With the high school season right around the corner, it’s time for us to do some previews for who we think will compete for some of the state championships. We continue with private school, taking a look at our picks…
With the high school season right around the corner, it’s time for us to do some previews for who we think will compete for some of the state championships. We continue with private school, taking a look at our picks for who we think will win the state championship and who could possibly compete with them.
Here’s a look at our picks for contenders in the VISAA D1 classification.
Preseason Favorite: Paul VI
The Panthers have been the cream of the crop program in the state and one of the top programs in the DMV spanning the past decade and more, but this years team is something we haven’t seen before, as PVI could be considered one of the top programs in the entire country this year. Head Coach Glenn Farello has an absolute mob at his hands this year, with at least eight players who already have division one offers and enough size that they don’t even look like a high school team. Honestly, you could probably split their team into two and they would both compete for a WCAC and state championship this year.
Senior combo guard and Maryland commit DeShawn Harris-Smith DeShawn Harris-Smith 6'5" | SF Paul VI | 2023 State #53 Nation VA brings all the toughness and leadership along with his athletic playmaking that makes him one of the top players in the country. Junior Darren Harris Darren Harris 6'6" | SF Paul VI | 2024 State #38 Nation VA , who recently committed to Duke, is one of the top shooters in the nation by most accounts, and nationally ranked junior wing Isaiah Abraham Isaiah Abraham 6'6" | SG Paul VI | 2024 State #92 Nation VA brings dynamic athleticism and impact on both ends of the floor. Up front the Panthers are huge, with 6’10” junior Pat Ngongba, 6’9” sophomore Christian Gurdak Christian Gurdak 6'10" | C Paul VI | 2025 State VA (AKA Big Country), 6’8” junior Garrett Sundra Garrett Sundra 6'11" | C Paul VI | 2024 State VA and 6’6” versatile sophomore Jaquan Womack Jaquan Womack 6'7" | PF Paul VI | 2025 State VA .
The key may be in junior point guard Ben Hammond Ben Hammond 5'10" | PG Paul VI | 2024 State VA , who has improved immensely and looks like he’s ready to continue the legacy of talented PVI point guards. Even with all that, they have one of the most talented freshmen you’ll come across this year in 6’3” wing Jordan Smith. This is by far one of the deepest and most talented teams we’ve seen in VA in a long time.
The Knights are a little young at certain positions, but with the return of junior power forward Jadyn Harris Jadyn Harris 6'6" | PF Bishop O'Connell | 2024 State VA along with some very talented young pieces they should get better throughout the year and will be a tough out come playoff time. Harris brings them an alpha dog at the forward position and he’s a walking mismatch with his ability to do a little bit of everything on the floor, and with 6’8” senior Patrick O’Brien Patrick O’Brien 6'8" | C Bishop O'Connell | 2023 State VA and 6’6” senior Isaiah Shaw Isaiah Shaw 6'5" | PF Bishop O'Connell | 2023 State VA they will be big and experienced up front. In the backcourt they are young as they’ll start two freshmen in 6’0” Jasiah Cannady and 6’4” Adam Oummidoch who both made big waves in the live period this summer, and 6’4” sophomore Shane Lincoln Shane Lincoln 6'4" | PG Bishop O'Connell | 2025 State VA gives them another talented weapon who will be the x-factor with his ability to do a little bit of everything. They have decent depth and despite being young, they have the talent to compete with a lot of teams this year.
Head Coach Damin Altizer enters this season with perhaps his most talented and deep team that he’s had while being at the helm over the past five years, and the Saints actually beat PVI in the DMV Live period this summer. STAB is led up front by 6’9” Vanderbilt commit Carter Lang Carter Lang 6'9" | C St. Anne's Belfield | 2023 State #199 Nation VA who is one of the most productive players in the state and is a walking double-double, and senior point guard John St. Germain John St. Germain 6'2" | PG St. Anne's Belfield | 2023 State VA is one of the premier lead guards in the state and is the straw that stirs the drink for the Saints. Sophomore guard Chance Mallory Chance Mallory 5'10" | PG St. Anne's Belfield | 2025 State VA may not be the biggest player but he can score it with the best of them and always brings it against top competition, and sophomore wing Austin Williford Austin Williford 6'4" | CG Saint Anne’s Belfield | 2025 State VA is a budding star who gets it done on both ends of the floor. Senior wing Desmond Roberts Desmond Roberts 6'5" | SF St Anne’s Belfield | 2023 State VA who transferred from VES brings some big time athleticism on the wing, and senior Jackson Coppock and sophomore Gabriel D’Allesandro Gabriel D’Allesandro 6'3" | SG St. Anne's Belfield | 2025 State VA provide depth for STAB this year.
