroll (Jr., F, 6-0); Blair Felts (So., G 5-11).

Outlook: It will be an interesting season for Voorhees, who are now under the control of first year head coach Jeff Franz. Franz takes control of a team that went 6-16 last season, but that doesn’t derail the ambitious coach’s goals for this year, which include qualifying for the state tournament, as well as stay competitive in a tough league.



Coach: Charles Brown, second season (7-15)

Last Season: 7-15

Letterwinners: 4 returning, 3 lost

Roster: Carl Imhoff (Sr., G, 6-1); Javier Garcia (Sr., G, 5-7); Eric Warren (Sr., F, 6-0); Ramon Quenionez (Jr., F, 6-3); Kenny Velasquez (Jr., G, 5-7); Brandon Acosta (Sr., F, 6-0); Robert Rivera (Jr., G, 5-8); Will Joseph (Sr., F, 6-2); Jake Bentz (Fr., F, 5-9); Issac Affaro (Fr., G, 5-7).

Outlook: Imhoff is coming off a solid campaign and Brown has more experience to work with after starting from scratch last year. Depth is still a question mark as is usually the case for the Mustangs.


Coach: Reginald Sainte-Rose, second season (13-12)

Last Season: 13-12

Letterwinners: 4 returning, 3 lost

Roster: Naim Hanks (Sr., F, 6-2); Khalil Dock (Soph., SG, 5-8); Ka-Ron Dock (Soph., PG, 5-8); James Gardner (Soph., G, 5-10); Justin Johnson (Soph., F, 6-3); Johni Dumeny (Jr., F, 6-2); Sam Rath (Sr., C, 6-4); Anthony LaFond (Sr, G, 6-1) Jabril Thorpe (Sr., F, 6-1) Vinnie Mastrobattista (Jr., G, 5-9) Steve Barna (Jr., F, 6-3) Sam Cosby (Soph., F, 6-2) Brian Robinson (Soph., F, 6-3), Eric Pettiford (G, 6-0).

Outlook: The future is bright for the Canucks, who played well in spurts last winter thanks in part to a talented freshman class. That group, which went unbeaten in middle school, earned valuable varsity experience and held their own. The Dock brothers were particularly impressive and should be ready to take the next step in Sainte-Rose’s up-tempo scheme.


Coach: Jason Murdock, eighth season

Last Season: 10-14

Letterwinners: 10 returning, 7 lost

Roster: Tom Foreman (Sr., Guard 6-0); Doug Lachenauer (Sr. G, 6-1); Sam Schuman (Sr., F); Austin Schmidt (Sr., G); Drew Gagnon (Jr., G/F, 6-6); Ryan Lane (Jr., F, 6-3); Brendan Kelly (Jr., G, 5-8); Harrison Jones (Jr., F 6-1); Lloyd-James Davidson (So., G, 6-1); Ethan Blum (So., F, 6-2); Phito Jean-Louis (Fr., G, 5-6); Mike Weber (Fr., F, 6-4); Zach Aanstoots (Fr., G, 6-1).

Outlook: The versatile Gagnon, who averaged 14 points per game last year, is one of the better players in the Skyland Conference. He’s a good building block for Murdock, whose squad is more experienced than it’s been and should be poised for a move up the standings.


Coach: Jason Miller, eighth season (105-67)

Last Season: 19-6

Letterwinners: 8 returning, 4 lost

Roster: Elijah Davis (Jr., PG, 6-0); Josh Phillips (Sr., PG, 6-0); Tyler Frazee (Sr., G, 6-0); Brennan Carey (Sr., G, 6-0); Clay Hope (Sr., C, 6-3); D’Andre Acosta (Sr., F, 6-0); Miles Mosby (Sr., F, 6-0); Myles Johnson (Sr., G, 5-7); Shane Hoyer (Jr., C, 6-3); James Lowry (Sr., G, 5-5); Andrew Lelie (Jr., G, 5-10); Thomas McCloughan (Jr., G, 5-10).

Outlook: The Eagles have a good thing going under Miller, but took a hit to graduation in losing progam pillars Devon Troutmann and Jake Whitaker. That said, enough experience returns for another strong season. And this group is tough; several of them played football, including quarterback Frazee. They reached the Central Group I final on the gridiron.



Coach: Steve Petruzzelli

Last Season: 9-15.

