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FAB 50: The Good & Dangerous!


The preseason FAB 50 rankings set the tone for the following season. We put alot of effort into our preseason rankings as a result of it makes it alot simpler to justify strikes because the season wears on. We gained’t give away all our rankings secrets and techniques, however two guidelines we stay by are one, we gained’t ever drop the No. 1 staff if it wins its closing sport, and two, the No. 1 staff can by no means lose its closing sport. We’ve been compiling weekly rankings because the fall of 1987 when Miami Senior (Miami, Fla.) opened up as preseason No. 1 within the first Nationwide Prep Ballot (FAB 50 precursor). Rankings have come and gone since then, or stopped and tried to re-start. We’ve been doing them ever since and clearly we’re going to maintain the FAB 50 going so long as attainable. Our preseason No. 1 staff has completed No. 1 14 instances, so we’re fairly pleased with the rankings job we’ve performed over time. On the flip aspect, nobody is ideal and there are some preseason rankings we want we had again. We check out three of our greatest moments, and three of the preseason selections we’d like to take again.

RELATED: Preseason 2023-24 FAB 50 (16-30) | Preseason 2023-24 FAB 50 (31-50) | Preseason East Area Prime 20 | Preseason Southeast Area Prime 20  | Preseason Midwest Area Prime 20 | Preseason Southwest Area Prime 20 | Preseason West Area Prime 20 | Preseason FAB 50 Present (REPLAY) |  Ballislife Podcast Community | FAB 50 Rankings Standards | Historical past of Excessive Faculty Group Rankings

Rankings To Be Proud Of

Montverde Academy (Fla.) at No. 1 in 2012-13
When issues go unsuitable, extra issues seemingly go dangerous, and when issues are going nicely in basketball, the breaks appear to go a program’s manner for a very long time. On the finish of the 2011-12 season, it appears as if issues had been going proper for Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.). After a miraculous fourth-quarter comeback within the Nationwide Excessive Faculty Invitational (now GEICO Nationals) title sport led by Arizona recruit Brandon Ashley, it appeared just like the Pilots would dominate highschool hoops within the close to future. That they had simply gained their third NHSI title in 4 years and this system seemingly was in good palms with Mike Peck and Todd Simon. Had Montverde Academy or Findlay Prep gained convincingly it will have had a robust case for No. 1 over Oak Hill Academy of Virginia, which selected to not take part within the occasion. What was much more apparent watching that sport was how good the Eagles had been going to be in 2012-13. Level guard Kasey Hill was dynamic, the staff added strongman Devin Williams (West Virginia) and middle Dakari Johnson, who sat out the 2011-12 season after incomes nationwide freshman of the yr honors in 2010-11 at St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.). They had been a cinch preseason No. 1 and that’s earlier than this system added Ben Simmons in a while in the course of the season. Montverde went on to seize GEICO Nationals on the finish of the season, and this system was preseason No. 1 for the subsequent two seasons and gained three consecutive FAB 50 titles. Extra, importantly that 2012-13 staff set the tone for what was to come back for this system over the subsequent 10 years, and no different credible rankings service had the Eagles preseason No. 1.

Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.) at No. 7 in 2016-17
Regardless that this staff was a bit short-handed in its first sport, it nonetheless didn’t look something like a preseason No. 1 staff from California and a high 10 staff after it misplaced that opener on the NorCal Tip-Off Traditional to unranked Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.), 79-63. It definitely didn’t look higher than preseason No. 9 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) in its early season video games. At the least one ballot had that staff preseason No. 1 within the nation. If something, the Trailblazers had been a kind of bodily dominant groups, just like the 2012-13 Montverde Academy staff, that we evaluated in recent times. After we witness star forwards Marvin Bagley (Duke) and Cody Riley (UCLA) dislodge a backboard, we stated to ourselves, “what on this planet had been we considering” as Bishop Montgomery had nobody taller than 6-foot-5. We knew the Knights would get higher, and the large payoff got here within the CIF Southern Part open semifinals on the Galen Middle in Los Angeles, when coach Doug Mitchell’s membership took down Sierra Canyon, 70-63, in a memorable contest performed in entrance of 12,000 followers as a part of the double-header involving Chino Hills and Mater Dei. Some pollsters nonetheless hadn’t be taught their lesson, as the subsequent week Mater Dei got here in to the CIFSS open closing as the upper ranked staff each nationally and domestically by everybody count on one ballot. Bishop Montgomery had a memorable fourth quarter run to tug out a 70-55 win to seize its second CIFSS open crown in three seasons. The Knights went on to beat Chino Hills and Mater Dei a second time en path to their first and solely CIF open state crown. They completed No. 6 within the FAB 50, however extra importantly served as a stark reminder that generally nice highschool groups don’t want NBA-type measurement, or the best rated particular person recruits, to be thought of probably the greatest within the nation. Typically nice highschool groups have nice chemistry and nice highschool gamers, regardless of what’s anticipated of them on the collegiate or NBA ranges.

