Preseason 2023-24 FAB 50: Top 15 Teams!

We conclude our 2023-24 preseason FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by with an in-depth look at the nation’s top 15 teams. We began with teams No. 31-50, continued with teams No. 16-30 and this is an in-depth look at the nation’s 15 best teams. Montverde Academy of Florida is the nation’s preseason No. 1 team for the ninth time as it seeks its seventh FAB 50 title in the past dozen seasons. 

All 50 teams are written up with explanations for why they are placed in these positions. Montverde Academy is in the top-ranked preseason club for the ninth time, tying the all-time FAB 50 era record held by Oak Hill Academy of Virginia. Montverde Academy has finished lower than No. 1 when starting out No. 1 three times, including No. 2 finishes for the past two seasons. In 2019, the Eagles finished No. 4 after losing in the GEICO Nationals semifinals to eventual national champ IMG Academy of Florida.

RELATED: Preseason 2023-24 FAB 50 (16-30) | Preseason 2023-24 FAB 50 (31-50) | Preseason East Region Top 20 | Preseason Southeast Region Top 20  | Preseason Midwest Region Top 20 | Preseason Southwest Region Top 20 | Preseason West Region Top 20 | Preseason FAB 50 Show (REPLAY) |  Ballislife Podcast Network | FAB 50 Rankings Criteria | History of High School Team Rankings

GO TO: No. 1 / No. 2 / No. 3 / No. 4 / No. 5 / No. 6 / No. 7 / No. 8 / No. 9 / No. 10 / No. 11 / No. 12 / No. 13 / No. 14 / No. 15

2023-24 High School Basketball: Raised Expectations

COVID-19 still lingers but the world is in a quite different place that it was in March of 2020 when the pandemic began. High school basketball across America is in a different place, too. Much of the difference lies in the fact players have more participation options to showcase themselves for the next level other than traditional high schools. Those options for the next level have also grown.

In addition to college basketball, elite prospects have the option to go pro overseas, as Top 50 prospect A.J. Johnson of SoCal Academy (Valencia, Calif.) chose to do so by signing a pro contract with Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL). Three Top 25 prospects in the 2023 national class signed with the NBA’s G League Ignite to play for former NBA guard Jason Hart: 6-foot-7 Dink Pate of Dallas (Pinkston, Texas), 6-foot-9 Matas Buzelis of Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) and 6-foot-8 Ronald Holland of Duncanville (Texas).

Arguably the biggest change in the landscape was the Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) policies that went into effect in July 2021 for collegiate athletes after NIL legislation in various states modeled after California’s “Fair Pay to Play Act” forced the NCAA’s hand. The financial freedoms associated with the revenue streams NIL created has quickly trickled down to the high school landscape. At this time last year, nine state associations that fall under the leadership of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) sanctioned NIL freedoms for its participating student athletes. Currently that number is 33 (plus Washington, D.C.) and it’s not hard to figure out it’s only a matter of time before state associations in all 50 states allow NIL freedoms.

Because of NIL and the economic impact it’s had on the college game in just over two years, more elite high school players are signing later than they have since the introduction of the NCAA’s early signing period 40 years ago. Elite players are clearly looking for the best financial package, and for some that means de-committing late and looking for greener pastures elsewhere. For Holland, that meant decommitting from Texas after the season in late April and announcing he would sign a pro contract with the G League Ignite team the last day of May.

At one time, Overtime Elite (OTE) was striving to be a viable option for aspiring professional players, but the Atlanta-based organization changed its tune when NIL became a reality for high school players, especially after elite high school players quickly realized they didn’t want to give up the collegiate basketball option by signing a professional contract, something OTE’s first wave of players did.

OTE has morphed into a quasi high school league by expanding to eight teams and there is plenty of talent that matriculated to OTE from programs eligible for the FAB 50 National Team Rankings, which have been published weekly since the 1987-88 preseason. OTE is now recruiting players to its teams as young as the 2027 class, so the talent pool at traditional public and parochial schools continues to be affected by NIL legislation.

In addition to the increased player options and NIL, the third big landscape change is the recommended rule change announced by the NFHS for 2023-24. The one-and-one free throw situation is now eliminated. The bonus situation now involves two guaranteed free throws that will occur after five fouls per quarter, instead of seven fouls per half. (High school hoops consists of four, 8-minute quarters.) The fouls will reset after each quarter and the opposition is shooting two on the fifth foul.

We’ve evaluated countless high school games over the past 30 years and the missed front end of 1-and-1’s have been the catalyst for many memorable comebacks. The gap between FAB 50 ranked teams and also-rans continues to grow and our take is the elimination of the 1-and-1 situation favors the team ahead on the scoreboard, which is usually the more talented team.

The game will flow better in the second and fourth period and the games could be faster, but it just became a bit harder to win for the team trailing on the scoreboard. Expect FAB 50 ranked teams to record even more blow out wins than they already do each year and for there to be an adjustment period for coaches, fans and occasionally referees who have been used to the game being played with no reset fouls per quarter and with the bonus situation.

