While the CCL is one of the smaller leagues in terms of member schools in the state, it had some of the better success last year as 2 of the 5 programs were in the District Finals. The league is…
While the CCL is one of the smaller leagues in terms of member schools in the state, it had some of the better success last year as 2 of the 5 programs were in the District Finals. The league is on the rise and continues to churn out good talent in Division II and III especially come tournament time. Competitive balance bumped a few teams up to Division I, but overall the league will again feature some good smaller school vibes.
- 1. Bishop Ready– On paper, it is almost impossible to pick against the Knights and what they have on their roster. After spending last year in Division III and reaching the District Finals, Ready bumped up to Division II for this year and is not only the favorite in the CCL, but might be the favorite out of Central Ohio in DIvision II. It starts with the Knights’ combo of (Sr) and (Sr) who both return after finishing All-District a season ago. Schaffer is a mismatch on the perimeter at 6’6 while Ruth is one of the more all-around skilled guards you’ll find in the state. (Sr) returns and brings more interior play with his length and supplies Ready with another upperclassmen. Andreas Gordon (So) is one of the rising stars on this team and gives Ready another option offensively. With so much talent returning it is no surprise that the Knights are the early season favorites.
- 2. St. Charles– The Cardinals are one of the bigger schools in the CCL and were in the District Finals a season ago before running into Gahanna Lincoln and their high powered team. This season will serve as another opportunity to improve as they return arguably the best player in the league in (Sr). The 6’8 Illinois State commit is a massive presence in the post and is a walking double-double when he’s on the floor. His return alone keeps this team in the conversation as one of the league’s best teams. Their ability to maintain a higher spot will come down to how well they can defend the rest of the league, which has about 2-3 guys per team returning and worth accounting for.
- 3. Bishop Watterson– The Eagles challenged within the CCL a year ago and return several seniors that should allow them to continue their competitive nature within the league. (Sr) returns in the post after an All-District campaign and is committed to Toledo for football. (Sr) also returns after playing well in the offseason during the 270 Hoops Prospect Camps. His length along with Rhett’s gives the Eagles some size advantages comparitively against the rest of the league. The style of play allows Watterson to be in lower scoring games and hang around. I expect much of the same this year and could see the Eagles challenging St. Charles at the #2 spot.
- 4. St. Francis DeSales– The Stallions move up to Division I this year after spending the past few years in Division II. Two years removed from their State Runner-Up finish in 2021, DeSales struggled more last year finishing barely below .500 (11-12) and finishing 4th in the league. (So) returns in the backcourt after having a great freshman campaign and will have another really solid guard in (Jr) alongside him in the backcourt. The Stallions lose much of their size and a lot of production in departed 1st Team All-District player Atticus Schuler. The lack of size could cause problems within league play. But their style of play and culture within the program means the Stallions will be a tough out any given night.
- 5. Bishop Hartley– The Hawks were one of the younger teams a season ago and it showed with them finishing winless in the CCL. The good thing about a younger team is the experience gained pays off down the road. While much of their top talent resides in the sophomore class, Hartley likely is another year or two away from truly turning heads in the league. (So) is coming off of a great season with Nova Village and alongside (So) will be two of the go-to guys early in the year. The Hawks also add one of the better freshmen in Columbus in Khani Thomas (Fr) that should make an immediate impact.