Glenbard West (Glen Ellyn, Unwell.) at No. 29 in 2021-22
We at all times prefer it after we’re forward of the curve on a staff with out alot of fan-fare that has the potential to be a fantastic staff. That was the case with the Hilltoppers, who finally received the nationwide acclaim they deserved after a 13-1 season shortened by COVID-19 in 2020-21. Glenbard West captured the IHSA Class 4A state title with a dominant 56-34 win over Whitney Younger (Chicago) with a gaggle of seniors that received little to zero nationwide acclaim till it stored profitable. We want we had positioned them contained in the Prime 25 and it will have been much more attention-grabbing to see what would have occurred had this membership completed 38-0 as an alternative of 37-1. This well-oiled unit led by middle Braden Huff and Paxten Warden goes down as probably the greatest groups in Illinois historical past, however from a FAB 50 perspective it couldn’t end larger than No. 13 within the closing rankings. That’s as a result of the Warriors misplaced to No. 32 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, whereas No. 12 Camden (N.J.) defeated the Trailblazers, 66-62. Huff (16.8 ppg, 6 rpg, 3 apg, 1.5 spg and 1.5 bpg) was named the Chicago Solar-Occasions Participant of the Yr and earned a scholarship to Gonzaga, whereas three different teammates had been D1 certain. Glenbard West constructed a nationwide following in three months and its story is what highschool basketball is all about.

Rankings We Want We Had Again

St. Anthony (Jersey Metropolis, N.J.) at No. 1 in 2004-05
By this time, Bob Hurley Sr.’s program at St. Anthony was a perennial contender and had already gained two FAB 50 nationwide titles (in 1989 and 1996). This membership appeared prefer it had the makings of 1 that would give the eventual Naismith Corridor of Fame coach his third crown, so it was pegged as preseason No. 1 in an in depth name over Oak Hill Academy of Virginia, the defending FAB 50 nationwide champs. We knew the Friars would possibly begin off gradual due to accidents, however we by no means anticipated them to complete 21-6. The Friars ventured right down to San Diego, Calif., for the Torrey Pines Vacation Traditional and had been upset within the semifinals by Steve Canyon (Spring Valley, Calif.), 67-65, behind a terrific efficiency by future San Diego St. guard Richie Williams (24 factors). Hurley’s membership by no means appeared to get better and the harm issues mounted. St. Anthony is the one preseason No. 1 staff to complete unranked. Solely two different preseason No. 1 groups have even completed exterior the highest 10, with the bottom being Findlay Prep (28-4) at No. 14 in 2010-11. Oak Hill Academy, led by senior Jamont Gordon (Mississippi St.) and juniors Kevin Durant and Ty Lawson, each future NBA gamers, was positively the extra proficient staff and doubtless ought to have been No. 1. The one returning starter from the 2003-04 staff, Ok.C. Rivers (Clemson), missed your complete season and Oak Hill misplaced two video games and completed No. 2. Oak Hill misplaced to South Gwinnett of Georgia and to Homewood-Flossmorr of Illinois, neither of which gained state titles. The FAB 50 No. 1 staff that season was Niagara Falls (N.Y.), which started at No. 48 within the preseason.

