Coach Mike Bult sees plenty of possibilities for his Absegami High School boys basketball team.
The Braves feature some familiar faces and some new. How Absegami fares in a stacked Cape-Atlantic League American Division is in the hands of the Braves' players.
Atlantic City and Holy Spirit are the division's early favorites. Bult believes his team should rank in the top three.
"It's always a tough conference all the way around. We're excited about it and to be able to compete with them," said Bult, in his third season.
The biggest question mark for Absegami is how the Braves will replace some key players, specifically at the guard position. Last year, 6-foot senior guard Lamar Monroe paced the Braves with 17.1 points per game and gave his best performances in big games.
"We're looking for guards all the way across," Bult said. "It's not just one, but three or four guards to pick it up."
One person the Braves can already count on is returning starter and junior Abdul Anderson. Darryl Loveland also made key contributions as a guard last year.
Up top, Absegami looks to its big men, seniors Vladimir Shustov (6-foot-9) and Jaleel Christmon (6-6).
"I'm excited about this year and the potential that it brings. We have a good group of guys who work hard," Bult said.
Contact Brittany Grugan:
League: Cape-Atlantic League American
Group: South Jersey Group IV
Coach: Mike Bult (23-23, two seasons)
Last season's record: 14-9
2012-13 prediction: Spoiler - The Braves expect to remain near the top of their division.
Key players: Abdul Anderson, Jr., 6-2, G; Darryl Loveland, 6-2, Sr., G; Jaleel Christmon, Sr., 6-6, F; Vladimir Shustov, Sr., 6-9, F.
3:30 p.m. Sunday vs. Shawnee (Ocean City Tipoff Tournament)
7 p.m. Jan. 4 vs. Egg Harbor Township
7 p.m. Jan. 24 vs. Holy Spirit
7 p.m. Jan. 29 vs. Atlantic City