The Pleasantville High School boys basketball team lost all but two players from last season, but coach Kenny Johnson has some reinforcements - and not just freshmen.
There's 6-foot-7, 240-pounder Kenya Brown, who moved back to the area for his senior year after living in Washington, D.C., for three years. There's junior Jacob Marable, who has never played varsity but is 6-foot-6 and can block shots. And there's sophomore Phil Polanco, a guard with a good handle.
"It's just going to take a little while for them to start playing together, start understanding what we're trying to do," Johnson said. "I'm hoping midseason and moving forward that we get better as the season is going on."
Johnson said he hopes the older players' maturity helps them adjust quicker than freshmen.
"The concern is JV is a whole lot different from varsity," the coach said. "It's still going to take some time to get used to the varsity pace, the physicality. They think it's the same, but it's not."
While the Greyhounds don't have the shooters that they had last year when they went 17-8, they are long and athletic.
"What I'm going to try to do is get up and down a little bit, pressure more than last year, try to pick up the pace to try to get some easy buckets," Johnson said.
The coach said the playoffs are a realistic goal. The Greyhounds also are the defending CAL United Conference co-champions and want to defend the title.
"We do have something to fight for," Johnson said. "I'm hoping that will give them some motivation to try to keep the crown."
Contact Jason Mazda:
League: Cape-Atlantic League United
Group: South Jersey Group II
Coach: Kenny Johnson (93-82, seven seasons)
2011-12 record: 18-8
2012-13 prediction: Spoiler - The Greyhounds have just two returning starters but could be dangerous.
Key players: Hussein Calloway, Sr., PG, 5-5; Neil Peters, Sr., F, 6-3.
Top newcomers: Robert Handy, Sr., G, 5-10; Brian Gomez, Jr., F, 6-2; Lou Savage, Jr., F, 6-2; Kenya Brown, Sr., C, 6-7; Tyrell Anderson, Jr., F, 6-0; Phil Polanco, So., PG, 5-2; Jacob Marable, Jr., C, 6-6.
Dec. 14: at Woodrow Wilson, 5:15 p.m.
Dec. 17: vs. Cedar Creek, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 20: vs. Sacred Heart, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 28: vs. Wildwood at Wildwoods Convention Center, 7 p.m.
Dec. 29: vs. TBD at Wildwoods Convention Center, time TBA Jan. 3: at Wildwood Catholic, 7 p.m.
Jan. 4: vs. Woodbury, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 7: at Buena Regional, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 10: vs. Cape May Tech, 7 p.m.
Jan. 14: vs. Atlantic County Institute of Technology, 7 p.m.
Jan. 17: at St. Joseph, 7 p.m.
Jan. 19: at Camden Catholic, 3:30 p.m.
Jan. 21: vs. Westhampton Tech at Kingsway Regional, 3 p.m.
Jan. 22: vs. St. Joseph, 7 p.m.
Jan. 24: at Cedar Creek, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 28: at Sacred Heart, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 31: vs. Wildwood Catholic, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 3: vs. TBA at Atlantic City, 1:30 p.m.
Feb. 5: vs. Buena Regional, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 7: at Cape May Tech, 7 p.m.
Feb. 9: vs. TBA (Olympic Cape Challenge), time TBA Feb. 11: at Atlantic County Institute of Technology, 5:30 p.m.
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