Khani Rooths

KHANI ROOTHS

CUMBERLAND, Md. — Bishop Walsh has added a trio of versatile wings to the roster so far this summer.

The headliner of the crop of transfers is Khani Rooths, the No. 30 recruit in the Class of 2024 according to 247 Sports’ composite rankings, and he’s joined by Manny Okitondo and Carter McDole.

With Bishop Walsh returning seasoned guards Mike Williams, TJ Robinson and Mikey Allen, adding three 6-foot-7 forwards that can handle the ball could give Spartans head coach Dan Prete his best roster yet.

“The good thing about all three is that they’re multi-positional,” Prete said. “They can all play in the post, perimeter, handle it and shoot. Our league is like that. It’s got so many versatile players that we have to stay with that style system to be able to defend that. Now they have to defend us too.”

Last year, Bishop Walsh finished 9-15 overall and 1-9 during its first full season in the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference.

The league featured national powerhouses Montverde (Florida), IMG Academy (Florida), Wasatch (Utah), Oak Hill (Virginia), La Lumiere (Indiana), Sunrise Christian Academy (Kansas) and Legacy Early College (South Carolina).

The conference will expand to 10 teams for the 2022-23 season with the additions of AZ Compass Prep (Arizona) and Long Island Lutheran (New York), which finished fourth at the 60th ACIT in March.

With the addition of AZ Compass, six of the eight teams that competed at the GEICO Nationals are NIBC schools. Montverde won the tournament to finish No. 1 in the nation.

To compete at that level, Bishop Walsh brought in a new haul of talented players this summer.

Rooths, a Rockville native, arrives to Cumberland from Georgetown Prep in North Bethesda. The junior is listed at 6-foot-7, 200 pounds and holds offers from Maryland, Virginia Tech, Xavier, Georgetown and Indiana, among others.

The heralded prospect likes what he’s seen so far from Bishop Walsh.

“It’s different, especially practicing with better caliber of players, no disrespect to my past team,” Rooths said. “Already, I can see a difference in the schedule a little bit. Wake up early in the morning, work out, chill and then back at it, two-a-day. I never really had a two-a-day at a school. It’s fun for sure.”

Rooths describes his game as one that can play one-through-five at both ends of the floor. His basketball IQ, which he says he’s constantly looking to improve, and court vision, are other assets.

He’s also working on improving his pull-up and being stronger with the ball when driving the lane.

McDole transferred to Bishop Walsh from Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Florida.

By competing in the NIBC, McDole, who arrived in Cumberland on Wednesday, hopes to show colleges what he can do against the best of the best.

“I just wanted to be seen on a national schedule,” McDole said of his decision to transfer to Bishop Walsh. “Just to show what I can do and get my name out there.

“I’m very controlled. I like to make good passes. Pretty athletic and I’m a catch-and-shoot guy. A spot-up shooter.”

As for his first impressions of his new teammates, the junior is impressed.

“I feel like we’re going to be pretty good,” McDole said. “We’ve got some pretty good bigs, elite guards. We’ve got all the pieces, we just need to put them all together and play as a team.”

Okitondo, who arrived to the states from the Democratic Republic of the Congo three years ago, transferred to Bishop Walsh from Archbishop Carroll in Washington, D.C.

“Wonderful athlete, wonderful young man,” Prete said. “He shoots the ball very well. Strong. Does a lot of really good things.”

Prete and his staff aren’t done adding players yet, but they don’t have a particular position of need in mind — other than a high-character kid that fits the program well.

“I think that we have some great guys right now,” Prete said. “Shooting’s a priority. ... I feel really good about the core group right now. We just want to have a good fit. If a good fit’s a guard? Great. If a good fit’s a post? Great.”

Bishop Walsh is one of 32 schools competing in DMV Live at DeMatha the next two weekends before the players return home for the summer. Last season, more than 160 colleges and universities attended the showcase.

The Spartans will open the 2022-23 season with a blockbuster non-conference matchup in Cumberland against ACIT runner-up Paul VI at Allegany College of Maryland.

Alex Rychwalski is a sports reporter at the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @arychwal.

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