The 2015-16 boys’ basketball season is upon us.
Here is a team-by-team breakdown of our Southwest Florida programs.
Coach: Damon Jones
2014-15 Record: 10-19
Returners: Jaquez Dickerson (Sr., F), Dean Wilson (Sr., G)
Impact underclassmen: Jacob Tracey (So., G), David Johnston (Sr., F), Dante Quintela (So., G)
Outlook: The Raiders should be compelling this season with the addition of Tracey, a superbly talented lead guard with great vision and scoring ability. Dickerson, Wilson and Johnston provide height with the interior defense and Quintela will add quickness at guard.
Coach: Brandon Sensor
2014-15 Record: 8-16
Returners: CJ Lewis (Sr., G), Luis Calderson (Sr., C), Brandon Alcide (Jr., G)
Impact underclassmen: Jonathan Moreno (So., G), Harwin Francois (So., F)
Outlook: With four solid returners, including Lewis, a dynamic guard with playmaking ability, the Seahawks will challenge opponents in a deep district.
Coach: Jay Sanderson
2014-15 Record: 5-19
Returners: Devin Hanley (Jr., G)
Impact underclassmen: Gabe Casey (So., G), Ronny Calderon (So., F)
Outlook: High hopes surround the Bulldogs off a five-win season a year ago. Sanderson believes Ida Baker can rewrite its previous woes and compete in a talented district.
Coach: Greg Coleman
2014-15 Record: 13-13
Returners: Sam Merchant (Sr., G), Ederson Lagrace (Sr., G), Craig Sirmons (Sr., F), Kory Curtis (Jr., F)
Impact underclassmen: Jerry Cambric (Jr., G), Smith Joseph (Jr., G)
Outlook: The Gators are heavy in experience. Merchant led the team in scoring last season, Sirmons averaged a double-double and Curtis was a glue guy.
North Fort Myers
Coach: Mack Mitchell
2014-15 Record: 5-16
Returners: John Chessrown (Sr., F), Erick Harris (Jr., G)
Impact underclassmen: Brandon King (Jr., G), Jordan Thomas (Jr., F)
Outlook: The Red Knights will have issues competing with bigger and more experienced teams, though Mitchell believes North can improve on its five-win campaign a year ago. Chessrown is expected to lead on the floor.
East Lee County
Head Coach: Anthony Paez
2014-15 Record: 6-20
Returners: Anthony Bellorin (Sr., G), Thor Gonzales (Sr., G), Ramon Pagan (Jr., F)
Impact underclassmen: Mahovensky Goin (So., C)
Outlook: The Jaguars will struggle with depth and physicality in a district that includes favorites Lehigh and Fort Myers. Paez will rely on seniors and strong guard play to form an identity on the court.
Coach: Lee Peters
2014-15 Record: 17-8
Returners: Matt Deering (Sr., G), Ryan Rocuant (Jr., C)
Impact underclassmen: Jack Grella (Jr., G), Ralph Desire (So., G)
Outlook: The Wildcats lost their leading scorer, Margens Desire, to graduation but the continuing development of Rocuant will help fill that loss. The 6-foot-9 big man will produce on both ends of the court, while Deering will give the team ball handling and depth.
Coach: Scott Guttery
2014-15 Record: 17-11
Returners: Liam Guerin (Sr., G), Bensley Bornelus (Jr., G), Dion White (Sr., F), Connor Jenkins (Sr., F)
Impact underclassmen: None
Outlook: The Green Wave need to replace the leading scorer in school history, Mark Matthews, but the addition of Jenkins, who’s back from a knee injury from a year ago, will help. White, who’s coming off an injury sustained in football, will add depth to the front court and Bornelus will add quality guard play.
Coach: Dawn McNew
2014-15 Record: 27-2
Returners: Stef’An Strawder (Jr., G), Jarvis Martin (Jr., F), Bershard Edward (So., G)
Impact underclassmen: Delshawn Green (Fr., G), Jon Silva (Jr., G)
Outlook: The Lightning saw the departures of major interior defenders in Andre Thomas-Cobb (graduation), Emmitt Williams (transfer) and Deljuan Thomas (transfer). Size will be an issue, but Strawder, Martin and Edwards are expected to push forward with McNew, in her fifth year with the team after reaching the Region 6A-3 Finals last season.
South Fort Myers
Head Coach: Mark Morehead
2014-15 Record: 11-10
Returners: Andre Polk (Sr., F), Brandon Lewis (Jr., F)
Impact underclassmen: Henry Bayly (So., G), Fa’Najae Gota (So., G)
Outlook: The Wolfpack graduated three senior starters, though Morehead remains hopeful veterans Polk (11.7 ppg) and Lewis (7.2 ppg) can carry the team with experience early on.
