By Christian Mordi / @thedribbledrop
Team: Don Bosco Prep
Record Last season: 30-2 (7-1 in conference play)
Key players: Ron Harper, senior; Marcellus Earlington, senior
Potential emerging stars: Owen McGlashan; Jordan Harper, senior
Team analysis: While many would think a 27-4 season is hard to match, the expectations for Don Bosco may be even higher in 2018.
Don Bosco’s style of play may not be pretty to the casual basketball fan, but it’s very effective. The Ironmen do a great job at executing things that are often underappreciated. They space the floor very well. They catch the ball in triple threat and scan the floor for open cutters. They cut hard and finish well. The main reason it’s so hard to beat Don Bosco is because they rarely beat themselves due to poor play.
The Ironmen also return numerous players that were key to their deep run in 2017. Rutgers signee Ron Harper Jr. is back and looked amazing in fall ball. Harper can play both guard spots and has developed into a great passer. Marcellus Earlington played like a man possessed in 2017. Earlington can dominate a game down low due to his relentless rebounding and wide array of moves on the block. What has scouts drooling over Earlington is his ability to make strong plays off the dribble. Earlington puts tremendous pressure on opposing defenses when he attacks from the wing. Looking to join the fun this year are Owen McGlashan and Jordan Cooke-Harper. Harper is a transfer from Poway High. In 2017, Cooke-Harper earned All-Palomar League honors, averaging more than 10 points a game and nearly 10 rebounds.
The Ironmen play in one of the toughest divisions in NJ in the Big North, but they have the talent to walk away with the division title again this year if they put it all together.
Stat to know: Don Bosco went to the Tournament Of Champions Final in 2017.