By Nick Talbot
The Cove Herald
The boys basketball began Monday, but here's a look at the area District 12-5A teams going into the year:
Last season: 12-18, 3-11 12-5A
Outlook: The Tigers struggled last season, floundering near the bottom of the District 12-5A standings. With the new season comes the question of how do the Tigers fill the hole left by dynamic guard Sean Voss. Senior Trey Rose and junior Daniel Mills will be counted on for their experience, while the 6-foot-3 Mills, Tanaj Washington (6-3) and Bo Vaughn (6-4) will be the Tigers' height.
Last season: 14-17, 4-10 12-5A
Outlook: The Bulldawgs struggled through much of their district schedule but did end 2011 with consecutive wins to head into the offseason. Now for the 2011-12 season, Cove must find players to step in for college-bound talents in Juwan Rice (Boston) and Ricardo Artis and Jonathan Bridges (North Lake College). The Dawgs do return Cory Scott. Watch for freshman Rashard Odomes, the younger brother of Raheem Odomes, the only known 1,000-point scorer in Cove history.
Last season: 23-13, 10-4 12-5A runner-up (Region II-5A quarterfinals)
Outlook: After graduating a pair of Division I talents in Devonte Brown (Indiana State) and 6-7 wing Jaleel Williams (San Jose State), the Eagles are in desperate need of playmakers in their quest for an 18th straight postseason appearance. Making things difficult is the lack of experience with only junior Ojai Black returning from last season's squad.
Last season: 29-6, 12-2 12-5A champions (Region II-5A quarterfinals)
Outlook: Led by a strong group of seniors, the Knights won only the second district title in their history last season. But gone are multi-year stalwarts like Royce O'Neale (University of Denver) and Daevon Brown. Thankfully for head coach Celneque Bobbitt, the cupboard is far from bare, led by three-year starting point guard Thomas Cherry (the lone returning starter), all-around talent CJ Rodriguez and lanky 6-foot-6 post Trummel McCrimmons.
Last season: 16-12, 7-7 12-5A
Outlook: The Grey Wolves will surely miss the guard play of A.J. McDonald and the post play of Malcolm McDonald, but Shoemaker's cupboard isn't as empty as some of the others' in 12-5A. Returning are 6-foot-3 senior forward Chris Runnels, the district's newcomer of the year last season, a pair of honorable mentions (Renard Thomas and Shane Johnson) and 6-6 junior post Jose Roman.