NEW FAB 50: Special MLK Edition!

After all the MLK Monday results are in, there is plenty of change and a new Top 5 team in the this week’s special edition of the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com. There is also fast-rising clubs in the bottom half of the top 10 in addition to six newcomers. Paul VI of Virginia remains No. 1 and the newcomers are led by No. 27 Kenwood Academy (Chicago, Ill.).

By Ronnie Flores

As did many of the nation’s top teams, FAB 50 No. 1 ranked Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.) ventured to the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mo., to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and play a showcase game. The Panthers took on battle-tested and then FAB 50 No. 23 Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) and came away with a 72-59 victory. Mr. Basketball USA candidate DeShawn Harris-Smith had a big game for Paul VI with 23 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and four steals.

While Paul VI left the birthplace of basketball with a victory, not all top-ranked teams were so lucky and the results at that four-day event, in addition to the games at the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions in Springfield, Mo., led to major changes in this week’s FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com.

FAB 50 No. 3 Link Academy stamped itself as a major FAB 50 national title contender by defeating then No. 13 Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) in the Bass Pro TOC title game, 72-66, to remain unbeaten. Baylor-bound shooting guard Ja’Kobe Walter knocked down key shots and finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. Coach Bill Armstrong also had high praise for junior point guard Elliot Cadeau, as the North Carolina-bound playmaker had 16 points and eight assists while controlling the game’s tempo.

Sunrise Christian attempted the “Springfield Double” and traveled to the Eastern Seaboard on Sunday to take on No. 2 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) on MLK Monday after its TOC championship loss on Saturday. The Buffaloes were flat and Montverde Academy rolled to a 64-51 victory it was in control of the entire way. A balanced MVA effort included 13 points from junior junior guard Curtis Givens, 11 points from senior wing K.J. Evans and 10 points and eight assists from junior forward Liam McNeeley. The Eagles also defeated NIBC club La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) to remain at No. 2 in this week’s rankings.

Miro Little, a 6-foot-4 guard bound for Baylor, was the lone offensive bright spot vs. MVA for Sunrise Christian Academy, netting 17 points of 7-of-9 shooting. The Buffaloes actually move up two spots in this week’s FAB 50 because they own a NIBC victory over No. 16 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), which knocked off previous No. 5 AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.), 58-53, in the event’s final game. It was the Dragons’ second loss to IMG Academy in NIBC play this season, so the Dragons fall to No. 17 behind the Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.) club it lost to earlier in the season. Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.), which beat bubble club Oak Hill Academy of Virginia in its Hoophall game, has losses to No. 2 MVA and to No. 16 IMG Academy, which remains ranked lower than LuHi because of losses to No. 12 St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) and unranked Huntington Prep of West Virginia.

St. John’s fell from the ranks of the unbeaten and five spots to No. 12 after its Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) 72-64 loss to Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, Md.). The Cadets can’t fall any further, however, because of the quality of their schedule and an earlier victory over No. 16 IMG Academy. WCAC club Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) dropped its first game of the season to unranked Woodside (Newport New, Va.) at the DTLR MLK Classic on MLK Monday. The Purple Eagles, now at No. 20 in the FAB 50, were playing without sophomore point guard Nyk Lewis and remain tied for first place in the WCAC standings with top-ranked Paul VI and Bishop Ireton (Alexandria, Va.).

Two teams that moved up in the rankings following the Hoophall Classic are No. 6 Columbus (Miami, Fla.) and No. 7 Centennial (Corona, Calif.). Centennial defeated No. 10 Camden (N.J.), 66-62. Camden took a 39-38 lead mid-way through the third period, but Duke-bound guard Jared McCain answered with a 3-pointer and after a turnover and dunk by LMU-bound forward Aaron McBride, the Huskies kept their claws on the Panthers the rest of the way. McCain hit six dagger 3-pointers and scored 27 points, while McBride finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds and a handful of his trademark hustle plays that often make the difference in close games.

