It's that time of the year again; VISAA Basketball. The amount of talent in the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association is absolutely absurd. All three divisions have several teams capable of winning a state title come March. Listed below, we have provided a short preview of players and teams to keep a close eye on the course of the year. Get ready Old Dominion State; this could be one of the most interesting seasons in quite some time.

 

SLEEPERS:

Atlantic Shores Christian (Chesapeake, VA)

Atlantic Shores Christian is one of the most intriguing programs in the entire 757. After finishing with an impressive 25-9 record last season, the Seahawks built on that momentum and reeled in two of Virginia most skilled young prospects; Mastadi Pitt and Logan Wells. When we first got a look at these two gems at our Virginia Top 80 Camp last March, we were downright impressed. Pitt was sensational in all aspects, and Wells showed endless signs of potential. After watching this squad compete at the high school jamboree a few weeks back, we instantly knew that they'd turn some heads throughout the course of the season. Although they're still developing that solid team chemistry, ASC has the talent to take down almost anyone on any given night. Look for this team to shake things up towards the end of the year. Their experienced coaching staff and raw talent should give them a slight advantage against several opponents.

 

St. Anne's Belfield (Charlottesville, VA)

St. Anne's Belfield could potentially emerge as a serious playoff contender this coming season. After finishing with 18 wins last season, the Saints proved to the people of the Old Dominion State that they do indeed have the talent and experience to consistently perform against the top-tier competition. Despite losing a close contest against eventual champion Episcopal School in the 60th annual Sleepy Memorial Basketball Tournament this past weekend, STAB showed tremendous signs of potential. If Duke commit Javin Montgomery-Delaurier can find a way to virtually take over game after game, the Saints definitely have a shot at cutting down the nets at the end of the year. He's a possible POY candidate for a reason. Although depth might be a factor in the eyes of many, this team has certainly the pieces and coaching experience to shock the state. Look out D2; St. Anne's Belfield is ready to roll.

 

TITLE CONTENDERS:

Blue Ridge (St. George, VA)

The Blue Ridge Barons completely stunned the competition last year, finishing with an astonishing 21-4 record and a state championship to bring back home to St. George. After winning only two games two years ago during the 2013-2014 season, Head Coach Bill Ramsey turned his program around and developed his squad into one of Virginia's most dangerous teams. But now, it's time for the Cade Lemcke era. After hearing the news that star senior Mamadi Diakite would be enrolling early at UVA and foregoing his final season, a lot of scouts ruled Blue Ridge out for chance at a repeat, but keep in mind their roster is absolutely stacked. Clemson commit Scott Spencer, Canisius commit Malik Johnson, and highly recruited 2017 big Aamir Simms could possibly be Virginia's most lethal 'Big 3.' We're beyond excited to see how the defending state champs compete this year.

 

Virginia Episcopal School (Lynchburg, VA)

Virginia Episcopal School is one of the most consistent programs in VISAA D2. Since taking over the program in 2010, Head Coach Curtis Staples has done wonders for the old 160. He's racked in 103 wins, one state championship, and five consecutive Final Four appearances. But there always seems to one problem; lack of depth. Year after year, the Bishops always struggle to find that one guy that provides an efficient spark off the bench. After watching VES a few weeks back at the National HS Showcase, we quickly realized they have several players on their roster that can compete with the big boys. With UK commit Sacha Killeya-Jones, and Pittsburgh commit Justice Kithcart leading the powerful offensive attack, the Bishops look to be in a solid position. They also added several international players during the offseason to give themselves a slight advantage in all aspects. Can VES successfully get over their playoff slump and earn their second state championship in school history' Keep a close eye on these guys this season. This could be one of the strongest overall teams VES has had in quite some time.

 

Walsingham Academy (Williamsburg, VA)

Walsingham Academy could potentially be one of the most underrated programs in VISAA D2. After watching these guys battle in last year's quarterfinal matchup against VES, it immediately became apparent to us that HC Billy Barnes and his squad would be back again this year fighting for a chance to make their names known throughout the elite state of Virginia. The Trojans are led by Wake Forest commit Richard Washington, one of 2016's most dynamic players. His team leadership and devout dedication will provide his team with that much-needed spark in order to get the job done on a regular basis. One guy to keep a close eye on' Unsigned senior Dusan Vicentic. The 6'8' Serbian will play a very important role for his squad this year. His solid frame and impressive footwork should attract the attention of several low majors coaches. Look for this team to cause some serious havoc this season. We wouldn't be surprised if they racked in 20+ wins for seventh year in a row.

 

BEST OF THE REST:

Carlisle (Martinsville, VA)

Carlisle is one of the most consistent teams in all VISAA divisions. Whenever the regular season comes to an end, the Chiefs always seem to be in the right position at a chance for a state title. After watching these studs battle against Blue Ridge in the semifinals last season, it was easy to tell they'd be back this season fighting for the recognition that they deserve. Despite losing standout senior Kaleb Johnson to graduation, and Charlotte commit Quentin Jackson Jr. to transfer, the Chiefs managed to reel in rising star Rasir Bolton from Millwood, one of the strongest overall PG's in Virginia's loaded class of 2018. With the likes of Adrian Hatfield, Luke Sasser and Yesid Mosquera also returning, look for this Chiefs squad to explode this coming season. They're underrated, extraordinarily skilled, and hungry to compete. People can expect HC Jason Niblett to have his boys ready to go when conference play begins here in a few weeks.

 

Millwood (Midlothian, VA)

Year after year, the Millwood Bobcats always seem to find themselves battling for a state title. In their first season in VISAA D2 last year, the Midlothian natives finished with a 23-10 record and made a Final Four appearance in one of the strongest overall divisions in all of basketball. But how will they compete this season under first year HC Brandon Jones' With Towson commit JJ Matthews, Howard commit CJ Williams, and Morgan State commit'Azariah Sykesleading the way for the Bobcats, it is definitely safe to say these kids will be battling at a chance for another state title this year. If they can stay healthy, get a rhythm on offense, and play to their full ability, Millwood could possibly stun the competition in Petersburg this March.

 

OTHER NOTABLE TEAMS:

Hargrave Military Academy (Chatham, VA)

Highland (Warrenton, VA)

Miller School (Charlottesville, VA)

Norfolk Collegiate (Norfolk, VA)

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