With three consecutive state titles and five in the past nine seasons, Miami Norland is the model for consistency in Miami-Dade County boys’ basketball.
But even the Vikings are a bit of an enigma entering a season that promises plenty of parity and new teams rising to contender status.
This season, Norland can become the first Dade team to win four consecutive state championships as it vies for a sixth state title in the span of a decade.
And while Class 6A is no cakewalk, a more inexperienced Norland team is still the favorite, returning one of the state’s best forwards in 6-10 junior Dewan Huell (10.9 points, eight rebounds last season).
Figuring out who might come out of Class 8A is a lot harder.
South Miami has emerged from the pack each of the past two seasons, finishing second at state in 2013 and falling in the state semifinals last season. But like Norland, the Cobras are a little younger this season.
That, however, doesn’t mean South Miami is any less talented.
Sophomore 6-7 forward Latravian Glover should be one of the best in the county and with the help of junior guards Robert Brown Jr. and Ishmael Davis hopes to lead the Cobras back to state.
Coral Gables figures to be the likely favorite to upend South Miami on the road to Lakeland. The Cavaliers have developed a solid core over the past two seasons led by 6-7 junior forward Al-Wajid Aminu that could be ready for a breakout year.
Miami Beach returns one of the nation’s top-ranked sophomores in 7-1 center Zach Brown, who averaged 18 points, 16 rebounds and seven blocks per game last season. Brown and fellow sophomore Kennith Rolle, a 5-11 guard, will try to drive the Hi-Tides further than the regional semifinals this season.
Miami High is under new management with former Booker T. Washington coach Javorie Wilson in charge following the departure of Marcus Carreno after 14 seasons. Wilson, who led the Tornadoes to 85 wins in five seasons, will try to make the Stingarees a playoff team again with a very versatile team led by 6-3 sophomore guard/forward Jerald Butler.
Some of the county’s best teams, however, reside in its smallest classification.
Miami Christian and Calusa Prep are among Dade’s best overall and major contenders to reach state in Class 2A. The Victors bolstered their lineup with transfer guards Isaiah Reese, a senior, and junior Dylan Frye, who came over from Mater Academy.