Three new teams crack this week’s GrassrootsHoops.net FAB 50 national rankings, including one that fell out for just a week. The state playoffs around the country are coming into focus and for some of teams that don’t participate, such as No. 1 Montverde Academy of Florida, the focus shifts to the end-of-season Dick’s Nationals Tournament in New York.
By Ronnie Flores
Contributing: Mark Tennis
We’ve stressed in recent weeks that the results on the court dictate the Grassroots Hoops FAB 50 rankings — not off-court matters — and this is the week that a prominent team with forfeits on its resume lost for the first time on the court.
Hamilton (Memphis, Tenn.), ranked No. 19 in the preseason, jumped into the mythical national title picture with a win over Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) before it had its season rocked when the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) ruled the Wildcats had to forfeit 15 victories for the use of an ineligible player. We explained when the ruling came down the Wildcats FAB 50 title hopes were dashed, but they would be ranked accordingly based on their results.
On February 13, Hamilton lost to Memphis East (Memphis, Tenn.) 80-73 in the District 16-AAA title game. It was Hamilton’s first loss on the court and drops the Wildcats to No. 18 in this week’s FAB 50. Hamilton had previously beat Memphis East 76-71 in one of the games that was eventually forfeited. Hamilton’s season, and its rankings fate for 2014-15, is not over as it will participate in the regional tournament this week.
As for Oak Hill Academy, the Warriors obviously have a strong enough resume to overcome that on-court loss to Hamilton and move up to No. 2 in the FAB 50 this week behind top-ranked Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.). Oak Hill is 40-0 in its books and has defeated teams from 11 states plus Australia so far this season.
Montverde Academy, meanwhile, closed its regular season with key victories in New Jersey over No. 12 Roselle Catholic (71-64) and bubble club St. Benedict’s of Newark (67-62), which was a top 10 ranked club in the preseason. Mr. Basketball USA front-runner Ben Simmons shined with 18 points and 14 rebounds in the win over Roselle Catholic and 30 points in the victory over St. Benedict’s.
Montverde Academy, which has defeated teams from 14 states so far this season, doesn’t compete for a state title and will now focus its attention on the Dick’s Nationals Tournament slated for April 2-4 in New York City. Last season, Montverde Academy defeated Oak Hill Academy to win the tournament for the second straight season. Can the Eagles make it a 3-peat?
The Return Of Jeff
We mentioned last week due to the topsy-turvy nature of New York City basketball this season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Jefferson (Brooklyn, N.Y.) back in the FAB 50 after dropping out last week due to a loss to Lincoln (Brooklyn. N.Y.). Well, the two teams met again for the PSAL Brooklyn Borough Championship and it was Jeff coming away with a 76-73 victory at Queens College.
As a result, the Orange Wave, which dropped out last week from No. 35, return as this week’s highest ranked newcomer at No. 41. Lincoln remains in the same spot at No. 44, one spot ahead of Cordozo (Bayside, N.Y.) and two ahead of Wing’s Academy (Bronx, N.Y.). If lining up with the local rankings of NYCHoops.net was what we decided to do, Cordozo would have dropped out, but we decided to keep four NYC teams in the FAB 50 as the Judges had already defeated the Contruction (Queens, N.Y.) team it lost to in the PSAL Queens Borough Championship game twice during the regular season. Ron Naclerio’s club at Cordozo also owns a win over No. 46 Wing’s Academy at the SNY Invitational.
The other two newcomers this week are No. 42 Rainier Beach, which knocked off previous No. 24 and unbeaten Garfield with a 84-81 win in the Metro League title game at Seattle Pacific University. Shadeed Shabazz scored 25 points for Rainier Beach, which avenged an earlier 84-67 loss to the Bulldogs.
A third team that was once ranked re-enters the FAB 50 this week as Centennial (Corona, Calif.) checks in at No. 48. The Huskies are in the loaded CIFSS Open Division playoffs that begin February 19 and include No. 8 Mater Dei, No. 11 Bishop Montgomery, and No. 16 Sierra Canyon. Centennial is the No. 4 seed.
Fast risers this week include unbeaten clubs Ely (Pompano Beach, Fla.), which moved up 10 spots to No. 15 and Mustang (Mustang, Okla.), which moved up six spots to No. 32. Callaway (Jackson, Miss.) isn’t unbeaten, but it was able to move up nine spots to No. 14 after knocking out previous No. 32 Dominican (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) from the FAB 50 with a dominant 76-47 victory. In the nationally-televised game, Mr. Basketball USA candidate Malik Newman netted 31 points for Callaway, which is a three-time defending state champion and currently riding a 16-game winning steak.
