For the second consecutive week, five new teams crack the GrassrootsHoops.net FAB 50, including fast-rising Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.). There were more state champs crowned around the country over the weekend, but from a rankings perspective the big news came off the court as Georgia Class AAAAAA champ and FAB 50 No. 6 Wheeler was granted permission to participate at Dick’s Nationals in New York in April.
By Ronnie Flores
Contributing: Mark Tennis
The biggest move in this week’s Grassroots Hoops FAB 50 national rankings didn’t have anything to do with moving up a deserving state champion or dropping a team that took a shocking playoff loss. The biggest move simply was removing the asterisk — which signifies a team’s season is over.
We had to remove the asterisk for No. 6 Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.), which received a waiver from the Georgia High School Association to participate in the 2015 Dick’s Nationals tournament in New York City, April 2-4. Last Wednesday, the GHSA announced the Wildcats, led by Mr. Basketball USA candidate Jaylen Brown, are permitted to participate in the eight-team invitational.
Since the event’s inception at the conclusion of the 2009 season, Dick’s Nationals (formerly called the NHSI) has seen three state associations (plus the New York Public School Athletic League) grant permission to one of its state champions to participate in the event: the FHSAA (Florida) since 2010, the UHSAA (Utah) in 2013 and the WIAA (Washington) last year. In 2013, a fine Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) that finished No. 4 in the FAB 50 actually didn’t participate, while the WIAA allowed Rainier Beach (Seattle, Wash.) to participate last season. The Vikings entered Dick’s Nationals No. 2 in the FAB 50, but lost in the first round.
The addition of Wheeler, which started a grassroots campaign on Change.org to garner support and awareness in order to receive the GHSA waiver, means the Dick’s Nationals’ field will likely have six of the top 10 ranked teams in this week’s FAB 50. Wheeler is the only team to defeat top-ranked Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) so far this season and it would create an interesting scenario in the mythical national title race should No. 6 Wheeler, No. 9 Ely (Pompano Beach, Fla.) or No. 10 Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.) win the tournament title.
No. 4 St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) is still unbeaten — and still alive — in the Ohio Division II state tourney and No. 5 Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.) is the heavy favorite to represent NorCal in the CIF Open Division state title game where it will surely play another FAB 50-ranked team from SoCal — provided the Dragons make it that far. O’Dowd handed Wheeler one of its two losses so far this season.
Should Montverde Academy, No. 2 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) or No. 3 Cape Henry Collegiate (Virginia Beach, Va.), all of whom are expected to receive an invite, win the elite tournament, the top-ranked team in the final FAB 50 release on Monday April 6 won’t be difficult to figure out.
While Wheeler had its asterisk removed, there are now 21 teams in the current FAB 50 whose seasons have come to an end. Among those are state champions from Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Minnesota and Mississippi.
In Oklahoma, Mustang (Mustang, Okla.) rolled to its first OSSAA state crown, as the Broncos clobbered the Santa Fe (Edmond, Okla.) team that defeated previous No. 36 Putnam City West (Oklahoma City, Okla.) in the state semifinals. Mustang is now up to No. 22 in the FAB 50 and could climb higher as an unbeaten state champion.
Hamilton (Memphis, Tenn.) won its first state title since 2006 with a 65-62 victory over Brentwood (Brentwood, Tenn.) in the Class 3A final. McDonald’s All-American Dedric Lawson led the way for Hamilton with 20 points and 11 rebounds. The Wildcats were in mythical national title contention until they had 15 on-court victories, including one over Oak Hill Academy, wiped out for the use of an ineligible player. We didn’t drop Hamilton from rankings (as other credible national polls did) and after it lost to Memphis East on the court, the Wildcats avenged their only on-court loss in a big way (93-56) en route to a state title.
Senior guard Malik Newman, like Brown a serious Mr. Basketball USA contender, led No. 12 Callaway (Jackson, Miss.) with 27 points in a 66-43 win over Ridgeland (Ridgeland, Miss.) in Mississippi’s Class 5A state title game. The win was Callaway’s fourth consecutive in Class 5A state titles games with Newman in the lineup.
Callaway was invited to Dick’s Nationals by Paragon Marketing Group, but as of Monday evening after if didn’t appear the state governing body for athletics in Mississippi would grant Callaway permission to play, the program declined its invitation.
The Dick’s Nationals field is expected to be announced Tuesday or Wednesday of this week.
