Ben Mitchell epitomizes the St. Joseph High School boys basketball team this season.
The 6-foot-1 swing man is one of the Cape-Atlantic League's top sophomores. The Wildcats will be young but energetic.
But St. Joe will have to overcome plenty of inexperience. The Wildcats return no starters from last season's 15-12 team.
St. Joe graduated 49.7 points of the 55 points it averaged last season.
Mitchell, however, is a promising player to build around for the future.
"He brings athleticism," St. Joe coach Tim Gallagher said of Mitchell. "He's a year-round basketball player. We're going to lean on him a lot this year to score and help us win games. We're trying to get him in open space and get him up and down the court."
St. Joe had some bad luck before the season even started when 6-4 junior forward LaQuay Brown broke his hand.
Seniors Luke Ordille and John Todoro have been in the program for four years and will be counted on to provide leadership.
St. Joe should also get a boost from junior guards Charles Riccardi and Jordan Lyles, who transferred from Clearview and Winslow Township high schools, respectively.
The Wildcats will try to take advantage of their energy by playing a more aggressive trapping style on defense, according to Gallagher.
"I think we have 10, 11 guys who can all play," Gallagher said. "In the past, we've gone seven or eight deep and then been in trouble. These guys are young, hungry and want to play. We're going to try to play up-tempo and aggressively."
Contact Michael McGarry:
League: Cape-Atlantic League United Conference
Group: South Jersey Non-Public B
Coach: Tim Gallagher (134-154, 11 seasons)
Last season's record: 15-12
2012-13 prediction: Rebuilding - Wildcats graduated all five starters but have several energetic young players.
Key players: Luke Ordille, Sr., 5-11, F; John Todoro, Sr., 5-9, G; Ben Mitchell, So., 6-1, F; Marc Youngman, Jr., 6-4, C; Rocco Ordille, 5-10, So., G; Jordan Davis, So., 5-11, G; Val Vadino, So., 51-0, G; Ricardo Quirindongo, 6-0, So., F; Charles Riccardi, 6-1, Jr., G; Jordan Lyles, 5-10, Jr., G.
Games to watch:
7 p.m. Jan. 25 at Hammonton
7 p.m. Jan. 29 vs. Wildwood Catholic
7 p.m. Feb. 19 vs. Haddon Heights
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