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January 9, 2008FIRST REGULAR SEASON
RIVALS.COM FAB 50
NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL
BOYS BASKETBALL RANKINGS
Compiled by Doug Huff & Mark Tennis of Student Sports
Contributing: Ronnie Flores, Brad Eye and members of the
Student Sports/Rivals.com National High School Network.
(Preseason rank in parentheses; After games of Jan. 6; First rankings of 2007-08 regular season.)
Ranking teams in sports that schedule games on all nights of the week - like boys basketball - can be particularly difficult.
This week's first regular season Rivals.com FAB 50 national rankings are a prime example as the team sitting in the No. 1 position, St. Benedict's of Newark, N.J., played on Tuesday night and lost its first game of the season.
The Gray Bees were stung by Academy of New Church, Pa., 53-50, on their home floor. ANC came into the game with an 8-1 record and benefited from a poor shooting night by St. Benedict's, although Samardo Samuels and Tamir Jackson combined for 39 points in a losing effort. The Gray Bees can bounce back quickly with a win this weekend against Rice of New York and they could still stay No. 1 next week since their entire body of work for the season so far is still quite impressive.
St. Benedict's entered this week No. 1 in the FAB 50 for the first time under head coach Dan Hurley. Led by EA SPORTS All-American candidate Samuels, the Gray Bees have already beaten defending FAB 50 champ Oak Hill Academy and have handed both No. 11 Chester of Pennsylvania and No. 13 Moeller of Cincinnati their only losses.
"St. Benedict's split their teams a few years ago - one with fifth-year players and the other without -- so that the high school-level squad would be eligible for the national rankings," said FAB 50 co-editor Doug Huff. "They were close to being unbeaten last year with just one loss and they might be better this year."
The Gray Bees, however, play an independent schedule and would not be involved in the New Jersey playoffs, particularly the Tournament of Champions that brings together all of the state's private and public school titlists. They will not be playing current FAB 50 No. 2 St. Anthony of Jersey City, N.J., which is the team that happens to be coached by Bob Hurley, Dan's father and a legendary figure in national coaching circles.
The team that beat St. Benedict's on Tuesday night is not in this week's FAB 50 (its loss was to Apex of North Carolina), but may be included next week. It's still to be determined if the Lions are eligible for the national rankings. Many teams on their schedule are not.
Here are the first regular season Rivals.com FAB 50 National Boys Basketball Rankings for 2008:
1. St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.) 13-0 (11)
The Grey Bees moved into the top spot of the FAB 50 by winning the City of Palms Classic (Ft. Myers, Fla.) and the Bojangles Shootout in Marvin, N.C. Samardo Samuels was MVP of both tournaments. In the finals of the City of Palms Classic, Samuels scored 20 points in a 68-55 win over FAB 50 ranked Chester, Pa. EA SPORTS All-American candidate Samuels, a Louisville recruit, also scored 23 points in a 56-45 win over Archbishop Moeller of Cincinnati.
2. St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) 9-0 (6)
The Friars won the T-Mobile Invitational by defeating La Cueva (Albuquerque, N.M.) in a 84-34 rout as junior sensation Dominic Cheek scored 16 points in the finals. Coach Bob Hurley's squad also won in that event against the top Utah team, Lone Peak of Highland, 54-43, as Rutgers recruit Mike Rosario led five players in double figures with 15 points.
3. Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas) 21-1 (1)
Opening the season ranked No. 1 in the nation, the Panthers were playing relatively well with that bulls-eye on their chest until a close 78-77 loss to preseason No. 2 Oak Hill Academy at the Dallas Dunkfest. The Panthers felt they should have won that game and were in control until a steal by Oak Hill's Brandon Jennings led to the game-winning bucket. Had Duncanville taken better care of the ball in that game, it would still be No. 1. They still have a chance to finish in the stop spot since they rebounded nicely by winning the prestigious Beach Ball Classic championship in Myrtle Beach, S.C. by beating No. 33 Wheeler of Marietta, Georgia, 69-57, in the title game.
