Real quickly, let's take a look at the varsity men's team around in the county in among high school teams.
The Hilltoppers have been in works over the last few years and this could be a very special year if all goes right. Over the last few seasons, they have always been a tough out. While they did lose point guard Tyrese Tate to graduation, everything else is still intact. As a matter fact, this may be the most complete Hilltopper team since 2001.
Central could play 12 quality kids if they had too, but they have five key returnees. Zyrion Wilkins is the most dynamic of the bunch. Jacob Knox (3-point specialist) and post players Arnie Twitty with John Wharton.
Still, Tyion Watkins, Jayden Waddell, Ty'J Cooks, Elijah Carson, Devin Littlejohn and Tyler Whiteside are just some of the kids that will see a lot of time as the season moves forward.
Defense is still a question, but they are athletic and deep. Nothing is set in stone, but they have a chance to be very good this season. R-S Central has started out 5-0 and will host again on 12/12.
This isn't the same team of a year ago, but they still have some pieces left from what was an unbelievable year in 2016 before being upset by Forest Hills in the playoffs. They went 29-1, but will not have the services of Juwan Blanton, Malik Hamrick, Stephen Archie and Tyrese Carson, who have all graduated. Still, East will be competitive and good enough to make a strong showing in 2A.
Christian Walker, Josh Searcy, Ryan Carson and Quay Logan are the key returnees from a year ago. So far, there are nine main kids in the rotation of 14 on the roster.
Walker and Searcy kind of mimic each other in a sense. Both are 6-5, can play inside or outside, are outstanding rebounders and can light up the scoreboard. Quay Logan logged a decent amount of minutes last year as a guard. I expect to see him hit a ton of 3's and apply backcourt pressure on defense. Carson is one of those that can provide some scoring support especially on the inside and getting to the free throw line.
I expect a fast tempo at times from East, but wouldn't be surprised if we saw a little more patience this season considering the youth and inexperience at the varsity level.
So far, East Rutherford is 2-0 and have home games on the 12/11, 12/13 and 12/14.
They have a new coach and a cast of inexperience this season. Aaron Hamilton, Garrett Hampton and Xavier Williams are going to be the three that the Trojans rely on the most this season. Hampton and Williams are both returning starters. All three kids can hit from three, but Williams is going to have to get fed in the paint in order to give themselves good looks from outside.
So far, Chase is 0-5, they have allowed 70 points per game and are having a problem of getting consistent offense. Chase will be at Chesnee on the 12/7 and at home on the 12/8 against North Lincoln.
The Gryphons only won four games last season, but they played teams tough such as they lost most of their depth and experience to graduation, but proved to be a nuisance all year by sticking around in games. Camper is their most talented player as he lit it up from outside the arch, but found multiple ways to score last season.
Scotty Camper, Max Robbins, Nomi McMullens and Jonathan Hargro are the key returnees. Outside of Camper, they really have no height, so that could be a problem as they season progresses. The next Gryphon home game is 12/12.