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Nassau boys basketball preview

Uniondale's Goey Charles (23, right), goes up for

Uniondale's Goey Charles (23, right), goes up for two over Baldwin's Jordan Menzie Taylor (22, left), during their game at Uniondale HS. (December 18, 2009) Photo Credit: Freelance/Photo by Richard Slattery

Class AA

Uniondale's size, length and depth are unmatched and help the Knights, last year's Long Island champs, remain a favorite. It starts with 6-5 senior wing Goey Charles and 6-4 senior combo guard Bolade Akingboye, who each average double-digit points and rebounds. The emotional leader is 6-5, 225-pound power forward Claudy Casseus and there's more size with 6-4 forward Maurice Kearney.

Sophomore Shaq Mosley is a 5-6 point guard and the only player under 6-4 of the top eight. Coach Tom Diana declined to comment on former Newsday All-Long Island guard Devon McMillan, who hasn't played in any games and is no longer on the team, according to sources.

Baldwin, last year's county runnerup, hopes to upend rival Uniondale. The Bruins are led by 6-4 senior small forward Ashanti DePass, a tremendous shooter, and senior point guard Donte Howell, who's been out with a partially torn MCL but should return around New Year's. The guards are rounded out by first-year starter Dominique Aberdeen. Inside, 6-4 junior forward T'Ziah Wood-Smith, the team's top defender, and 6-5 senior center Jordan Menzies-Taylor provide size.

Valley Stream Central has talent to challenge. Six-two shooting guard Jeremiah Mordi leads the way with skilled 6-4 forward Marc Augustin and swingman Reggie Dennis, an active defender.

Hempstead has three transfers who start. The most experienced in the system is 6-1 junior guard Ishmael Pierre, but the Tigers are dangerous. They beat Baldwin by seven on Dec. 15.

Farmingdale's frontline of Morton Chambers and Chris Richards will look to pick up the slack left by the injured Tim Brown (knee). Port Washington senior Adam Epstein averaged 17 points last season. Shooting guard Joe Champy leads Carey.

Dynamic point guard Gene Garay and 6-4 small forward Mike Bonomo lead Oceanside. Six-five guard Pat Meehan paces Massapequa, John Petrucelli runs the point at Hicksville and Shaan Rahi is a scorer at Herricks. Watch Long Beach, MacArthur and Great Neck South as well. Plainview JFK, which returns five starters, Freeport and Syosset will compete in Conference AA-III.

Class A

Westbury looks like the team to chase. Senior 6-2 guard/forward Lamard Herron is the team leader, and skilled shooting guard Paris Abrams is often the leading scorer. Junior point guard Tyrece Redd runs the up-tempo offense and handles pressure well, and junior guard/forward Sheldon Hagigal can get to the basket. Hagigal is injured (leg), but should be back sometime in January.

For South Side, go-to seniors Leon Taylor, a 5-11 do-it-all guard, and 6-6 Brett Cohen give an overall young team an inside-outside presence. Taylor averaged 14 points, seven boards and four assists last season, and Cohen averages a double-double in points and rebounds.

Third-year point guard Isaiah Watson and shooting guard Dean Walker, who's battling an ankle injury, make up the senior backcourt at Elmont. The Spartans will look to wear teams down with depth. Six-five Anthony Elechi has a good touch.

All-county guard Shamoy McIntosh has moved to the point for Floral Park. Third-year player Justin Wilson also starts in the backcourt.

At Hewlett, 6-4 senior Michael Eckerle is the only returning full-time starter, but five seniors start, including guards Roey Shmuel and C.J. Brady.

Six-11 senior Jamel Flash is a presence for West Hempstead and complimented by talented 6-3 senior Daniel Minto.

Roslyn, the defending champ, returns just one starter: 6-4 forward Jordan Richman. Ryan Clark (Lynbrook), Joey Gallo and Andrew Bauman (Jericho), Evan Pupelis and Stu Hicks (Manhasset), Terence Meaney and Obinna Nwaigwe (Valley Stream South), Ryan Kenny (Valley Stream North) and C.J. Brown (Sewanhaka) are among others to watch.

Class B

Malverne is young, but again the favorite. The four-time defending county champs are led by junior point guard Corey Alexander, who started as a sophomore, and 6-2 senior guard/forward Dashawn Moorer. Watch Locust Valley, too. Oyster Bay, the defending Class C winner, is back in 'B' but much less experienced than last season.

Class C

Friends Academy, led by juniors TJ Hefele and Tommy Costa and sophomore Josh Feshback, will vie with East Rockaway.

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