Boys Basketball – 2021 Season Preview: Keansburg
A year after inching up to eight wins, Keansburg comes back with a starting five that boasts playing experience and is built around a returning guard who was one of the Class B Central division’s best offensive players. Behind 5-foot-8 senior Davon Jackson, the Titans will try to go toe-to-toe with a pod that includes fellow Shore Conference Group I rivals Keyport, Point Pleasant Beach, Asbury Park and Henry Hudson, as well as an accomplished non-public program in Mater Dei Prep.
With Jackson the primary scorer and facilitator on offense, Keansburg coach James McCarthy will look to put the pieces in place around him to make the Titans a complete enough team to improve on their three divisional wins from a year ago. The most encouraging part of the supporting cast is it is made up of almost all seniors, so there will be an experienced, mature element about the team. Patrick Beltran and Brendan Fanzbaum will share the back court with Jackson after regularly contributing last year – Beltran as a starter.
Keansburg also has a trio of seniors to play on the inside, led by returning 6-3 starter Devin Acker. Hassan Champion will complement Acker in the starting front court at 6-2 and 6-1 senior Avante Perez is set to provide energy off the bench. Keansburg’s underclass contribution will come from junior Andrew Valle and sophomore Michael Alonzo – two guards who will be ready to spell the starting trio of Jackson, Beltran and Fanzbaum when needed. The more Keansburg can count on its seniors – particularly Jackson – the better its prospects in 2021.
Head Coach: James McCarthy, 13th season
2019-20 Record: 8-12 (3-9, tied fifth in Class B Central)
2020 Postseason Performance: Did not reach postseason
Disclaimer: Projected lineups listed in the 2021 Shore Sports Network Preview are not necessarily directly from coaches. Some are, while others are projections from Shore Sports Network staff. In either case, the projected lineup is fluid and could change leading up to the start of the season and beyond. Check back for periodic updates to every team's projected starting lineup on shoresportsnetwork.com.
Davon Jackson, Sr., 5-8, Guard (RS)
Patrick Beltran, Sr., 5-7, Guard (RS)
Brendan Fanzbaum, Sr., 5-9, Guard (R)
Devin Acker, Sr., 6-3, Forward (RS)
Hassan Champion, Sr., 6-2, Forward (R)
Nasir Williams, 5-9, Guard
Anthony Strydio, 5-10, Guard
Dwan Davis, Guard
Off the Bench
Avante Perez, Sr., 6-1, Forward
Andrew Valle, Jr., 5-10, Guard
Michael Alonzo, So., Guard
RS – Returning Starter
R – Returning Varsity Player
Player to Watch: Davon Jackson
Jackson upped his scoring average from 12.1 as a sophomore to an even 14 per game as a junior and might be primed for another scoring spike as a senior. The All-B-Central guard will be surrounded by senior role players this season and with more experienced players to do the little things and finish around the basket, Jackson will have the ability to spark the offense with the ball in his hands.
Big Shoes to Fill: Patrick Beltran
Keansburg’s three impact losses to graduation were all guards, so the onus falls on Beltran and Fanzbaum to pick up the slack. With Beltran returning as a starter, the football standout will be tasked with continuing to complement Jackson in the back court while also finding opportunities to score.
Impact Newcomers: Andrew Valle and Michael Alonzo
While trying to make the most of roster that has six capable seniors, McCarthy will also be looking to work in some new blood. Valle and Alonzo will be insurance for the starting backcourt trio and in a five-week, 15-team game sprint played during a pandemic, it is highly likely that the younger players will get a chance to step in and show what they can do at some point.
X-Factor: Supporting Offense
With good size and athleticism around Jackson, Keansburg should be able to defend, rebound and run the offense at the level necessary to have an improved season. The key for the Titans will be finding the secondary scoring to assist Jackson – whether it is Beltran and Fanzbaum out on the perimeter or Acker and Champion working the paint.
Jan. 26 at Asbury Park, 4 p.m.
Jan. 28 vs. Asbury Park, 4 p.m.
Feb. 1 at Point Beach, 5:15 p.m.
Feb. 3 vs. Point Beach, 3:45 p.m.
Feb. 9 at Mater Dei Prep, 5:15 p.m.
Feb. 11 vs. Mater Dei Prep, 3:45 p.m.
Feb. 16 at Koinonia, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 17 at Henry Hudson, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 19 vs. Henry Hudson, 3:45 p.m.
Feb. 22 at Manville, 7 p.m.
Feb. 23 vs. Keyport, 3:45 p.m.
Feb. 25 at Keyport, 5:30 p.m.