Kalaheo, winners of eight of the last 10 Oahu Interscholastic Association boys basketball titles, is a heavy favorite to win the Eastern Division.
The Mustangs play host to Kaimuki in the regular-season opener tomorrow. Tipoff for the junior varsity game is 5:30 p.m., with the varsity to follow.
"They look like theyre in midseason form," said John Chung, coach of defending OIA champion Roosevelt. "From what Ive seen, theyre way ahead of everybody in the OIA."
The addition of Mainland transfer point guard Skyler Wilson solidifies an already quality team that features a 2000 all-state pick in guard D.C. Daniels. The Mustangs are already strong in the front court with 6-foot-6 forward Ikaika Alama-Francis and 6-2 forward C.J. Kamiola.
"This is the most athletic team Ive had at Kalaheo," Mustangs coach Pete Smith said. "Weve been big in the past, but this is by far our most athletic team."
The Mustangs went 11-1 in preseason. Their only loss was to Utahs Cyprus High at the Holiday Prep Classic in Las Vegas. Kalaheo has already beaten Interscholastic League of Honolulu contenders Iolani and Kamehameha (twice).
The Rough Riders figure to be in the hunt in the East, along with Kaimuki. Moanalua will make its East debut, coming over from the West because of the addition of Kapolei.
"Its a good challenge for us," Moanalua coach Richard Pagan said. "The championship goes through Kalaheo. During the regular season well see how we stand."
The Menehune is led by 6-4 center Chris Beck.
The Rough Riders feature returnees in guard Keola Stietzel (5-5, Jr.) and center Kala Koki (6-3, Sr.).
Kaimuki has the twin towers of Justin Faimealelei (6-1, Sr.) and Kila Kamakawiwoole (6-2, Sr.).
In the West, Leilehua, Mililani and Radford were coaches favorites.
The Trojans got a boost with the return of the Broadus brothers - William, a senior forward, and Lashaun, a junior point guard. The brothers are originally from Mililani, but played last year at Waianae, where they were OIA all-star selections.
"I think were going to be OK," first-year Trojans coach Michael Coito said. "Were trying to blend the transfers with the returnees and JV guys."
Coito succeeds Darren Camello, who has taken over the program at Kapolei. The first-year school will compete only at junior varsity.
Radford Rams new coach Kai Enos inherits a team that was runner-up in the OIA last year. They return guard/forward Sam Baker (6-0, Sr.) and Arizona transfer Kevin Calloway (6-3, Sr.).
Leilehua returns guards Ricardo Bachelor (5-10) and Joshua Jumawan (5-10). Sophomore Eric Marshall (6-1), made the Iolani Classic all-tournament team last month.