Coach: Jordan Green
2014-15 Record: 6-19
Returners: Bryce Briggs (Sr., F), Ke’shawn Shields (Jr., F), Jake Barker (Jr., G), Herb Riggins (Jr., G)
Impact underclassmen: Zach Smith (Jr., G), Jonathan Exceus (Jr., F)
Outlook: With a class heavy with juniors, Green believes the Panthers will develop quickly on the court. While Cypress Lake has balance, guard play could become this team’s strength as the season unfolds.
Coach: Andre McGill
District: District 5A-12
2014-15 Record: 19-8
Returners: Lil Hollis Hardwich (Sr., G), Zekiel Rose (Jr., F)
Impact underclassmen: Charles Griffin (Jr., G), Shanon Reid (So., F)
Outlook: The Tigers surged at the right time last season, using stellar defense to reach the Class 4A semifinals in Lakeland. But they graduated their best player, Chris Sutherland, and a key scoring threat in Keanu Peniston.
Coach: James Harris
2014-15 Record: 21-7
Returners: Isaiah Darret (Sr., G), Jahmel Myers (So., F), Sean Kosytk (Jr., G)
Impact underclassmen: Brandon Kostyk (Jr., G), Nehemiah Darrett (So., C)
Outlook: The Tritons lost the second leading scorer in school history (Rodney Hunter) and an extremely promising sophomore (Jacob Tracey), but they still retain depth and talent. Myers is expected to bloom into a lethal front court option and Darrett gives the team veteran experience at guard.
Coach: Matt Herting
2014-15 Record: 12-18
Returners: Austin Mosbach (Jr., G)
Impact underclassmen: Ben Fullencamp (Jr., F), Jack Archambault (Jr., F)
Outlook: The Vikings reached the region semifinals a season ago with a losing record. This year the Vikings should have more success, but they’re in a fight for the district title with LaBelle.
Coach: Leland Clifford
2014-15 Record: 11-14
Returners: Sebastien Stihilaire (Sr., G), Jon Stockharien (Sr., F), Guivens Thegu (Jr., G)
Impact underclassmen: Luke Ford (So., F), Dakari Calhoun (Jr., F)
Outlook: Nothing less than a winning record is the expectation for the Griffins as they return experience and depth to a team that finished fifth in its district a year ago.
Coach: Zach Ward
2014-15 Record: 21-5
Returners: Jordan Lopez (Sr., G), Marcellous Mitchell Sr., G), Hugo Vargas (Sr., G), Omar Bahamundi (Sr., G)
Impact underclassmen: None
Outlook: The Cowboys possess strength in their guards and likely will rely on depth to outrun opponents over 32 minutes. Defensively, LaBelle will be solid in creating turnovers and creating fast break opportunities. Ward hopes to compete for a district championship.
Coach: Robert Ebbert
2014-15 Record: 3-20
Returners: Owen Roos (Jr., G), David Meyer (Sr., G), Brandon Watts (Sr., F)
Impact underclassmen: Kylar Frias (Fr., G), Trent Raymond (Fr., G)
Outlook: The Sharks will be led by the scoring of Roos, but will struggle with efficiency and quality depth. Junior Kyle Erdner and Frias will provide support on the floor.
Coach: Darrin Wallace
2014-15 Record: 14-11
Returners: Edward Zurita (So., G)
Impact underclassmen: Bryson Royal (Fr., F)
Outlook: The Cougars return just three players from last year’s district championship team, but they hope to compete again for their third title in four seasons.
Evangelical Christian School
Coach: Brian Lusco
2014-15 Record: 6-22
Returners: Teddy Wagner (Sr., G), David Vera (So., F)
Impact underclassmen: Logan Pearlman (Fr., F), Austin Thomas (So., F)
Outlook: The Sentinels struggled a year ago, even with ample senior support, so with more youth a season ago, expect more road bumps for a rebuilding ECS team.
Coach: Bill Catto
2014-15 Record: 22-6
Returners: Caleb Catto (So., G), Aiden Crume (Sr., G), Hunter Davis (Sr., C)
Impact underclassmen: Jadrian Tracey (8th, F), Jordan Weatherbee (So., F)
Outlook: The 2A-9 runner-ups from last year moved districts and should be considered favorites looking ahead. The Kings have young talent, experience and plenty of moxie to compete.