Coach: John Mappas, first year.
Last season: 3-20, 2-14.
Outlook: After stepping down from the coaching job at McDonough last season, John Mappas decided to take another crack at coaching in the SMAC, and he has taken on a challenge. At Lackey, he'll coach at the school with the smallest enrollment in the conference. The Chargers were down to nine players for the first week and a half of practice, because senior guard Josh Howells broke his wrist and guard Antwon Washington suffered a severe ankle sprain.
Howells and Washington returned to practice last week. Those two players should join 6-2, 210-pound forward James Thompson in the starting lineup. Junior Brian Herty will start at center, while Robert Washington will run the point.
Mappas, like Lackey girls coach Erik Koch, says his players need to play basketball year-round. "We haven't had guys play year-round for a couple of years," Mappas said. "And we need to keep players eligible."
Last season, three Lackey players were declared academically ineligible as the second half of the school year began.
"The players are anxious to atone for last year," Mappas said. "When a couple of key players were lost, their season went downhill from there."