Yes, there is a lot to like about this year's Vernon-Verona-Sherrill boys basketball team. Just ask the rest of the Tri Valley League.
The Red Devils are experienced — four starters return from a 16-7 team that reached the semifinals of last year's Section III Class B tournament.
They are big — eight players on coach Andy Cossette's roster are over six feet tall.
And they are skilled — all-state forward Davey Moffett scored his 1,000th point last season, when he averaged 19 points and 10.3 rebounds and made 38 3-pointers as a junior.
So it's no wonder Tri Valley League coaches consider VVS the team to beat in a TVL Colonial Division down to four teams — Camden, Central Valley Academy and Oneida are the others - now that Notre Dame is in the Pioneer Division.
"They are enormous and they have a lot back from last year," CVA head coach Lucas Judd said of the Red Devils, already off to a 3-0 start after opening this season with three nonleague games.
Moffett is averaging 21.7 points per game, and the 6-foot-5, 210-pounder has raised his career point total to 1,281.
Dewey Roden, a 6-5, 215-pound senior forward, averaged 14 points last season and is averaging 16.3 through three games.
Senior guards Nate Palmer and Jake Engler also return as starters — Palmer averaged 6.7 assists last year and Engler is averaging 10.7 points this season.
Seniors T.J. Horodnick and Jordan Schaefer and junior Blake VanDreason are among those who also could figure prominently in the Red Devils' plans.
• Coach Eric Bird returns three starters at Camden, including junior guard Colin Stace (31 3s) and senior forwards Carter Steria and Wyatt Palmer.
• At Central Valley Academy, the Thunder lost leading scorer Josh Panko (15.7 ppg) to graduation, but returning are two sharp-shooting guards — juniors Jacob Schoff and Brennan Seymour — who last year made 36 and 30 three-pointers, respectively.
• Longtime coach Jeff Didio (143-145 in 14 seasons) must replace 1,000-point scorer Jeffrey Coulter — the TVL Player of the Year was an all-state swingman who averaged 23 points per game. Oneida does return two proven playmakers in guards Alex Vaccaro (10.4 ppg) and Vinny Leibl (3.5 apg), but without Coulter the Indians "must defending and score in transition to be successful" this season, Didio said.