4. Yates (Houston, Texas) 15-2 (nr)
At the Houston vs. Nation tournament, the Lions gave Lone Star State roundball fans a late Christmas gift by defeating two nationally-renowned clubs to jump into the FAB 50 and capture the attention of the hoops nation. Led by a combined 43 points by Xavier Robinson and Anthony Jones, Yates downed preseason No. 2 Oak Hill Academy of Virginia, 82-80, and then came back to beat preseason No. 5 St. Patrick of Elizabeth, New Jersey, 66-60 as the long-bodied Jones tallied 25 points including 3 of 4 three-pointers. Those two wins are huge for Yates and the two losses are not too bad, either, as the Lions lost by a combined three points to regionally-ranked foes Madison of Houston (62-61) in their second game and to Cypress-Springs (75-73).
5. St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) 8-1 (5)
The Celtics went 1-1 at the Houston vs. the Nation tourney in Texas. Quintrell Thomas scored 22 points, while junior standout Dexter Strickland added 18 points in a 79-67 win over Madison of Houston. The loss was to No. 4 Yates of Houston, 66-60, in which Thomas had 22 points and 13 rebounds.
6. St. Raymond's (Bronx, N.Y.) 12-0 (nr)
A trip to Puerto Rico for the Gatorade Tournament of Champions proved to be terrific for the Ravens. The two biggest wins there were by 88-71 over Archbishop Molloy of Queens, New York behind Kevin Parrom with 31 points and 77-69 over FAB 50 ranked Holy Cross. Against Holy Cross, Parrom had 17 points and nine rebounds.
7. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.) 11-0 (15)
California's No. 1 team at the start of the New Year boasts an impressive win of 86-65 over Oregon City, the top-ranked team in Oregon, for the championship of the Les Schwab tournament in Portland. The Monarchs are led by UCLA recruit and EA SPORTS All-American candidate Drew Gordon, although the 6-9 senior has been bothered recently with an ankle injury. (CalHiSports.com)
8. Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 16-3 (2)
The Warriors, despite 31 points from Arizona recruit Brandon Jennings, fell to FAB 50 ranked Yates, 82-80, at the Houston vs. the Nation in Houston. Earlier in Texas, though, they handed No. 3 Duncanville its only loss by a 78-77 score. Jennings scored a game-high 34 points in that one. All three losses have been to FAB 50 ranked teams -- St. Benedict's, Yates and Benedictine - and the schedule will continue to be tough in the coming weeks.
9. Rice (New York, N.Y.) 10-1 (13)
The Raiders cruised to the championship of the Bay Ball Classic in Lewes, Delaware, defeating Caravel Academy (Bear, Del.) by 74-41 in the final as Kemba Walker scored 20 points. Rice earlier won the Red Division of the Iolani Classic in Honolulu as Chris Fouch scored 29 points against regionally ranked Mt. Vernon. The only loss has been by 65-61 to Christ The King of New York, which also is in this week's FAB 50.
10. Saginaw (Saginaw, Mich.) 8-0 (14)
The defending state Class A champion Trojans are off to a fast start and have the No. 1 ranking in the Wolverine State. The Trojans dominated two Flint schools last week -- Central by 79-40 and Northwestern by 103-50. Courtney Washington, a 6-foot-3 senior, led the wins with 23- and 39-point efforts.
11. Chester (Chester, Pa.) 12-1 (17)
Finishing second to No. 1 St. Benedict's at the City of Palms Classic isn't too shabby, but the Clippers might have been a little higher in these rankings if the 68-55 score was closer. Karon Burton led the scoring in that game with 15 points.
12. LeFlore (Mobile, Ala.) 17-1 (24)
The defending state Class 6A champion Rattlers are off to a fast start with wins over teams from seven states. The lone loss was, in overtime, by 69-66 at Milwaukee Vincent. The Rattlers are led by 6-5 Nick Williams, a Marquette recruit, and a touted 6-10 junior, DeMarcus Cousins. They won the White Division of the Iolani Classic with wins over two FAB 50 ranked teams, Montrose Christian of Maryland and Westchester of Los Angeles.
13. Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio) 11-1 (nr)
The defending state Division 1 champion Crusaders are unbeaten in-state and impressed at the Bojangles Shootout in North Carolina. In the semifinals, Moeller defeated FAB 50 ranked Lincoln of Brooklyn, N.Y., by 67-55 before suffering their lone setback, in the finals, to FAB 50 No. 1 St. Benedict's, 56-45. Michael Davenport scored 24 vs. Lincoln.
14. Holy Cross (Flushing, N.Y.) 9-2 (nr)
Virginia recruit Sylven Landesberg netted 31 points and 11 rebounds when Holy Cross defeated FAB 50-ranked Taft of California, 66-69, in the City of Palms Classic in Florida. Later on in the tourney, though, the team lost to FAB 50-ranked Chester of Pennsylvania 62-53 in the semifinals and also lost to FAB 50-ranked St. Raymond's, 77-69, as Landesberg netted 26 points.
15. Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) 14-0 (nr)
Ian Hummer and Max Kenyi scored 26 and 25 points, respectively, as the Purple Eagles won the Gonzaga DC Classic, 73-62, over Bishop Loughlin of New York. They also downed Pinewood Prep, 66-59, to win the Rotary Roundball Classic. Hummer was the MVP of that tourney and had 19 points.
16. Word of God Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) 15-0 (nr)
This private school is making a quick name for itself after impressing at the GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational in Raleigh, N.C. The Rams defeated FAB 50 ranked Taft (Calif.) by 55-52; DeMatha (Md.) by 64-62; and American Christian (Pa.) by 80-79. Sophomore sensation C.J. Leslie was named the tourney MVP.
17. Taft (Woodland Hills, Calif.) 9-2 (16)
After losing twice to out-of-state foes in elite national tournaments, the Toreadors returned home and convincingly beat FAB 50-ranked Dominguez of Compton for the second time last Saturday at the Take It To The Rack Classic, 73-59, as EA SPORTS All-American candidate Larry Drew went for 24 points, five rebounds and seven assists. Taft also owns a 67-60 win over FAB 50-ranked Westchester of Los Angeles.
18. Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 16-0 (23)
Coach Gary McKnight's team hasn't played the national schedule of recent years due to its youth but remains among the best in California and in the nation. Twin towers David and Travis Wear, both 6-10, committed just last week to North Carolina where they could match up some day against Mater Dei grad Taylor King, who is now at Duke. (CalHiSports.com)
19. Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) 11-2 (19)
The two-time defending state Class AA champion Wolverines are off to a fast start and are ranked No. 1 in the Chicago metro area even though Derrick Rose is now kicking but for Memphis. Simeon won the Chicago Public Schools Holiday Invitational by handing FAB 50 ranked Farragut its first season loss, 47-45. Simeon had a balanced attack with guard Lazeric Jones the only player in double figures with 10 points. Simeon earlier won the Pontiac Holiday Classic title.
20. Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 8-2 (10)
Junior sensation Lance Stephenson had 32 points and 15 rebounds in a double overtime 109-95 win last week against Boys & Girls. Earlier, the Railspliitters lost to Moeller of Cincinnati by just 57-55 at the Bojangles Shootout in North Carolina as Stephenson went for 16 points.
21. Farragut (Chicago, Ill.) 8-1 (nr)
The Admirals dropped their first season decision to rival Simeon, 47-45, in the finals of the Chicago Public Schools Holiday Invitational. Michael Dunigan, a 6-foot-10 center, had 17 points and 17 rebounds in the loss. Next month, Farragut will travel to California to play Mater Dei of Santa Ana at the Nike Extravaganza.
22. Christ The King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 7-2 (nr)
Ryan Pearson poured in a game-high 31 points as the Royals won a huge game last week, 65-61, over perennial power Rice of New York.
23. Ferris (Spokane, Wash.) 9-0 (nr)
The Saxons kicked off the 2008 calendar year to the tune of a easy 64-43 win over Gonzaga Prep. Leading the way in the victory was 6-8 DeAngelo Casto who had a triple-double with 20 points, 12 rebounds and 12 blocks. Casto just regained his eligibility at the school after moving back to Spokane from Seattle. He was expected to play this year Franklin of Seattle, but never played a second for that school.
