DeMatha Stags 2014-2015 Basketball Preview

The DeMatha Stags (6-0) won big again against their second WCAC opponent Saint Mary’s Ryken (SMR) on Saturday.

If they can keep up their winning ways in Orlando at the Victor Oladipo Christmas Hoops Festival starting December 26th then we might really be in for something special.  Of course the event bares the name of DeMatha Catholic High School for Boys alumni Victor Oladipo, and you can follow the action here.  (He also starred in this video care of Stronger Team if any future Stags out there need any more inspiration.)

I don’t want to give anything away, but the last team to go undefeated at DeMatha was a really long time ago.  Much more on that, at a later date.  I’m not ready to say that this DeMatha basketball team can go undefeated, though.  The team includes ten players that could potentially play together next year and so I wasn’t surprised when they often looked sloppy against Ryken.  Another thing is that this DeMatha team is going to be facing some rather stiff competition down the road because Head Coach Mike Jones doesn’t duck anybody.

This isn’t exactly a recipe to finish number one in prestigious USA Today national poll but it could be enough to win the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.

By now, everybody knows that Darren Harvey is an extraordinary sophomore and he is considered the number one prospect in his class.  Sophomore year at DeMatha is the toughest, and I would expect that even the best small forward in the United States’ class of 2017 is going to have some growing pains.  Developing a consistent presence is what will ultimately make him a standout, even by DeMatha standards.  While the kid with the feathery touch has already shown the tendency to hide in the stats sheets, he has already turned in some top performances that nearly had the Stags winning the championship last year.  Anybody with the alias of DJ Harvey is phenomenal, but he is far from alone on this team.

Point guard Terrell Allen, Forward/Centers Jaelin Grant and Thomas Bruce are three of the four seniors on this squad that will have to see significant minutes if a WCAC championship campaign is going to be successful.   DeMatha isn’t particularly tall this year but Jaelin Grant has shown a similar ability (as his three brothers before him) to be able to fill in the gaps.  As long as Terrell Allen can continue to play with poise and control games by hitting Thomas Bruce in stride, DeMatha will still be formidable in the paint.

Markelle Fultz and Nate Darling are two of the four juniors that I already mentioned and they sort of embody what this team seems to do best: slash and shoot.  Quickness can win a lot of games, especially if you can transform your team with defensive wizardry -and Mike Jones has done it before.  (We have already seen the athleticism of Markelle, and discussed the scoring abilities of Nate Darling -both videos care of Capitol Hoops)  Any talk of a championship with this team starts on the defensive end of the floor for this crop of Stags, in my opinion.  If these kids blossom and peak at the right time, there might be no stopping them in February.

Anyway here is the complete roster and schedule.

Enjoy all these links, people!

Merry Christmas!

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