1st Regular Season FAB 50: NEW No. 1!

There was a full slate of holiday showcases and tournaments over Thanksgiving weekend and the results caused plenty of change in the first edition of the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com for the 2022-23 season. The highest ranked among seven newcomers is No. 32 Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) as NIBC play tipped-off in Utah last week. NIBC results also create a new No. 1, as previous No. 4 AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.) takes over the top spot after becoming FAB 50 eligible for the first time this season.

By Ronnie Flores

As we stated in the preseason, this year’s crop of elite teams and players have plenty to prove. One of the reasons we put Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) at preseason No. 1 in the FAB 50 was its track record. Sure coach Kevin Boyle has talent at his disposal, but so do other top ranked teams, particularly those in the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (NIBC). It also helped that the Eagles captured the Top Flight Invitational bracket at The Border League in Las Vegas in October. In that title game, Montverde Academy edged AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.) in overtime and downed Centennial (Corona, Calif.) in the semifinals. But the most prominent reason the program began at No. 1 is its success when it reached the pinnacle of high school basketball. Montverde has repeatedly won big games while ranked No. 1 and has a 26-5 record all-time at GEICO Nationals over the years.

Based on the results so far this season, it’s an easy call to move up preseason No. 4 AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.) to No. 1 after the Dragons downed Montverde Academy, 65-54, in their first-ever NIBC regular season game on November 22. Coach Ed Gipson’s club cemented the move by downing preseason No. 2 Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) the next evening at The 5 For The Fight National Hoopfest in Utah, 53-47, to move its current season record to 7-0. Beating the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams on back-to-back nights for a program eligible for the FAB 50 for the first time is a remarkable feat and the challenge for Gipson and his staff and players will be retaining the top spot in the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com .

Cincinnati-bound Rayvon Griffith had a terrific game versus Montverde Academy with 12 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals. It was a total team effort, as four other AZ Compass players scored at least eight points, while the defense forced 17 Montverde Academy turnovers and scored 17 points off those turnovers. The next night against Sunrise Christian, point guard Jordan Ross led the way offensively with 10 points (including 8-of-9 free throw attempts). Once again, however, it was the defensive effort that told the story, as the Dragons scored 19 points off 15 Buffaloes turnovers. Simply put, AZ Compass plays with the necessary defensive intensity to not only be the No. 1 ranked team in the country, but to stay the No. 1 ranked team in the country in a season in which it will face tough competition on a nightly basis.

“Last week in Utah was a great week for our program, as we captured two big wins to start our inaugural season in the NIBC,” said AZ Compass Prep Director Pete Kaffey. “Our players and coaching staff are looking forward to going to Kansas this week to win two big NIBC games to stay undefeated.”

The game against Sunrise Christian was a “trap game” for AZ Compass Prep, as the Buffaloes were coming off a surprising 56-55 loss to regionally-ranked and FAB 50 bubble club American Fork (American Fork, Utah). Perhaps the Buffaloes missed a healthy Ohio State-bound Scotty Middleton more than would have been expected before the game, but the first big rankings question of the season was what to do with Sunrise Christian Academy after it lost on back-to-back nights. We decided to drop them seven spots to No. 9 because of the closeness of the game with AZ Compass Prep and because of the upcoming games versus a plethora of ranked foes. Coach Luke Barnwell’s club looks to get on track at the Air Capital Hoopfest this week in Wichita, Kan. At some point, the American Fork result will become more prominent of a FAB 50 factor depending on how well that club and the Buffaloes play in the weeks and months to come.

Preseason No. 1 Montverde Academy drops to No. 2 after it bounced back from the loss to AZ Compass Prep with a 85-42 victory over Pleasant Grove (Utah).

