There is no post-Trent Frazier era at Wellington.
Though the Wolverines will tip off the 2017-18 boys basketball season this week without the two-time Palm Beach Post Player of the Year in the lineup, little has changed as far as preparation and perspective.
“Nothing is different,” longtime head coach Matt Colin said. “Our team is prepared to play as hard as we did last year.”
Wellington was hit hard by graduation, losing the bulk of its starting lineup from a team that finished 27-4 last season and advanced to the Class 9A state semifinals.
Frazier — a four-star recruit — is at Illinois, while guard Sage Chen-Young and forwards Miguel Peart and Anfernee Rosario also have moved on.
In their place is a talented group of returning players and newcomers led by senior guards Bryan Williams and Nico Toledo, senior forward Jonathan Philistin and junior wing Linton Brown.
Williams, in particular, is expected to have a breakout year after averaging 23 points during the summer season. He helped led Wellington to a 30-3 record in summer play.
“We are playing great as a team,” Colin said. “We’re very unselfish, showed toughness, and defensively we were really good. We also played well against some high-level teams throughout the summer.”
Colin hopes to carry that momentum into the regular season, and expectations are high.
The Wolverines, who have won four consecutive district championships and advanced to the state semifinals in two of the past three seasons, expect to challenge in a tough district and region.
Colin expects Palm Beach Gardens to be championship contender in District 9-9A, while region 3 features numerous strong teams from inside and out of the area, including Atlantic, Lake Worth, Santaluces, Boca Raton, and Coral Springs.
The Wolverines defeated the Trojans and Colts last year on the way to earning a berth in the state semifinals, but fell to Kissimmee-Osceola 52-50 in a game marred by controversy after the wrong Kowboys player was allowed to shoot a pair of free throws.
Colin said his Wolverines have put that disappointment behind them.
“Our players are mentally tough enough to have overcome the unfairness of what took place at state,” Colin said. “We’re focused on this season and being the best team we can be.”
Players to watch
Rodwens Albert, Atlantic, Sr. Guard: He played a key role for the district runner-up Eagles last season, averaging 17.7 points and 4.6 assists.
A.J. Cajuste, Oxbridge Academy, Jr., Guard: The highly touted point guard is coming off a dominant performance in summer league competition.
Miles Coleman, Dwyer, Sr., Guard: The 6-foot-5 senior averaged 14 points and four rebounds for the Panthers last year. He has an offer from North Florida.
Maxime Demeus, Boca Raton, Jr., Guard: The Bobcats’ second-leading scorer already has drawn offers from UMass and FAU. Averaged 15.2 points last season.
Miclenby Geffrard, Suncoast, Sr., Guard: He helped lead the Chargers to last year’s regional semifinals, averaging 18 points and eight rebounds.
Gyvicht Geneus, Palm Beach Central, Sr., Forward: One of the area’s leading scorers last season, he averaged 20 points and nine rebounds.
Ty Hands, Palm Beach Lakes, Sr., Guard: He’s expected to have a breakout year after averaging 11.6 points for the state semifinalist Rams.
Cade Long, Boca Raton, Sr., Guard: The Rollins commit averaged 19 points and 4.7 rebounds for the Bobcats as a junior, and was a third-team All-State selection.
Marques Spann, Lake Worth, Sr., Guard: Plays big from his guard position, averaging eight rebounds and 7.2 assists to go along with 10.5 points.
Bryan Williams, Wellington, Sr., Guard: Coach Matt Colin expects big things from the Wolverines’ lone returning starter, who averaged 23 points during the summer season.
Teams to watch
Atlantic — The Eagles emerged from tough District 10-9A as the runner-up last year, and return much of that team intact. Senior guards Rodwens Albert and Michael Lankford, and junior forward R.J. Duhart are back.
Boca Raton — The Bobcats return a pair of dynamic guards in Cade Long and Maxime Demeus, and added 6-foot-9 forward David Didenko from Oakland Park-Northeast.
Dwyer — Senior guard Miles Coleman is among a handful of starters set to return for the Panthers, who hope to take back the district title after falling short last year.
Lake Worth — The Trojans are short on big men, but will carry plenty of quick, athletic guards, among them Marques Spann, Avery Brooks and Wellington transfer Jay Medor.
Oxbridge Academy — The ThunderWolves are a state championship threat in loaded Class 5A. The roster is a talented and deep one, headlined by senior guard A.J. Cajuste and junior forward Dante Wilcox.
Palm Beach Lakes — The Rams lose most of their starting lineup from last year’s state semifinalist team, but return a standout at guard in Ty Hands plus some talented shooters.
Royal Palm Beach — The Wildcats graduated a strong senior class, but plenty of talent remains for new coach Dion Griffin.
Santaluces — The Chiefs struggled last year, but return a solid nucleus of players. Center Marcus Bentley came over from Grandview Prep in the offseason.
Suncoast — The Chargers are coming off a 21-6 season, and return a trio of impact players in guards Miclenby Geffard, Samuel Rolle annd Torrin Andrews.
Wellington — The Wolverines graduated four of their five starters from last season, but have a talented group of veterans and newcomers ready to step in.