Roster: Rob Imbalzano (Sr., F, 6-8); John Iorio (Sr., F, 6-5); Chris Marzo (G, 5-11); Javon Reis-Wilson (Jr., G, 5-8); Jim Longo (Jr., F, 6-2); Vinnie Polimeni (Sr., G, 5-9); Jack Davey (G/F, 6-0); Chris Long (F, 6-4); Matt Bruno (Jr., F, 6-2); Brian Cranston (Jr. ,G, 5-9); Griffin Busby (Jr. ,F, 6-1); Steve Disko (Jr., G, 5-10).

Outlook: Imbalzano is a four-year varsity contributor who will be a focal point for the Highlanders. There is good size up front with Iorio as well. Reis-Wilson returns as a seasoned playmaker. The pieces are in place for improvement.


Coach: Art Cattano, 32nd season (434-311)

Last Season: 19-8

Letterwinners: 6 returning, 4 lost

Roster: Bryan Joyce (Sr., G 5-11); Kevin Haggerty (Sr., G, 5-11); Matt Romeo (Sr., C, 6-4); Dylan Thomas (Sr., F, 6-2); George Daniel (Sr., F, 6-2); Tyler Moragas (Sr., G, 5-11); Andrew DeMeo (Sr., F, 6-1); Davis Barry (Sr., G, 5-10); Kevin Vass (Jr., G, 5-9); Sean Cole (Jr., F, 6-2); Jonathan Munroe (Jr., F, 6-1); Jason DiBenedetto (Jr., G, 5-8).

Outlook: It will be tough to replace the gritty, seasoned nucleus of seniors who guided last year’s successful campaign, but the Pioneers are usually a tough out and that’s likely to continue. It won’t hurt that eight seniors are available to fill the void.


Coach: Jeff Lubreski, seventh season (129-50)

Last Season: 14-11

Letterwinners: 4 returning, 5 lost

Roster: Jachai Simmons (Sr., F, 6-6); Cesar Cordoba (Jr., F/C, 6-3); Jaleel Simmons (Jr., F/C, 6-4); Jonathan Stevens (Jr., G, 5-10); Kenny Carter (Sr., C, 6-5); JaQuae Wilson (Sr., G/F, 6-2); Danny Andrews (Sr., G, 6-0); Steven Brito (Sr., G, 5-9); Josh Washington (Sr., G, 5-10); Nicholas Burke (Jr., F, 6-2); Xzander Martinez (Jr., F/C, 6-3); Elijah Belle (Sr., F, 6-1).

Outlook: It starts with the Simmons brothers, who are outstanding athletes and started to come into their own as basketball players last season. The Cardinals have size across the front, but some inexperience in the backcourt. They’ll be a work in progress with potential to surprise in February.


Coach: Dan Doherty, 15th season

Last Season: 10-15

Letterwinners: 6 returning, 6 lost

Roster: Leo Ramos (Sr., G, 5-10); Chris Gibbons (Sr., G, 6-0); Marquel Taylor (Jr., F, 6-2); Christian Lopez (Sr., G, 5-10); Dan Lopez (Sr., F, 6-0); Aaron Lee (Jr., G, 5-9); Dan Baliko (Jr., F, 6-2); Nigel Nelson (So., F, 6-1); Bryce Edwards (Sr., F, 6-3); Kobi Silverstein (Sr., G, 5-10); Tajir Taylor (Sr, G, 5-8); Justin Cryer (Sr., F 6-1).

Outlook: Ramos was a go-to guy last season and should provide a steady hand at the controls. Several others saw playing time as Doherty employed a deep rotation with an eye toward the future. Size could be an issue. This is not a big team, with just one player taller than 6-2.


Coach: Dr. Jim Reagan Jr., 13th season (160-134)

Last Season: 21-5

Roster: Deshawn Bissoonidal (Sr., C, 6-7); Perry Christie (Jr., F, 6-4); Jordan Hamilton (Sr., F, 6-3); Nate Johnson (Sr., G, 5-11); Kyle Lofton (So., G, 6-0); Zaire Newell (Jr., G, 6-1); George Papas (Jr., G, 6-3); Jordan Pierce (So., C, 6-8); Bailey Ramirez (Jr., F, 6-2); Dalon Ryles (Sr., G, 5-10); Berlin Simplice (Sr., G, 6-0); Isaiah Still (Sr., G, 6-6); Maguire Sweeney (So., F, 6-3); Mikey Watkins (Fr., G, 5-11).

Outlook: The Vikings were a great story last season, overcoming the loss to two starters due to a horrible car accident to win 21 games and their division. They’ll be very good again, as the Robert Morris-bound Still is a matchup nightmare and Johnson gained valuable experience running the point. With seven players at 6-3 or taller, size will not be an issue.