The top newcomer this week is another NIBC club. Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) jumps in at No. 32 after defeating American Fork, 69-64, one night after that club upset Sunrise Christian Academy. Four players scored in double-figures for the Tigers led by senior forward Osiris Grady with 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field and 6-of-8 from the line. Over the weekend, Wasatch Academy traveled down to Atlanta for the Holiday Hoopgiving and came away with two victories, including a resounding 60-36 win over new No. 40 McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.). South Carolina commit Collin Murray-Boyles played well and the backcourt duo of senior R.J. Jones (Kansas St.) and sophomore Isiah Harwell are off to a hot start for coach Paul Peterson’s club.

The margin in the Wasatch Academy-McEachern result is significant because McEachern played FAB 50 No. 6 Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas) fairly tough (78-69) one game after knocking off preseason No. 35 Grovetown (Grovetown, Ga.), 88-80. Duncanville, meanwhile, had beaten four teams in its five games that were either ranked in the preseason or currently ranked, including a 59-57 victory on Saturday over No. 8 Centennial (Corona, Calif.) at the Thanksgiving Hoopfest at Sandra Meadows Memorial Arena at Duncanville. The Panthers, who finished No. 1 in the FAB 50 last season before being stripped of their University Interscholastic League (UIL) Class 6A state title by Texas’ governing body for high school athletics, put together a terrific defensive effort in the closing minutes against the defending California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) open division champs. Duncanville didn’t allow a field goal attempt on Centennial’s final possession and also got a big fourth quarter from Texas-bound and Mr. Basketball USA candidate Ronald Holland, who finished with 24 points. Duncanville, which will not participate in the UIL playoffs, faces No. 41 Bartlett (Bartlett, Tenn.) in its next game December 2.

The performances of regionally-ranked Durango (Las Vegas, Nev.) at the Thanksgiving Hoopfest and Coronado (Henderson, Nev.) at the O’Dowd Thanksgiving Showcase in Oakland, Calif., over the weekend helped defending NIAA Class 5A state champ Liberty (Henderson, Nev.) break into the FAB 50 at No. 43 as the second-ranked NIAA club behind No. 15 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.). Durango won two games against solid Texas clubs and Coronado downed previous No. 27 Modesto Christian (Modesto, Calif.), 78-70, behind a 26-point effort from UCLA recruit Sebastian Mack. The next evening in Oakland, he hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer in a 55-53 win over Salesian (Richmond, Calif.). Coronado faces No. 27 Simeon (Chicago) at Hoophall West in Arizona on December 10.

Durango, Liberty, Bishop Gorman, and Coronado wil all participatie in the Platinum Bracket at the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas, December 19-22. The field also includes new No. 47 Oak Cliff Faith Family (Dallas, Texas) and No. 35 West Ranch (Valencia, Calif.), which downed No. 37 Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) by two points, 66-64, on November 19. Notre Dame handed Modesto Christian its second loss in two nights, 98-72, at the NorCal Tip-Off Classic in Dublin, Calif.

Liberty and new No. 36 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) were the “first two out” of the preseason rankings. Gonzaga gives the powerful Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) three FAB 50 ranked teams with long-time FAB 50 mainstay DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) also a contender. DeMatha Catholic faces Notre Dame in Southern California on December 3.

The next FAB 50 update is scheduled for Monday, December 12.

RELATED:  Preseason 2022-23 FAB 50 National Rankings | Preseason 2022-23 Mr. Basketball USA Tracker | “In The Paint” Podcast (Spotify) |  “In The Paint” Podcast (YouTube) 

Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
Powered by Ballislife.com

(1st poll of 2022-23 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, November 27; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included)

