ROSELLE, N.J. (PIX11) — The very best high school boys’ basketball team in the country calls New Jersey home. MaxPreps has Roselle Catholic listed as number one in their preseason rankings.
“It’s a tremendous honor. We’re very proud of that,” Roselle Catholic head coach Dave Boff told PIX 11 News. “Anytime you’re recognized as the best team in high school basketball, it’s something you’re pretty proud of.”
Boff is entering his 14th season as head coach of the Lions. The expectations for this upcoming season are at an all-time high.
Roselle Catholic finished last year as the best team in New Jersey, thanks to winning their fourth Tournament of Champions. This season, the team has reloaded and added transfer Mackenzie Mgbako. The Duke commit has high hopes for his new team.
“National championship on everything,” Mgbako said of his main team goal. “We have a great coaching staff, great players, and we can make something special happen this year.”
A national championship seems more than realistic, considering Roselle Catholic’s roster. We’ve previously heard of the term ‘big three’ in the NBA. Roselle Catholic has a superb trio of its own.
Mackenzie is the fourth-ranked player in the country in the class of 2023. Fellow teammate and North Carolina commit Simeon Wilcher is ranked a few spots behind him at #19. Rounding out the powerhouse team is 6’9″ star power forward Akil Watson, who is playing at Arizona State next year.
“We do have to bring it every night,” Watson explained about playing with a target on their back. “This year, looking at the preseason games we have, we can tell more teams are coming for us compared to last year. We have more of a chip on our shoulders because we won the last Tournament of Champions. We have to play as a team and just win.”
There are no lay-ups on Roselle Catholic’s schedule. Their first game is against Duncanville out of Texas, ranked right behind them at number two in the country.
The Lions will find out early if they’re up for the challenge.
“That’s something every team has to learn. Every team has to learn when there is a target on your back. There is a level of competition you have to bring every night,” Boff said. “It seems like this team has it based on our practices so far, but we’ll find out as the season goes whether we’re up to that challenge.”
Roselle Catholic season tips off on Dec. 16 in the Bahamas.