Although Springbrook (Silver Spring, Md.) coach Tom Crowell lost three talented athletes to graduation, including All-Met guard C.J. Garner and his 21 points per game, Springbrook is still expected to repeat as Class 4A Champions.
Springbrook Blue Devils
The Blue Devils return an excellent nucleus led by 6-foot-6 forward Jamal Olasewere, an All-County choice who averaged 15.5 points and 10.5 rebounds as a junior.
Another key frontcourt returner for Springbrook is 6-4 senior Brandon Davis, who emerged as one of the Blue Devils' top clutch performers and most productive players during their title run in 2008.
"Brandon is just an old-school player. He is a tough, smart kid who can shoot outside or bang inside and he can score and rebound and gets the job done," Crowell said. "He really came on last year and we maybe don't win that upset win over Laurel (in the 4A semifinals) without Brandon."
Jeremy Williams, a 6-3 senior who started on the wing as a junior, could have a breakout season. The younger brother of Mounda Williams, Jeremy had a good offseason for Springbrook's summer league teams and could emerge as an All-County player.
The Blue Devils got a huge influx of talent with the arrival of three transfers: Deshaunt Walker, a 5-11 guard from Kennedy High School; 6-4 junior forward Ziad Hearst from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School; and 6-5 junior forward/center Samni Ogunjobi from Montrose Christian.
Walker is a quick, skilled guard who can play the point guard or wing position. Hearst is a solid, athletic forward who appears capable of playing any one of the three frontcourt positions; Ogunjobi is a strong, tough insider who was one of the leading scorers and rebounders on the Montrose Christian junior varsity last year.
Crowell is high on a number of other returning veteran players, including senior point guard Chris Carter, 6-6 center Kwambina Coker and senior guard Nick Sparacino.
"Chris is a player who we will give a long look at as our possible [starting] point guard," Crowell said. "Kwambina is a big kid who could definitely give us some depth and good minutes at center. He played hard and did a good job. Nick is a real quick little kid who can give us some minutes."
Springbrook is so deep in veteran players that Crowell will likely be afforded the luxury of leaving a couple of promising sophomore guards and a 6-6 freshman center on the junior varsity this year. Even with the young talent getting a year of maturation on the JV, the Blue Devils could go two deep at the varsity level this year.
"We have a lot of big kids, the question is at guard where we lost two great players in Garner and Williams," Crowell said. "I think Jeremy Williams, Chris Carter and the new kid, Deshaunt Walker, give us a pretty good start of building back the starting backcourt, but I am looking for players to emerge as pure jump shooters. We are going to need some consistent scoring and shooting from the guards."
James Quinn covers high school basketball for MDVarsity.com