No.Prev.High School (City)Record
14AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.)7-0
21Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)1-1
33Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)0-0
45Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)0-0
56IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)0-0
68Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas)5-0
77Camden (Camden, N.J.) 0-0
89Centennial (Corona, Calif.)4-1
92Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)2-2
1010Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.)0-0
1111Link Academy (Branson, Mo.)5-0
1212Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.)3-0
1313Cathedral (Indianapolis, Ind.)2-0
1415Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.)5-0
1516Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)1-0
1617Christ The King (Middle Village, N.Y.)0-0
1721Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C.)0-0
1818Columbus (Miami, Fla.)1-1
1922John Marshall (Richmond, Va.)0-0
2028Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.)1-0
2114Pickerington Central (Pickerington, Ohio)0-1
2234Lake Highlands (Dallas, Texas)4-1
2323Centerville (Centerville, Ohio)0-0
2419Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.)1-1
2525Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)0-0
2626Myers Park (Charlotte, N.C.)1-0
2729Simeon (Chicago, Ill.)0-0
2831Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.)0-0
2933St. John’s (Washington, D.C.)0-0
3030Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)9-0
3139Kenwood Academy (Chicago, Ill.)1-0
32BBWasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah)4-0
3340St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)1-0
3445Jackson-Reed (Washington, D.C.)0-0
35NRWest Ranch (Valencia, Calif.)4-0
36BBGonzaga (Washington, D.C.)2-0
3738Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.)4-1
3842Carmel Christian (Matthews, N.C.)6-1
3936La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)4-1
40BBMcEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.)5-2
4149Bartlett (Bartlett, Tenn.)6-0
4224The Rock (Gainesville, Fla.)7-3
43BBLiberty (Henderson, Nev.)0-0
4441Titino-Grace (Fridley, Minn.)0-0
4543George Rogers Clark (Winchester, Ky.)0-0
4644North Laurel (London, Ky.)0-0
47BBOak Cliff Faith Family (Dallas, Texas)8-0
4847Pewaukee (Pewaukee, Wis.)1-0
49BBBen Davis (Indianapolis, Ind.)2-0
5050Owyhee (Meridian, Idaho)0-0

Dropped Out: Previous No. 20 Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.), No. 27 Modesto Christian (Modesto, Calif.), No. 32 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.), No. 35 Grovetown (Grovetown, Ga.), No. 37 Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas), No. 46 Isidore Newman (New Orleans, La.), No. 48 Grissom (Huntsville, Ala.).

Bubble Teams:  American Fork (American Fork, Utah) 1-1; Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.) 0-0; Bellevue West (Bellevue, Neb.) 0-0; Bentonville (Bentonville, Ark.) 1-0; Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.) 4-0; Brophy Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) 0-0; Brother Rice (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) 0-0; Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 1-2; Carter (Dallas, Texas) 4-1; Catholic Central (Grand Rapids, Mich.) 0-0; Chaminade (St. Louis, Mo.) 0-0; Coronado (Henderson, Nev.) 2-0; Corner Canyon (Draper, Utah) 2-0; Del City (Del City, Okla.) 0-0; DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) 0-0; Durango (Las Vegas, Nev.) 2-0; Edmond North (Edmond, Okla.) 1-1; Garfield (Seattle, Wash.) 0-0; Gray Collegiate Academy (West Columbia, S.C.) 2-0; Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) 4-1; Heights (Wichita, Kan.) 0-0; Isidore Newman (New Orleans, La.) 3-1; Joliet West (Joliet, Ill.) 2-0; Kimball (Kimball, Texas) 4-1; Martin (Arlington, Texas) 6-1; Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 2-0; Modesto Christian (Modesto, Calif.) 0-2; Newton (Covington, Ga.) 2-1; Norcross (Norcross, Ga.) 4-0; North Crowley (Ft. Worth, Texas) 8-1; Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.) 2-0; O’Dea (Seattle, Wash.) 0-0; Patrick School (Elizabeth, N.J.) 0-0; Perry (Gilbert, Ariz.) 4-0; Providence Day (Charlotte, N.C.) 4-1; Putnam City West (Oklahoma City, Okla.) 2-0; Sacred Heart Griffin (Springfield, Ill.) 0-0; Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) 2-1; Staley (Kansas City, Mo.) 0-0; St. Bernard (Playa del Rey, Calif.) 3-0; St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio) 1-0; St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.) 0-0; St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) 1-0; Varina (Richmond, Va.) 0-0; Volcano Vista (Albuquerque, N.M.) 1-0; Waukee (Waukee, Iowa) 0-0; Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 2-1.

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 23 years ago.

Ronnie Flores is the national Grassroots editor of Ballislife.com. He can be reached at [email protected]. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores

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