There are six new teams in the second edition of the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com for the 2020-21 season. The big news, however, is the talented teams that won’t be able to play this season and state associations figuring out how their teams can have a safe and somewhat successful one.
By Ronnie Flores
There was little doubt in the preseason the COVID-19 Pandemic was going to affect the 2020-21 high school basketball season, it was just a matter to what level. Before the season began, many of the top traditional holiday tournaments were scrapped, and after the season got underway in selected states, events such as the Spalding Hoophall Classic and Bass Pro Tournament of Champions were nixed.
There will be less games involving FAB 50 ranked teams over the traditional holiday break, but the second phase of the COVID-19 fallout is now upon us: teams not being able to play at all in the 2020-21 season because of public health guidelines set by government health departments and implemented by school districts.
On December 1, Clark County School District, which contains 72 high schools in the greater Las Vegas Valley of Southern Nevada, cancelled winter sports. Clark County School District includes Coronado (Henderson, Nev.) and Desert Pines (Las Vegas), two teams that started out No. 37 and No. 48, respectively, in the preseason FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com and had high hopes of winning a Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association (NIAA) Class 4A title. Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), the perennial NIAA power and nine-time defending NIAA champions, technically could have had a season, but with no local opponents and its best in-state competition not available to play, the Gaels opted out.
As we stated in the first FAB 50 update of the regular season, once we verify a team’s regular season has been canceled, they will be removed from the rankings in the next update (provided they didn’t play enough sanctioned contests to qualify for the final rankings). That’s the case this week with Coronado, Desert Pines and Bishop Gorman, as the Nevada trio drops out of the FAB 50 to make room for talented teams whose seasons are still on the shelf. It’s an unfortunate situation, but the reality of what high school sports is dealing with as we enter 2021.
In Virginia, Richmond Public Schools (RPS) cancelled winter sports (including basketball) on November 10, following the lead of the Arlington Public School system. Five days later, APS changed course and announced it will have a winter sports season. We are still awaiting verification of RPS’ decision and if it holds, No. 22 John Marshall (Richmond, Va.) will be removed from the rankings. The Justices are the defending Virginia High School League (VHSL) Class 2A champions and return four starters. For now, John Marshall remains at No. 22.
In most jurisdictions, the county and state health departments set COVID-19 guidelines that school districts use to determine the best and safest course of action for its student-athletes. To be clear, the NIAA and the VHSL have not completely cancelled basketball. It was a school district decision and in most cases, athletic governing bodies don’t dictate what school districts do.
Last week, the VHSL mandated that masks (facial coverings) must be worn at practice and competition during the winter season, based on recommendations from the Virginia Department of Health. Earlier today, the governing body rescinded its mask mandate. We’ve seen masks mandates made by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) and games in Wisconsin where they are required. Other school districts and governing bodies are trying to figure out the best course of action going forward to play in a safe manner. As one could imagine, players and parents have big-time concerns.
There have been published start dates in states that have not started competition, but many of them are fluid meaning they could be pushed back at any time. A handful of states are set to begin on January 4, 2021 with some states starting basketball later that month. California is still set for March 12, with New Mexico beginning on March 22 and Oregon set to begin a six-week season on May 17.
We take pride in our rankings’ (the longest-running in the industry) focus on the on-court results, but obviously off-the-court issues will be a big factor this season and there will be adjustments made along the way. While three teams did enter the rankings because of the misfortune of the NIAA member schools, three other programs did break into the FAB 50 based on what transpired on the court.
The highest-rated of six newcomers is No. 28 Lawrence North (Indianapolis), which defeated previous No. 18 Moeller (Cincinnati) in overtime, 58-57. The Fighting’ Crusaders saw a 27-game winning streak snapped, but they still rate as Ohio No. 1 after defeating FAB 50 No. 45 St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio), 66-57, in their previous game.
In Texas, Atascocita (Humble, Texas) remained unbeaten with a 59-56 win over previous No. 35 Shadow Creek (Pearland, Texas) to hand that club its first loss of the season at the Holiday Hoopfest in Houston. The Eagles are the second highest-rated newcomer this week at No. 33.
The next FAB 50 update is scheduled for Monday, January 4.
Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
Powered by Ballislife.com
(2nd poll of 2020-21 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, December 13; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included)
|No.||Prev.||High School (City)||Record|
|1||1||Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)||4-0|
|2||2||IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)||1-0|
|3||3||Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)||4-0|
|4||4||Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)||0-0|
|5||5||DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.)||0-0|
|6||6||St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)||0-0|
|7||7||La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)||0-0|
|8||8||Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.)||0-0|
|9||10||Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah)||8-0|
|10||11||Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.)||0–0|
|11||12||Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)||7-0|
|12||13||Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)||0-0|
|13||14||Camden (Camden, N.J.)||0-0|
|14||15||Legacy Early College (Greenville, S.C.)||6-1|
|15||16||Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas)||10-0|
|16||17||Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)||0-0|
|17||19||O’Dea (Seattle, Wash.)||0-0|
|18||25||Combine Academy (Lincolnton, N.C.)||10-0|
|19||23||Simeon (Chicago, Ill.)||0-0|
|20||21||Blair Academy (Blairstown, N.J.)||0-0|
|21||28||St. Raymond (Bronx, N.Y.)||0-0|
|22||22||John Marshall (Richmond, Va.)||0-0|
|23||31||Millard North (Omaha, Neb.)||4-0|
|24||29||Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)||0-0|
|25||42||Milton (Milton, Ga.)||5-2|
|26||30||Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)||0-0|
|27||27||Grayson (Loganville, Ga.)||6-2|
|28||NR||Lawrence North (Indianapolis, Ind.)||3-0|
|29||18||Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio)||3-1|
|30||32||Poly (Baltimore, Md.)||0-0|
|31||34||Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.)||0-0|
|32||33||North Mecklenburg (Huntersville, N.C.)||0-0|
|33||NR||Atascocita (Humble, Texas)||8-0|
|34||38||St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.)||0-0|
|35||36||Patrick School (Elizabeth, N.J.)||0-0|
|36||39||Notre Dame College Prep (Niles, Ill.)||0-0|
|37||35||Shadow Creek (Pearland, Texas)||7-1|
|38||40||Waukee Senior (Waukee, Iowa)||0-0|
|39||49||Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.)||9-1|
|40||41||Fern Creek (Louisville, Ky.)||0-0|
|41||37||Sandy Creek (Tyrone, Ga.)||5-2|
|42||43||Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)||0-0|
|43||NR||Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.)||6-0|
|44||45||Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.)||0-0|
|45||44||St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio)||1-1|
|46||46||Pace Academy (Atlanta, Ga.)||6-1|
|47||NR||Ribet Academy (Los Angeles, Calif.)||0-0|
|48||47||Marion (Marion, Ind.)||2-0|
|49||NR||Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.)||0-0|
|50||NR||Ballard (Louisville, Ky.)||0-0|
Dropped Out: Previous No. 9 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.), No. 20 West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.), No. 24 Coronado (Henderson, Nev.), No. 26 Houston (Germantown, Tenn.), No. 48 Desert Pines (Las Vegas, Nev.), No. 50 Brookfield Central (Brookfield, Wis.).
Bubble Teams: Adams (South Bend, Ind.) 3-0; American Fork (American Fork, Utah) 5-2; Bellevue West (Bellevue, Neb.) 3-0; Bishop Miege (Shawnee Mission, Kan.) 1-0; Blazer (Ashland, Ky.) 0-0; Blue Ridge (St. George, Va.) 0-0; Blue Springs (Blue Springs, Mo.) 0-0; Blue Valley Northwest (Overland Park, Kan.) 1-0; Brookfield Central (Brookfield, Wis.) 4-1; Callaway (Jackson, Miss.) 0-0; Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 5-1; Carmel (Carmel, Ind.) 4-0; Centennial (Corona, Calif.) 0-0; Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village, Col.) 0-0; Christ The King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 0-0; Christian Brothers (St. Louis, Mo.) 0-0; Clinton (Clinton, Miss.) 7-0; Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul, Minn.) 0-0; Crispus Attucks (Indianapolis, Ind.) 6-0; Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.) 3-3; Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.) 4-1; Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.) 0-0; Edmond Memorial (Edmond, Okla.) 4-0; Faith Family Academy (Dallas, Texas) 7-3; Fenwick (Oak Park, Ill.) 0-0; Garfield (Seattle, Wash.) 0-0; Grand Blanc (Grand Blanc, Mich.) 0-0; Green Run (Virginia Beach, Va.) 0-0; Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.) 2-2; Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.) 0-0; Houston (Germantown, Tenn.) 3-1; iSchool (Lewisville, Texas) 7-2; Jefferson (Portland, Ore.) 0-0; Kell (Marietta, Ga.) 5-1; King’s Fork (Suffolk, Va.) 0-0; Knoxville Catholic (Knoxville, Tenn.) 6-1; Las Cruces (Las Cruces, N.M.) 0-0; Magnolia (Magnolia, Ark.) 2-0; Male (Louisville, Ky.) 0-0; Marion (Marion, Ark.) 4-0; Mountain Pointe (Pheonix, Ariz.) 0-0; North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.) 2-0; Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.) 5-0; Richardson (Richardson, Texas) 4-1; Ramsay (Birmingham, Ala.) 5-1; Rangeview (Aurora, Col.) 0-0; River Rouge (River Rouge, Mich.) 0-0; Seattle Prep (Seattle, Wash.) 0-0; Starkville (Starkville, Miss.) 7-0; St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) 0-0; St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) 0-0; St. Mark’s (Dallas, Texas) 2-0; Waxahachie (Waxahachie, Texas) 4-2; Westlake (Austin, Texas) 9-1; Westover (Fayetteville, N.C.) 0-0; West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.) 6-3; Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 5-1; Windward (Los Angeles, Calif.) 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 21 years ago.