24. Dominguez (Compton, Calif.) 9-2 (18)
Both of the Dons' losses are to fellow California school Taft. That is more than evened out by the championships won at two tournaments, including one at the Amare Stoudemire Classic in Florida. Dominguez has the most depth in the state, but only five guys can play at once and a dependable double-digit scorer has to emerge besides EA SPORTS All-America candidate Jordan Hamilton. (CalHiSports.com)
25. Westchester (Los Angeles, Calif.) 14-2
In two major national tournaments, the Comets only lost once and that was to higher-ranked LeFlore of Alabama. Their tourney title came at the Rotary Roundball Classic in South Carolina. Westchester's other loss was to higher-ranked Taft of Woodland Hills, while they have a 73-48 blowout win over Campbell Hall of North Hollywood. (CalHiSports.com)
26. Benedictine (Richmond, Va.) 15-3 (44)
North Carolina recruit Ed Davis had 25 points and 14 rebounds as the Cadets upset Oak Hill Academy, 73-72, at the Slamfest VII in Ashland, Va.
27. Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) 7-2 (4)
The young Mustangs lost twice in the Iolani Classic in Honolulu, but the losses were both to FAB 50-ranked opponents - first to FAB 50-ranked Westchester of Los Angeles and later to FAB 50-ranked LeFlore of Alabama. (MDVarsity.com)
28. Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 15-2 (3)
The Eagles dominated in-state play before suffering two back-to-back losses in the Houston vs. The Nation holiday event in Texas. Montverde bowed to FAB 50-ranked Cypress Springs, 65-59, and state-ranked Klein Collins, 45-43.
29. Oregon City (Oregon City, Ore.) 10-1 (nr)
A perfect 10-0 season came to an end the last time the Pioneers were on the court as they fell to national power Archbishop Mitty in the championship game of the Les Schwab Invitational Tournament in Oregon.
Brad Tinsley scored 25 points in the loss to go along with seven assists and Kamal Smith added 16 for the Pioneers. Oregon City will look to get back to their winning ways when they take the court for the first time in 2008 against Clackamas and then Lakeridge.
30. Santa Margarita (Rancho SM, Calif.) 16-1 (nr)
Klay Thompson, the son of former No. 1 NBA Draft pick Mychal Thompson, led the Eagles to the championship of the Lynwood Holiday Classic where they won in the final by one point over preseason California No. 1 Fairfax of Los Angeles. This week, Santa Margarita has a huge matchup in the Trinity League against unbeaten and FAB 50 ranked Mater Dei. (CalHiSports.com)
31. Fairfax (Los Angeles, Calif.) 11-2 (8)
Standout junior Renardo Sidney was the MVP of the Amare Stoudemire tourney in Florida despite the Lions falling in a close title game to fellow Southern California FAB 50 team Dominguez of Compton. The defending CIF state Div. I champs also lost in the championship game of another tournament closer to home and may need another player to step up if they hope to repeat. (CalHiSports.com)
32. Ridgeway (Memphis, Tenn.) 13-0 (nr)
The top-ranked Tennessee team is off to an unbeaten start. Guard Jason Jones, a Texas-El Paso recruit, leads the way.
33. Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 11-2 (37)
The Wildcats gave preseason FAB 50 No. 1 Duncanville of Texas a run before bowing, 69-57, in the Beach Ball Classic final. Wheeler also owns a victory over FAB 50-ranked Bishop O'Connell of Virginia by 76-70 and has win against Boys & Girls of Brooklyn, N.Y. Senior wing Dequan Jones leads the way.
34. O'Connell (Arlington, Va.) 13-2 (nr)
Heading into this week, the Knights had lost only to Gonzaga Prep and to Wheeler of Georgia. They won three other times at the Beach Ball Classic in South Carolina, which is where they lost to Wheeler. Coach Joe Wootten's team also ventured out to Las Vegas and won the Bishop Gorman tourney with an 83-71 win in the final over the host school. Already this week, however, O'Connell has lost to Good Counsel.
35. Dillard (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 12-0 (nr)
Dillard stakes a claim as the No. 1 ranked team in South Florida and takes an unbeaten record into 2008. Dillard handed rival Boyd Anderson its only season loss.
