Key Departing Players: Jalen Herdsman, Sean Greenberg, Chuck Champion, Dom Cuoci, Langston Ellison, Mick Barrett
At every point of last season, one of these players stepped up in some way off of the bench. Who could forget Sean Greenberg's performance at the Palestra against Roman Catholic? What about Dom Cuoci hitting the 10th point on silent night? Or Jalen Herdsman's consistent play throughout the season? The point is, whether they were on the floor or not, each of these players was a leader that was an essential part of a young team.
Key Returning Players: Sr. Najee Walls, Sr. Shawn Witherspoon, Sr. David Krmpotich, Sr. Dan Corr, Sr. Matt Dessner, Sr. Charlie Hemcher, Jr. Shane Stark, Jr. Ryan McTamney, So. Jarrod Stukes, So. Matt Paulus
The promising part of this team is that it returns its three top scorers and a chunk of minutes from last year. Walls and Witherspoon are arguably one of the best backcourts in the league. They compliment each other extremely well as Witherspoon changes speeds and can get to the rim efficiently, while Walls has no problem draining shots from the top of the key. David Krmpotich, a lanky 6-8 senior bound for Colgate, is the team's top scorer from last year. He excels at driving to the basket as a face up player and has added a nice touch from deep to keep defenders on their toes. Shane Stark will most likely pick up the starting spot left by Jalen Herdsman. Stark isn't afraid to get to the basket and get into it. He added valuable varsity time last season off the bench and should have no problem adjusting if last season is any indicator.
Competing for the final starting spot are Sr. Dan Corr and Sophs. Matt Paulus and Jarrod Stukes. Each player has their different strengths and there isn't any indication towards who will take the spot. Corr is a three point threat as he came off the bench last season to do just that. Paulus is a more point guard type of player who can bring up the ball and make the mid range jumper efficiently. Stukes is more of a defensive player who can get to the rim and use his small size to draw fouls. As the season approaches, Coach Dempsey has quite a few options to go through.
Key Games to Watch
Kreul Classic (Coral Springs, Florida; December 19-22): In the Explorers' first tournament outing of the season, they will head down to Coral Springs to participate in the Kreul Classic. The Kreul Classic provides competition from across 26 different states, Canada, and the Bahamas. The tournament features a number of high profile players and programs. In the first round, the Explorers will face Grandview Prep High School, Florida's 2013 2A State Champs and last year's runner ups. The Explorers will face plenty of good competition in this tournament before heading into Catholic League play.
Triple Threat Invitational(Washington DC; December 29-30): In the final stretch before Catholic League play begins, the Explorers will travel to DC to take on another group of elite teams from three different states. The Explorers will face Riverdale Baptist (Maryland) in their first game, with opportunities to face Blanche Ely High School (Florida) and Theodore Roosevelt High School (DC). Each team is top in their states and will provide the Explorers plenty of competition.
Every Single PCL Game: The Philadelphia Catholic League is arguably the best league for basketball in the state. It features teams like Neumann-Gorreti, Roman Catholic, Archbishop Carroll, and St. Joseph's Prep. Players like UNLV commit Derrick Jones(Carroll), St. Joe's University committ Chris Clover(Prep), Tony Carr(Roman Catholic), and St. Joe's University committ Lamar Kimble(Neumann) are running rampant across the league. The best thing about the PCL is that any team can make a break out season, upset any team, and anyone can come out on top. These reasons make it the most exciting league in the state and there isn't a reason to not keep up with it.
The Explorers are set up for another successful season and possibly one of their most successful in the school's history. It is up to the seniors to lead the next set of younger players and for the trio of Krmpotich, Walls, and Witherspoon to take over games. The season will kick off against Coatseville High School on December 6th in the Famjuice Classic at Philadelphia University at 3:30. Make sure to follow @LaSalle_Sports throughout the season for team updates and follow the site for game previews and post games!
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