The National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (NIBC) will reportedly expand for the second consecutive season, after adding two teams, Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.) and AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.), in 2022-23. Now entering its third full season of conference play, the NIBC will consist of 14 teams in 2023-24. There hasn’t been a formal announcement for each program, but it looks like Canyon International Academy (Glendale, Ariz.), Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.), Link Academy (Branson, Mo.), Orangeville Academy of Ontario, Canada and Veritas Prep (Chino Hills, Calif.) will be the new additions. 

And for the twelfth consecutive season, one of the NIBC’s member programs opens up preseason No. 1 in the nation’s longest-running weekly rankings.

Montverde Academy: No. 1 Again

Last season, there wasn’t a slam dunk preseason No. 1 team in the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Montverde Academy of Florida was more of a safe pick, but this season the Eagles are more of a slam dunk because of their returning talent.

Montverde Academy also has plenty of incentive after capturing the 2022-23 regular season National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (NIBC) championship only to lose in the first round at GEICO Nationals to Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.), 46-45. The Buffaloes were the 2021-22 regular season NIBC champion while Montverde Academy won the inaugural title in 2020-21, the season the NIBC began its league with a makeshift schedule. That season was also the last time Montverde Academy captured the FAB 50 national title.

With three returning starters, all of whom earned some All-American acclaim, and six lettermen back, this team is about as sure-fire of a preseason No. 1 as any of the previous eight clubs under head coach Kevin Boyle good enough to earn the prestigious pole position. This includes the first MVA team to open No. 1 back in 2012-13 when no other credible national rankings had the Eagles as preseason No. 1 despite fielding one of the most physically imposing teams we’d ever seen up to that point.

This year’s Montverde Academy club is not as physically imposing as that one 11 years ago, but is as skilled as any team in the country led by Cooper Flagg, the 6-foot-8 do-it-all dynamo who earned All-American Elite Team honors (second five) as a sophomore after averaging 9.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.0 apg and 2.2 bpg on a balanced team where four players averaged between 9-14 points. Flagg, who re-classed up and is now part of the senior (2024) class was the team’s best all-around player in 2022-23 and he’s improved since then.

Winning in the NIBC will be tougher than ever, but perhaps even more important to the Eagles’ chances of capturing NIBC and FAB 50 crowns than the talent or motivation is the experience factor.

“It’s really beneficial when you have veteran guys who know the system and been in it a couple of years,” said Montverde Academy assistant coach Dan Schantz. “The guys took the first round (GEICO) loss hard in the locker room. We have a hungry, veteran squad.”

Who is the best bet to challenge Montverde Academy for the 2023-24 FAB 50 National crown?

RELATED: Preseason 2023-24 FAB 50 (16-30) | Preseason 2023-24 FAB 50 (31-50) | Preseason East Region Top 20 | Preseason Southeast Region Top 20  | Preseason Midwest Region Top 20 | Preseason Southwest Region Top 20 | Preseason West Region Top 20 | Preseason FAB 50 Show (REPLAY) |  Ballislife Podcast Network | FAB 50 Rankings Criteria | History of High School Team Rankings

GO TO: No. 1 / No. 2 / No. 3 / No. 4 / No. 5 / No. 6 / No. 7 / No. 8 / No. 9 / No. 10 / No. 11 / No. 12 / No. 13 / No. 14 / No. 15

Preseason 2023-24 FAB 50 National
Team Rankings Powered by

By Ronnie Flores

(Final 2022-23 ranking in parentheses; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included; Look for preseason Region-By-Region Top 20 Rankings on Tuesday, November 7 and for the preseason Mr. Basketball USA Tracker on Tuesday, November 21.)

