COACH: Thomas Ryan, second year
2001 RECORD: 8-15
RETURNING STARTERS: G Kenyata Smith (Sr., 6-0, 180); G/F Adron Marshall (Jr., 6-4, 180); F Ack Cephaus (Jr., 6-5, 195).
OUTLOOK: With the team's best player last season - A.J. Gordon - graduated and playing for Aiken Tech, the Hornets will have to overcome strong region opponents to improve on last season's subpar record.
COACH: Shawn Jones, second year
2001 RECORD: 24-9
RETURNING PLAYERS: C/PF Eric Priester (Sr., 6-5, 225); C/PF Tristan Heyward (Jr., 6-6, 185); SG Derrell Doe (Sr., 5-10, 175); SG Brien Smith (So., 5-7, 145); SF/SG Mike Washington (So. 6-3, 181); PG Terrence Brown (Sr., 5-9, 164); PG Joe Brown (Sr., 5-9, 160); C Craig Robinson (Jr., 6-8, 275).
OUTLOOK: Coming off a Class AA state championship, Allendale-Fairfax return three of five starters and 11 of 14 players. The Tigers have all kinds of firepower coming back - including a 6-foot-6 transfer from Blackville-Hilda in Jessie Robinson. They should compete for another state title.
COACH: Mike Beasley, fourth year
2001 RECORD: 16-10
RETURNING STARTERS: G Brandon Isaac (Sr., 6-2, 165); F Mickenzie Atterberry (Sr., 6-3, 195); G Elliott Williams (Sr., 5-11, 185)
OUTLOOK: The Hawks made an improbable run to the Upper State finals last season, and they have the talent to make it deep in the playoffs again. Just like on the football field, Blackville-Hilda will count on the play of Isaac and Atterberry. Losing Jessie Robinson to Allendale-Fairfax could hurt.
COACH: John Schumpert, first year
2001 RECORD: 13-12
RETURNING STARTERS: PF Ariel White (Jr., 6-5, 236); G Gary Jones (Jr., 6-0, 160); G Chris Reid (Sr., 5-9, 150); SF Thaddeus Creswell (Sr., 6-2, 150).
OUTLOOK: The Chiefs lack depth and experience at the varsity level which might make it hard to return to the playoffs. The team however returns four starters from last season's squad.
COACH: Kevin Wright, 10th year
2001 RECORD: 3-19
RETURNING STARTERS: F Jarell Johnson (Sr., 6-0, 180); F Casey Geler (Sr., 6-0, 186); PG Rob Trotter (Sr., 5-9, 155); C Jermain Reed (Sr., 6-2, 190).
OUTLOOK: The Mustangs should be better than last season's squad. They're still pretty small, though, and don't be surprised if they miss the playoffs again.
COACH: Keith Arrington, fourth year
2001 RECORD: 12-14
RETURNING STARTERS: PG Quinton Ferrell (Sr., 6-1, 185); W Henri Perry (Jr., 6-4, 190); W Andre Young (Jr., 6-5, 180).
OUTLOOK: The Yellow Jackets are one of the top teams in the state. With Young and Ferrell back - and four players from a JV squad that went 19-1 last season - North Augusta might win a state championship.
COACH: Willie Brunson, fifth year
2001 RECORD: 13-10
RETURNING STARTERS: C Stanley Shamble (Sr., 6-4, 240); G Eric Smith (Sr., 6-0, 180); C Cedric Williams (Sr., 6-2, 250).
OUTLOOK: With Shamble, Smith and Williams back, the Trojans will run their offense through the post. It might not be enough to cover a team that will struggle shooting from the outside, but the trio averaged a combined 26 rebounds a game last season.
COACH: Samuel Lilly, fifth year
2001 RECORD: 26-2
RETURNING STARTERS: SF Brandon Wallace (Sr., 6-9, 210); PF Bobby Davis (So., 6-5, 195).
OUTLOOK: The Bulldogs could have won the state title last year, but fell in the semifinals. This season, Wallace - one of the state's top players and a South Carolina signee - will be back, but he'll need some help from his teammates to get deep into the postseason.
COACH: Donnie Holland, 17th year
2001 RECORD: 12-14
RETURNING STARTERS: C Josh Jackson (Sr., 6-8, 250); G Cameron Allen (Sr., 5-10, 140); F Leonard Davis (Sr., 6-4, 210); G Jamar White (Jr., 6-1, 155).
OUTLOOK: South Aiken didn't make the playoffs last season, but the Thoroughbreds should be back for the first time since they won a state title in 1998. Jackson and White will be big for South Aiken.
COACH: Wayne Marchant, third year
2001 RECORD: 18-8
RETURNING STARTERS: PG Quinn Jones (Jr., 5-10, 155).
OUTLOOK: After winning their first region title since 1991, the Rebels lost most of their starters and most of their production. Strom Thurmond will be very young and will have very little experience this season.
COACH: Charles Gregory, second year
2001 RECORD: 7-19
RETURNING STARTERS: G Rontreal Tyler (Sr., 6-1, 170); F Jamaraine Chandler (Sr., 6-3, 220).
OUTLOOK: Chandler and Tyler combined to average 26 points per game, and they'll be counted on as leaders. The rest of the team, however, has little experience and could struggle.