Coach: Daryl Palmieri, fourth season

Last Season: 12-13.

Letterwinners: 8 returning, 8 lost

Roster: Danny Mitchell (Sr., PG, 5-11); Sean Elliott (Sr., F, 6-1); Owen Murray (Jr., PG, 6-4); Parker Hess (Jr., G, 6-0); Chris Boutsikaris (Jr., F, 6-5); Nick Mele (Jr., G, 6-0); Nick Buontempo (Sr., F, 5-11); Mitchell Figueroa (Sr., G, 5-11); Patrick McCormack (Jr., G, 6-1); Matt LaCorte (So, G, 6-1); Jelani Pierre (Jr., G, 5-10); Tim Norris (Jr., C, 6-5); Andrejs Rumpeters (Jr., F, 6-5); Mitchell Bryk (Jr., C, 6-4).

Outlook: Look out for the Blue Devils. Elliott, Murray and Hess all logged major minutes and played well last winter. The talented Mitchell is back at the point after suffering a torn ACL in the summer of 2013. Mele is back after a stint at Roselle Catholic. This group was very good coming up the ranks and should make some noise now that it’s reunited.



Coach: Bernie Buniak, 10th season.

Last season: 16-12

Letterwinners: 4 returning, 3 lost.

Roster: Al-Taron Fields (Sr., F, 6-2); Yianni Garris (Jr., G, 5-11); David Johnson (Sr., F, 6-2); Jordan Jones (Sr., G, 6-1); Dan Russomanno (Sr., F, 6-3); Anthony Buccino (Fr., G, 5-9); Bowen Grasso (Jr., G, 5-9); Nazire Jordan (Jr., G, 5-7); Tyquan Fowler (Jr., G, 5-8); Conrad Paddyfoot (Sr., C, 6-0); Mike Haygood-Henry (Sr., C, 6-2); Nazir Martin (Fr., G, 5-10).

Outlook: The overall outlook is positive for the Destroyers. Fowler can be an impact player for the program. He has tremendous quickness and athleticism. Johnson is a terrific player, one of the best in the county in Buniak’s opinion, as he can score from anywhere on the floor. Dunellen is likely to struggle early as football players such as Johnson and Russomanno came late to basketball after the football run to the state final game. Once the Destroyers round back into shape though, they have a chance at being pretty good as they’ll play their trademark tough, defensive, grind-it-out style. Dunellen expects to be in contention for the Gold Division championship.


Coach: Jared Goldstein, first season

Last season: 14-15

Letterwinners: 8 returning, 4 lost.

Roster: Stewart Lester (Sr., G, 6-0); Marcus Evans-Little (Sr., F, 6-6); Kayshawn Wilson (Sr., G/F, 6-2); David Spencer (Sr., F, 6-3); Adam Wick (Sr., F, 6-3); Nick DiNizo (Sr., G, 5-8); Kyle Bogus (Jr., G/F, 6-1); Vince Chiera (So., G, 5-8).

Outlook: The Blue Jays are another Blue Division team to undergo a coaching change as Goldstein moves up from the (Jr., varsity to varsity ranks. The Blue Jays will look to use their length, led by Evans-Little, as they have a decent sized team for a Group I team. Lester and Wilson are also strong players in the backcourt while Chiera is a young player who saw flashes of potential as a (Fr., last winter. The Blue Jays will miss 1,000 point scorer Jarrett Bogus, who graduated, though they will have his younger brother Kyle back.


Coach: Antoine Allen, third season (19-34)

Last season: 7-15

Letterwinners: 1 returning, 7 lost.

Roster: Shahmir Ahmed (Sr., F, 6-2); Dashaun Best Crossen (Sr., G, 5-10); Darius Gillon (Jr., F, 6-3); Donzell Cunningham (Sr., F, 6-3); Josiah Jones (Jr., C, 6-8); Te Pinckney (Sr., G, 5-10); Deshaun Williams (Sr., F, 6-3); John Nessler (Sr., F, 6-2); Terrence Christopher (Sr., F, 6-2); Thomas Miller (Sr., F, 6-3); Kaamal Stewart (Jr., G, 5-9); Deandre Scott (So., G, 6-0); D’Ondre Dent (So., G, 6-0); Nazir James (So., G, 5-11); Cameron Saintil (So., G, 6-1); Mekhi Morgan (So., G, 5-10).

