Posted On: 09/11/15 1:32 PM

Our season preview series of the top teams across the state of Ohio continues as we take a look at Cleveland Central Catholic.

2014-15 record: 24-5 (6-2), Div. II state runner-up.

Key returnees: Tervell Beck (6’8 F/ 2016 )

Tyler Bybee (6’4 F / 2016)

Delshawn Jackson (6’0 G / 2018)

Key newcomers: Myron Thomas (6’7 F / 2017)

Coach: Jordan Duke (1st season as head coach)

Outlook: After a heartbreaking loss in the Division II state title game, Central Catholic will have plenty of new faces this season. The only players returning who played in the championship game are Tervell Beck and Tyler Bybee. Among those departed are Antwon Lillard, Montell McRae and Desmond Crosby.

Also gone is coach Jeremy Holmes, but he’s replaced by a familiar face in Jordan Duke, who was interim coach just two seasons ago.

New faces doesn’t necessarily mean a rebuild. This is more of a transition year for the Ironmen. While they might not be quite as talented as last season, they still have one of the area’s best players in Beck. The do-it-all forward is stepping up as a leader and will score inside and outside for his team.

There’s also a nice crop of young talent on this team that will get plenty of minutes. That includes Delshawn Jackson, Dyshawn Jackson, Dion Ivey, Tyler Golphin, Phil Lundy and Armon Lillard. They give Central Catholic a deep rotation that can wear teams down.

Overall, the team’s strength is its frontcourt. It will be bigger than last year and could have a nice player in St. Martin de Porres transfer Myron Thomas.

What the team will need to figure out is who replaces the scoring left by Lillard and Co., and how quickly this largely inexperienced group can find its ground.

What an opposing coach says: “I’m very interested to see how they turn out. They lost a lot, but they still have Tervell and some talented young kids. It might take them a little to find their way, but by February or March, I’m confident they will be playing at a high level.” – anonymous coach in the Northeast Ohio

X-Factors: Phil Lundy and Armon Lillard

Lundy and Lillard are two players that  need to take the next step for Central Catholic. They are forwards who can add physicality and scoring — two things the Ironmen need.

If they step up and become productive on the court, this young group could grow up quicker than expected.

Biggest question mark: Who will play point guard?

The late transfer of Crobsy to Beachwood left the Ironmen with a role at the point guard spot. The team had expected to have Crosby for his senior season and then mold another guard in the process. Instead, it will be point guard by committee until some one steps up. Look for Ivey and Delshawn Jackson to get a crack at the starting job.

Prediction: 20-6 (9-1), Div. II regional semifinalist.

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