The Potomac High School boys' basketball team, the reigning Class 2A state champions, began its summer league season last week in the i95Ballerz.com League. And at the Lamond Recreation Center in Washington, D.C., the team that defeated Oakdale on March 15 in the state title game was barely recognizable.
Dion Wiley is now at the University of Maryland, College Park. Post players Quadree Smith and Day'jar Dickson have also graduated. And with point guard Randall Broddie briefly missing in action, the most noticeable mainstay from last season's rotation was forward Anthony Smith.
The 6-foot-6 rising senior averaged 13 points per game last winter, and now, Smith said, he can see his role as a captain growing.
“This year, I know I'm going to have to work with this team hard,” Smith said. “[I'll have to] guide them and just help us when we're weak.”
Last season, with the focus on Wiley, Smith and Broddie, Smith was a player that coach Renard Johnson said the team relied on for its success.
Following a game against Central in January, Johnson said, “All of our success depends on Anthony Smith and Day'Jar. Dion and Broddie can only take us so far. Those guys are the 'X-factor.'”
Now, with Smith stepping into one of those main roles, Johnson will need other players to contribute.
“We have a lot of new people and a lot of incoming people coming into the school and trying out for the team,” Smith said. “It should be a good experience.”
Chemistry creates trust amongst the players in the lineup and it's something Potomac will have to regain.
“I know last year everybody was familiar with each other. So, we worked out together sometimes,” Smith said. “For this year, we're just trying to rebuild [better] and get stronger just to bring in another championship.”
Broddie returned to the lineup on Monday. The rising junior averaged 20 points per game last winter and gives Potomac an outside threat to combine with Smith's inside presence.
“[We will be] straight,” Smith said. “As long as we just continue to play hard and ... build more chemistry, make [new players] feel comfortable.”