The Super 7
The best returning boys basketball players from Westchester, Putnam and Rockland counties
Greg Calixte, Mount Vernon — At 6-foot-8, 220 pounds, Calixte gives Mount Vernon a true big man. The junior has blossomed into his frame, and picked up offers from St. Peter’s and Sam Houston St. this summer.
Derrick Felder, Saunders — The 6-2 senior guard averaged 22.4 ppg, 10.2 rpg and 5.5 spg while leading the Blue Devils to the County Center last season. Felder, who earned an offer from Bryant, is just 52 points shy of 1,000 and should challenge the school scoring record this season.
Ty Jerome, Iona Prep — The 6-5 Virginia signee is widely regarded as a Top 50 senior in the country and one of the three best players in the state. He is the reigning Journal News Westchester/Putnam player of the year and perhaps the best returning player in the CHSAA.
Robert McWilliams, Tappan Zee — The talented swingman transferred from Bergen Catholic last season and had an immediate impact, scoring 34 points in his TZ debut. Division II and III schools have been busy courting the 6-4 senior, who is among the section’s top scorers.
Marco Morency, Mount Vernon — The 6-2 junior oozes talent, whether he’s on the point or the wing for the reigning Section 1 champs. When the Knights are at their best, Morency is pushing them there.
Noah Morgan, Mount Vernon — The cerebral 6-5 forward is just a junior, but he’ll start his third season as an all-around contributor for Mount Vernon. Morgan is an adept passer, ball-handler, shooter, rebounder and defender, and, at times, he is the Knights’ on-court leader.
Jordan Tucker, Stepinac — After transferring in from White Plains, the 6-7 swingman averaged 15.5 points and a team-best 9.8 rebounds per game for the Crusaders. Now a junior, Tucker is ESPN’s 30th-ranked player in the Class of 2017 and already has offers from Arizona, Kansas, Syracuse, Indiana, Villanova, UConn, St. John’s, Maryland, Oklahoma and others.
The Second 7
Jesse Breeding, Sr., Hen Hud
Luis Cartagena, Sr., White Plains
Vincent Conn, Sr., Rye Country Day
Malachi de Sousa, Jr., Kennedy
Patrick Fleming, Sr., Iona Prep
Kevin Jefferson, Sr., Suffern
Kevin Mackin, Sr., Nanuet
Preseason lohud boys basketball rankings
The top boys basketball teams from Westchester, Putnam and Rockland counties and the rest of Section 1
The Top 10
1. Mount Vernon — The Knights open as a big favorite in Section 1, but they’ll be tested in tournaments in Reading, Pennsylvania, and British Columbia and locally at the SNY Invitational Jan. 29-30 against Christ the King, Cardozo and Brentwood.
2. Iona Prep — The Gaels finished last season No. 1 in the area. They lost two Division I players, but boast one of the state’s top players plus an influx of youth, led by sophomores Bryce Wills and Josh Alexander, a 6-foot-8 transfer from Carmel. Wills, who has offers from Hofstra, Iona and Fordham, will miss time with a foot injury.
3. Stepinac — The Crusaders are optimistic under first-year coach Patrick Massaroni, who, in addition to Tucker and key returners Jorden Means and Mario Neri, boasts promising sophomores Aundre Hyatt and Payton Hudson. The question will be whether they have the depth to withstand the competition in the CHSAA’s AA division.
4. Fox Lane — With 12 seniors, including talented forwards Matt Redhead and Alex Olsen, the Foxes should challenge for a County Center berth thanks to their size and experience.
5. Saunders — The Blue Devils don’t have the same depth as a year ago, but the backcourt of Felder and Anthony Miller is among the best in the section. Big man Vaughn Lennon could be a difference-maker.
6. Kennedy — While the departure of the team’s two best players, Elijah Hughes (South Kent) and Dominick Cristiano (Greens Farms), might lower the ceiling, Kennedy should still challenge for the CHSAA A division title. Malachi de Sousa, Kevin Buron and Jordan Wright were key members of last season’s city champs.
7. Lourdes — The Warriors might start slowly because of the success of their football team, which advanced to the state championship, but they are on the short list of contenders in Class A. Lourdes might have contended last season had big man James Anozie not missed the playoffs with an injury.
8. Tappan Zee — The Dutchmen have to replace the many contributions of Luke McLaughlin, but Robert McWilliams, big man Victor Clervil and other returning role players give them plenty of experience.
9. White Plains — The Tigers return seven players who saw significant minutes last season, led by the lightning-quick Luis Cartagena. With that kind of depth, they could be ripe for a rebirth.
10. North Rockland — The Red Raiders aspire to be a final four team in Class AA and have the type of strong senior leadership that can lead them there. Seniors Jesse deGraft, Michael Arias and Jason Schneider are among those expected to help North Rockland take the next step.
1. Mount Vernon
2. Fox Lane
4. White Plains
5. North Rockland
2. Tappan Zee
3. Byram Hills
5. Hen Hud
2. Blind Brook
3. Putnam Valley
2. North Salem
5. Clark Academy