One trip to a Birmingham basketball practice on Wednesday afternoon left little doubt that the Patriots are going to be one of the top teams in the City Section.
Loaded with experience and talented shooters, Birmingham is gearing up to play a tough schedule and try to win its first West Valley League championship. The Patriots also have never won a City title.
But Coach Nicholas Halic has perhaps the best senior player in the City Section in 6-foot-3 Devante Doutrive, who's strong going to the basket and has improved his outside shot. Even more improved is his 6-6 junior brother, Devonaire, who has grown three inches and figures to become a major contributor.
Also back is All-City point guard Deschon Winston, 6-6 Josh Abrams and 6-5 shooter Mark Boland. The Patriots have better depth with JV MVP Tyjae Medley, plus El Camino Real transfers EJ Bushner and Jalen Bolden.
Fairfax is probably the preseason favorite, but Birmingham is certainly poised to make a strong run.