Riverdale Baptist head coach Lou Wilson has built prep hoops powers at Largo High School, and now at Riverdale Baptist, which is coming off a 33-6 season. Despite the loss of their top player, the Crusaders appear to have a solid team in the 2008-09 season.
Riverdale Baptist lost 6-foot-7 Thomas Robinson, but returns a trio of talented guards who should make up for the loss of Robinson's 16 points per game.
"We were very balanced last year. Thomas averaged 16 points a game last year, but we had a couple of other players at 12 points a game," Wilson said. "We'll be talented and balanced again. We have some very talented players returning, including some very good seniors, who will pick up the scoring slack."
Among the returning seniors are 5-foot-11 point guard Chad Wilson, 6-foot-4 wing guard Bryan Wilson and 6-foot-5 wing guard Javorn Farrell.
All three players are considered Division I college prospects who have multiple skill sets that complement the other Riverdale Baptist backcourt players.
Farrell is committed to the University of Massachusetts in the Atlantic 10, while Chad Wilson and Bryan Wilson, who are cousins, are both weighing college scholarship offers.
"I definitely agree that we will have one of the best [prep] backcourts in the D.C. and Maryland areas this year," Lou Wilson said. "That three-guard attack will be very tough for most teams to handle. Chad is that real tough, quick floor leader on the point that pressures teams at both ends of the court. Bryan is a big wing who can really shoot and is real solid and a smart player. Javorn is a great 6-5 athlete who can get to the rim and plays great in transition and is very versatile."
Farrell and the Wilsons honed their team chemistry by playing together as elementary and middle school players on Coach Wilson's outstanding Team Maryland
Chad Wilson is looking to have a breakout senior season after missing half of his junior year and most of the summer AAU/camp circuit with a broken wrist.
"Chad is a real, true point guard," Lou Wilson said. "He is a pass-first guard. He is very quick, strong -- he is built like a miniature linebacker, very strong at about 180 pounds."
Chad Wilson averaged about 7 points, 4 assists and 3 steals per game in his injury-shortened junior season.
Bryan Wilson, a strong, 6-4, 205-pound wing player, is also getting recruiting interest from a range of colleges.
"St. Francis is interested, Bethune Cookman down in Florida is recruiting him, and Norfolk State is coming in. Radford and Longwood are starting to recruit him too," Lou Wilson said.
Farrell is a very talented, athletic wing player who is capable of elevating this year's Riverdale Baptist team because of his versatility and ability to be a dominant force on both ends of the floor. This will be Farrell's first full season for the Crusaders, having transferred in from Bishop Ireton in Alexandria (Va.) in the middle of last season.
"Javorn averaged about 12 points a game after he joined us," Wilson said. "He could score more this year now that he is fully acclimated in our system and if we need him to score more. He is such an athletic player. He can really get to the rim and he is so tough in transition."
Wilson is optimistic that the Crusaders could be very good again this year.
"As always we will be playing a tough schedule, but we have great guards and great seniors," Wilson said. "We have a bunch of good kids who are working hard. We are playing well this fall. With this three-guard attack, we could give a lot of folks trouble."
James Quinn covers high school basketball for MDVarsity.com