POTOMAC — The boys' basketball program at St. Andrew's Episcopal School has modest goals for the 2017-18 campaign.
The Lions compete in the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAC) along with Flint Hill, Georgetown Day, Maret, Sidwell Friends, St. James and the Potomac School.
The league received some notoriety this summer when Silver Spring native Josh Hart became the first Sidwell Friends graduate ever selected in the NBA Draft. Hart, who was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the final pick in the first round, played for current Sidwell Friends head coach Eric Singletary.
Luka Garza (Maret), Jelani Williams (Sidwell Friends) and Anthony Duruji (St. Andrew's) have all moved on to greener pastures in college. Garza is a freshman at Iowa and Williams has matriculated to Penn and Duruji has landed at Louisiana Tech.
Last season, St. Andrew's head coach Kevin Jones guided the program to an overall 16-10 record, good enough for a third-place finish in the MAC.
Can the Lions win the league this season?
Although the MAC boasts highly-regarded Division I prospects, including N.C. State signee Saddiq Bey of Sidwell Friends and Maret's E.J. Jarvis, the Lions feature a pair of talented juniors in point guard Heru Bligen and 6-foot-7 wing Kamari Williams.
St. Andrew's senior Justin Nwosu signed a National Letter of Intent to Division II Millersville University in early November.
"We have a lot of talent," said Jones, "but we also have a lot of inexperience."
Colin Smalls, Victor Muresan, Jason Lewis and Chace Davis should see some significant playing time this season.
However, the chemistry between Williams, the son of former NBA and University of Maryland standout Walt "The Wizard" Williams, and Bligen is special.
The Lions could make a serious run for the MAC title with Nwosu, Bligen, and Williams leading the way.
"We have a special bond with each other," said Williams, "on and off the court and I think we'll be good this season."
Williams and Bligen have competed together for more than a year now and have become familiar with each other's style of play.
Both student-athletes have already garnered a handful of Division I offers including Navy, UMBC and Stony Brook for Bligen.
Meanwhile, Williams told me he'd received offers from James Madison, UAB, Monmouth, and Siena. "I visited a couple schools, and I like what I've been seeing so far, but I'm still deciding which one [I want to commit to]," he said.
Williams, who began his high school career at Sherwood, is expected to be an integral part of the Lions' quest for a MAC title.
"We're just excited for what he's going to do this year," said Jones.