The twelfth edition of the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com for the 2017-18 season sees two Top 10 ranked teams go down in flames in the state playoffs. Did those two teams drop all the way out? Playoff results lead to five new teams in this week’s rankings and for the second consecutive week there is another eligiblity issue surrounding a potential Geico Nationals participant that must be resolved.
By Ronnie Flores
Teams that play a strong national schedule get the benefit in the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com and two highly-regarded teams were sent home packing last week much earlier than their fans anticipated. Luckily for those fans, coaching staffs and players alike, one untimely loss doesn’t completely erase a season as their final fate will eventually be determined once their respective state playoffs are complete.
Previous No. 4 McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) was the odds-on favorite to capture the GHSA Class AAAAAAA crown and entered the post-season with zero losses to Peach State programs. McEachern, however, was shocked in the state quarterfinals by unranked Norcross (Norcross, Ga.) 75-55, as the Blue Devils got 22 points from Brandon Boston. A highly-regarded 2020 wing with multiple offers from ACC and SEC schools, Boston went for 23 points as Norcross rolled past bubble club Newton (Covington, Ga.) 86-66 in the state semifinals. McEachern, which has victories over No. 34 Hudson Catholic (Jersey City, N.J.) and new No. 4 Simeon (Chicago, Ill.), will likely be ranked in the final FAB 50, but at what position remains to be seen.
Coach Jesse McMillan’s Norcross club is now ranked higher than Hudson Catholic at No. 32 as this week’s highest newcomer, but remains behind McEachern…for now. One thing is certain, if the Blue Devils defeat cross-town Meadowcreek in this week’s state final, they will finish ranked higher than McEachern. The AAAAAAA state champ will finish higher than McEachern and if Norcross were to win, that would help the Indians since the Blue Devils have already beaten Meadowcreek three times this season.
Hudson Catholic comes from a strong state with multiple FAB 50 ranked teams, but its final ranking is a bit more dicey. It didn’t help that the Immaculate Conception (Montclair, N.J.) team Hudson Catholic lost to was thumped 92-63 by No. 12 Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) in its next game, a NJSAA Non Public B regional semifinal contest.
Previous No. 8 Guyer (Denton, Texas) is in a similar boat to Hudson Catholic after it fell in a UIL Class 6A regional final, 40-36, to Allen (Allen, Texas). Guyer tumbles to No. 42 this week and could fall out if Allen loses to No. 38 Westlake (Austin, Texas) in the state semifinals March 9. We strongly considered the Eagles for this week’s FAB 50, but since they lost two of three games to Guyer and have a loss to state semifinalist South Garland, we go with the Colonels in this week’s rankings at No. 40, two spots behind Westlake. South Garland takes on Tompkins (Katy, Texas) in its UIL Class 6A semifinal contest.
Another Eligibility Issue
Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) has been a stable of the FAB 50 and its precursor, the original National Prep Poll, dating back to the 1987-88 season. Steve Smith took over as head coach two seasons before that and ironically that 1987-88 season in the only once since in which the Warriors failed to earn a final ranking. Besides that season, the lowest Oak Hill has ever been ranked in the FAB 50 is No. 23 at the conclusion of the 2012-13 season.
The program could have been removed from this season’s FAB 50 following an eligibility snafu discovered this past week, but we decided to keep Oak Hill Academy in the rankings after reviewing the case. It’s unfortunate and there is no official word yet if this means Smith’s program will be excluded from Geico Nationals at the end of the month. The producers of that end-of-season event for ESPN, Skokie, Ill.-based Paragon Marketing Group, got wind of the eligibility issue involving a player on Oak Hill Academy’s roster.
“After receiving a phone call, we investigated it ourselves,” Smith told Ballislife. “With regards to the player, we got a transcript from St. Joseph (Huntington, W.Va.) and St. Augustine Catholic (Ontario, Canada) and neither had any record the student-athlete went to another school prior as a ninth-grader.”
The student-athlete, a reserve for Oak Hill Academy, has since been removed from the team and expelled from the school. “I never had reason to doubt him or anyone around him,” Smith said.
Oak Hill Academy would characterize this as a case of academic fraud, not an eligibility issue. In a written statement reviewed by Ballislife, Oak Hill Academy president Michael D. Groves stated the student-athlete and his guardian and/or representatives intentionally misrepresented the student-athlete’s high school attendance record and that as of Monday evening, the school still doesn’t have any official documentation of him attending high school in 2013-14.
As we stated last week, these types of eligibility situations put a black eye on all independent programs and curtails the chances of us ever promoting a true national high school tournament involving all state associations. We continue to hope these type of situations be resolved before the season begins and that independent programs work together to share information about prospective student-athletes who attend more than one program.
Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
Powered by Ballislife.com
(Twelfth poll of 2017-18 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, March 4; Previous ranking in parentheses; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included; ***Indicates foundation games not included; ****Indicates season complete)
|No.||Prev.||High School (City)||Record|
|1||1||Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)||33-0|
|2||2||Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)||42-1|
|3||3||University School (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)||31-1|
|4||5||Simeon (Chicago, Ill.)||27-3|
|5||6||Memphis East (Memphis, Tenn.)||27-3|
|6||7||Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)||31-4|
|7||10||Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)||31-3|
|8||9||La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.)||23-3|
|9||11||Shadow Mountain (Phoenix, Ariz.)||25-1|
|10||12||DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.)||29-5|
|11||13||Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.)||26-2|
|12||14||Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)||25-4|
|13||15||Riley (South Bend, Ind.)||24-0|
|14||16||Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.)||29-4|
|15||17||Upson-Lee (Thomaston, Ga.)||30-0|
|16||18||Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)||22-2|
|17||19||Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio)||23-3|
|18||20||Scott County (Georgetown, Ky.)||33-1|
|19||21||Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)||29-4****|
|20||26||Cox Mill (Concord, N.C.)||28-3|
|21||22||Salesian (Richmond, Calif.)||30-1|
|22||27||Warren Central (Indinapolis, Ind.)||28-0|
|23||4||McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.)||26-3****|
|24||37||Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)||23-6|
|25||35||Gill St. Bernard's (Gladstone, N.J.)||24-4|
|26||23||Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)||23-4|
|27||25||Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.)||27-1|
|28||30||Garfield (Seattle, Wash.)||28-1|
|29||28||Clarkston (Clarkston, Mich.)||19-1|
|30||40||New Albany (New Albany, Ind.)||23-1|
|31||32||Gonzaga Prep (Spokane, Wash.)||27-0|
|32||NR||Norcross (Norcross, Ga.)||28-3|
|33||43||St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)||35-5|
|34||24||Hudson Catholic (Jersey City, N.J.)||21-5****|
|35||38||Jefferson (Portland, Ore.)||24-3|
|36||41||Wayne (Huber Heights, Ohio)||23-1|
|37||39||IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)||22-5|
|38||45||Westlake (Austin, Texas)||36-3|
|39||48||Rayville (Rayville, La.)||33-0***|
|40||NR||South Garland (South Garland, Texas)||36-3|
|41||42||Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.)||25-1|
|42||8||Guyer (Denton, Texas)||38-2****|
|43||44||Carmel Christian (Matthews, N.C.)||24-4****|
|44||50||Brentwood Academy (Nashville, Tenn.)||25-5****|
|45||36||John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.)||29-8****|
|46||NR||Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah)||24-2|
|47||47||ThunderRidge (Highlands Ranch, Col.)||25-1|
|48||49||Meridian (Meridian, Miss.)||30-1|
|49||NR||Northside-Jax (Jacksonville, N.C.)||29-0|
|50||NR||Olympus (Salt Lake City, Utah)||27-0****|
Dropped Out: Previous No. 29 Plymouth-Whitemarsh (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.), No. 31 Waxahachie (Waxahachie, Texas), No. 33 Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul, Minn.), No. 34 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.), No. 46 Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.).
Bubble Teams: Abington (Abington, Pa.) 22-5; Allen (Allen, Texas) 32-5; Belleville West (Belleville, Ill.) 27-2; Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) 23-3; Bishop O’Connell (Arlington, Va.) 28-8; Broken Arrow (Broken Arrow, Okla.) 24-2; Canton (Canton, Miss.) 28-3; Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 22-5; Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul, Minn.) 24-2; Curie (Chicago, Ill.) 25-4; Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) 25-2; East Catholic (Manchester, Conn.) 23-0; Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.) 28-3; Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) 27-7; Greensboro Day (Greensboro, N.C.) 27-7****; Hazelwood Central (Florissant, Mo.) 26-2*; Lake Taylor (Norfolk, Va.) 24-1; Las Cruces (Las Cruces, N.M.) 28-1; Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) 23-3****; McPherson (McPherson, Kan.) 20-1; Memorial (Tulsa, Okla.) 24-2; Mills University Studies (Little Rock, Ark.) 29-2; Modesto Christian (Modesto, Calif.) 28-3; Mountain Brook (Mountain Brook, Ala.) 34-5****; Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.) 27-6; Newton (Covington, Ga.) 27-4****; Northwest Classen (Oklahoma City, Okla.) 27-1; Olive Branch (Olive Branch, Miss.) 24-4; Orr (Chicago, Ill.) 27-4; Oshkosh North (Oshkosh, Wis.) 23-1; Plymouth-Whitemarsh (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) 27-1; Ranney School (Tinton Falls, N.J.) 27-4; Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.) 32-1***; Rock Bridge (Columbia, Mo.) 25-1; Rock Canyon (Highlands Ranch, Col.) 24-2; Skyline (Ann Arbor, Mich.) 20-0; Spartanburg Day (Spartanburg, S.C.) 20-8****; Solon (Solon, Ohio) 22-1; Trinity Episcopal (Richmond, Va.) 26-4****; Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.) 20-5; Webster Groves (Webster Groves, Mo.) 18-9; Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.) 27-6****.
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 18 years ago.