Flint Hill Prep (Roanoke, Va.) at No. 1 in 1988-89
Simply as we had one St. Anthony membership too excessive, we want we had one other larger again in our second yr of doing a Nationwide Prep Ballot. St. Anthony (which is now closed) completed No. 2 in 1987-88 and was the one staff to defeat No. 1 St. Nicolas of Tolentine (Bronx, N.Y.). We tabbed proficient Flint Hill Prep (Oakton, Va.) as preseason No. 1 in an in depth name over the Friars, as coach Stu Vetter had two official McDonald’s All-Individuals in Aaron Bain (Villanova) and George Lynch (North Carolina) and got here into the season having gained 74 of its earlier 76 video games. Flint Hill Prep completed 23-3 and No. 9, however the Friars had been even higher than marketed. That St. Ants unit is taken into account probably the greatest in highschool basketball historical past regardless that Danny Hurley, the highest participant on the junior varsity staff as a freshman who was anticipated to be the highest guard off the bench as a sophomore, shattered his finger and missed the season and 6-foot-7 Sean Rooney, the staff’s high rebounder, tore ligaments in his ankle after the season started. Regardless, this staff didn’t miss a beat, capturing the Nice Florida Shootout, defeating Flint Hill Prep within the finals of the King Cotton Traditional in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, defeating groups from 10 states and capturing the primary state Match of Champions title with a 62-55 victory over regionally-ranked Elizabeth to complete 32-0. The mainstays on the staff had been level guard Bob Hurley Jr. (Duke), capturing guard Terry DeHere and energy ahead Jerry Walker (each Seton Corridor), whereas 6-foot-5 freshman Rodrick Rhodes rounded out the beginning lineup. The New Jersey TOC was discontinued after the 2021-22 season.

Montverde Academy (Fla.) at No. 2 in 2019-20
If a defending FAB 50 champ has the elements to defend its nationwide title, we nearly definitely give it the advantage of the doubt within the preseason pecking order over one other proficient membership. That’s what occurred after IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) captured the 2019 GEICO Nationals title. It was an in depth name, however we gave it the advantage of the doubt over Montverde Academy, the membership it took down within the match semifinals, 74-73. Has MVA gained that sport, it most definitely would have started No. 1 in 2019-20 and with the late addition of Scottie Barnes (FSU), it most likely ought to have been anyway. It’s not as if IMG Academy was a foul selection; in spite of everything it completed No. 5 within the FAB 50 at 19-6. It’s a selection we wish again as a result of Montverde Academy ended up being the most effective staff because the flip of the century. The Eagles defeated 12 FAB 50 ranked groups en path to one of many largest profitable margins (39.0 ppg) amongst elite highschool groups we’ve ever uncovered. Just one staff performed coach Kevin Boyle’s staff in single digits and that, after all, was IMG Academy within the title sport of the Metropolis of Palms Traditional (63-55). Led by Mr. Basketball USA Cade Cunningham (13.9 ppg), Barnes (11.6 ppg) and a 3rd McDonald’s All-American in Day’Ron Sharpe (12.1 ppg), MVA handed the Ascenders three of their six losses and no different staff got here inside 20 factors. IMG Academy performed the Eagles inside 20 factors (76-64) and 10 so there’s at all times that preseason nod that we’ll need to stay with. Two different components that make that preseason order much more poignant is the very fact MVA didn’t have the luxurious of closing out with a GEICO Nationals title, because the occasion was canceled due to COVID-19, and the very fact IMG Academy didn’t have its most proficient participant, returning All-America Jalen Johnson, on the roster after Thanksgiving. Had Johnson not been on the membership in any respect, or had MVA not blown that 16-point lead the yr earlier than in opposition to IMG, it will have been a wire-to-wire No. 1 membership just like its 2017-18 unit. Might IMG have pulled off an upset in one of many video games with Johnson within the lineup?

Ronnie Flores is the nationwide Grassroots editor of Ballislife.com. He will be reached at [email protected]. Remember to comply with him on Twitter: @RonMFlores



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