Five players to watch
Alec Brennan , Milton Academy: The 6-foot-9 junior center from Weston is a highly skilled big who can shoot 15-foot jump shots and handle the ball with confidence. However, according to coach Lamar Reddicks, one of the strongest parts of Brennan’s game is his ability to pass.
Kevin Fiabema , Hopkinton : An exchange student from Norway, the 6-foot-3 senior has shown good athleticism and versatility, and he should play an important role for the Hillers this season as he improves his conditioning after recovering from a knee injury.
Carlin Haymon , Rivers: The explosive junior point guard has added muscle to his 5-foot-9 frame since last season, and continues to improve. He has received interest from Division 1 programs in the Patriot League, Ivy League, and Atlantic Coast Conference.
Jake Loewen , Hudson: The 5-foot-11 senior captain and shooting guard returns after leading the Midland Wachusett League in scoring last season, averaging 22.8 points a game.
Josh Sharma , Northfield Mount Hermon: The mobile 7-footer, who contributed to Lexington’s run to the Division 1 North final last season as a sophomore, already has offers from more than two dozen Division 1 programs, including Kansas State, Providence, and University of Massachusetts.
Five teams to watch
(With last year’s final record)
Acton-Boxborough Regional (22-2): The Colonials, after losing all five starters from last season’s 22-2 squad, will travel to Disney World to compete in the KSA Classic tournament, where coach Rick Kilpatrick hopes players will build chemistry and adjust to new roles.
Franklin (19-5): Senior point guard and returning captain Sam Bohmiller should help the Panthers recover from losing eight seniors, and be a focal point for coach Dean O’Connor’s offense after leading the team in points (16.4 per game) and assists (3.3) last season.
King Philip Regional (18-4): With the school’s all-time leading scorer, Jake Layman, at the University of Maryland, and coach Sean McInnis now coaching the Warrior girls’ team, first-year coach Tim Clifford will have a chance to put his stamp on the program.
Newton North (19-4): It will be a completely new starting five for coach Paul Connolly, but his squad will continue to be characterized by its aggressiveness and ability to run. The Tigers won’t have great size, but they will be versatile, and feature a couple of talented underclassmen in 6-foot-2 junior forward Liam Bruno and 6-foot-2 sophomore guard Tommy Mobley.
St. John’s High (19-6): The Pioneers from Shrewsbury have four returning starters — 6-foot-4 senior captain Ken Harrington at shooting guard, 6-foot-4 junior forward T.J. Kelly, 6-foot-2 senior center Charlie Murray, and 5-foot-10 sophomore point guard Davon Jones — and could be in the running for their sixth consecutive Division 1 Central title.
Phil Perry can be reached at email@example.com.