Updated Grassroots Hoops FAB 50
Boys Basketball National Team Rankings
(Ninth poll of the 2014-15 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, February 15; Previous ranking in listed in second column under “Prev.”; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included)
|1||1||Montverde Academy||(Montverde, Fla.)||28-1|
|2||3||Oak Hill Academy||(Mouth of Wilson, Va.)||39-1*|
|3||4||Cape Henry Collegiate||(Virginia Beach, Va.)||25-2|
|4||6||St. Vincent-St. Mary||(Akron, Ohio)||18-0|
|5||7||Bishop O'Dowd||(Oakland, Calif.)||19-4|
|7||9||Wesleyan Christian Academy||(High Point, N.C.)||28-4|
|8||10||Mater Dei||(Santa Ana, Calif.)||24-3|
|9||5||DeMatha Catholic||(Hyattsville, Md.)||25-2|
|11||12||Bishop Montgomery||(Torrance, Calif.)||26-1|
|12||13||Roselle Catholic||(Roselle, N.J.)||18-3|
|15||25||Ely||(Pompano Beach, Fla.)||24-0|
|16||17||Sierra Canyon||(Chatsworth, Calif.)||21-3|
|17||18||Corona del Sol||(Tempe, Ariz.)||28-1|
|19||19||Chaminade||(St. Louis, Mo.)||19-3|
|20||20||St. Anthony||(Jersey City, N.J.)||18-1|
|21||21||La Lumiere||(LaPorte, Ind.)||20-2|
|22||22||Greensboro Day||(Greensboro, N.C.)||30-2|
|23||27||Villa Angela-St. Joseph||(Cleveland, Ohio)||15-2|
|25||28||Wayne||(Huber Heights, Ohio)||18-3|
|26||29||Findlay Prep||(Henderson, Nev.)||23-2|
|28||31||Roman Catholic||(Philadelphia, Pa.)||21-2|
|29||33||Archbishop Carroll||(Wayne, Pa.)||18-5|
|30||35||Cardinal Gibbons||(Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)||28-1|
|31||36||East Kentwood||(Kentwood, Mich.)||17-0|
|33||16||Fairfax||(Los Angeles, Calif.)||27-2|
|35||37||Champlin Park||(Champlin, Minn.)||24-0|
|36||15||St. Rita||(Chicago, Ill.)||21-3|
|37||40||Bishop Gorman||(Las Vegas, Nev.)||22-6|
|38||41||Parkview||(Little Rock, Ark.)||20-1|
|39||42||Plano West||(Plano, Texas)||25-2|
|41||NR||Thomas Jefferson||(Brooklyn, N.Y.)||24-3|
|42||NR||Rainier Beach||(Seattle, Wash.)||19-3|
|46||46||Wing's Academy||(Bronx, N.Y.)||24-2|
|47||48||Iowa City West||(Iowa City, Iowa)||19-0|
|50||50||Sacred Heart||(Waterbury, Conn.)||18-0|
Dropped Out: Previous No. 32 Dominican (Whitefish Bay, Wis.), No. 45 Blue Springs South (Blue Springs, Mo.), No. 47 Regis Jesuit (Denver, Colo.).
Bubble Teams: Ballard (Louisville, Ky.) 26-2; Bel Air (El Paso, Texas) 29-0;
Blue Springs South (Blue Springs, Mo.) 20-1; Central (Beaumont, Texas) 27-3; Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 18-4; Construction (Queens, N.Y.) 22-5; Damien (La Verne, Calif.) 23-3; De Soto (De Soto, Texas) 27-4; Dominican (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) 16-2; Franklin (Franklin, Ohio) 19-1; Germantown (Germantown, Wis.) 19-0; Homestead (Fort Wayne, Ind.) 20-1; Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.) 20-4; Lancaster (Lancaster, Texas) 25-4; Laney (Augusta, Ga.) 26-1; Lake Forest (Lake Forest, Ill.) 23-1; Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) 21-3; Norfolk (Norfolk, Neb.) 21-0; Oldsmar Christian (Oldsmar, Fla.) 30-4*; Ozen (Beaumont, Texas) 26-3; Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.) 22-5; Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) 22-3; Providence (Jacksonville, Fla.) 29-1; Putnam City West (Oklahoma City, Okla.) 18-2; Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 21-5; Regis Jesuit (Denver, Colo.) 20-1; Reitz (Evansville, Ind.) 21-0; Sagemont (Weston, Fla.) 26-3; Seton Hall Prep (West Orange, N.J.) 18-1; St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.) 21-5; St. Francis (Alpharetta, Ga.) 24-3; ThunderRidge (Littleton, Colo.) 20-1; Tift County (Tifton, Ga.) 26-1; Velma Jackson (Camden, Miss.) 26-2; Western International (Detroit, Mich.) 16-0; Word of God Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) 25-3.
Note: The Grassroots Hoops FAB 50 is a continuation of the National Sports News Service ratings that began in 1952. These were the first national high school rankings and they were compiled by the late Art Johlfs of Minnesota. They were compiled for many years by the late Barry Sollenberger of Phoenix, who merged them into the FAB 50 15 years ago.