After winning back-to-back state titles and featuring one of the country’s top players, City College boys’ basketball team has gained national recognition. The Baltimore City school is ranked No. 21 in USA Today’s preseason Super 25 poll.

The Knights, led by shooting guard Nick Faust, who recently signed with the University of Maryland, have three starters back from last season’s 23-2 squad that won its second Class 2A state crown last winter.

Nine letter winners are back in the fold with Michael Cheatham, Faust, Edwin Amos, Charles Tapper, Eric Greer, Kederick Anderson, Rashaun Rasheed, Christian Johnson and Keon Press.

“It’s put a bulls-eye on our back and expectations that we have to live up to,” said City coach Mike Daniel, who will have also Lionel Greene, a junior transfer from John Carroll. “It’s good to be recognized, but that’s a heavy load to pull.”

The Knights open the season Dec. 11 against Coolidge at the annual Baltimore/D.C. Tip-Off Mixer. The last Baltimore area to be ranked in the USA Today national poll was Mount St. Joseph at the end of the 2005-06 season. The Gaels went 38-1 (only loss to No. 4 DeMatha Catholic in Alhambra Catholic Invitational title game) and finished No. 8.