Updated Grassroots Hoops FAB 50
Boys Basketball National Team Rankings
(13th poll of the 2014-15 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, March 15; Previous ranking in listed in second column under “Prev.”; *Indicates season complete; **Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; ***Indicates season complete & forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included)
|1||1||Montverde Academy||(Montverde, Fla.)||28-1|
|2||2||Oak Hill Academy||(Mouth of Wilson, Va.)||44-1**|
|3||3||Cape Henry Collegiate||(Virginia Beach, Va.)||31-2|
|4||4||St. Vincent-St. Mary||(Akron, Ohio)||25-0|
|5||5||Bishop O'Dowd||(Oakland, Calif.)||25-4|
|8||8||Bishop Montgomery||(Torrance, Calif.)||31-1|
|9||9||Ely||(Pompano Beach, Fla.)||28-0|
|10||10||Greensboro Day||(Greensboro, N.C.)||33-2|
|11||11||Wesleyan Christian Academy||(High Point, N.C.)||28-5*|
|13||13||Roman Catholic||(Philadelphia, Pa.)||27-2|
|14||14||Corona del Sol||(Tempe, Ariz.)||32-1*|
|15||15||Cardinal Gibbons||(Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)||32-1|
|16||16||Chaminade||(St. Louis, Mo.)||25-3|
|18||18||Findlay Prep||(Henderson, Nev.)||28-2|
|19||19||La Lumiere||(LaPorte, Ind.)||23-2|
|23||23||Mater Dei||(Santa Ana, Calif.)||27-4|
|24||25||Fairfax||(Los Angeles, Calif.)||31-2|
|25||27||Plano West||(Plano, Texas)||33-2*|
|26||29||Arcbishop Carroll||(Wayne, Pa.)||22-6|
|29||35||Wing's Academy||(Bronx, N.Y.)||28-2|
|30||32||Sierra Canyon||(Chatsworth, Calif.)||23-4|
|31||38||DeMatha Catholic||(Hyattsville, Md.)||33-4*|
|32||43||Roselle Catholic||(Roselle, N.J.)||25-4|
|35||22||St. Anthony||(Jersey City, N.J.)||28-2*|
|36||37||Bishop Gorman||(Las Vegas, Nev.)||27-6*|
|37||45||Western International||(Detroit, Mich.)||21-0|
|38||44||Sacred Heart||(Waterbury, Conn.)||25-0|
|39||NR||Christ the King||(Middle Village, N.Y.)||25-4|
|40||NR||Apple Valley||(Apple Valley, Minn.)||30-2*|
|41||47||Velma Jackson||(Camden, Miss.)||33-2*|
|42||28||Champlin Park||(Champlin, Minn.)||31-1*|
|45||34||St. Rita||(Chicago, Ill.)||26-4*|
|49||NR||Pope John XXIII||(Sparta, N.J.)||29-3|
Dropped Out: Previous No. 24 East Kentwood (Kentwood, Mich.), No. 36 Putnam City West (Oklahoma City, Okla.), No. 40 Iowa City West (Iowa City, Iowa), No. 41 Linden (Linden, N.J.), No. 49 Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.).
Bubble Teams: Andress (El Paso, Texas) 33-2*; Atascocita (Humble, Texas) 35-2*; Ballard (Louisville, Ky.) 31-2; Cathedral (Los Angeles, Calif.) 21-7; Centennial (Corona, Calif.) 24-5; Central (Beaumont, Texas) 30-4*; Chino Hills (Chino Hills, Calif.) 22-7**; Clear Lake (Houston Texas) 35-3*; Colonial Forge (Stafford, Va.) 26-2*; Creighton Prep (Omaha, Neb.) 27-2*; East Kentwood (Kentwood, Mich.) 21-1*; Eastside (Patterson, N.J.) 25-6; Garner Magnet (Garner, N.C.) 28-1*; Germantown (Germantown, Wis.) 26-0; Iowa City West (Iowa City, Iowa) 25-1*; Knott County Central (Hindman, Ky.) 30-2; Lake Forest (Lake Forest, Ill.) 28-3*; Lorain (Lorain, Ohio) 25-0; Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) 24-4*; Morgan Park (Chicago) 21-6; North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.) 25-5*; North Scott (Eldridge, Iowa) 24-3*; Oldsmar Christian (Oldsmar, Fla.) 32-6***; Overland (Aurora, Colo.) 23-5*; Ozen (Beaumont, Texas) 33-4*; Parkview (Little Rock, Ark.) 22-2*; Pope John XXIII (Sparta, N.J.) 29-3; Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano, Texas) 32-5*; Rainier Beach (Seattle, Wash.) 25-4*; Reitz (Evansville, Ind.) 28-1; Sagemont (Weston, Fla.) 29-4*; Seton Hall Prep (West Orange, N.J.) 25-2*; Southport (Indianapolis, Ind.) 23-3*; St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.) 26-6*; St. Francis (Alpharetta, Ga.) 29-3*; St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) 27-9*; Thomas Jefferson (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 26-4*; Wayne (Huber Heights, Ohio) 23-4; Westfield (Chantilly, Va.) 27-2*; West Linn (West Linn, Ore.) 24-5*; Word of God Academy (Raleigh, N.C.) 29-3*.
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.