As we were researching the San Diego hoops landscape, one thing stood out rather prominently this year.
Below the Top 10-15 teams in the city, there is a lot of parity, so much so that it was tough to narrow down the Top 25.
So we expanded our initial preseason rankings to 35.
Here, we explore teams 11-35, not as in much detail as the Top 10, but enough to give you our thoughts on why they are where they are.
Returners: Timmy Crawford, Kyle Paranada, Rahin Williams, Zetian Burton, Sebastian Morgan, Anthony Hall
Newcomers: Trevor Jurlina
Outlook: The Aztecs return six of their seven leading scorers from last season. They're fast, they shoot it and make up for their lack of size by playing a trapping defense and crashing the boards as a team.
Returners: Nashom Carter, Dominic Safarta, Jackson Larsen
Newcomers: HC Davion Famber, Christian West, Lawrence Gray, Jordan Gaines, Isaiah Robinson
Outlook: The Patriots reloaded during the offseason with a slew of transfers to bolster their potent returning core. Carter is the best point guard in San Diego you've never heard of and Larsen has a ton of upside. Along with Montgomery and Morse, the top teams in Division 2 this season.
Returners: Juwan Mitchell, Akil Parrish. Will Bailey, Elijah Seales
Newcomers: Rasheed Edwards, Xavier Otis
Outlook: The most improved team in the section could be the Tigers, with a group of athletic, long returners in the frontcourt and a pair of speedy, disruptive back court players in Mitchell and Edwards. Akil Parrish might be the most improved player in the section.
14. Santa Fe Christian
Returners; Matthew Stevenson, Jack McRoskey, TJ Askew, Luke Sanders, Michael Anderson, Brook Gray
Newcomers: Trevan Martin
Outlook: The Eagles outlook is slightly downgraded with the season-ending injury to star forward Demitri Washington sustained in football, but the Eagles still have a potent core from last year's Division 1 championship team. Stevenson is a Swiss Army knife type that does a little bit of everything, and Askew has blossomed into a skilled wing. McRoskey and Gray have size and skill in the back court.
Returners; Zach Reiter, Hayden Chinn, Jack Estepp, Jaz Singh, Jayce Dougherty, Jeff Lubsich, Lucas Shepard
Newcomers: DeShaun Cooper, Adam Sevier, Miles Wingfield, Hudson Soffer
Outlook: The Titans were rocked during the offseason by a transfer of their own, when senior forward Jordan Cooke-Harper bolted to New Jersey to play with his brother at Don Bosco Prep. The team has also been dealing with some injuries to key returners, so it will be interesting to see how the remainder of the core coalesces. Zach Reiter is the soul of the team, but watch out for junior DeShaun Cooper, who has improved leaps and bounds and at 6-8 should help lessen the blow of Cooke-Harper's departure.
Returners: Carson Baker, Jaylen Hinson, Amari Green, Maurice Holmes, Bradley Dunn, Isaiah Wooten
Outlook: The Highlanders were poised to be a top 5 team at the end of last season, with three starters and two key reserves returning to the fold from a team that finished one game away from a state championship. Then, Miles Norris announced he would transfer to Brewster Academy and longtime Head Coach John Singer has stepped aside indefinitely due to illness. The starting five should be solid, but depth will be an issue.
17. El Camino
Returners: Jalen Flanagan, Antonio Hale III, Roxroy "RJ" Davis, Brad Yasukochi, Deundra McNair
Newcomers: Keavie Love
Outlook: Flanagan and Hale, a talented albeit mercurial scoring guard, are an underrated back court pairing, and the team plays a gritty style of defense. A Tom Tarantino coached squad can't be discounted.
18. Francis Parker
Returners: Miles Williams, Jacob Jovien, Collin Green, Hunter Penrose
Newcomers: Max Guinn, Matt Bender, Justin Settles, Daryl Sledge
Outlook: One could argue that last season, a 1-9 league record and a first-round exit in the D1 playoffs, was Jim Tomey's best coaching job ever, given the dearth of talent. Now, Parker has reloaded with a Guinn and Bender, a pair of talented transfers from league rival Country Day. They have to sit the first month of the season, but once they join the fold, expect the Lancers to be a sleeper in the Coastal League.
Returners: Kobe Gatti, Ricardo Hopping, Adam Chang, Jackson Krogman, Michael Grendahl
Newcomers: Elijah Johnson
Outlook: Westview is a real dark horse this season, as they return a lot of the pieces of a team that went 17-13 and upset Rancho Bernardo in the Division 2 playoffs. Losing Ben Okhotin hurts, but senior guard Kobe Gatti is a steady leader, and the junior group of Hopping, Chang, Krogman and Grendahl is one of the better 2019 cores in San Diego.
20. Rancho Bernardo
Returners: Knox Winkler, Tyler Santos, Cristian Wagner, Glenn Mbamo, Max Castin,
Newcomers: Sam Rex, Jonathan Watts, Drew Cisse
Outlook: The Broncos graduated 10 seniors - including standout JJ Overton - but the Broncos won't take too far of a step back. Winkler is as deadly as a shooter as we have in San Diego and he's become a threat from all over the floor. Wagner is a skilled glue guy who will need to be consistently assertive. Coach Marc Basehore has been bullish on senior wing Mbamo, and the 6-8 Cisse is a diamond in the rough who, if he continues his development, could push the Broncos much higher in the rankings as the season progresses.
