Season preview: East Tech

High School

Posted On: 09/4/15 11:02 AM

Our season preview series of the top teams across the state of Ohio continues as we take a look at East Tech.

2014-15 record: 22-4 (11-0), Div. I district finalist

Key returnees: Markell Johnson (6’1 G / 2017 )

Damarious Green (6’6 F / 2017)

Tyshawn Howard (6’1 G / 2018)

LeVar Briggs (6’3 F / 2018)

Key newcomers: Jose Peraza (6’1 G / 2017)

Coach: Brett Moore (11th season as head coach)

Outlook: East Tech might not being the scoring juggernaut it usually is, but that doesn’t mean it’s a down year for the Scarabs. Coach Brett Moore says this might be his best defensive team ever, and it has the chemistry of the team that went to a Division I state semifinal in 2014.

Of course everything revolves around junior point guard Markell Johnson. Perhaps the best player in the state of Ohio, Johnson is an explosive point guard who can shoot, dunk, play defense and find the open man. With Johnson, the Scarabs will always have a chance to win.

He’ll need help on offense, though. Anthony Carmon and Kory Cullum have graduated, while it’s unclear if Keith Griffin will be back with the team. Damarious Green, Tyshawn Howard and LeVar Briggs are all young players who got a taste last year and must step up in 2015-16. The scoring can’t entirely rely on Johnson.

Defense is what makes East Tech tough. They use plenty of full-court pressure and have a 1-3-1 zone that is tough to crack. A team without strong point guard play will struggle against East Tech.

It appears that East Tech will drop down from Division I to Division II next season, which should make things a tad easier in March, although they might run into Cleveland Central Catholic and St. Vincent-St. Mary. The Senate League is East Tech’s to lose, but a talented Glenville team might be able to steal a win against the Scarabs for the first time since the 2013-14 season.

What an opposing coach says: “With them, everything starts and ends with Markell. He’s one of the top players in the country. He’s very skilled and a great competitor. He’s the bulk of the scouting report. Because they play so fast and they press a lot, it might look like they are undisciplined, but when you scout them, they are all in the right place.” – anonymous coach in the Northeast Ohio

X-Factor: Damarious Green

Green is the most likely player to become the second scoring option on East Tech. He’s a face-up forward who can produce around the rim and rebound. He has improved confidence and works hard on both ends.

Look for Green to fill Cullum’s role by providing a respectable presence on both ends of the floor.

Biggest question mark: Can the Scarabs’ young players grow up this season?

East Tech has a tough schedule that includes games with Lakota East, Columbus Northland, Walsh Jesuit, Glenville, Beachwood and Warrensville Heights. Johnson will be ready, but East Tech needs its younger players to continue their development and get ready for the big stage they’ll be on. If they play their roles and don’t show any fear, East Tech could do special things.

Prediction: 26-5 (11-0), Div. II regional finalist