Great Expectations

Seniors Chris Chiozza (Florida), Curtis Phillips (Campbell), Davell Roby (Saint Louis), and Leron Black (Illinois) celebrate signing their National Letters

Nationally ranked? Check. Multiple Division 1 commitments? Check. On paper, the 2013-2014 White Station boys’ basketball team looks like one of the clear favorites to win the State Championship in March. A year after finishing 22-6 and being upset in the regional playoffs by Germantown, the Spartans look to be stronger than ever. A majority of the team is comprised of returning players. Newcomers such as LaDarius Coleman (12), Blake Williams (10) and Aarin Strother (9) also add to the team’s depth.

White Station will begin the season in the national spotlight. The team is ranked fifth in the Student Sports preseason Fab 50 rankings and ranked twelfth by USA Today. This is not the Spartans’ first time in the national rankings; they were also highly ranked for much of last year.  Senior forward Leron Black said the team must “live up to the hype” and remind themselves that the rankings are only temporary and must be earned throughout the season.

In addition to being nationally ranked, the team has several Division 1 athletes who have already signed National Letters of Intent. Leron Black (Illinois), Davell Roby (St. Louis), Chris Chiozza (Florida), and Curtis Phillips (Campbell) all officially committed on November 15. Black said, “It feels good knowing you can trust so many guys to help win games.”

The Spartans will have to endure yet another brutal schedule this year. They will have to face many local teams, including the highly regarded Hamilton Wildcats (a game that will be nationally televised on ESPN). They will also face Dallas Prime Prep, the fifth ranked team in the nation, and Sunrise Christian (Kansas).

This is not the same team that lost to Germantown. Black said the team has worked hard to improve its “defense and team chemistry,” and with seven seniors, the team should have the leadership and experience to make a strong playoff push in March.