Darryl Morsell (front), Nigel Jackson and Jalen Smith from Mount St. Joseph
Welcome to the 2016 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.
1. Mount St. Joseph (2015-16 record: 33-6; Final VSN Top 20 ranking: No. 2)
Player to watch: Darryl Morsell, Sr., guard
Fast break: After falling short in MIAA A Conference and Baltimore Catholic League tourney finals, the Gaels (3-0 in 2016) look to breakthrough this season, led by University of Maryland commit Morsell.
2. Poly (20-4; No. 8)
Player to watch: DeVondre Perry, Sr.
Fast break: With Temple-bound Perry and talented junior guard/forward Demetrius Mims back, defending Baltimore City Division I champ Engineers seek a huge encore this winter.
3. John Carroll School (27-11; No. 1)
Player to watch: Immanuel Quickley, Jr., guard
Fast break: The Patriots (3-0 in 2016) have a new coach in former UMBC assistant John Zito and reigning VSN Player of the Year Quickley, looking to lead the Bel Air school to a second straight Baltimore Catholic League Tournament crown.
4. Glenelg Country School (19-9; No. 9)
Player to watch: Anthony Longpre’, Sr., forward
Fast break: The Dragons (2-1 in 2016) have the pieces for a serious run at the MIAA A Conference championship.
5. Calvert Hall College (17-14; No. 16)
Player to watch: Brendan Adams, Jr., guard
Fast break: The future could be now for the Cardinals (0-1 in 2016) with young and talented roster.
6. Perry Hall (21-4; No. 6)
Player to watch: Laquill Hardnett, Jr., forward
Fast break: The Gators return an experienced nucleus ready to claim Baltimore County title and make another run at Class 4A state final four.
7. Lake Clifton (17-11; No. 20)
Player to watch: Rasheed Brown, Jr., guard
Fast break: The Lakers will be motivated to reclaim Baltimore City Division I title and win 1A state championship.
8. St. Frances Academy (31-11; No. 4)
Player to watch: Eral Penn, Sr., forward
Fast break: Despite graduating a dynamic backcourt, defending MIAA A Conference champ Panthers will again be a tough out in MIAA A and Baltimore Catholic League.
9. Dunbar (16-9; No. 12)
Player to watch: Dashawn Phillips, Sr., guard/forward
Fast break: The Poets could be primed for a run at the Baltimore City Division I crown and 2A state championship.
10. St. Vincent Pallotti (15-14; not ranked)
Player to watch: Karim Coulibay, Soph., center
Fast break: The Panthers (1-0 in 2016) will have a major say in MIAA A Conference title race, especially if Coulibay (6-foot-8) continues his development.
11. Woodlawn (20-4; No. 7)
Player to watch: Juwan Lane, Sr., forward
Fast break: The Warriors will try to claim a second Baltimore County crown in three seasons.
12. Patterson (14-9; not ranked)
Player to watch: Marvin Price, Soph., forward
Fast break: The Clippers could be back in the Baltimore City Division I title hunt with Price, a DeMatha Catholic transfer who’s regarded as one of the best sophomores in the DMV.
13. Glen Burnie (16-6; not ranked)
Player to watch: Davon Cuffey, Sr., forward/guard
Fast break: The Gophers have the pieces to win the Anne Arundel County championship.
14. Mount Carmel (13-18; not ranked)
Player to watch: Terry Nolan, Sr., guard
Fast break: The Cougars will again contend for a MIAA A Conference postseason berth, led by Tennessee-Chattanooga recruit Nolan.
15. McDonogh School (18-12; No. 17)
Player to watch: Noah Locke, Jr., guard
Fast break: With one of the area’s best backcourts in Locke and Damien Chong-Qui, the Eagles (4-1 in 2016) will be dangerous in MIAA A Conference.
16. New Town (23-2; No. 2)
Player to watch: Rashard Faust, Sr., guard
Fast break: The defending Class 2A state champ Titans will be a work in progress after graduating a veteran nucleus.
17. Annapolis Area Christian School (23-5; No. 15)
Player to watch: Kory Rawlings, Sr., guard
Fast break: The Eagles hope third time is the charm in MIAA B Conference after title game losses the previous two seasons.
18. Dulaney (18-7; not ranked)
Player to watch: AJ Richardson, Sr., guard
Fast break: With highly-touted freshman Che Evans Jr. ready to contribute, Lions may be ready for a serious run at the Baltimore County crown.
19. Joppatowne (17-5; not ranked)
Player to watch: Montrell Horsey, Jr., guard
Fast break: The Mariners are the favorite in the UCBAC Chesapeake, especially with the addition of Dunbar transfer Jalen Willis.
20. Centennial (15-7; not ranked)
Player to watch: Elijah White, Sr., guard/forward
Fast break: The Eagles will be the team to beat in Howard County.