1. (2) Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 23-3 
Key Players:
SF Cooper Flagg 6-8 2024 (No. 1, Ballislife First Team All-American, Duke commit), PF Derik Queen 6-9 2024 (No. 12, Ballislife Underclass All-American), PG Rob Wright III 6-0 2024 (No. 20, Ballislife Second Team All-American, Baylor Commit), SF Liam McNeeley 6-7 2024 (No. 15, Ballislife Second Team All-American), PF Asa Newell 6-9 2024 (No. 10, Georgia commit), PG Curtis Givens III 6-2 2024 (No. 33, LSU commit).
Why This Ranking: Whereas there was no consensus No. 1 player in the senior class last year and the Eagles were not an overwhelming preseason No. 1, that is not the case this year. Flagg is now the consensus No. 1 player in the senior class while his team is a logical preseason No. 1. Some feel he’s the best player and prospect in the country, even though last season’s Mr. Basketball USA is back. Flagg, with his impact on both ends of the floor, is that good. Flagg is a gifted scorer, a versatile defender and arguably the best shot-blocker in the country. Look for him to take a step up in production and leadership with this group. “We’ve had No. 1 and No. 2 ranked guys in the country before, but never a guy with his social media presence,” Montverde Academy assistant coach Dan Schantz said. “The amount of 12-year olds that want to get close to him or people on IG, it’s constant. He’s still the same kid, one of the guys, and is handling it well.” While MVA’s players and coaching staff are used to handling the limelight, teams are going to have a nightmare of a time handling Queen (11.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.1 apg). We didn’t see a better performer this summer and if it wasn’t for Flagg on his same team, Queen would be a big-time Mr. Basketball USA candidate as well. He was the National Freshman of the Year in 2020-21 at St. Frances Academy of Baltimore, but didn’t have a huge sophomore impact on a MVA club that finished No. 2 in the FAB 50. With improved conditioning, he started to show All-American glimpses last season and put it all together this past summer. Kids across the country aspire to be like the Warriors’ Steph Curry, but for big men the model is NBA World Champion Nikola Jokić and with his versatile game, soft touch around the basket, passing ability and ability to relieve pressure in the backcourt, Queen is the closest thing to Joker in the high school game. While Flagg and Queen were second team all-NIBC choices, McNeeley was a first team choice after averaging a team leading 12.4 ppg and 4.0 rpg while shooting 45 percent from 3-point range and 85 percent from the line. According to the coaching staff, McNeeley is working on the little things to be a more potent offensive player and make MVA that much harder to guard. “He is honing in on playing under control,” Schantz said. “At times he was trying to do too much. He’s always been a great shooter, but he’s working on recognizing the game, and getting better off the dribble, as well as off pin downs.” There is a lot to like about this club and really no glaring weakness.
The Skinny: So just how dominant has Montverde Academy been in the last decade? This is the ninth time Montverde Academy has started as preseason FAB 50 No. 1, tying the record held by Oak Hill Academy of Virginia. Montverde has started lower than No. 1 three times in the past 12 seasons, whereas the Warriors under Steve Smith (who retired following the 2021-22 season) was No. 1 nine times in a span of 27 seasons (first in 1990-91 and last in 2016-17). Should this MVA unit finish No. 1, head coach Kevin Boyle (311-26 at MVA, 821-158 overall) would tie Smith as the coach with the most all-time FAB 50 No. 1 teams (7). Newell (6.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg) would be an All-American candidate at nearly every other school and is an oozing talent who is working hard to expand his defensive versatility. Last season, Newell and Queen couldn’t play much together because it caused the perimeter defense to weaken too much for Boyle’s taste, but that duo is ready to be on the court more often together. Givens (4.0 ppg, 2.2 apg) is a steady veteran who pushed starting guard Chris Johnson (Kansas) last season and is unselfish. The coaching staff really likes what he brings to the table because of his understanding of the game. The player who could take this team to the next level is Wright, who plays like he was born for the point guard position. “He’s a special player who can get the paint touches we need and has a great feel for the game,” Schantz said. If all the pieces mesh together, the starters stay relatively healthy and Newell and Queen learn how to maximize each other’s abilities, this unit could be comparable to the best teams Boyle has had in his time at Montverde. The program’s 26-6 (.813) all-time record at GEICO Nationals still is much better than the second best team to regularly play in the end-of-season event and anything less that the program’s seventh event title will be an internal disappointment. Montverde’s conference and national schedule is as tough as ever and there are few easy wins. Not to mention, every team is going to be gunning for the Eagles. MVA will open with No. 23 Wasatch Academy and highly-regarded American Fork at the Five For The Fight National Hoopfest (Pleasant Grove, Utah) on Nov. 20-21. The great thing about Montverde’s schedule is it will lead to the preseason rankings taking care of itself on the court and that will take place early. The Eagles will host No. 3 Columbus on Dec. 1 and could potentially meet that club (or No. 2 Link Academy) once again in the finals of the City of Palms Classic on Dec. 23. Either way, the Eagles will have already played Link Academy on Dec. 8 in Las Vegas, Nev., as part of the Nike/NBA Showcase. Montverde Academy (who could face No. 5 Paul VI or No. 7 IMG Academy on its side of the COP Bracket) will face No. 6 Prolific Prep on Jan. 14, at the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass. This year’s Montverde Academy Invitational Tournament (Jan. 25-27) includes Prolific Prep and No. 28 Oak Ridge. With the 14 teams that are now part of the NIBC, there are less regular season matchups with fellow NIBC clubs, but with its schedule MVA likely will play a couple of the other top-ranked teams in the country more than once. The 2017-18 R.J. Barrett club is the only MVA FAB 50 champ to finish its season unbeaten (36-0). Even if this MVA team doesn’t match that, if it avenges any regular season loss the Eagles have a chance to be considered one of the program’s best teams in their incredible dozen-year run.

