Coach: Wes Henning
Last season: 21-10 (lost to White Station in region semifinals)
Outlook: The Roadrunners — at least on paper — look like the team to beat this year. All five starters return, led by the dynamic senior backcourt of Cameron Golden (6-0) and Adam Weary (6-2). Senior Kordario Fleming had a fine summer with the Memphis YOMCA team and will get a big hand inside from 6-7 Cordova transfer Craig Hill. There’s also plenty of depth, The schedule is loaded with tough games, but the Roadrunners have the talent to compete with anybody.
Coach: Paul Edwards
Last year: (26-6, lost to Central in first round of region)
Outlook: The Jaguars will battle Ridgeway for District 15-AAA supremacy — and for a spot in the state tournament. Johnathan Williams, a 6-8 junior, is one of the nation’s top prospects in the class of 2013 and the man who makes the Jaguars go. But it’s not a one-man show by any means. Junior Jajuan Johnson is an explosive athlete, while 6-11 senior Charles Smith has signed with Lipscomb. Returnee Dre’Sean Looney will hold down one spot in the backcourt, alongside heady senior Blake Johnson, a transfer from Central, as the Jaguars once again unleash their “94 feet of heat.”
Coach: Sam Bachelor
Last season: 12-13 (lost to Whitehaven in first round of district tournament).
Outlook: New coach Bachelor inherits a squad loaded with talent, led by 6-7 junior Nick King. King, who can score from virtually anywhere on the floor, already has offers from Memphis, Tennessee, Arkansas and Georgetown, among others. Add in 6-4 Kent commitment Earvin Morris and talented 5-11 point guard Alex Anderson and you have a team that will challenge in the always-rugged District 16-AAA.
Coach: Jermaine Johnson
Last season: 27-8 (lost to Craigmont in AAA sub-state)
Outlook: The Adonis Thomas era is over, but the Golden Wildcats won’t fall far, if at all. Start with 6-3 guard Markel Crawford, a live-wire junior who has already picked up several major offers. Guards Davonte Hampton, Kenneth Goodwin and Ladarius Chester bring tons of speed and athleticism, all the better for Melrose to crank up its ferocious defense. And Johnson is especially excited about his talented freshman class, which should keep the Orange Mound faithful smiling for years to come.
Coach: David Taylor
Last season: 33-5 (won Class AAA state championship)
Outlook: Not focusing on repeating, Taylor instead wants his team to forge its own identity. Expect the Chiefs to look the same though, defending with passion and playing smart, opportunistic basketball. The college recruiters know all about 5-11 junior point guard Sam Craft, last year’s state tournament MVP. Robert Houston, an excellent shooter, and 6-6 Darius Gipson are the other returning starters and Taylor is expecting big things from guard Ravontae Kight, second on the team in assists last season.
Coach: John Harrington
Last season: 20-10 (lost to Chattanooga McCallie in Division 2-AA state semifinals)
Outlook: All five starters and eight seniors overall return, making the Saints a strong contender for D2-AA state honors. Austin Nichols, a 6-8 junior, averaged 15 points and four blocks per game last year and is drawing major recruiting interest. DeMarc Richardson and Chris Jones can also score in bunches while Loyola-Md. commitment Sean Tuohy Jr. runs the show with a steady hand. The schedule is tough featuring games against Melrose, White Station, New Albany (Miss.) and Atlanta Westlake.
7. White Station
Coach: Jesus Patino
Last season: 30-7 (lost to Craigmont in Class AAA state semifinals)
Outlook: It seems plain wrong to call a team that has been to state four straight years a dark horse, but the Spartans will open the year a little bit under the radar. White Station lost three starters — including leading scorer Andre Hollins, now at Minnesota — but the cupboard is far from bare. Leron Black, a 6-8 sophomore, is the nation’s 24th-ranked prospect in the class of 2012 and classmate Davell Roby, a 6-4 guard, also possesses tremendous potential. Mike Matlock, a transfer from Wooddale, arrives to help bolster the inside game.
Coach: Gerald Harris
Last season: 19-10 (lost to BTW in first round of regionals)
Outlook: The Tigers will battle Raleigh-Egypt for first place in District 15-AA and could be in line for a special season. Three starters return — high scoring senior Dontavious Sears (18 ppg.), junior 3-point specialist Keonda Howard and talented sophomore point guard Rayford Albright. Manassas substitutes in bunches, so developing the newcomers quickly will be crucial.
Coach: Andre Applewhite
Last season: 24-9 (lost to Melrose in region semifinals)
Outlook: Losing Jarnell Stokes and point guard Blake Johnson is tough, but the Warriors have enough talent on hand to be a factor. Start with the coach’s son, Andre Applewhite II, a 6-5 senior guard with excellent court presence and a nice feel for the game. Players like 5-11 guard Tim Shaw and 6-6 post player Frank Herron will play bigger roles this season.
10. Booker T. Washington
Coach: Fred Horton
Last season: 20-7 (lost to Bolivar in AA sectional)
Outlook: After dropping down to class A, the Warriors have an excellent shot at bringing home a state championship. Leading the way is senior Martavious Newby. The Ole Miss signee averaged 22.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 4.7 steals per game. He’ll get plenty of help from freshman Khalill Spencer, the coach’s grandson. Spencer already has a 45-point to his credit this year.
Coach: J. David Owen
Last season: 21-7 (lost in first round of district tournament)
Outlook: Last season ended disappointingly early, but look for the Panthers to be a factor in 2012. Guard Anthlon Bell, who has signed with Arkansas, teams with fellow senior Marquarious Boddie to form one of the best 1-2 tandems around. Bell averaged 18.7 points last season with Boddie right behind at 18.3. Sophomore point guard Chris Chiozza figures to improve on last season’s averaged of 6.5 points and 4 assists.
Coach: Darryle Rogers
Last season: 23-8 (lost to Craigmont in region semifinals)
Outlook: The Cardinals, under former Germantown coach Rogers, look a good bet to win the championship in District 13-AAA. All five starters return, led by Eddie Middlebroooks, whose already off to a hot start this year, and standout junior forward Demetrius Dyson, who figures to get plenty of recruiting interest.