The front line features a 7-foot-0 3/4 center, a 6-9 forward and a 6-6, 225-pound power forward. Surely, this is the stuff of which high school dream teams are made!

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Certainly, W.T. Woodson is physically loaded, but whether Coach Red Jenkins can meld that into a basketball team, only January's and February's league games will tell.

"Big does not necessarily equate with better," Jenkins said. "We got a long way to go. By late January, we could be a solid team."

Jenkins knows that much of his talent is raw. Quicker teams, such as T.C. Williams, will give the Cavaliers trouble, as could nonleague opponents such as Hayfield, which Woodson will play next week, and teams such as Mount Vernon, Langley, Jefferson or Stuart -- some of which Woodson will surely meet in the Northern Region playoffs.

George Burgin, Woodson's 7-foot center, will probably alternate with Steve Rye, the 6-9 forward. Of the three big men, only Andy Heck, at 6-6 1/2, has earned a starting position. Greg Kimball is the point guard and Jim Bartelloni the shooting guard. Kevin Carey, 6-3, or Mike Doran will play the swing man until Jenkins feels his three big men are ready to play at the same time.

As juniors last year, Burgin and Rye played on the junior varsity. "I think we must have been the biggest JV ever," said Jeff Knoche, who coached the two last year. "We'd get off the bus and teams would think we were the varsity."

Knoche, for one, believes that Burgin and Rye are both vastly improved since last year. Knoche recalls running tap drills at the end of practice and watching Burgin vainly trying to dunk. "He used to try 20 or 30 times," said the coach. Now, he routinely slam-dunks the ball during end-of-practice drills.

"I've been working hard," said Burgin, as Jenkins told him to increase his intake of a nutritive drink from one can to two cans a day to help add bulk to his 190-pound frame.

"This year, I'm more aggressive," said Rye. "I use my body better. Last year, I had height, but I didn't use it properly."

Collegiate coaches and recruiters also see improvement and potential. Rye has already accepted a four-year scholarship to attend American University and Burgin said he has been contacted by more than 20 college coaches.

For now, Jenkins is hedging. "Their (basketball) futures are two years away," he said. "T.C. (Williams) is the team to beat."

But Williams Coach Mike Hynson expects a slow start because Glenn Williams, the talented point guard and one of only two returning starters, was still playing football last week and didn't join the team until earlier this week.

Hynson is counting heavily on his other returning starter, 6-4 James Clarke, and two newcomers, 6-1 swing man Romulus Dozier and 6-2 transfer Mark Braxton.

In the Gunston District, Mount Vernon has two things going for it: tradition and Don McCool.

And few programs have coaches with McCool's intensity. After 24 years of coaching, McCool has no problem working himself to a fever pitch in a preseason workout. His intensity is infectious.

Juniors Jon Terry and Keith Brent give the Majors the back-court quickness they will use to press teams, baseline to baseline, tipoff to final buzzer.

The front line is medium-sized -- returning starters Tracy Scruggs and Lonnie Johnson are 6-2 and 6-3, respectively, but are capable of playing above the rim.

McCool will go to his bench, especially to a group of sophomore guards, to keep the pressure on.

Hayfield and Lee are also extremely strong. The Hawks return their leading scorer, 6-3 1/2 guard Bobby Chuey, son of Coach Bob Chuey, but an early season ankle injury to 6-7 Steve Grev will hurt Hayfield. Kenny Judy, last year's center, returns, as does Arne Christensen, who will team with Chuey.

The Lancers are strong at guard, where Coach Charlie Thompson will play 6-1 senior Mike James and 6-0 junior Stevie Carroll. On the front line, they are big but untested. Mark Boyle, a 6-8 senior who played JV last year, will start at center. Forward Jeff Hancock, 6-4, has varsity experience.

The return of 6-7 Kervin Johnson and two starting guards, Dean Keuhn and David Robinson, makes Jefferson one of the stronger Potomac teams. Presently, Kuehn and Robinson are sitting out 30-day suspensions that end Dec. 12.

Jefferson's most competitive opponent will be Stuart. The Raiders return all five starters, and the sixth and seventh man, from last year. Guards Mike Smith, Mike Avis and Jay Dennis and forwards Dwain Collier and John Scherbenske have played together for four years.

Chantilly, Falls Church, Wakefield and Annandale won't resign themselves to the second tier.

Langley is the biggest and strongest team in the Great Falls District. Coach Joey Hite will start 6-7 Jeff Williams and he has swing men in John Galiani and Rich Lashutka.

Kevin Gedney, 6-9, isn't starting, but Hite expects to make heavy use of the senior. "But I think the one to look out for is Brett Boehly," Hite said of his 6-4 sophomore. Senior Frank Mitchell, at 5-10, and junior Scott Hamrick are the guards.

South Lakes and Herndon will also be strong. The Seahawks have good quickness in guards Brian Allen and Marc Seneca, and forward Joe Price. They will also get rebounding from 6-2 forward Cameron Jackson and 6-5, 200-pound David Hill could contribute.

The Hornets have plenty of seniors, including 6-5 center Mike Morrissey, but the junior class is talented. Juniors Keith Moody, a 5-11 guard, and Barry Johnson, a 6-4 forward, will supply the scoring.

Despite the graduation of 11 players from last year's 19-5 team, Woodbridge's height and depth make it the strongest team in the Commonwealth District.

John Martin, a 6-4 senior, and Kevin Berry, a 6-4 junior, split time at small forward last year. This year, they may be used as big guards. Sam Canon, 6-6, a starter last year, will play power forward.

Six-four Greg Wassenburg, 6-6 Mike Jiminez and 6-4 Fred Cooper, a sophomore transfer, are among the nine juniors and two sophomores that Brown will have.

Osbourn Park and Potomac will challenge Woodbridge. The Yellow Jackets are competing in AAA for the first time since 1976, when they won the division title. Doug Poppe, a 6-6 center, leads Osbourn Park.

Doug Misenko, 6-3, who averaged 19 points, leads Potomac.