2. (1) Link Academy (Branson, Mo.) 27-1 
Key Players: SG Tre Johnson 6-6 2024 (No. 4, Ballislife First Team All-American, Ballislife National Junior Player of the Year), PG Labaron Philon 6-4 2024 (No. 27, Ballislife Underclass All-American, Kansas commit), C James Brown 6-9 2024 (No. 57, North Carolina commit), PG Jasper Johnson 6-4 2025 (No. 8, PG Aaron Rowe 6-0 2025 (No. 19, SF Jalen Shelley 6-8 2024 (No. 35, Arkansas commit), SG T.O. Barrett 6-4 2024 (No. 88, Missouri commit).
Why This Ranking: This program has made a quick ascension in the high basketball world, going from FAB 50 eligible for the first time in 2021-22 to capturing 2023 GEICO Nationals, which propelled the Lions to the No. 1 spot in the FAB 50. Another remarkable aspect of their 2022-23 FAB 50 National crown is head coach Billy Armstrong was in his first year under the helm. With stalwarts such as Ja’Kobe Walter (Baylor) and Elliot Cadeau (North Carolina) moving on, the Lions have their work cut out for them and they actually have to replace basically the entire roster. That was the case last season, too, and Armstrong had the formula to get his team through a tough schedule and peaking for GEICO Nationals at the end of the season, so we like them in this spot by a whisker over No. 3 Columbus. Walter was the Lions’ go-to player last year who played great at GEICO Nationals and this year Armstrong expects the same output from Johnson, last year’s National Junior Player of the Year who led Lake Highlands (Garland, Texas) to a Texas Class 6A state title and No. 8 FAB 50 ranking by averaging 21.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.7 apg and 1.7 spg. Before Montverde’s Cooper Flagg moved in the 2024 class, many considered Johnson its best prospect and he’s eager to show he can be just as effective with the day-in-day-out competition the NIBC affords. “I knew coming in Tre was a winner and competitive, but I didn’t realize to that extent how competitive,” Armstrong said. “He’s also a bit bigger than I thought and has a nice pace to his game. Really, he’s better than I thought he was.” Johnson has a chance to be the best player Armstrong has coached and is doing a good job of blending his game with more talented players during fall camp. The program’s other Johnson, Jasper, will man one of the guard slots and could be the top point guard in the junior class. Philon was Alabama’s Class 7A Player of the Year as a mere sophomore and averaged 34.7 ppg and 6.0 rpg as a junior when he was Gatorade State Player of the Year for Baker (Mobile, Ala.). He obviously won’t score like that on this unit, but Philon is a big matchup problem in Armstrong’s three-guard attack. Link Academy had plenty of front court depth on its title club last year, but this time around the Lions will be more uptempo offensively, looking to turn teams over, and make up for what they lack in size and girth with speed and length. “We have a real opportunity to win back-to-back nattys (finish No. 1) if we can get out of our comfort zone and approach each play to get better,” Armstrong said.
The Skinny: It was a close call to place the Lions at No. 2 over Columbus, but we like their talent level and track record in a short period of time. Two years ago, the Lions began at No. 40 and last year at No. 11, which was more realistic for their talent level. In two trips to GEICO Nationals in two years, the Lions are 5-1 (.833), which is actually a better winning percentage at the event than Montverde Academy, albeit over a shorter period of time. The Lions will have the opportunity to live up to their preseason billing and build on that excellent winning percentage if they rebound and defend the interior on a NIBC championship level. “We are dynamic and the sky’s the limit offensively, but we have a ways to go defensively,” Armstrong said. “We have to find a way to hang in there on the glass.” Brown is a strong piece who can move his feet defensively and switch. Brandon Benjamin (6-8, 2024) hardly played on the championship club last season, but his defensive length will be key this season. Shelley is a natural 3-man, but will be more of a face-up 4-man in Link’s lineup because of his ability to defend and rebound. Armstrong feels the health and availability of that trio will be key with Andre Iguodala Jr. (6-6, 2025) and Brandon Crawford (6-10, 2024) adding depth. Armstrong feels T.J. Stuttley (6-4, 2025) and Iguodala could really step up and help this club and with its schedule, developing depth is necessary. Last year’s regular season was lighter, and the Lions were not ready for Montverde Academy (84-58 loss), but the setback helped them re-group to come into GEICO Nationals with a chip on their shoulder. Link Academy, which is sanctioned to play Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) schools, have two early games before taking on NIBC clubs Canyon International Academy (Glendale, Ariz.) and No. 16 AZ Compass Prep at the Five For The Fight National Hoopfest (Pleasant Grove, Utah) on Nov. 21-22. Link Academy has two quality opponents at the Thanksgiving Hoopfest in Texas (Nov. 24-25), and will take on No. 6 Prolific Prep on Dec. 2 at the Derek Smith Shootout in Louisville, Ky. The Lions will play in the City of Palms Classic and could face No. 3 Columbus in a monster quarterfinal matchup if they get past No. 26 North Mecklenburg in the opening round. After the New Year’s, the Lions face No. 7 IMG Academy (Jan. 15) at the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass. After a trip to the Quincy Shootout (Jan. 19-20), the Lions will face No. 4 Long Island Lutheran at the Metro Classic in New Jersey (Feb. 2). The regular season will conclude with the NIBC Final Showcase (March 8-9) with games versus No. 23 Wasatch Academy and Oak Hill Academy of Virginia.

