Five boys’ players to watch
Nick Cambio, Central Catholic: The 6-foot-6 forward missed last year’s playoff run with a hip injury, but is ready to step into a critical leading role with star guard Tyler Nelson, out for a few weeks with a broken wrist. He averaged 14 points and 9 rebounds per game last season, is very strong around the rim and isn’t afraid to step outside and knock down threes.
Shane Farley, Burlington: The 6-3 guard is a scoring machine for the Red Devils, breaking the school’s single game scoring record with a 50-point outburst over Wilmington last year. The multitalented athlete is fresh off an impressive football campaign, during which he set multiple single season records as quarterback.
Freddie Hogan, Lynn English: A three-year captain for the Bulldogs, the 5-9 guard is the leader of a veteran squad that graduated only one impact senior. He averaged 17 points and six assists per game as a junior, and should eclipse the 1,000-point scoring mark early in the season.
Ben Judson, St. John’s Prep: One of the most feared shooters, the 6-4 lefty can make ‘em drop from NBA three-point range with ease. Starting at small forward this winter, the junior is garnering interest from multiple Division 1 colleges, including some Ivy Leagues.
Tyler Nelson, Central Catholic: Likely out for a few weeks with a broken wrist, the Raiders will embrace the return of their Fairfield-bound guard, possibly by late-December. Highly regarded as the state’s top shooter, the 6-2 crafty guard is strong finding his way to the rim, and averaged 17 points and 4 assists per game last year.
Five boys’ teams to watch
Andover (16-7): The Golden Warriors graduated “seven great leaders,” says coach Dave Fazio, but still have a solid group returning. Andover brings back junior guard David Giribaldi and 6-foot-5 junior forward Connor Merinder — both double-figure scorers last year — and will be led by senior captain point guard, John Pisacreta.
Burlington (12-11): Though a middle-of-the-pack team last winter, the Red Devils are expected to emerge as a top team this year, behind a group of seniors highlighted by Shane Farley, Christien Morneweck, and Mickey Lyons, son of head coach Tom Lyons.
Central Catholic (21-6): A broken wrist for Fairfield-bound Tyler Nelson could have spelled disaster for the Raiders, but luckily, he should only miss a few weeks. In the mean time, Central will be led by a pair of 6-6 big men up front, with Nick Cambio and Aaron Hall.
Lynn English (17-6): Returning six of its top seven from last year, the Bulldogs have all-star guards in Stevie Collins, Freddie Hogan, and Erick Rosario. Though undersized, English plays a full-speed-ahead style not many teams will be able to keep up with.
St. John’s Prep (19-3): With flashy point guard Kareem Davis transferring from Lowell High, the Eagles add a skilled ball handler and talented passer, to feed sharp-shooter Ben Judson. Call it a gift for first-year head coach John Duella. TAYLOR C. SNOW