Two-time defending SCISC Region 1-3A champion Cardinal Newman is facing a big rebuilding project this season after losing seven seniors and four starters to graduation.
But Cardinals coach Kevin Rose is not crying the blues as the new season approaches.
“We lose a lot of experience, but we have a much quicker lineup and better shooting guards,” said Rose.
“I look for us to be as good or even better than last year. We are much more athletic and stronger than we have been in the last four years. I have high hopes for this team, but we also may run into some bumps in the road with us being so young.
“Looking at the region, I expect Heathwood Hall to be strong with all their returning starters and with the best player in the region, Cory Littlejohn, leading the way. Ben Lippen is also strong with three returning players, including Mitchell Deter. I think our region is well balanced and that any one could walk with crown this year.”
Senior guard Zach Hrovat is the lone returning CN starter. He averaged 11.0 ppg a year ago and shot 49% from the field and was 43% from 3-point range.
Juniors Timmy Cunningham, Colbern Gatling, Michael Melson and Rico Martinez and senior Michael Maracich are the other veteran players in tow. Cunningham, a 6-4 forward, averaged 2.7 points and 2.9 boards last season. Melson, a 6-0 guard, averaged 4.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists a year ago.
Newcomers to watch include senior guard Nick O’Rourke, 6-4 eighth-grade center Joe Armstrong, freshman guard Austin Ajukwa, sophomore guard Matt Erdman, freshman guard Michael Collins, 6-4 senior center Hunter Pope and junior forward Jason Joye.