3. (6) Columbus (Miami, Fla.) 26-4 
Key Players: PF Cameron Boozer 6-9 2025 (No. 2, Mr. Basketball USA), PG Cayden Boozer 6-3 2025 (No. 16, PF Malik Abdullahi 6-7 2024, PG Jase Richardson 6-2 2024 (No. 28, Michigan St. commit), SG Jaxon Richardson 6-5 2026 (No. 14, SG Benny Fragela 6-2 2025.
Why This Ranking: The difference between the programs at Columbus and No. 2 Link Academy is stark. One is a parochial school in a large metropolitan region and the other is an academy-program in a city of 15,000 located in the Ozark Mountains, but from a rankings perspective they have plenty in common. Both were small players on the national scene two seasons ago, but enjoyed strong seasons and finished FAB 50 ranked, as Link Academy advanced to GEICO Nationals title game and Columbus won the FHSAA Class 7A state title. In 2022-23, the two programs took it one step further, as Link Academy started out No. 11 and won the mythical FAB 50 title while Columbus was a major FAB 50 title contender, finishing No. 6. This year both are prime national champion candidates and the results of their early-season games will impact the teams in the FAB 50 for the entire season. Columbus has the ingredients to become the first parochial team to capture the FAB 50 crown since the now defunct St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) in 2010-11. The only major difference this year from last is big game experience and expectations, as coach Andrew Moran’s club has the opportunity to take down some of the nation’s best academy-type programs on a national schedule. It starts with Cameron Boozer, who last season averaged 21.1 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 4.2 apg and 2.0 bpg, while shooting 62.1 percent from the field, 41.6 percent from the 3-point line and 89.1 percent from the line on a team that captured a second consecutive state crown. He was so dominant he became the first sophomore ever (dating back retroactively to 1955) to earn Mr. Basketball USA honors as the best player in the country. It was quite a statement as a 15-year old and Boozer has plenty of firepower around him for his team to rank as the heavy favorite to win a third straight Class 7A crown and perhaps a first-time No. 1 FAB 50 finish for a FHSAA program. Fellow junior Cayden Boozer (15.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.3 apg, 2.0 spg), Cam’s brother, displayed marked improvement over the summer and is a bonafide All-American candidate as a strong play-maker who can get downhill or stroke it from the outside. Abdullahi, an athletic forward who excels on set plays, often sparks the Explorers with a big offensive finish or a big defensive play and is a key cog defensively during Columbus’ big games. Fragela (7.2 ppg) is a floor-spacer who plays an important role in keeping the defense honest and not collapsing on the team’s star player.
The Skinny: Only three times in the last 70 years has the best player in high school basketball returned the following season: Jerry Lucas in 1958, Lew Alcindor in 1965 and LeBron James in 2003. Boozer will be the fourth and sometimes when you have a star player of his caliber you have to place his team high and see where the chips fall. We made the mistake of not placing Michael Porter’s team at Nathan Hale (Seattle, Wash.) high enough in the 2016-17 preseason (No. 38) when he had just enough of a supporting cast around. Last year in the preseason, we mentioned the whispers surrounding Cam Boozer stating he was the nation’s best player regardless of class were growing louder and he ended up kicking in the door. In the end, we decided Link Academy’s post-season pedigree and depth of players gave the defending FAB 50 champion the slight edge over the Explorers. Graduated guard Garyn Bess gave Columbus plenty of pop and athleticism from the guard position, but the Richardson brothers, transfers from FAB 50 power Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas, add another dimension and could make all the difference in the close games. Jase Richardson can run a club or slide to the two-guard as a crafty finisher, while Jaxon Richardson is an explosive wing guard who can make big plays on both ends of the floor. Added depth comes in the form of two talented freshmen: Anthony Walcott (6-5, 2027) and Zacarus Dawson (5-9, 2027). Obviously keeping the star players on the floor will be key in the big games, but do the Explorers have enough interior strength to survive their early-season and schedule and head into 2024 the No. 1 team in the country? We’ll find out when they host No. 6 Prolific Prep on Nov. 22, take on No. 21 McEachern at the Holiday Hoopsgiving (Nov. 24-25) and travel upstate to face top-ranked Montverde Academy on Dec. 1. The Explorers could face MVA a second time later in the month at the City of Palms Classic in Ft. Myers, Fla., but they’ll have to get by plenty of landmines before they can think about any potential COP title game date with the Eagles. Columbus opens with No. 32 Archbishop Ryan and will likely face No. 2 Link Academy in a COP quarterfinal showdown.