Mr. Basketball USA candidate D.J. Wagner finished with 27 points (12-of-23 field goal attmepts) in the loss to Centennial. On MLK Monday, the Panthers bounced back from the Centennial loss with a resounding 90-54 win over No. 39 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.). Six players netted double figures for Camden against a team that earlier defeated No. 41 Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) at the event, 82-66.

Columbus also owns a win over Camden and left Massachusetts with two victories of its own. The Explorers easily downed unranked San Ysidro (Calif.), 74-67, as Mr. Basketball USA candidate Cam Boozer, a sophomore, finished with 33 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals. On MLK Monday, Columbus defeated No. 32 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) to move up three spots in the rankings right in front of Centennial, the season-long top ranked team in the Cal-Hi Sports state Top 25 rankings.

Sierra Canyon went on a 11-0 run to take a 42-32 lead with just over five minutes remaining in the game. Columbus cut its deficit to one point (46-45) with 15.4 seconds remaining on two free throws by Boozer, and won the game 47-46 on a put-back layup off a Boozer miss by junior forward Malik Abdullahi with just over a second remaining after Sierra Canyon’s Isaiah Elohim missed the front end of a one-and-one situation. Boozer finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds, while Elohim scored 16 points for Sierra Canyon.

Columbus remains in front of Centennial mainly because of the Huskies’ loss to Wheeler. Both clubs have lost to No. 5 Duncanville (Texas), with Centennial’s third loss coming to No. 21 Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.), a team that lost to Camden. Columbus’ other losses are to No. 14 Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.), which plays Camden on January 28, and to No. 4 John Marshall (Richmond, Va.).

Unbeaten John Marshall is able to hop Duncanville, the defending FAB 50 champions, after previous No. 12 West Linn (Ore.) was shocked at the MLK Holiday Classic at De La Salle (Concord, Calif.), 63-53, by the host school. West Linn suffered its first loss and has earlier wins over Duncanville, Sierra Canyon and bubble club Modesto Christian (Modesto, Calif.).

The highest rated of the six newcomers this week is Kenwood (Chicago, Ill.) at No. 27. For the first time ever, Mike Irvin’s club is the top-rated club in the greater Chicago Metro after downing previous No. 14 Simeon (Chicago, Ill.), 46-43, in a Chicago Public League showdown. Kenwood, which began at No. 39 in the preseason rankings and plays Camden on Jan. 20 at Depaul University’s McGrath-Phillips Arena, got two clutch free throws from leading player Dai Dai Ames with five seconds remaining to seal the win.

Kenwood guard calmly sank two free throws with five seconds left to seal the victory. Kenwood defeated Simeon for the first time in program history, as the Kansas St.-bound guard finished with 20 points, six rebounds and four steals. Irvin pointed to the rugged play of 6-foot-8 Solomon Mosley as a key to victory.

Shout out to Kenwood and the other clubs that broke into the nation’s longest-running weekly national rankings. Kudos also go out to those event directors that took a moment during their busy events to honor Dr. King and his legacy.

RELATED:  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

(5th poll of 2022-23 regular season; Through games played on Monday, Jan. 16; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included)

