South enters the 2018-2019 season with three returning starters from the squad that finished 14-10 overall and 10-4 in the Western Reserve Conference last winter.
With nine seniors, head coach Doug Barber is confident the Rebels have the leadership they’ll need to make another run at the WRC title.
“I like the way we are practicing early on in the season,” said Barber, who is in his second season aas head coach. “The energy and effort is up and our seniors are doing a good job leading by example. If we continue to get this type of effort, I am optimistic we will be contending for a WRC title.”
The Rebels have six players who stand 6-foot-4 or taller, which could lead to dominance on the glass.
“We have tremendous size, length and athleticism,” Barber said. “Hopefully, this will benefit us in rebounding the basketball and creating turnovers.”
South does face a challenge in replacing point guard Norman Hughes.
As of now, that role will be filled by committee.
“We have a couple of underclassmen in Will Hagwood, Danny Gallagher and Cedric Johnson competing for his spot,” Barber said. “All three of them are doing a great job so far this year and making the decision a tough one.”
Hagwood is a 5-foot-9 sophomore, Gallagher is a 5-foot-10 junior and Johnson is a 5-foot-9 junior.
The rest of the projected starting lineup includes Rico Small, Xavier Hopps, Damion Williams and Bobby Helt.
Small is a 6-foot-1 senior guard while Helt is a 6-foot-8 junior center/forward.
Hopps, a 6-foot-6 senior guard, averaged 13 points and six rebounds per game last winter.
“Xavier is one of the most underrated players in the Cleveland area,” Barber said. “He is long and athletic and does a great job getting to the rim and finishing.”
Williams, a 6-foot-6 senior forward, dropped in 12 points and pulled down 10 board per contest as a junior.
“Damion is super athletic and is electric in the open court,” Barber said.
Providing depth for the Rebels in the backcourt are seniors Michael Ramer (5-11), Tommy Wetzel (6-0), Cameron VonSeggern (6-1) and Alvin Sloan (6-1) and junior Thomas Schuenaman (6-3).
Seniors Drew Scheoppler (6-3) and Bryce Scott (6-5) and juniors John Susnik (6-3) and Parth Patel (6-4) are slotted to provide depth at forward.
In addition to competing for the WRC title, the Rebels hope to reach the district championship game and carry a 3.0 team grade point average.