Winners of four district championships in five seasons, the Northland High School boys basketball team won't have a Sullinger on the court or sidelines this winter and also has lost its top playmaker in the backcourt.

Winners of four district championships in five seasons, the Northland High School boys basketball team won't have a Sullinger on the court or sidelines this winter and also has lost its top playmaker in the backcourt.

But despite having a new coach in Sean Taylor after Satch Sullinger retired and losing Ohio's Mr. Basketball, point guard Trey Burke, to graduation, we don't believe the Vikings are done.

In the ThisWeek Super 7 preseason rankings, a Vikings team that features three Division I signees - after earning a state runner-up finish - remains the favorite.

The 2011-12 season also should be one that No. 2 Westerville North can use to erase the frustration of coming up short at the district level the last two seasons. The Warriors have a pair of central Ohio's top talents in junior Jack Gibbs and senior Matt Rhodes.

If all goes as expected, a long drought should come to an end for No. 3 Walnut Ridge, which hasn't won a district championship since 1978. The Scots return a talented group of seniors led by Roy Alexander and have been boosted by the addition of senior Grant Harris, who averaged 19 points a year ago for Harvest Prep.

No. 4 Dublin Coffman consistently has been among the area's best the past several years, and this year should be no exception with senior Kyle Molock back after missing last season with an injury.

While 2011 state semifinalist Hartley has a pair of strong returnees in Jacob Matuska and Eric Seifert and is at No. 6, two teams ready to step forward comprise the other slots.

Olentangy Liberty, which gave Northland a scare last season in a district semifinal and returns several key players, is at No. 5.

Pickerington Central boasts one of central Ohio's top talents in senior Caris LeVert and makes our poll at No. 7.

Speaking of talent, we believe the ThisWeek Super 12 captain will come from Northland for the fourth consecutive season after Jared Sullinger was named captain in 2009 and 2010 and Burke earned the honor last season.

Although the Vikings have a pair of talented 6-foot-8 post players in Devon Scott and Jalen Robinson, both of whom are on their way to the University of Dayton, and 5-11 guard Jordan Potts, who has signed with North Carolina-Greensboro, we believe Robinson will emerge as captain.

For Robinson, the biggest key to harnessing his talent could depend on what occurs off the court. Last season, he served a six-game suspension during the regular season before being reinstated the week before the City League championship game. Then during the week before the state tournament, he had to deal with the death of his brother, Tyree Robinson, who was shot and killed.