Outlook: The Chiefs graduated seven (Sr.,s, including its entire starting five from the start of last year, as they appear to be in for a rebuilding year. Cunningham is the lone player in the frontcourt with any experience while Dent saw some time in the backcourt late last season and will be counted on to step up. Allen says if the guards can play well, they should be okay, but if they have some learning pains it could be a long season. Ahmed returns after not playing last season while Christopher is a great leader and team guy who works hard and maximizes his talent, Allen noted. Jones offers good height inside, but it still a little raw. The Chiefs appear to be a year or two away from being a contender in the Red Division.


Coach: Mike Gordon, first season

Last season: 8-16

Letterwinners: 3 returning, 2 lost.

Roster: Aziz Austin (Sr., G, 6-1); Kyle Wider (Sr., G, 5-10); Frank Howard (Sr., C, 6-6); Ali Austin (Jr., G, 5-11); Khalil Smith (Jr., F, 6-2); Marc Fychok (Sr., G, 5-10) Letrell West (So., G, 6’0); Branden Barnes (Fr., F, 6-3).

Outlook: A move back down to the Gold Division after a two-year run in the Blue should help the Raiders improve upon their win-total from last season. Gordon, a former standout at Plainfield and Binghamton University who has served on Jeff Lubreski’s Plainfield staff the past four seasons, takes over for Karl Towns, who stepped aside after 15 strong years. The Raiders have some experience and athleticism led by Aziz Austin and Wider, a pair of hungry (Sr.,s in the backcourt, while Howard brings some height to the frontcourt. The Raiders, however, do lack size and depth for the most part as they’ll look to overcome those challenges.


Coach: Matt Connell, second season

Last season: 6-18

Letterwinners: 7 returning, 7 lost.

Roster: Devon Dabel (Sr., G, 5-10); Jason Lee (Jr., F, 6-1); Jordan Hankerson (Sr., G, 6-3); Jason Worthem (Sr., F, 6-1); Ephraim Johnson (Sr., G, 5-9); Kevin Jacobs (Sr., G, 6-0); Lamont Williams (Jr., G, 6-0); Isaiah Norman (Jr., F, 6-3); Nate Mensah (Jr., F, 6-0); Nick Polizzano (Jr., G, 6-1); Jake Alba (Jr., G, 5-6); Will McLaughlin (So., G, 5-10).

Outlook: The Tigers take a big step up in moving to the White Division from the Blue this season, as they’ll have bigger and deeper teams on their schedule on a nightly basis. Connell says this year’s squad is quick and a better shooting team than they’ve had in recent years, but they lack size with no player bigger than 6-3. Dabel, Lee, Hankerson, Worthem, and Johnson are the starting five Connell projects to go with as the Tigers have a challenge ahead of them in the White Division.


Coach: Chris Hobbs, eighth season (106-78, 154-144 overall).

Last season: 15-10

Letterwinners: 1 returning, 8 lost.

Roster: Josh Decker (Sr., G, 5-9); Will Clemons (So., F, 6-3); Lucas Page (So., F, 6-3); Michael Oduro (So., G, 5-9); Robert Saydee (Fr., G, 6-2).

Outlook: The defending Gold Division champs will look mightily different this season as Decker is the only returning player after the Tigers graduated a large and successful group of eight (Sr.,s. Hobbs will be looking for this young and inexperienced group to take on a very large role of leadership and also try to match the on-court performance from those that graduated. It will be a battle for the Tigers to try to defend their division title, but always expect them to be a lively opponent each night with Hobbs on the bench.


Coach: Eugene Maxwell, second season (4-20, 178-157 overall)

Last season: 4-20

Letterwinners: 7 returning, 5 lost.

Roster: Mike Newman (Sr., G, 5-11); Nick Palko (Sr., F, 6-4); John Pohopin (Sr., G, 5-10); Brendan O-Brien (Jr., F, 6-3); Garrett Racz (Jr., F, 6-2); Alden Racz (Jr., F, 6-2); Scott Hargrove (So., G, 6-0); Jordan Rose (So., G, 5-10); Raphael Genty (So., C, 6-4); Abdur Sajid (Jr., C, 6-3); Luke Romeo (Sr., G, 5-10); TC Weber (Sr., G, 5-9).

Outlook: The Rams had their share of struggles last season in Maxwell’s first season at the helm. They’ll try to improve on that record around the likes of returnees like Newman, Palko, and Pohopin. Maxwell noted that team defense appears to be a strength, but their ability to score could be a weakness as they’ll try to play lower scoring games and pull those out.

Mike Jago

For continued Central Jersey boys basketball coverage all season long, visit the In The Paint blog online at


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