36. North Crowley (Fort Worth, Texas) 21-1 (nr)
North Crowley lost to 16-8 Hightower of Sugar Land, but that was almost two months ago at the Texas Invitational to open the season. Since then, the Panthers are rolling, with a solid win over Alief Hastings in addition to winning the Lights of the Ozarks Tournament over Carroll of Monroe, Louisiana. Besides those two victories, there's mostly been blowouts, but the Panthers are on a nice roll with Willie Warren back in the mix. He transferred before the start of the season back to his home school from Oak Hill Academy and the Warriors definitely could use his scoring ability right now.
37. Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) 9-2 (20)
The Knights look to fully armored with the return of last year's Class 5A MVP Tyler Haws from injury as they defeated Alta 53-49 and Brighton 79-64 to kick off 5A Region 4 League play. In his best outing of the year so far, Haws scored 29 points in the win over Brighton with teammate Bracken Funk chipping in with 16 points. Lone Peak showed its strength in its recent loss to No. 2 St. Anthony of New Jersey.
38. McClymonds (Oakland, Calif.) 15-0 (nr)
Led by 6-6 transfer Damon Powell, plus returning starters Frank Otis (6-5) and Will Cherry (6-1), the Warriors might be better than last year when they reached the CIF Division I state final where they lost to Fairfax. McClymonds figures to have a tough test in two weeks when it plays De La Salle of Concord (9-1) at the Martin Luther King Jr. Classic at the University of California's Haas Pavilion. (CalHiSports.com)
39. Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 12-2 (12)
The Dolphins outlasted rival Marshall by 70-67 in the third place game of the Chicago Public Schools Holiday Invitational. Anthony Johnson led the way with 22 points. The Dolphins lost earlier to FAB 50 ranked Farragut. In the earlier Proviso West Holiday Tournament, they avenged their first season loss to FAB 50 ranked Homewood-Flossmoor by 55-53 in an overtime title game thriller.
40. Dulles (Sugar Land, Texas) 21-0 (nr)
The Vikings are undefeated and ranked No. 3 in the latest TABC (Texas Association of Basketball Coaches) state poll ahead of Klein Forest and behind No. 2 North Crowley and No. 1 Duncanville. Their best wins have come against 20-4 Ruston of Louisiana and Hightower, a team that has win over FAB 50 ranked North Crowley.
41. Homewood-Flossmoor (Flossmoor, Ill.) 11-1 (nr)
After giving Whitney Young its only loss early in the season by a 66-55 score, the Vikings were unable to give Young its second loss of the season and instead suffered their own first loss, losing to Young 55-53 in overtime of the Proviso West Holiday Tournament's championship game. The Vikings rallied from an early 26-7 deficit to force overtime in what was their fourth game in four days.
42. Eisenhower (Decatur, Ill.) 14-0 (nr)
For the first time in 11 years, the Panthers captured the championship at the Collinsville-Schnucks Holiday Classic by defeating East St. Louis, 85-68, to wrap up 2007. Leading the attack was Purdue recruit Lewis Jackson, who scored 23 points, dished out nine assists, grabbed six rebounds and seven steals. The Panthers will be back on the court to resume league play on Saturday as they will travel to take on Bloomington.
43. Starkville (Starkville, Miss.) 16-0 (nr)
The state's No. 1 ranked Yellowjackets are coming off a 30-3 record season after advancing to the state Class 5A semifinals. Last week, Starkville defeated Canton, 58-46, as Latavious Williams scored 26 points.
44. Peabody (Alexandria, La.) 23-0 (nr)
Louisiana's reigning Class 4A champs don't have a signature win over another nationally-known foe, but there's a good chance the Warhorses could run the table and finish unbeaten. They went 4-0 last week at the Don Redden Memorial Classic, capping the event with an easy 81-48 triumph over Madison of Tallulah.
45. New Albany (New Albany, Ind.) 10-0 (nr)
William Barber made four free throws in the final minute of overtime and ended with 27 points as the Bulldogs held off Reitz, 67-60, last week in their closest game of the year so far. Earlier last week, New Albany had a much easier 66-44 win over Jeffersonville. This week's games will be against Madison and Scottsburg.