4. (10) Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.) 23-3 
Key Players: SG V.J. Edgecombe 6-5 2024 (No. 4, Ballislife Underclass All-American), PF Godswill Erheriene 6-9 2024 (No. 108, C Alier Malik 6-10 2025 (No. 21, SG Kiyan Anthony 6-4 2025 (No. 36, PG Nigel James Jr. 6-0 2025, SF Jacob Ross 6-5 2025 (No. 75, PG Kayden Mingo 6-1 2025 (No. 75, PG Dylan Mingo 6-3 2026 (No. 13
Why This Ranking: LuHi cracks the preseason FAB 50 for the seventh consecutive season and this could be the program’s best unit in that time frame. It’s not only that coach Jon Buck (290-59) returns seven lettermen, it’s LuHi's combination of talent level and experience in high level games that puts the Crusaders in this position. It starts with Edgecombe, who broke out and was impressive enough as a junior to earn NIBC Player of the Year honors with some eye-popping performances in leading LuHi to nine consecutive conference victories. Edgecombe averaged 15.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.3 apg and is a shoo-in Mr. Basketball USA candidate if LuHi’s surrounding talent meshes and plays to his talents. Erheriene (7.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg) is flanked by newcomer Maluk, an elite rim-protector who can score effectively and is rapidly becoming one of the top junior prospects in the country. The Crusaders did lose two fine backcourt men in Jayden Reid (South Florida) and Jayden Ross (UConn), but have nice inside-out balance. They actually could be deeper on the perimeter this year than last, with the addition of James, who averaged 13 ppg, 6 rpg, and 4 apg at Cushing Academy (Mass.) and with the continued maturation of Ross and the Mingo brothers, who are considered two of the best lead guard prospects in their respective class. If Anthony has a breakout season, LuHi will be as tough to guard as any team in the NIBC and with the depth could rack up wins even if Edgecombe doesn’t have a big scoring night.
The Skinny: In its first season in the NIBC, LuHi finished 10-2, one game behind Montverde Academy in the conference standings and qualified for GEICO Nationals for the first time. LuHi is a more talented team this season but so are the Eagles so we’ll wait and see if the Crusaders can make another big conference run with a 12-game conference schedule (each of the 14 teams doesn’t play one conference foe). There is also plenty of motivation as LuHi, the defending New York Federation Tournament of Champions winner, defeated AZ Compass Prep during the regular season but fell to that same team at GEICO Nationals by one point, 73-71, in a quarterfinal game in which Edgecombe shot 4-of-12 from the field. LuHi has a daunting schedule, but has the depth and length to navigate through it. According to assistant coach Jay David, the team also is building good continuity, stating “our schedule is daunting, but I’m excited for the challenge; we have 10 D1 guys on this roster and some really good youth.” LuHi will head to the Marshall County Hoopfest in Kentucky (Nov. 30), the Hoopfest in Paradise (Dec. 15-16) and are part of the loaded field at the City of Palms Classic in Florida. LuHi will likely play the Don Bosco Prep-McEachern winner in the tourney quarterfinals. In addition to its loaded conference schedule, the Crusaders will take on No. 3 Columbus at the Hoophall Classic over MLK weekend.

5. (18) Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) 31-4 
Key Players: SF Darren Harris 6-5 2024 (No. 45, Ballislife Underclass All-American, Duke commit), SF Isaiah Abraham 6-6 2024 (No. 41, UConn commit), C Garrett Sundra 6-10 2024 (No. 124, Notre Dame commit), PG Ben Hammond 5-11 2024 (Rhode Island commit), C Patrick Ngongba II 6-11 2024 (No. 19, SF Adlan Elamin 6-8 2025 (No. 69, SF Jaquan Womack 6-7 2025.
Why This Ranking: Since the abbreviated 2020-21 season, the Panthers have been quite dominant in the rugged Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) and are deserving of a high ranking for the second consecutive season. In 2021-22, the Panthers captured the program’s first WCAC tourney crown since 2013-14 and last season came within one possession of becoming the first conference team since their 2012 unit to go unbeaten through the WCAC regular season and playoffs. With four starters and 10 lettermen returning and plenty of depth and experience, Paul VI is once again a legit FAB 50 title contender and could potentially be better than last year’s club that began at No. 3 and spent some time at No. 1. The lone graduating starter is a big loss, WCAC MVP DeShawn Harris-Smith (Maryland), but Harris will smoothly step in the go-to role and is capable of 20-point plus nightly outings. He was an all-WCAC and second five Washington Post All-Met choice last year and comes into this season on a high note, after earning Nike Peach Jam MVP honors in leading Team Final to the prestigious tourney title. Abraham is a solid shooter who can play both forwards sports and gets it done on both ends of the floor. The interior is covered by Sundra, who gained plenty of experience in a supporting role last season while Ngongba is fast-riser who should parlay a big summer into a terrific senior season. Elamin, a transfer from No. 43 Bishop O’Connell, is a fluid athlete that will help the Panthers go small or big when the situation calls for it. It’s hard to find a shortcoming with this unit and it should be in the thick of the FAB 50 title mix even if it drops a game early.
The Skinny: Last year’s young team spent some time at No. 1, but a majority of the roster is more physically stronger and experienced than a year ago and that should pay dividends. Hammond returns as a lead guard and Harris has experience at that position, too, if coach Glenn Farello (549-207) wants to keep teams off balance with various lineups. Not only that, Jordan Smith Jr. (6-3, 2026) is one of the best guards in the nation in his class and had plenty of standout games as a freshman. Anthony Brown Jr. (6-1, 2026) is not too far behind, Jordan Hunter (6-2, 2026) would be a starter at a vast majority of the programs in the country and Troy Homlin (6-3, 2027) joins the fold. The speed, quickness and length is impressive and there is enough firepower and experience for the Panthers to start out as the No. 1 WCAC club over No. 12 Gonzaga, which lost to the St. John's club that beat the Panthers in the 2023 WCAC tournament championship game. Paul VI has been preseason ranked 10 of the past 12 years, started out No. 4 in 2019-20 and 2020-21 and No. 3 last season, but even though this club starts off a tad lower it might have the best chance of Farello’s recent units to finish No. 1. The Panthers will take part in the D.C. Hoopfest (Dec. 9-10) and then will enter the City of Palms Tournament (Dec. 18-23), along with 12 other FAB 50 ranked foes, as the No. 4 seed. They open with Millennium (Goodyear, Ariz.) and will face the IMG Academy-Richmond Heights winner in the quarterfinals. After New Year’s, a game with No. 3 Columbus at the Spalding Hoophall Classic (Jan. 15) will have major FAB 50 title implications. This year, Paul VI will make the vaunted “Springfield Double” trek, participating in the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions in Springfield, Mo. (Jan. 11-13) along with No. 19 St. John Bosco, No. 21 McEachern, and No. 34 Edmond North.

