They haven't even played a game. But they are still the team to beat.
The New Haven boys basketball team enters the year with renewed optimism after returning 10 players, including senior Eric Williams and sophomore Romeo Weems. That makes the Rockets the top team in the Times Herald Boys Basketball Poll.
"We have 10 guys returning and we are hoping the guys we had last year will step up," New Haven coach Tedaro France said. "Eric Williams has become a great leader on and off the court. His game has improved tremendously. His knowledge of the game has improved 100 fold.
"We like to throw them into the fire in practice to see how they respond. We would rather them make mistakes in practice and learn from failures. We put them in and see how they respond to adversity and failure."
New Haven's season opener at Detroit Loyola was scheduled for Sunday, but was pushed back a week due to inclement weather. They will host Grosse Pointe South on Tuesday.
"We will get better as time goes on. I like our leading guys and we have really good role players. That's the key. How well will our role players play."
St. Clair High School enters the week No. 2 in the Times Herald poll, after an impressive victory over Marysville.
The Saints were led by Ben Davidson, who scored a game-high 29 points while dominating the action. With Davidson in charge, they could eventually threaten the Rockets for the top spot in the poll.
"He had a really good game," St. Clair coach Shawn Sharrow said. "He let the game come to him and made good decisions with the ball. I was really proud of our kids. They let the ball move and we did a nice job on offense.
"We moved it and Ben hit the majority of them but some of the other guys made some shots and our defensive pressure was consistent."
Richmond meanwhile is third in the Times Herald poll after returners its top three players from a season ago. Richmond's D'Sean Hamilton, Anthony Tavano and Chase Churchill will give the team plenty of firepower in a deep Blue Water Area Conference.
"We like what we have," Richmond coach Josh Presnell said. "We have some really good players. We have a chance to be a solid team and we need to make the most of it."
Times Herald Boys Basketball Poll
1. New Haven
2. St. Clair
5. Port Huron
6. Port Huron Northern
8. Marine City
9. Cardinal Mooney
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