There's something about his newest pro-ject that has first-year Northland High School boys basketball coach Sean Taylor thinking big - literally and figuratively.

There's something about his newest pro-ject that has first-year Northland High School boys basketball coach Sean Taylor thinking big - literally and figuratively.

The Vikings feature three players who have committed to Division I colleges among four returning senior starters, including two 6-foot-8 post players who have committed to the University of Dayton in Jalen Robinson and Devon Scott.

Northland went 26-2 overall and was the Division I state runner-up a year ago under former coach Satch Sullinger, who retired at season's end.

"The size is more than I've ever had, and with the guys we have, we have a lot of experience," said Taylor, whose team opens Dec. 13 at Beechcroft. "Everybody's pretty athletic, and from top to bottom almost all of them can go above the rim."

Other key returnees along with Robinson and Scott are classmates Jordan Potts (5-11) and Ke'Chaun Lewis (6-4). Robinson averaged 12.9 points and 10 rebounds last season and Scott averaged 11.1 points and 10 rebounds and made ThisWeek Super 12 honorable mention.

Potts, who has signed with North Carolina-Greensboro, averaged 8.5 points and made 40 3-pointers last season and is expected to take over at point guard.

Lewis averaged 6.1 points but will be out until late December or early January with a knee injury, Taylor said.

Sophomore Ty Hairston (6-1) is new to varsity but is expected to be a starter in the backcourt. Junior Armani Towns (6-3) and sophomore Jaylen Tucker (6-5) should provide depth in the frontcourt.

Also on the team are senior Antiney Hoover (5-9), sophomores Jhustus Cornley (6-0), Nate Jamison (6-3) and Derek McKeiton (6-2) and freshman Doug Taylor (6-6).

Northland went 14-0 in the City League-North Division last season and has won 74 consecutive games in City action, including the last five league finals. Centennial (11-3) was second in the City-North a year ago, followed by Beechcroft (9-5), Brookhaven (7-7), Mifflin (6-8), Whetstone (6-8), Columbus East (2-12) and Linden-McKinley (1-13).

The Vikings beat Walnut Ridge 59-52 in the City title game and defeated Groveport (87-27), Franklin Heights (75-36), Olentangy Liberty (59-52) and Westerville Central (65-62) in the district tournament. They then defeated Gahanna 57-52 and Westerville South 80-62 in the regional tournament and Garfield Heights 67-59 in a state semifinal before losing to Cincinnati LaSalle 59-40 in the state final.

Sullinger announced he was stepping down four days after the City final. He went 175-75 in 11 seasons, including 121-6 the past five seasons.

Taylor spent the past 11 seasons as coach at Eastmoor Academy, compiling a 148-97 record with one Division II district title and three district runner-up finishes. Last season, the Warriors went 12-11 and reached a district final, where they lost to Mifflin 65-61 in overtime.

Northland lost a senior class that included Trey Burke (22.8 ppg), Lavante Justice (5.5 ppg) and Jakyl Cornley (4.4 ppg). Burke is a freshman for Michigan and was district Player of the Year, state co-Player of the Year, Ohio's Mr. Basketball and Super 12 captain.

•Brookhaven believes it should have enough experience to bounce back after winning five fewer games a year ago than it did in 2009-10.

The top returnees are senior Khalid King and junior Randal Clarkson, who averaged 14.2 and 11.5 points, respectively. King has signed with North Carolina A&T and should be at small forward, while Clarkson again will be the point guard.

Other returnees are seniors Shawn Campbell (6-4), Jaylen Poland (6-6) and Terry Robinson, juniors Malik Bush (6-2), Kevin Greenhow and Blake McEwen and sophomore Ronnie Williams. Freshman J-Saun Davis (6-2) is another looking to contribute.

Greenhow averaged 4.1 points last season as the Bearcats went 11-11 overall.

"Things are going well," said coach Hali Robinson, who is 140-49 entering his ninth season leading the program. "Everybody worked hard this summer and a lot of them played AAU. My strength is having guys who are able to play well together, and they're also playing pretty good defense."

Brookhaven, which opens Friday, Dec. 2, at home against Pickerington Central, won its first five games and six of its first seven last season but lost nine of its final 13 regular-season games, including its last five. The Bearcats beat Beechcroft 57-44 in the first round of the Division I district tournament but lost to Westerville North 52-47 in the second round.

DeVon Montgomery (11.4 ppg), Nigel Preacher (4.7 ppg) and Robert Holloway (4.7 ppg) were among the players lost to graduation.

Clarkson, King and Montgomery all made honorable mention all-district last season for the Bearcats, who finished fourth in the City-North at 7-7.

"I'm sure Northland will still be the favorite," coach Robinson said. "We've just got to dig in and see what we can do."

•Beechcroft isn't planning to literally use physical force to beat opponents, but fourth-year coach Scott Davis hopes the school's football team will help his program have success this winter.

Juniors Maurice Hale (6-2) and Khaleed Franklin (6-1) and senior Kevin Chapple (5-11) are returnees who were key players this fall as the Cougars made it back to the Division II, Region 7 football playoffs after a two-year absence.

Beechcroft went 12-9 overall and placed third at 9-5 in the City-North last season.

"It's different going from being a supporting cast member to being counted on every night, but all three of those guys have been on the big stage before," said Davis, whose team opens Friday, Dec. 2, at Olentangy Orange. "All three played a lot of minutes last year and all have been among the top guys on the football field, so that helps. All three of them are good athletes and very smart guys."

Seniors Arthur Thomas and Tyquan Wakefield are other key players.

Because of the inexperience of the remainder of the roster, Davis was uncomfortable naming others as potential key players along with those five returnees.

Franklin is the leading returning scorer after averaging 7.7 points last season, while Hale averaged 4.7 points. Chapple scored 34 points last season and Thomas and Wakefield played mostly junior varsity.

Beechcroft lost five of its first six games last season before winning 11 of 14 to close the regular season. The Cougars lost to Brookhaven 57-44 in the first round of the district tournament.

Martise McLaurin, a 2011 graduate, averaged 21.8 points a year ago and made second-team all-district and Super 12. Austin Davenport (9.6 ppg) also was lost to graduation, while sophomore Tyrek Pugh transferred out of the district after being a part-time starter at point guard.

"I feel like we could be a good defensive team, which is the usual trademark of extremely coached kids," Davis said. "They play hard and defend. We've only got five players who had varsity minutes last year, so there are a lot of question marks. We're vertically challenged again, but we have some interchangeable parts."