Guard Earl Timberlake is one of five starters returning for DeMatha. (Photo by Daniel Kucin Jr. for The Washington Post)

 It has been nine months since our last boys’ basketball Top 20.

In that time, plenty has changed. Talented players have transferred from one area program to another, and even more have left for the adventures of the college game. Banners have been hung, trophy cases have been updated and a new round of tryouts have taken place. New contenders, and maybe even new champions, have started to form in the focused quiet of a practice gym.

But in those nine months, a lot has also stayed the same. DeMatha was the No. 1 team in last year’s final rankings and they lead this year’s first 20. They return a lot of the same players who brought them success in the WCAC and beyond last year. Wilson is also returning in top form, bringing back plenty of weapons while adding two more via transfer. Loudoun Valley still looks like a solid team in Virginia, Gaithersburg should still excite in Maryland and there’s still plenty of talent all across the private school circuit.

1. DeMatha (32-5) Final ranking of last year: 1

A deep and talented roster that includes all five of last year’s starters has the Stags entering this season as the team to beat in the powerhouse-packed WCAC.

2. Paul VI (33-4) LR: 2

Losing five-star guard Jeremy Roach and four-star guard Anthony Harris to torn ACLs hurts the Panthers, and young guards will need to step in.

3. Wilson (31-9) LR: 4

Big men twins Makhi and Makhel Mitchell, both Maryland commits, could propel the Tigers to new heights a year after they won the DCIAA and DCSAA titles.

4. St. John’s (22-11) LR: NR

Virginia commit Casey Morsell leads a guard-heavy Cadets team featuring two talented transfers.

5. Gonzaga (28-9) LR: 8

The Eagles lost All-Met guard Myles Dread to graduation but return junior big man Terrance Williams and experienced guards.

6. O’Connell (28-9) LR: 7

Maryland commit Marcus Dockery, a junior transfer from Theodore Roosevelt, joins a team that returns three starters.

7. Rock Creek Christian Academy (25-4) LR: 3

Former St. John’s guard Delonnie Hunt is one of several transfers suiting up for new Coach Lafayette Dublin and the Eagles this year.

8. Eleanor Roosevelt (18-6) LR: 13

William & Mary commit Cameron Brown is joined by forward Isaiah Gross and transfer Kyle Rose to make the Raiders a dangerous team in Prince George’s county.

9. Georgetown Prep (21-5) LR: 5

The Little Hoyas lost three D-I players to graduation, but returning starters DeJean Desire and Kamdyn Curfman should play a big role.

10. Loudoun Valley (25-3) LR: 16

The Vikings return three starters from a team that lost three games.

11. Flint Hill (22-8) LR: NR

Big man Qudus Wahab and experienced point guard Ethan Jones return for the reigning MAC regular season champs.

12. Gaithersburg (20-6) LR: 18

Sophomores Jao Ituka and Jordan Hawkins are two of the most exciting players returning to Montgomery County.

13. South County (28-3) LR: 6

The defending Virginia Class 6 champions return seven contributors from last year’s team.

14. Bethesda Chevy-Chase (23-6) LR: NR

Four-star guard Elijah Wood is back for the Barons, who fell to Gaithersburg in the regional final last year.

15. Friendship Tech (25-4) LR: 11

Seniors Brace Barnes and Javelle McClary could be key for a young Titans team.

16. St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes (18-10) LR: NR

The Saints return four starters, including Towson commit Charles Thompson and Air Force commit Christian DePollar.

17. Bullis (20-9) LR: 9

Senior guard Nendah Tarke will play a big role for Coach Bruce Kelley’s team this season.

18. Wise (21-5) LR: 14

The Pumas return senior guard Fred Crowell, who should help fill in for graduated scorer Sherwyn Devonish.

19. Old Mill (21-5) LR: 19

The Patriots made it to last year’s Maryland 4A state semifinals.

20. Patriot (16-7) LR: NR

Football star Jakai Moore will anchor the Pioneers down low as they defend their Cedar Run District championship.

On the bubble: St. Charles, Bladensburg, Potomac School, Bishop McNamara