6. (NA) Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.) 35-2
Key Players: SF Tyran Stokes 6-7 2026 (No. 1, Ballislife Underclass All-American), SF A.J. Dybansta 6-8 2025 (No. 1, Ballislife Underclass All-American), PG Zoom Diallo 6-4 2024 (No. 19, SF Derrion Reid 6-7 2024 (No. 9, C Aiden Sherrell 6-11 2024 (No. 14, Alabama commit), SG Mikey Lewis 6-3 2024 (No. 52, St. Mary's commit).
Why This Ranking: The Crew, an academy-type program based out of Napa Christian (a member of the California Interscholastic Federation’s North Coast Section) is not new to the national high school scene by any means. They are FAB 50 eligible for the first time and should be instant title contenders with their blinding talent, big game experience and national schedule. Prolific Prep has played for nine seasons on the Grind Session, a loose conglomerate of academy-type programs around the country. One of the prerequisites to be FAB 50 eligible is to play in a league or conference with structured bylaws and this season Grand Session programs with the strongest infrastructure and best reputations have formed a 12-team league called the Power 10 Conference. All Power 10 members must be recognized by the NCAA Eligibility Center and each program must have a designated school official, that’s not part of the coaching staff, to review eligibility matters. Prolific Prep has been knocking on the door of the nation’s FAB 50 powers for over five years and Ryan Bernardi, an extremely positive 26-year old coach, will field the program’s finest team to date. Diallo, Reid and Sherrell are legitimate McDonald’s All-American candidates and it says something that the senior trio is not the program’s best talent. That would be Dybansta, a dynamic wing scorer whose physical makeup is nearly as impressive as his elite scoring package. As a freshman, Dybansta was an all-New England Prep School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Class A choice and was a standout on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) 17U circuit. He’s going to end up the biggest sports name out of Brockton, Mass., since the late, great boxing champ Marvin Hagler and there are some who feel he’s the best prospect in all of high school basketball. The Crew has three lettermen back and the one who got significant minutes was freshman starter Stokes, who is not far behind Dybansta as a prospect and is now the consensus No. 1 prospect among sophomores now that his teammate has re-classed up to the 2025 class. He’s more physically dominant than his teammate and keeps on adding to his shooting range and play-making ability. The other two holdovers are Vladimir Kharyapa (6-6, 2024) and Alek Giotopoulos-Moore (6-5, 2024).
The Skinny: Not only is the Crew talented, they are good and deep at each position, with a terrific lead guard, wings galore and an interior presence. Diallo runs the show and is a quintessential point guard with instincts who can also get paint touches and make the right play. Sherrell is a traditional post who controls the paint and Reid is a terrific all-around talent that will be the difference-maker in plenty of games. He’ll have plenty of opportunities to punish defenses when the opposition focuses too much on Dybansta or Stokes. Lewis is the first man off the bench and brings instant offense, while Winters Grady (6-6, 2025) brings positional size and a nice shooting stroke. Emmanuel Jamgbadi (6-7, 2026), a physical specimen with broad shoulders, is the first big off the bench and is a bit more skilled than Joel Mokweza (6-8, 2026), who has incredible length. The main focus for Bernardi is getting the pieces acclimated but so far in fall training camp the practices have been spirited and high level to prepare the team for its loaded schedule. The Crew will play talented Our Savior Lutheran of New York on Nov. 9 and take on No. 24 Winston Salem Christian in Ft. Erie, Canada two nights later. Bernardi’s boys have a huge test on Nov. 22 when they face No. 3 Columbus in Miami. The Crew will face No. 2 Link Academy on Dec. 2 at the Derek Smith Shootout in Louisville and have a Jan. 14 date with top-ranked Montverde Academy at the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mo. In between their games with the preseason top two, The Crew will play at the Tarkanian Classic (Dec. 16-17) and the Chick Fil-A Classic in Columbia, S.C. (Dec. 28-30). Prolific Prep expects to make the Grind Session Final 4 (Mar. 15-17) and will look to qualify for GEICO Nationals for the fifth consecutive year, where it holds a 2-3 (.400) all-time mark.

