Welcome to the 2013 Enoch Office/Varsity Sports Network preseason Top 20 boys’ basketball poll. VSN ranks the top teams in the Baltimore region which covers public and private schools in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Cecil County, Harford County and Howard County.

As we progress towards the regular season, we will countdown our 2013 Enoch Office/VSN Boys’ Basketball Preseason Rankings from No. 20 all the way to No. 1.

18. Mount Carmel Cougars (videophotos)

2012-13 record: 9-19 (Baltimore Catholic League semifinalists)

Coach: Tom Rose (12th season)

Returning letter winners – 7

Returning starters – 4

Key returning players – Brian Cunningham, 5-foot-9, senior, guard; David Erebor, 6-8, sophomore, center; Jahson Lamothe, 5-8, senior, guard; Johnny Rhodes, 6-2, senior, guard; Byron Smith Jr., 6-2, senior, forward; Frank Webb, 6-2, junior, guard

Key newcomers – Tyquan Bryant, 5-3, junior, guard; Kody Dietsch, 5-10, senior, guard/forward; Brian Jefferson, 5-8, senior, guard; Jamar Hill, Will Jenkins, 6-7, junior, forward; Lloyd Meeks, 5-10, junior, guard; Mhonte Newsome, 6-3, junior, forward

Outlook – After pulling off of the season’s biggest upset last season, Mount Carmel is looking to become a legitimate threat in the MIAA A Conference and Baltimore Catholic League. The Cougars are off to 2-0 start this season, beating St. Paul’s School and defending MIAA B Conference champ St. Vincent Pallotti.

The Cougars reached the BCL semifinals last season after stunning St. Frances Academy, the tournament’s top seed and the area’s consensus No. 1 team, on its home court. It was just the second time in BCL tournament’s 42-year history a No. 8 seed defeated the top-seed. Mount Carmel lost to Archbishop Spalding in the semifinals.

The Old Eastern Avenue school returns most of the starting core with Cunningham, Erebor, Rhodes and Webb. Jenkins, a consensus All-Baltimore County performer last season for Kenwood, along with Erebor gives Mount Carmel potentially one of the area’s top front courts.

The backcourt has depth with Hill and Jefferson, a transfer from Randallstown. The Cougars reached the semifinals at the St. Paul’s Summer League.

Rose said his commitment to the team concept and defense will decide whether Mount Carmel can crack the MIAA A postseason tournament.

“I’m excited about this group. I think they have a lot of potential,” said Rose. “…We want to be more than an upset.”

2013-14 schedule

Nov. 22 – def. St. Paul’s School, 72-66

Nov. 26 – def. St. Vincent Pallotti, 63-51

Dec. 2 vs. Calvert Hall College

Dec. 4 at Archbishop Spalding

Dec. 6 vs. Glenelg Country School

Dec. 7 vs. Cristo Rey

Dec. 11 at Gilman School

Dec. 13 vs. John Carroll School

Dec. 15 at Calvert Hall College

Dec. 18 vs. McDonogh School

Dec. 20 at Loyola Blakefield

Dec. 22 at St. Maria Goretti

tom roseDec. 27-28 Annapolis Area Christian School Tournament

Dec. 29-30 Charm City National Invitational at St. Frances Academy

Jan. 6 at Mount St. Joseph

Jan. 8 vs. Gilman School

Jan. 10 vs. St. Frances Academy

Jan. 17 at Glenelg Country School

Jan. 20 vs. Archbishop Spalding

Jan. 24 at John Carroll School

Jan. 27 vs. St. Maria Goretti

Jan. 29 at McDonogh School

Jan. 31 vs. Loyola Blakefield

Feb. 3 vs. Mount St. Joseph

Feb. 7 at St. Frances Academy