46. B.T. Washington (Tulsa, Okla.) 6-0 (nr)
Head coach Shea Seals couldn't have hoped for a better start to the season in his first year at B.T. Washington as the Hornets started out 2008 with a 61-51 win over Memorial to improve to 6-0. Tharone Chilton came off the bench and stung the opposition for a team-high 14 points and T.J. Smith added 13 points. Washington's win over East Central of Tulsa, which won the recent Tournament of Champions, makes it the state No. 1 and puts the Hornets at the tail end of the FAB 50 as well.
47. Bellevue West (Bellevue, Neb.) 11-0 (nr)
Maintaining their undefeated record, the Thunderbirds opened up the 2008 portion of their schedule with road wins at Benson 95-86 and Millard South 92-69. After a close first quarter, Bellevue West opened up a comfortable lead in thanks to outscoring its opponents 29-7 in the second quarter for a 52-29 halftime lead. Jeff Allgood was more than just good but great as he scored 21 points in the win.
48. Cypress Springs (Cypress, Texas) 21-3 (nr)
The Panthers are a mystery team but showed what they can do in wins against Madison of Houston, DeSoto and Klein Forest not to mention others against FAB 50-ranked Yates and Montverde Academy. Losses to Klein Collins, HYCA of Houston and to Cypress Woods shows their inconsistency.
49. St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) 8-2 (9)
The Eagles got off to a good start this season with a televised victory over FAB 50 ranked Campbell Hall (Calif.). That was before Michigan State recruit, and EA SPORTS National Junior of the Year, Delvon Roe injured a leg and probably will be sidelined for the rest of the season. The Eagles then dropped two games, and while we'll keep them just ahead of Campbell Hall, it's likely they won't be able to stay in these rankings for long unless others step up big-time.
50. Campbell Hall (North Hollywood, Calif.) 12-4 (49)
The Vikings got the new year stared off on the right foot when they traveled to Minnesota last weekend to play in the Gatorade Shootout and downed Minnetonka, that state's top-ranked club, 90-61, at the Target Center. State Mr. Basketball candidate Jrue Holiday led the way with 30 points, including 27 in the second half, 13 rebounds and six assists. (CalHiSports.com)
Dropped Out From Preseason Rankings: Previous No. 21 American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.); No. 22 South Oak Cliff (Dallas, Texas); No. 25 New Hope (Columbus, Miss.); No. 26 Mt. Vernon (Mt. Vernon, N.Y.); No. 27 Lawrence North (Indianapolis, Ind.); No. 28 Helen Cox (Harvey, La.); No. 29 Marshall (Chicago, Ill.); No. 30 Scott County (Georgetown, Ky.); No. 31 Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.: No. 32 Franklin (Seattle, Wash.); No. 33 Raleigh-Egypt (Memphis, Tenn.); No. 34 Marion (Marion, Ind.); No. 35 Midwest City (Midwest City, Okla.); No. 38 De La Salle (Concord, Calif.); No. 39 McCluer North (Florissant, Mo.); No. 40 Linn-Marr (Marion, Iowa); 41 New Hanover (New Hanover, N.C.); No. 42 Kingwood (Kingwood, Texas); No. 43 South Medford, Ore.); No. 45 Monsignor Pace (Miami, Fla.); No. 46 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.); No. 47 Lexington Catholic (Lexington, Ky.); No. 48 St. Xavier (Cincinnati, Ohio); No. 50 Mountain View (Mesa, Ariz.).
About Doug Huff & Mark Tennis
Huff is one of only three journalists who've been inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame. He's known as the founder of the national record book, originated the prestigious Street&Smith's preseason All-American teams and still updates football and boys basketball national records regularly for Student Sports. Huff is beginning his 21st consecutive season of compiling national high school football rankings. No one has done this type of work for more years. Tennis has been executive editor of Student Sports for 13 years and has been compiling California state rankings for 27 years. Huff and Tennis have worked together on the FAB 50 rankings since 1999.