FIRST Regular Season FAB 50 National Rankings: 8 Newcomers!
National Grassroots Editor
Ronnie has evaluated basketball talent for 20 years and has over 15 years of experience in publishing, editing and managing high school sports websites for companies such as Student Sports, ESPN and Ballislife. Ronnie compiles the FAB 50 National Team Rankings while serving as an account manager and consultant for grassroots event run by Ballislife and other companies, in addition to serving as a color commentator on high school broadcasts.
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Oak Hill Academy of Virginia and La Lumiere of Indiana remain in the top spots in the first FAB 50 Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com of the 2016-17 regular season. There are eight newcomers to the rankings led by No. 23 Simeon of Chicago and No. 27 Vashon of St. Louis, both whom were regionally-ranked in the preseason.
By Ronnie Flores
Just as we didn’t penalize Oak Hill Academy when it dropped an early game last season after Harry Giles (Duke) went down with injury, the theme of the first regular season FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com is to not overreact to an early-season loss by an elite team. Last season we knew Oak Hill had a very good team (even without Giles) and it eventually adjusted without him and went on to post a 45-1 record and No. 2 FAB 50 finish.
This year, preseason No. 4 Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) dropped a 69-67 contest to regionally-ranked Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.) at the Holiday Hoopsgiving in Atlanta. Vashon is a quality club and the Wildcats bounced back to defeat preseason No. 6 Greenforest Christian Academy (Decatur, Ga.) 53-42 at their own Wheeler Hoops Classic. With so many strong teams in Georgia, and because Wheeler plays such a loaded schedule and was not afraid to take on tough competition before December, it only drops two spots in the updated FAB 50 to the spot Greenforest previously occupied.
Wheeler hits the road to take on No. 32 Westlake of Atlanta (which has only lost to No. 19 Greenforest) on Friday before playing new No. DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) at the National High School Hoops Festival on December 9 at DeMatha. In 2004-05, the only loss for eventual FAB 50 national champion Niagara Falls (N.Y.), led by future Syracuse players Johnny Flynn and Paul Harris, came against Vashon, which is the second highest-ranked newcomer in this week’s FAB 50 at No. 27.
New Early Season Trend: Big-Time Matchups
With events such as the Holiday Hoopsgiving and the Thanksgiving Hoopfest in Dallas growing in prestige, many big intersectional games involving FAB 50-ranked teams are beginning to take place in November, which was a rarity 10 or 15 years ago. The emerging trend is going to gain in significance in future seasons as state associations push up the beginning of their winter sports calendars. As rankings compilers, the will cause us to adjust our criteria when it comes to early losses. We want to reward teams for taking early risks when their teams might not be jelled and not overly punish a loss, especially for team that have other games with FAB 50 ranked foes coming up.
We didn’t drop Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.) too far after it lost to unranked Bishop O’Dowd, 70-63, in the marquee game of the NorCal Tip-Off Classic on November 26. The Knights, the preseason No. 1 ranked team in the state according to Cal-Hi Sports, played without junior starter Davy Singleton and with San Diego St.-bound Jordan Schakel severely limited by a lingering injury. We gave Bishop Montgomery the benefit of the doubt by dropping them only three spots, as it did bounce back to win the Trevor Ariza Tip-Off Tournament at Westchester (Los Angeles) for the sixth consecutive season over the host Comets, but it clearly doesn’t have as much wiggle room as Wheeler because of the comparative strength of schedules. It also caused Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.), which opens it season this week at its own tournament, to leapfrog the Knights in the FAB 50. Led by Mr. Basketball USA candidate Marvin Bagley and UCLA-bound Cody Riley, Sierra Canyon faces top-ranked Oak Hill Academy on December 15 in a game televised by ESPN.
We considered keeping preseason No. 10 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) in front of Simeon (Chicago) after coach Steve Turner’s club hit the road and lost to the Wolverines, 73-58, at the Chicago Elite Classic last weekend. The margin of victory and the fact we had Simeon in our preseason Midwest Regional Top 20 Rankings kept us from treating the loss like the ones Wheeler and Bishop Montgomery suffered. Robert Smith’s club is the highest-rated newcomer at No. 23, one spot ahead of Gonzaga, which will have plenty of opportunity to climb back up in the rankings.
Of this week’s eight newcomers, only three were not regionally-ranked in the preseason. The highest-rated newcomer which wasn’t on our preseason radar is No. 29 Cordova (Tenn.). Led by juniors Tyler Harris and Rodgerick Brown, the Wolves have the opportunity to climb in the next set of rankings as they take on fast-rising No. 16 Norcross (Ga.) at the Memphis vs. Atlanta Classic at Duluth (Ga.) on December 10.
Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
Powered by Ballislife.com
(First poll of the 2016-17 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, December 4; Preseason ranking in parentheses; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included)
|No.||Prev.||High School (City)||Record|
|1||1||Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)||10-0|
|2||2||La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.)||8-0|
|3||3||Patrick School (Elizabeth, N.J.)||0-0|
|4||5||Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)||5-0|
|5||9||Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)||0-0|
|6||4||Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.)||3-1|
|7||11||Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.)||0-0|
|8||13||DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.)||0-0|
|9||16||IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)||6-0|
|10||7||Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.)||4-1|
|11||14||Chino Hills (Chino Hills, Calif.)||5-0|
|12||22||Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.)||10-0|
|13||8||Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.)||4-2|
|14||21||Curie (Chicago, Ill.)||4-0|
|15||20||Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.)||0-0|
|16||41||Norcross (Norcross, Ga.)||6-0|
|17||12||Memphis East (Memphis, Tenn.)||4-1|
|18||18||West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.)||4-1|
|19||6||Greenforest Christian Academy (Decatur, Ga.)||4-2|
|20||24||Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)||6-0|
|21||29||Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)||9-0|
|22||23||Rainier Beach (Seattle, Wash.)||1-0|
|23||BB||Simeon (Chicago, Ill.)||1-0|
|24||10||Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)||0-1|
|25||25||St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.)||0-0|
|26||30||Garfield (Seattle, Wash.)||2-0|
|27||BB||Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.)||3-0|
|28||31||New Albany (New Albany, Ind.)||2-0|
|29||NR||Cordova (Cordova, Tenn.)||6-0|
|30||40||Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)||1-0|
|31||BB||Wagner (San Antonio, Texas)||12-0|
|32||32||Westlake (Atlanta, Ga.)||4-1|
|33||38||Nathan Hale (Seattle, Wash.)||1-0|
|34||BB||Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.)||4-0|
|35||17||St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.)||2-1|
|36||33||Clarkston (Clarkston, Mich.)||0-0|
|37||34||Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)||1-0|
|38||35||Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)||0-0|
|39||36||Jefferson (Portland, Ore.)||0-0|
|40||39||Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.)||4-2|
|41||19||Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.)||6-1|
|42||NR||Sam Houston (Houston, Texas)||8-0|
|43||43||Jackson (Massillion, Ohio)||0-0|
|44||BB||Jonesboro (Jonesboro, Ark.)||3-0|
|45||50||Meridian (Meridian, Miss.)||7-0|
|46||45||Webster Groves (Webster Groves, Mo.)||0-0|
|47||NR||The Burlington School (Burlington, N.C.)||8-0|
|48||48||Trinity (Louisville, Ky.)||1-0|
|49||49||Providence Day (Providence, N.C.)||7-2|
|50||47||Bishop Miege (Shawnee Mission, Kan.)||0-0|
Dropped Out: Previous No. 15 Althoff Catholic (Belleville, Ill.), No. 26 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.), No. 27 Westlake (Austin, Texas), No. 28 Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah), No. 37 Lancaster (Lancaster, Texas), No. 42 Gray Collegiate Academy (West Columbia, S.C.), No. 44 Mae Jemison (Huntsville, Ala.), No. 46 St. Anthony (San Antonio, Texas).
Bubble Teams: Allen (Allen, Texas) 11-1; Althoff Catholic (Belleville, Ill.) 4-2; Apple Valley (Apple Valley, Minn.) 1-0; Archbishop Malloy (Queens, N.Y.) 1-0; Bingham (South Jordan, Utah) 1-1; Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) 0-1; Bishop Loughlin (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 1-0; Bishop O’Connell (Arlington, Va.) 2-0; Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.) 1-0; Blackman (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) 4-1; Blanche Ely (Pompano Beach, Fla.) 8-0; Bowling Green (Bowling Green, Ky.) 1-0; Brentwood Academy (Nashville, Tenn.) 3-0; Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, Calif.) 0-0; Centennial (Las Vegas, Nev.) 3-1; Champlin Park (Champlin, Minn.) 1-0; Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 0-0; Clark (Las Vegas, Nev.) 4-0; Corona Del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.) 3-0; Dakota (Macomb, Mich.) 0-0; Denver East (Denver, Col.) 3-0; Desert Vista (Phoenix, Ariz.) 2-0; Eaglecrest (Centennial, Col.) 2-0; El Dorado (El Dorado, Ark.) 6-0; Eleanor Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.) 0-0; Fairfax (Los Angeles, Calif.) 4-0; First Love Christian Academy (Washington, Pa.) 1-0; Forest Hill (Jackson, Miss.) 7-0; Fort Bend Bush (Richmond, Texas) 7-1; Grand Rapids Christian (Grand Rapids, Mich.) 0-0; Hudson Catholic (Jersey City, N.J.) 0-0; Jonesboro (Jonesboro, Ga.) 3-1; Iowa City West (Iowa City, Iowa) 1-0; Kickapoo (Springfield, Mo.) 2-1; Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) 2-0; Mae Jemison (Huntsville, Ala.) 10-2; Minneapolis North (Minneapolis, Minn.) 0-1; Morgan Park (Chicago, Ill.) 1-0; Natchitoches Central (Natchitoches, La.) 5-0; Norcom (Portsmouth, Va.) 2-0; North Central (Indianapolis, Ind.) 2-0; North Crowley (Ft. Worth, Texas) 10-2; Omaha South (Omaha, Neb.) 2-0; Parkview (Little Rock, Ark.) 4-1; Salesian (Richmond, Calif.) 2-0; Stevens Point (Stevens Point, Wis.) 3-0; St. James School (Hagerstown, Md.) 0-0; Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) 7-2; The Rock School (Gainesville, Fla.) 3-1; Trotwood-Madison (Trotwood, Ohio) 0-0; University Lab (Baton Rouge, La.) 7-0; University of Detroit Jesuit (Detroit, Mich.) 0-0; Wayne (Huber Heights, Ohio) 0-0; Wesley Christian (Allen, Ky.) 10-3; Westlake (Austin, Texas) 7-2; West Linn (West Linn, Ore.) 0-0.
Note: The FAB 50 powered by Ballislife.com is a continuation of the National Sports News Service ratings that began in 1952. These were the first national high school rankings and the late Art Johlfs of Minnesota compiled them. They were compiled for many years by the late Barry Sollenberger of Phoenix, who merged them into the FAB 50 17 years ago.