MCVBB Pre-season top 10

By Mark Kitchin


It is with much excitement and a good deal of trepidation that I introduce the first pre-season top 10 list to the MCVBB blog site. I have dragged out the ouija board and magic 8-ball to make sure my picks are at least semi-accurate. Please do not call me after (or during) the season and make fun of my picks since I will not be listening. Here is my pre-season list.

1) Mount Olive (23-6 last season) A complete no-brainer here. The Marauders were county champs last year and look forward to defending its MCT title. Tie your sneakers tight. They tinkered with the Grinnell System last season. This year it returns in its purest, high flying state. Expect lots of turnovers off pressure defense and plenty of 3-point shots. Zack Heeman and Ryan Traub (both 6-foot-8) and Rashaan Spencer (19 ppg.) is back, too.

2) Morristown (18-8) As long as Sean Hoehn is on the court the Colonials should be successful. The Morristown guard is a superb ball-handler and scorer. Morristown will need to find folks to replace Ryan Brunnock (scoring) and Naeem Pierce (rebounding). Zach Certner. AJ. Tracey and Nick Duff are back and should step up for the Colonials to reach their potential.

3) Mendham (15-11) If it felt like an ambulance was following the Minutemen around, it probably was. It’s been years  since Mendham had to deal with so many injuries during the season. The Minutemen gutted it out and still posted a winning record. Guard Alex Jacobs is back after missing half the season with a broken wrist. There’s also hope for guard Brian Kenez who missed last season with hip surgery. The only advantage from last year’s injury plagued season is that Nick D’Elia and Joe Lamberto saw more time on the court than expected. The Minutemen should be much farther along in all phases of the game.

4) Jefferson (19-6) The Falcons expect to contend. They have a good group back from last year’s team including Tyler Jones. Jones, at 6-foot-4, 180-pounds is a tough matchup for anyone because of his quickness and leaping ability. He works well with his basketball/football teammate JR Reese, who is a fearless leader. If Bryan Langan can stay healthy, the Falcons could have a fun winter.

5) Chatham (22-6) The Cougars have graduation losses, but a good reason to watch them is that they have returning guards with big game experience. Luke Conrad and Robert Raiola played in tough situations as sophomores and came through it well. Conrad missed a chunk of last year with injuries and will be determined to play well. Senior Danny Winschuh is a good rebounder and the Cougars have several sophomores with size. Chatham might start slow but the team is well-coached and should be dangerous.

6) Randolph (15-14) There was plenty of drama last season for the Rams. It should be a little quieter for a Randolph team that has some stability. Matt Tighe, one of the assistants from last year, has taken the helm. The Harris brothers have gone on to other things, but the Rams remain athletic and have enough contributors returning from last year. Mike Talbert, Patrick Archer, Barry Lynch and Ryan Mahoney all had a hand in last year’s success. If they can all step up, the Rams can be formidable again.

7) Hanover Park (18-5) The Hornets are off to Disneyworld – or at least the ESPN Zone in Orlando. The boys program is taking its first long Holiday trip in school history this winter. The Hornets have been consistent in posting winning seasons and this year should be no exception. Matt Geisser, Emmet Simmons and Max Reynolds are returnees that know the ropes.

8) Montville (11-13) The Mustangs seemed ready to take off in mid-season before Danny Weiss’ injury set them back a bit. They lost four of the next six when he was out and never could climb over the 500 mark. Montville has a lot of experienced players back including a trio of guards (Jesse Warech (13.2 ppt., 7 rpg), Tyler Storch and Jacob Kaplan). Eric Wortheim, a 6-foot-8 junior, should help them defensively and on the boards.

9) West Morris (9-16) After losing nine of their last 10 games to finish last season, the Highlanders are due for a fresh start. Assistant Mark Schartner takes over the program and has some talented players on the squad. Sam McClellan, a 6-6 center can rebound and score on the inside. Junior guards Conor Barron and Sean McElwain are also back and gained experience as sophomores.

10) Morristown-Beard (9-17) Plagued with inconsistency last season, maybe it’s time for the Crimson to grow up. They have a lot of returning kids: Ben O’Connell, Stephen Sangree, Pat Davis, Chris Pooler and Mark Aboyoun. They played a lot over the summer and seemed to iron out some of the obstacles that hindered them last year. We will soon find out.


About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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