The best high school league in the state and one of the top leagues on the east coast, there’s nothing like the PCL. Talent, skill level, fan support, you can find it all here. Many of the state champions also…
The best high school league in the state and one of the top leagues on the east coast, there’s nothing like the PCL. Talent, skill level, fan support, you can find it all here. Many of the state champions also come from the PCL – 3 in 2022 alone. As a result, the league’s final four, played at the historic Palestra, is one of the greatest high school sporting events in the country. Below are some contenders to make it to the Palestra and their players who have a shot at MVP.
When you have a force of nature down on the block like ‘24, not even the loss of three starters from a team that made it to the final dance doesn’t change the math on Ryan being firmly in the title hunt. His growing confidence from three and increased agility on drives are only second to his dominance as a rim-protector. ‘23 Michael “Zaire” Paris came on strong late in the season and hasn’t looked back. The senior guard is a gamer with the way he makes plays for them. More of a connector as a sophomore, ‘24 will be relied on as their primary option on the perimeter. The shot creation he displayed with K-Low on the 3SSB circuit can now be unleashed on the PCL. ‘24 brings a vertical dimension to the team. He’s also another big who can clog the lane defensively. The Raiders added ‘24 from Clayton High in Jersey and ‘24 Rocco Morobito from Shipley. The junior wings give them a range of skills on defense, plus sound decision-making and spacing on offense. ‘24 Ryan Everett is next in line to be one of the great shooters in the league. His volume and versatility from behind the arc enhance what everyone else can do. One of the best with the X’s & O’s in the area, Coach Zeglinski will find a way to maximize the talent on their roster and have them competing for a spot at the Palestra.
Wood fell just short of making it to the Palestra before making a run to be the state runner-ups in 6A. They return just one starter and two other rotation players. Though the national rankings may not reflect it (yet), the Vikings have their own gamebreaker in ‘24. Beyond being in-range from 3 as soon as he walks in the gym, Bethea has the potential to impact the team as an advantage creator, help-side defender, and rebounder. But he’s not the only archer on the Vikings squad. ‘23 is a threat to pull up, while ‘25 can fire on the move. ‘24 and ‘25 Jr are top-notch defenders who are progressing offensively. Besides Reed, ‘25 will do some facilitating coming off the bench. ‘23 is their starting center and potentially their most important player. He brings much needed physicality to this talented, but young and inexperienced team. His importance as a low-post defender and space mover can’t be overstated either. ’23 Markus Dixon is important for them down there too. They have a few other players who might get minutes every now and then, however, this is the crew that Coach Mosco is rolling with. With all the reps they’ve got together since June, this core might be playing like veterans when league games begin.
Nobody expected the Saints to win the Catholic League, District, and 4A state titles after what they went through. But they did and they bring back three of their biggest contributors from that run – ‘23, ‘24 , and ‘24 . Using his athleticism around the basket, Adewale is playing as tenacious as ever, which is good for NG, but not for the rest of the league. Wright III, the future Baylor Bear, will (likely) shift back to his primary scorer role for them, only now his stepback 3-ball is fully in the arsenal. Myers, the two-way menace, will be the one giving fits to opposing ball-handlers and spraying the ball around to shooters and cutters. ‘24 and ‘24 can solve/cause a lot of problems between the two of them, defensively. Whatever they bring night-to-night offensively will be icing on the cake. ‘23 Bruce Smith is another guy teams have to account for because he has a ton of experience, can defend 1s, 2s & somes 3s, and make shots. ‘24 Matt Guokas might crack the rotation too. This season also marks the freshman year of Rob’s brother “Munchie,” also known as ‘26 . Given their championship pedigree, experience, and talent, Coach Arrigale and company should be the preseason favorite to win it all in 2023.
The Cahilites lost four contributors from their 2022 Final 4 appearance in the Palestra and 6A state chip. Two of them were 1000 point scores. However, the conductor of Coach McNesby’s attack is back for his senior year; and he has help. ‘23has started since his freshman season and has consistently added to his game. Pairing him with his friend and fellow SJU-commit ‘23 enhances what he’ll be able to do. Entering his first full season since returning home from Huntingdon Prep, Finkley allows Brown to occasionally play off-ball because he can create for himself and others as their point-forward. ‘25 played like a grown man in his first year. Now, he’ll have a bigger role on defense and maybe on offense too. Delaware-native ‘23 debuted with the Cahilites in June and has been a vital link for them defensively. ‘24 Robert Cottrell comes over from Gratz and has the potential to make an immediate impact. The only question is which of their underclassmen will emerge to compliment their projected starters. But when you have two seniors who you can run your offense through and a bruiser in the paint, plus a team overall who can play defense, a Catholic League title is always in arm’s reach.
Even though they didn’t accomplish their goal, the Burrs had one of the best seasons in the program’s history in 21-22. Fortunately, they return four of the seven rotation players, all of whom are seniors. This is ‘23and ‘23 ‘s team. Budd is the floor general. Zion is the play-finisher. Both of them are capable of taking over games on either end. Budd’s partner in the backcourt is ‘23 -Acqui. Able to take pressure off Budd with his ability to initiate the offense and score at all three levels, he’s their x-factor for this year. ‘23 might get to shine a little more this year as a lob and pick-and-pop threat. D2 programs are taking notice. ‘25 Isaac Cole gave them good 3 & D minutes in limited action as a freshman, but they’ll need more out of him as their fifth starter. ‘23 Amyr Walker and ‘24 Tariq Jennings are two sleepers on the perimeter who Coach Bocacchia can bring in and not lose a step. Adding frontcourt depth, ‘25 and ‘26 have high upside of their own. ‘25 Israel Cole and ‘25 Isaiah Muhammad have the chance to make the rotation with their ability to space the floor at their size. The Burrs are the other favorite to go all the way because of their proven talent on the front end of their roster and the depth on the back end.
MVP Candidate: or
Dark House: Cardinal O’Hara
A battle tested core of upperclassmen, O’Hara has the talent and experience to claw their way into the Palestra for the PCL Final Four. The trio of ‘23, ‘24 , and ‘24 are as good as any other in the league. Pasha can generate advantages for himself, but can be special as their primary option catches it on the second side, and is an underrated havoc creator on defense. As McGuinn continues to grow physically and developmentally, his potential to impact winning as a modern forward who can stretch the floor on one end and alter shots in the paint on the other end becomes more real. “Flash” Burton gets more consistent by the day at getting his shots in the flow of the offense. Guards ‘23 , ‘23 Christian Cervello, ‘23 Zuri Harris, and maybe one or two others will be key as well. The Lions are absolutely talented enough to catch anyone slipping and earn a spot at the Palestra.
Other Names to Know
‘23| Archbishop Carroll
‘23| Archbishop Carroll
’25| Archbishop Carroll
‘23 Brady Eagan | Bonner-Prendie
‘24 Nelson Laminzana | Bonner-Prendie
‘24Jr | Bonner-Prendie
‘24 Aidan Mondragon | Conwell-Egan
‘23| Devon Prep
‘23| Devon Prep
‘23| Devon Prep
‘23| Father Judge
‘23| Father Judge
‘25| Father Judge
‘23| La Salle
‘23 Tim Jennings | La Salle
‘24| St. Joe’s Prep
‘25| St. Joe’s Prep
‘25 Olin Chamberlin Jr | St. Joe’s Prep
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