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Posted On: 06/4/18 9:12 PM
Photo Credit: E.L. Hubbard
Last season was a bit of a down year for the GCL as they struggled to have a true dominant team throughout the season. This season, it looks as if the conference could be a tight race. Of the 12 players that were part of last season’s All-Conference teams, all but 2 are returning to their respective schools in 2018-19. Here are 5 predictions for the GCL in 2018-19.
1. Fenwick will not be the defending champions in the GCL North
The Falcons are losing several pieces from their GCL championship team. C.J. Napier (2019 PHO # 52) is the top returning player but there will be questions about who will help him overall. Without a #2 scorer, the Falcons will struggle to compete with the likes of C-J and Alter. We believe the Falcons are the clear #2 team in the GCL for 2018.
2. C.J. Napier will take over as the top player in the league
Last season, Napier and Eli Ramsey from Carroll were the top 2 players and although Ramsey received POY honors, it was clear Napier was still an elite player in the league. This season should serve as a much easier season for Napier to show his potential. I expect him to average 16 points and 10 rebounds per game in 2018.
3. Alter will improve from last season’s last place finish
It is unlike the Knights to finish below .500, but last season was a rebuilding year. After losing much of their scoring from 2016-17, Alter needed last season to allow their young players to get some varsity experience. Late in the year, they started to show their true potential as the Knights won 6 of their last 7 games, including a run all the way to the Sectional final. Connor Bazelak (2019) will be looked upon as the leader after leading the Knights in almost every major statistical category last season as a junior.
4. Chaminade-Julienne will be a force to recon with throughout the season and postseason
The Eagles return 6 of their top 7 scorers from a year ago, including Milton Gage (2019 PHO # 101) their leading scorer. This was a team that struggled against more elite squads last year (losses to Dunbar, Beavercreek, and Versailles among others) but has an opportunity to be an elite team themselves this year. Dominic Wilcox (2019) will be a difference maker and if he can become a serious threat in the paint and show he can defend Napier, the Eagles could easily cruise to a GCL title.
5. Carroll will struggle in the Division I postseason
The new competitive balance rule in the OHSAA hurt the Patriots as they jumped from Division II to Division I this season. After 2 seasons of making it to the District final, Carroll likely will not be seeing a repeat in D1. Losing Eli Ramsey is a major loss but he is only 1 of 3 seniors graduating which means plenty of experience will be back for the Patriots. However, the talent level in Division I will be tough to match. If players like Matt Cogan (2019) and Simon Jefferson (2019) can become consistent threats, we could see Carroll winning a game or two in the postseason. Otherwise, an early exit seems likely.