No.Prev.High School (City)Record
11Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)15-1
22Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)14-2
33Link Academy (Branson, Mo.)18-0
46John Marshall (Richmond, Va.)14-0
54Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas)19-1
69Columbus (Miami, Fla.)16-3
716Centennial (Corona, Calif.)17-3
811Ben Davis (Indianapolis, Ind.)18-0
917Lake Highlands (Dallas, Texas)19-3
1010Camden (Camden, N.J.)11-2
1113Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)12-5
127St. John’s (Washington, D.C.)15-1
1320Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)10-2
1415Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.)13-2
1522Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.)20-1
1627IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)11-4
175AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.)14-4
1818Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.)11-1
1921Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas)21-1
208Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)16-1
2126Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.)12-1
2228Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.)21-1
2329Perry (Gilbert, Ariz.)19-1
2435Central Cabarrus (Concord, N.C.)17-0
2530West Ranch (Valencia, Calif.)21-1
2623Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)5-4
27NRKenwood Academy (Chicago, Ill.)15-2
2814Simeon (Chicago, Ill.)16-1
2924Cathedral (Indianapolis, Ind.)10-2
3031DME Academy (Daytona Beach, Fla.)15-4**
3112West Linn (West Linn, Ore.)13-1
3232Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)17-4
3336The Rock (Gainesville, Fla.)20-5
3441Garfield (Seattle, Wash.)9-0
3519Mt. St. Jospeh (Baltimore, Md.)19-3
3643Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.)10-3
3745Park Center (Brooklyn Park, Minn.)9-0
38NRRoman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.)13-1
3938Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)10-5
4044Oak Cliff Faith Family (Dallas, Texas)17-2**
4133Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.)9-6
4248Carter (Dallas, Texas)19-2
4349Bellevue West (Bellevue, Neb.)14-0
44NRPinson Valley (Pinson, Ala.)19-0
4547Lake City (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho)11-0
46NRCarmel Christian (Matthews, N.C.)21-3
47NRSt. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio)9-0
4850Cass Tech (Detroit, Mich.)11-0
49NROlympia (Orlando, Fla.)18-1
50NRBroken Arrow (Broken Arrow, Okla.)11-0

Dropped Out: Previous No. 25 Centerville (Centerville, Ohio), No. 34 Huntington Prep (Huntington, W. VA.), No. 39 Olympic (Charlotte, N.C.), No. 40 Staley (Kansas City, Mo.), No. 42 La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.), No. 46 Winter Haven (Winter Haven, Fla.).

Bubble Teams:  Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.) 7-5; Benet Academy (Lisle, Ill.) 19-1; Bentonville West (Centerton, Ark.) 17-1; Briarcrest Christian (Eads, Tenn.) 22-1; Brooklyn Collegiate (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 11-1; Brother Rice (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) 9-1; Brownsburg (Brownsburg, Ind.) 14-1; Bullis (Potomac, Md.) 15-1; Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 6-9; Centerville (Centerville, Ohio) 13-2; Christ School (Arden, N.C.) 20-2; Coronado (Henderson, Nev.) 8-6; Corner Canyon (Draper, Utah) 12-2; Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.) 16-2; Dougherty Valley (San Ramon, Calif.) 17-1; Durango (Las Vegas, Nev.) 8-3; Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) 16-0; Eagle’s Landing (McDonough, Ga.) 19-0; Edmond North (Edmond, Okla.) 12-2; Ellison (Killeen, Texas) 23-3; Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) 11-4; Hayfield (Alexandria, Va.) 11-1; Jackson-Reed (Washington, D.C.) 18-4; Kell (Marietta, Ga.) 15-2; Kimball (Kimball, Texas) 18-2; Liberty (Henderson, Nev.) 9-6; MacArthur (Decatur, Ill.) 17-1; Madison Prep (Baton Rouge, La.) 17-1; Metamora (Metamora, Ill.) 16-2; Modesto Christian (Modesto, Calif.) 15-4; Muskegon (Muskegon, Mich.) 8-0; Myers Park (Charlotte, N.C.) 13-4; Norcross (Norcross, Ga.) 15-2; North Farmington (Farmington Hills, Mich.) 8-1; North Mecklenburg (Huntersville, N.C.) 16-1; Northern Nash (Rocky Mount, N.C.) 16-0; Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 13-11; Oak Park (Kansas City, Mo.) 13-1; O’Dea (Seattle, Wash.) 11-3; Olympic (Charlotte, N.C.) 17-1; Penn (Wishawaka, Ind.) 10-1; Sacred Heart Griffin (Springfield, Ill.) 17-1; Scotlandville (Baton Rouge, La.) 20-2; Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C.) 12-3; Staley (Kansas City, Mo.) 12-1; St. Augustine (San Diego, Calif.) 16-3; St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) 11-3; Totino-Grace (Fridley, Minn.) 5-3; UOD Jesuit (Detroit, Mich.) 9-1; Volcano Vista (Albuquerque, N.M.) 17-0; Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) 8-8; Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 16-4.

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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