Tonight, ESPNBoston.com concludes its week-long countdown of the top 25 boys basketball teams in Massachusetts.
The Friday preview includes two D1 North favorites in Lynn English and Central Catholic, two teams with loaded backcourts in Catholic Memorial and Putnam, as well as Mansfield--who only last one impact player off of last year's Division 1 finalist team.
For a refresher on how the final 2012-13 poll ended up, CLICK HERE.
5. LYNN ENGLISH
Coach: Mike Carr
2012-13 results: 17-6, Division 1 North finalists
Key players: Sr. G Freddy Hogan, Jr. G Stevie Collins, Jr. F Johnny Hilaire, Sr. F Danny Lukanda, Jr. G Erick Rosario
Analysis: English was undoubtedly the surprise team of the year last year, but the talent on Mike Carr’s team won’t be surprise anybody this year. Fred Hogan, Stevie Collins, and Erick Rosario should all be considered to be on the all-state radar, while the Bulldogs’ will boast rebounding specialist Danny Lukanda and 6-foot-6 athletic center Johnny Hilaire down low.
4. CATHOLIC MEMORIAL
Coach: Denis Tobin
2012-13 results: 13-8, Division 1 South, first round
Key players: Sr. G Aamahne Santos, Jr. G Guilien Smith, Sr. C Gerard Adams, Soph. G Denis Tobin, Soph. G Kellan Grady
Analysis: Aamahne Santos transferring back to CM for his senior year automatically puts CM in the conversation of state title favorites, but don’t forget about Guilien Smith—who anchored the Knights offense on plenty of occasions last year. Denis Tobin and sophomore Kellan Grady add even more depth to the backcourt, while big man Gerard Adams should be considered one of the MIAA’s best post threats.
3. CENTRAL CATHOLIC
Coach: Rick Nault
2012-13 results: 21-6, Division 1 North champions
Key players: Sr. G Tyler Nelson, Sr. F Nick Cambio, Sr. F Aaron Hall, Fr. G Kevin Fernandez, Jr. G Alex Santos
Analysis: Fairfield commit Tyler Nelson needs no introduction. He proved last year to one of the state’s most lethal all-around scorers, and should be able to use his lights-out three-point stroke to his advantage this year with big men Nick Cambio and Aaron Hall down in the post. Look for freshman Kevin Fernandez to have an instant impact at the point guard position for Rick Nault’s squad.
Coach: Mike Vaughan
2012-13 results: 25-3, Division 1 state finalists
Key players: Brendan Hill, Rocky DeAndre, Michael Boen, Ryan Boulter, Kyle Wisniewski, Kevin Conner
Analysis: This Hornets team came up just short of beating Putnam last year at the DCU for the Division 1 championship game. Mansfield lost one impact player of last year’s squad, captain Greg Romanko, but they return a plethora of talented guards, including Rocky DeAndre, Michael Boen, and Ryan Boulter. Brendan Hill will miss games early because of an injury suffered during football season, but look for him to be on Super Team radar when all is said and done.
Coach: William Shepherd
2012-13 results: 24-1, Division 1 state champions
Key players: Sr. F David Murrell, Soph. F Tyonne Malone, Soph. F Davidson Pacheco, Jr. G Justin Stewart, Sr. G Dizel Wright, Jr. F Jonathan Garcia, Jr. G Ty Nichols, Jr. G Ki-Shawn Monroe, Soph. G Luqman Abdur-Rauf
Analysis: The Beavers were a no-brainer at the top spot, especially given the fact that they may have even more talent on the roster than last year’s Division 1 state title-winning squad. Newcomer Tyonne Malone -- who already holds offers from UMass, Boston University, St. Peter's and Manhattan -- is a college prospect to keep a close eye on over the next couple of years, after a strong freshman campaign at Williston-Northampton. He leads an influx of transfers that includes Pacheco (New Leadership), Stewart (Williston-Northampton) and Abdur-Rauf (New Leadership). Look for David Murrell, the post anchor of last year’s team, to be in the conversation for first-team All-State.