There is a sense of newness about the St. Augustine Prep boys basketball team.
The Hermits return three starters - guards Michael Greenman and David Sullivan, and forward Blake Rossell - from last season's 22-5 team. But the Hermits also have new faces. Three freshmen - Jake O'Neill, Mike Vasturia and Sa'eed Nelson - also could see some action.
"When you have a group that's new it's exciting putting things together," Hermits coach Paul Rodio said. "They don't know everything yet."
The Hermits, despite their inexperience, should contend for the Cape-Atlantic League National Division title.
Greenman and Sullivan form one of the league's best backcourts. Rossell should be more of a force inside.
"The three of them are focused on their senior year," Rodio said. "How far we go is going to depend on how much they can put into this thing. ... They know what has to be done for us to get to the next step."
Joe Gatto, a 6-4 junior, and Brian Seward, a 6-2 junior, will probably round out the starting five.
All three freshmen have promise. O'Neill is 6-8. Rodio said the 5-6 Nelson is quick. The 6-4 Vasturia can play inside and on the perimeter.
"They're all going to keep getting better and better," Rodio said, "but where they fit in remains to be seen."
Contact Michael McGarry:
St. Augustine Prep
League: Cape-Atlantic League National
Group: South Jersey Non-Public A
Coach: Paul Rodio (758-213, 35 seasons)
Last season's record: 22-5
2012-13 prediction: Contender- Rodio is 18 wins away from breaking the South Jersey record for most career victories. Former Camden coach Clarence Turner currently holds the record with 775 wins.
Key players: Michael Greenman, Sr., 5-8, G; David Sullivan, Sr., 6-1, G; Blake Rossell, Sr., 6-5, F; Joe Gatto, Jr., 6-4, F; Brian Seward, Jr., 6-2, G/F; Nate Segal, Jr., 5-11, G; Andrew Nelson, Sr., 6-3, F; Kevin Kennedy, Jr., 5-9, G; Jake O'Neill, Fr., 6-8, C; Sa'eed Nelson, Fr., 5-6, G; Mike Vasturia, Fr., 4-3, F; Zack Warren, Jr., 6-4, F.
Dec. 14: vs. Ocean City, 6
Dec. 15: vs. Willingboro at Ocean City, 6
Dec. 18: at Middle Township, 7
Dec. 20: at Oakcrest, 6
Dec. 27: vs. Monsignor Bonner (Pa.), 8
Dec. 29: vs. Clinton Christian (Md.), 6
Jan. 4: vs. Hammonton, 7
Jan. 8: vs. Bridgeton, 6
Jan. 12: vs. Southern Regional, 1
Jan. 15: at Lower Cape May Regional, 7
Jan. 17: vs. Absegami, 6
Jan. 19: at Holy Spirit, 7
Jan. 22: at Ocean City, 6
Jan. 25: vs. Middle Township, 6
Jan. 29: vs. Oakcrest, 6
Jan. 31: at Hammonton, 5:30
Feb. 1: at Atlantic City at the Battle by the Bay
Feb. 5: at Bridgeton, 7
Feb. 7: at Millville, 4
Feb. 9: vs. TBA in Olympic-Cape Challenge, 7
Feb. 11: vs. Lower Cape May Regional, 6
Feb. 13: vs. Pitman, 6
Feb. 17: vs. Rancocas Valley Regional in Cherry Hill East tournament