Head Coach: Jim Smith (29th year); 2018-2019 record: 11-13; Returnees: 8 (Shane Dux, Chris Miers, Lucas Titus, James Pogorelc, Isaiah Rodriguez, Connor Barnes, Joey Stupak, Saketh Samala)
Here’s an interesting team. The Chargers will go up-tempo this year in the mold of Lake Braddock, getting shots off quickly and seeking to run the floor and attack in waves.
The potential is there for success as the Chargers do have some legitimate depth. Miers was second team All-Concorde last year and can gun the rock. Dux and Titus will play a lot in the backcourt as well. Both have experience.
James Pogorelc is a rather large gentleman who won’t be pushed around by anyone down low. He’ll be counted on to rebound and outlet in the Chargers’ new high-powered attack. Smith cites junior wing Isaiah Rodriguez as a player who will surprise. He didn’t play a lot last year but Smith says he’s a complete player who can stuff up a stat sheet.
Expect growing pains with the new system, but this is a team to watch closely.
Head Coach: Kevin Harris (5th year); 2018-2019 record: 18-6; Returnees: 7 (Chris Kuzemka, Lance Douglas, Connor Shanton, Spencer Williams, John Hunter, Ryan Newell, Paul McClain)
The Wildcats were dealt a big blow when talented guard Chris Kuzemka suffered an ACL injury. Still, Centreville has gotten a big boost from a couple of transfers.
Rugged forward Avery Ford comes over from Paul VI. The former starter there should be a double-double guy every game and provide a rock-solid presence in the middle. The Wildcats also got 6’5″ senior Mekhai Washington from out of state. Coach Harris says Washington has emerged as one of his top offensive players.
Those guys’ addition enable returning starters Connor Shanton and Lance Douglas to move to more perimeter-oriented roles this season. Harris thinks they will make more plays this year as a result. That will be key, as will the perimeter shooting of the other returning starter, guard John Hunter.
The Wildcats have owned the Concorde recently but have had minimal success at regionals. That could change this year if the Wildcats can develop the championship mindset Harris seeks to instill in his team.
Head Coach: Doug Ewell (16th year); 2018-2019 record: 4-18; Returnees: 5 (Trent Reimonenq, Robbie Black, Tahj Summey, Sam Johnson, Kamran Zahory)
The Bulldogs had a tough season last year but are poised to take a significant leap this season. As usual it may take some time for these guys to hit their stride, as several members of Ewell’s squad are still playing football.
Chase and Kyle Whippon return to the area and will make an immediate impact. Kyle can handle the ball and play above the rim at 6’5″, while Chase is a rock-solid 6’4″ forward who can shoot.
The guys back are pretty solid as well. Football quarterback Noah Kim will play that sport at Michigan St. He didn’t play basketball last year due to injury but eventually will this season. Guard Trent Reimonenq and forward Sam Johnson are two very solid, underrated returning starters who have the potential to be better this year. Ewell thinks Johnson’s consistency is a big key.
This team has a lot of work to do with limited time to integrate, but come February could be a bona fide contender.
Head Coach: David Brooks (11th year); 2018-2019 record: 14-10; Returnees: 6 (Max Wilson, Carson Kabance, Chris Neary, Jacob Halliday, Alex Dimitri, Paul Harrington)
This team lost a ton but could be a sleeper this year. The return of the ultra-athletic forward Wilson is huge. He’s got got height and can block shots down low. Coach Brooks thinks his inside-out game will grab headlines this year.
He and raw 6’6″ Winston Aju-Onu can control the paint for the Cougars. The key for Oakton will be getting consistent scoring, especially out of its backcourt. Senior returnees Jacob Halliday, Carson Kabance, and Chris Neary are guys Brooks loves. He says they are all high basketball IQ kids that play hard.
Head Coach: Kevin Roller (7th year); 2018-2019 record: 11-12; Returnees: 6 (Soren Almquist, Harrison Patel, Logan Spafford, Colin Tuft, Elijah Turner, Bo Kuhblank)
Madison has lost a ton of talent to graduation recently. Sometimes it’s hard for coaches to know who will step up after losing a lot of talent–not in the Warhawks’ case.
Soren Almquist is fantastic. The tall small forward was on the all-defensive team last year, but now he’s ready to breakout as a bonafide star. The Hood College signee can score inside and out and plays with an intensity matched by few. He’s one of the better players in NOVA.
Unfortunately he also hurt his foot so it will be tough initially for Madison. Coach Roller has junior Elijah Turner and sophomore Bo Kuhblank to handle the ball. They are young but gained lots of experience last year and are promising. The other returnees will have to step up. Roller says Spafford is rapidly improving at wing, while senior Harrison Patel could be one of the Concorde’s best shooters.
It will be fun to watch junior Colin Tuft as well, a sensational three-sport athlete at Madison.