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Posted On: 10/29/18 10:43 AM
The next stop of my gym journey brought me to The Smith Center located on the campus of Mt.
St. Joseph High School. A school that is decorated with accomplishments and rich for their
basketball history, the Gaels look to build off a season where they had come up short in the BCL
title game to St. Frances.
Considering their tremendous consistency throughout the years, there feels to be a little to much
doubt with how the Gaels will fair this season after losing Jalen Smith (Maryland). If you know
anything about Baltimore high school hoops, it’s that head coach Pat Clatchey will always find a
way to reload and coach his team to the top of the conference ranks, no matter who he lost to
graduation from the previous year.
James Bishop | 2019
Bishop made a splash before the season even began by announcing his commitment to LSU.
The 6-foot-2 guard is one of the purest scorers you’ll find in the country. The lefty is a lethal
three-point specialist both off the catch or off the dribble. What makes him such a tough cover is
the fact that he can score in bunches from all three levels. For every move he has with the ball,
he has a counter move to make his defender pay. What I’m looking for this season with Bishop’s
game is the growth of becoming an overall playmaker not only for himself, but for others. He has
great vision and IQ, especially in pick-and-rolls. With the ball being in his hands for the majority
of games this year, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to display his full arsenal.
Ausar Crawley | 2021
Crawley may have been the most productive freshman that nobody talked about last year. At
just 5-foot-7, he took control of the offense when his number was called upon and showed great
pace for a freshman. He had to earn minutes behind guys like Tyree Myers and Kendall
McMillian, but this season, he’ll be the lead point guard and play a bulk of the minutes. The
southpaw can make teams pay from three. He knows how to find windows off of his teammate’s
penetration. He sees the floor well and doesn’t turn the ball over often. Defensively, he’s a pest
that picks up his man full court and does a good job of forcing them to turn multiple times before
setting up their set. I look for Crawley to have a breakout season for the Gaels.
Will Sykes | 2020
Sykes provided some solid outings last year when the team needed him most, notably against John Carroll when Jalen Smith went down with a concussion. At 6-foot-8 and a good physical frame, he’ll be counted on to provide rebounding, inside scoring and rim protection. One aspect of his game is his passing ability whether it’s out of the post, or acting as the swing man at the top of the key.
Javonte Brown | 2020
Brown is exactly what the Gaels needed after losing Smith. An extremely long, 6-foot-10 center to crowd the paint and be a shot-blocking presence. We haven’t seen Brown play live yet considering he transferred from a school in Canada, but from the film and asking around with coaches, he can finish around the rim efficiently. A lot of times with young big men like this, hands are often an issue. This is a strength of Brown’s. He runs the floor, works hard on the glass and can knock a shot down when his feet are set. This was the one glaring hole in the Gaels roster at the end of last season, but now with this void filled, the Gaels should be back atop the standings.
Antonio Hamlin | 2022
Hamlin could very well be the most impressive freshman in the city this season. At 6-foot-2 with great size, the physicality shouldn’t be an issue for him. The coaches described him as a “bull in a china shop.” Hamlin can score from all three levels, but thrives off strong takes to the basket and embracing the contact. His sheer drive and competitiveness to go with this athleticism and overall ability make him a feared defender. He doesn’t back down from any match up and there may even be points during games where he guards small forwards. Even there, he’ll hold his own effectively.
Chandler Johnson | 2020
Johnson will join the roster after spending two season on the junior varsity level. He helped lead his team to a dominant season last year in which they captured the BCL title. The 6-foot guard will be a solid option for Coach Clatchey off the bench to bring many different things. As a combo guard, Johnson can shoot it from three, but has also shown improvement operating in pick-and-rolls. He likely won’t have the ball in his hands for these situations very often, but to keep the defense honest, he’ll look to beat his man off the dribble and read rotations. Where Johnson is going to earn his playing time is coming in and being a defender when Crawley or Bishop need to rest.
The Gaels are a team you simply can never count out. They have one of the best coaches in the country in Pat Clatchey and after evaluating the talent on their roster, they’ll certainly be a top team not only in the MIAA and BCL, but the state as a whole. Bishop will assert himself as being one of the best scorers you can find in the high school ranks. Crawley is going to catch the eyes of many with his efficient and consistent play. It’s likely going to be another year where the Gaels, St. Frances and Boys’ Latin are all battling it out for title supremacy.