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Head coach: Alan Hoyt (sixth season, MD JUCO COY)

Last year: 16-12, 10-6 (fifth in the MD JUCO)

Athletes to watch: G Sedric Baker (So., All-MD JUCO, All-Region XX), G Devon Brown (So.), G Juwan Cole (Fr.), G Troy Cummings (So., McDonough), F Sheldon Thorne (So., Lackey)

Key personnel losses: F Brian Dixon (Lackey), F Ryan Vanderwest (Leonardtown)

Strengths: Six returners, led by Baker coming off a stellar season, combined with a plethora of promising new faces have the Hawks confident in more than just a second straight winning campaign.

They have their eyes set on making noise for the first time in more than a decade, as the atmosphere around the program has drastically changed since the nine straight years of losing prior to last season.

Hoyt is well aware that quality guard play is the key to winning the Maryland JUCO and competing for a nationals berth at the Region XX tournament, and the Hawks boast a bevy of talents players at that position.

Weaknesses: Being guard-heavy means the Hawks don’t have the height across the board that other contenders in the MD JUCO and Region XX have. Once Thorne gets thrown into the mix for the first time this season, that will help alleviate much of the Hawks’ disadvantage in size.

With all the depth and capable talent, particularly with the addition of nine new players, the Hawks’ biggest challenge is developing chemistry and meshing all the personalities.

Coach’s comments: “I’m zero for the playoffs. So as much as we want to talk about nationals stuff, we’re trying to win that first [playoff game in over a decade]. Definitely, without a doubt [we’ll be in the upper echelon of the conference and region].”

Key games: Nov. 16 vs. Garrett, Dec. 8 at Cecil, Feb. 5 at Prince George’s

Dallas Cogle