21. La Jolla
Returners: Charlie Gal, Quinn Rawdin, Jacob O'Hara, Jacob Duffy, Behzad Hashemi
Newcomers: Langston Aron, Nick Hulquist
Outlook: The Good Ship Viking got a taste of life without do-it-all former Viking Reed Farley during the second half of last season, when Farley tore his ACL. The results weren't pretty, as La Jolla slid out of Division 2 playoff contention. But the experience strengthened the underclassmen, beginning with Gal, an underrated power forward, and two-year varsity players O'Hara and Rawdin. The ex-factor is Hulquist, a 6-4 shooter whose game is - dare we say - Farley-esque,
Returners: Chris Modica, James Malveaux, Andrew Peters, Malachi Pinkston, Jalnn Harrington, Jeremiah Bosley, Jalen Jeanty
Outlook: Last year's 2-24 record was the result of a CIF imposed forfeiture of the team's wins due to an ineligible player. But Coach Wilder Felusme brings back almost every major contributor, and the team has the chance to rack up a lot of wins in the Central League. Modica is a solid lead guard and Malveaux is a force in the middle at 6-6, 260 pounds. The rest of the Cards are long, strong and physical. Harrington is a real sleeper.
Returners: Isaiah Ramos, Carter Plousha, Brogan Pietrocini, Troy Bloomquist, Adam Allen
Newcomers: Blake Adams, Gavin Schmidt, Stoney Timmons, Caleb Nelso
Outlook: Head Coach Sam Eshelman has done quite the turnaround at Carlsbad since joining the Lancers after a 9-45 nadir the two preceding seasons. After winning 15 games last year, the Lancers return their best team during Eshelman's tenure, led by senior grid-hooper Ramos, one of six players over 6-4. Plousha, a 6-4 athletic wing, has the most upside, and Schmidt and Pietrocini are big, skilled forwards who play hard. The Lancers will need a point guard to emerge in order to move into the next tier of teams.
24. Mission Hills
Returners: Warren Washington, Chris Olave, Jackson Israel, Tanner Stanich, Shawn Peters, Trevor Davis
Newcomers: Noah Schloss
Outlook: The Grizzlies have one of the most talented senior duos in San Diego in Oregon State signee Washington and grid-hoop star Olave, but the rest of the supporting cast is largely unproven. Stanich is the emotional leader of the group, and is improved skill wise. The Grizzlies will need Peters and Israel to take the next step and some of their younger players to give them just enough off the bench to keep Washington and Olave fresh.
Returners: Christian Rose, Nakial Cross, Marek Thomson, Zach White, Conrad Tempel, Collin Douglas
Outlook: Led by the talented frontcourt duo of Rose and Cross - who are long, athletic and improved skillwise - Bishop's looks to be one of the bounceback teams of 2017. Much will depend on the point guard position, where Thomson and White are skilled, but both have dealt with injuries. If they are healthy, watch out for the Knights.
25B. Orange Glen
Returners: Damien Miller, Caedon Palmer, Andres Tovar, Ryan Filoteo, Angel Nieves
Newcomers: Adam Nieves,
Outlook: The Patriots graduated the 2017 core that brought the program back to prominence, but they still have key pieces from last year's Division 2 finalist. Miller is a tremendous point guard who elevates everyone around him, and he is flanked by two underrated seniors, Palmer and Tovar. Tovar is a lightning quick lefty whose flash is a perfect complement to Miller. Orange Glen doesn't have a ton of size, but they spread the floor, share the ball and shoot it from deep. That's always a great combination.
26. San Dieguito Academy - Junior quintet of Connor Miller, Baylor Brimmer, Ron and Yarin Arbib and Travis Snider is going to
27. Patrick Henry - Christian Choice and Jayden Holloway are underrated seniors, and Jason Bryant is one of the better coaches in the section.
28. Cathedral Catholic - Very young team will be led by freshmen Obinna Anyanwu and Thomas Notarainni.
29. Lincoln - Jeff Harper Harris' group will be led by senior Rayquan Everett, who is on the warpath this year.
30. Serra - Speedy, athletic group is led by the athletic wunderkind, Ryan Flowers. Sophomores Alex Bell and Tre Dickerson are sleepers.
31. Mt Carmel - A senior laden team that has one of the section's deadliest shooters, point guard Nate Middleton. If his backcourt mate Nickoli Melovidov improves his decision making, this team will move up fast.
32. Oceanside - A strong senior quartet of Jacob Camargo, Dru Morgan, Manny Grandison and Donovan Laie look to build on last year's upset of El Camino. Point guard play must improve.
33. Sage Creek - The Division 3 champions lost a couple of key pieces, including Xavier Allison and Dylan Rossi and recently lost Charles Williams to transfer, but a lot of talent still in the fold, led by sophomore guard duo Jailen Nelson and Dakarai Allen, and posts Nick Sonck and James Ellenstein.
34. University City - Underrated Central league team has a lot of returning talent and size, including Casey Granfors, Clay Ali Brooks and Clay Adams (all over 6-4), and senior jack of all trades Justin Anderson.
35. Olympian - The reigning Division 4 runners up bring back almost every player, including grid-hooper Isaiah Williams, athletes Mike Temple and Jerome Hoover, sharphsooter Sean Fernandez and sophomore lead guard Gio Martinez.
35. Mt Miguel - The Division 3 runners up return a potent core, including sleeper James Allen, shooter Mikeece Dunbar, and soon-to-be household name Marquise Edwards.
Just outside: Bonita Vista, Otay Ranch, Eastlake, Ramona, Grossmont