|Steve Haladyna: 38 pts + 20 rebs in last night's opener|
Defending D1 Champs lookin to repeat- Not sure if there has ever been a more wide open year in Massachusetts D1 Hoops as there are a dozen or so squads with legitimate opportunities to put together a run at the State Championship. One of those ball-clubs is the defending state champs, St Johns Prep, a club which graduated superstar Pat Connaughton, but returns a quartet of key players which makes Sean Connolly's crew a threat to potentially repeat. Leading the way for the Prep will be Tufts-bound small forward Steve Haladyna, a hard-nosed scorer who averaged 20+ points a year ago while playing Robin to PC's Batman. Haladyna has recently been to the Mass Preseason All-State First Team by both ESPN Boston and the New England Recruiting Report...Also on the wings for the Prep will be a pair of left-handed slashers in senior Freddy Shove and freshman Ben Judson, while the leader of the back-court is pit-bull combo guard Mike Carbone, a cold-blooded shooter who went for 27 in the Garden last year to propel the Prep to the state title game. Along with Carbone in Connolly's guard stable will be a pair of floor-generals in junior Drex Costello and freshman Marcos Echevarria...The Patrol of the Paint is the biggest question mark for the Prep heading into the season as invaluable junior stalwart Isaiah Robinson starts the season on the shelf with a knee. The timetable for I-Rob's return will be a big piece of news, but until that time, Josh Syska will get an opportunity to chop wood in the middle...Note: The Prep started out their season last night with a tight 78-76 win over an upstart St Mary's of Lynn squad. Next Up: Lynn Classical on Thursday.