Blue Ridge makes the jump to division one this year and their resume at division two was unmatched, as Head Coach Cade Lemcke played in the state championship game every year in his eight years at the helm, winning 6 of them including the last four state championships. While it’s a new look for the Barons this year, they still have a super deep lineup with good size and guards that get after it. Junior big man Shanon Simango Shanon Simango 6'6" | C Blue Ridge | 2024 State VA is a beast in the post as he’s a tenacious rebounder and strong finisher that should be a walking double-double this year, and junior Markus Robinson Markus Robinson 6'2" | SG Veritas | 2024 State VA who transferred from Veritas is a talented scorer who can make shots from anywhere on the floor. The senior duo of Camden Brewer Camden Brewer 6'2" | SF Blue Ridge | 2023 State VA and Diarmid Stewart Diarmid Stewart 6'6" | SF Blue Ridge | 2023 State VA get it done on both ends of the floor, and junior Levin Smith and freshman Odita Aguola provide extra depth in the front court.
Dark Horse Contenders
The Crusaders have been one of the top teams in the 757 over the past few years, but in Bobby Steinberg’s third year at the helm this is possibly his most talented and deep team that he’s had this year, and he has an absolute game changer in freshman big man Kosi Mgbejiofor who is an athletic freak at 6’11” who dunks and blocks everything and has the tools to be one of the top players in the country in his class. Catholic features a number of guards who can get it done in seniors Aiden Filippini, CJ McPherson CJ McPherson 6'3" | SG Norfolk Collegiate | 2023 State VA and Jaiden Cancela who all have good size, and junior lead guard Brayden Thorne Brayden Thorne 6'1" | PG Catholic | 2024 State VA is a very good floor general who can initiate the offense and score it as well. Junior Josiah Rickards Josiah Rickards 6'3" | CG Catholic | 2024 State VA could be the key, as he’s their top shot creator and maker as well.
St. Stephen’s St. Agnes
While the Saints were looked at as a team that would go through a rebuilding process after long time Head Coach Mike Jones left for DeMatha, the Saints have reloaded with a lot of talented under the radar pieces and have played very well this summer and fall. Senior wing Bryson Wilson Bryson Wilson 6'5" | SF St Stephen’s And St Agnes | 2023 State VA is a 6’6” freak athlete who has come a long way and should have a breakout season, senior Cole Cosby Cole Cosby 6'4" | SF St. Stephen's And St. Agnes | 2023 State VA is a big time shooter and senior guards Niles Alburg and Jack Murphy Jack Murphy 5'11" | PG St. Stephen's & St. Agnes | 2023 State VA provide leadership in the backcourt. Junior forwards Blake Neal Blake Neal 6'6" | PF St. Stephen' St. Agnes | 2024 State VA and Kyan Bowman Kyan Bowman 6'4" | SF St. Stephen's St. Agnes | 2024 State VA provide versatility in the front court, and sophomore point guard Aiden Argabright Aiden Argabright 6'0" | PG St. Stephen's & St. Agnes | 2025 State VA is a budding star to keep an eye on.
While the Huskies may not have the depth of some of the teams listed above, they do have a lot of talent and will be a team no one wants to face in the first few rounds of the playoffs. American commit Gibraltar Coleman Gibraltar Coleman 6'6" | PF Flint Hill | 2023 State VA is a walking mismatch at 6’7” who can score the ball from anywhere on the floor, and junior front court mate Quin Gorman Quin Gorman 6'8" | PF Flint Hill | 2024 State VA is a budding prospect who can also play inside-out and will be a tough duo to match up with, Senior wing Nate Pabis Nate Pabis 6'5" | SF Flint Hill | 2023 State VA and junior two guard Doyle Brown Doyle Brown 6'1" | SG Centreville | 2024 State VA provide shooting on the perimeter, and the key for their success may come from the guard play as they’ll rely heavily on senior guard Khaleel Abdullah Khaleel Abdullah 6'1" | PG Flint Hill | 2023 State VA and sophomore Everett Jones Everett Jones 6'2" | PG Flint Hill | 2025 State VA to handle the ball this year.