7. (19) IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) 17-8 
Key Players: PF Khani Rooths 6-8 2024 (No. 22, PF Donnie Freeman 6-9 2024 (No. 28, Ballislife Underclass All-American, Syracuse commit), PG Darius Acuff Jr. 6-2 2025 (No. 7, Ballislife Underclass All-American, Syracuse commit), SG Cole Certa 6-4 2024 (No. 74, Notre Dame commit), SF Chase McCarty 6-5 2024 (No. 55, Houston commit), SF Amari Allen 6-5 2025 (No. 65
Why This Ranking: The Ascenders are in a similar position to where they were last season when they began No. 6 in the FAB 50: One of the nation’s most talented clubs, but in a range where there is a thin line between challenging for the NIBC title and being in the middle of the pack in a 14-team conference. Coach Sean McAloon has a club that can challenge the conference’s top teams and knows what it takes to get to the pinnacle of high school basketball. To get there McAloon wants players who want to buy into his system and Acuff, who led Cass Tech (Detroit) to a Division I state title and averaged more than 21.4 ppg points and 5.7 apg as a sophomore, is one of those types of players. He should bring some of the calming court influence Jacoi Hutchinson (George Washington) brought to last year’s club. Certa is another winner, as he led Central Catholic (Bloomington, Ill.) to a state title game and is a long range sniper who will easily adjust to scoring less (26 ppg). Freeman is an active and rangy forward who can step out and guard on the wing and also has a winning pedigree. McCarty is a talented wing who averaged 23.7 ppg and 6.5 rpg as a junior in leading Westminster Christian (Huntsville, Ala.) to the Class 4A state title game. There is plenty of talent on deck, it’s just a matter of developing chemistry and getting over the hump against a loaded national schedule.
The Skinny: The Ascenders are preseason FAB 50 ranked for the eighth consecutive season and McAloon has been at the helm the last seven of those. The program began at No. 1 the season after capturing the 2018-19 GEICO Nationals title and was No. 2 the following two seasons. Looking back on the roster last season, it looked like IMG Academy would be in the position it was from 2020-22 to begin 2023-24, but three of the more talented underclassmen didn’t return. The Ascenders fielded a fine 2022-23 team, but there were roster defections in the middle of the season and the final rotation wasn’t what the coaching staff envisioned during fall training camp. McAloon is looking for continuity and does have two veterans back in Rooths, a returning starter who can block shots and stroke the perimeter shot with consistency. Allen is also back and should have an expanded role, as he has a good feel and change of pace to his offensive game. McAloon can also go big if necessary or push the tempo with the depth provided by Felipe Quinones (6-6, 2026), Kareem Stagg (6-8, 2025) and Oliver Roux (7-7, 2024). Another reason to like a club that finished tied for third place in conference play last season is its track record at GEICO Nationals. The program is now 6-4 (.600) all-time after advancing to the semifinals in 2022-23, the third consecutive season IMG won at least one game at the end-of-season event. The schedule is the usual gauntlet and includes a City of Palms Classic appearance, where McAloon’s club is the No. 5 seed and opens with No. 10 Richmond Heights. The winner likely faces No. 5 Paul VI in the quarterfinal round. The Ascenders will take on No. 2 Link Academy on MLK Monday at the Spalding Hoophall Classic.

8. (5) John Marshall (Richmond, Va.) 28-0 
Key Players: PG Damon “Redd” Thompson Jr. 6-0 2024 (James Madison commit), PF Marcus Jackson 6-7 2025 (No. 106, C Latrell Allmond 6-8 2026 (No. 21, Ballislife Underclass All-American), PG Aiden Argabright 5-11 2025, PG Dominique Bailey 6-2 2024 (Chowan commit).
Why This Ranking: The Jayem Justices captured their second consecutive Virginia High School League (VHSL) Class 2A state and once again are easily the team to beat among Virginia public schools. Coach Ty White welcomes back a whopping 12 lettermen from last year’s club that completely dominated in-state competition and also recorded key wins at the Chick-fil-A Classic in South Carolina. It begins with the quick Thompson, who averaged 14.5 ppg and 3.6 apg, but more importantly set the tone on both ends of the floor. Bailey (9.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 4.6 apg, 3.8 spg) is an experienced guard who can do a bit of everything and is a menace in the Justices’ vaunted full-court press. Even more backcourt depth is added by Ashaun Moore (6-4, 2024), who started as a sophomore but missed last season because of injury. Last season Allmond (14.2 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 3.6 bpg) was expected to be one of the nation’s best freshmen and he delivered because of his remarkable skill set, instinct and fluidity for a young big. Allmond is starting to stretch the floor a bit with his shooting, which should expand Marshall’s potency. Desmond Rose (6-6, 2025) averaged 5.9 ppg and 3.4 rpg, but that doesn’t measure his impact, as he uses his athleticism and defensive abilities to wreak havoc on the opposition without taking anything away from the team’s big guns. Simply put, there is plenty to like about this team and its depth helps wear teams out.
The Skinny: As if the returnees didn’t offer enough firepower, Marshall now has Jackson, an explosive and athletic lefty from Edmondson-Westside (Baltimore, Md.), in the fold along with Argabright, a transfer from St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (Alexandria, Va.). Argabright has lead guard size, but he’s a terrific deep range shooter both off the catch or dribble and will help keep the defense honest on Thompson. Class 6A contenders Patriot and South Lakes and 3A leader in the clubhouse Lake Taylor are quality VHSL clubs, but John Marshall is simply on another level and is ranked accordingly. In fact, there’s an argument this club could be ranked preseason No. 1 in Virginia over Paul VI. After all, the Justices did beat FAB 50 title contender Columbus last season. John Marshall has now won 46 of its last 47 games and most in dominant fashion, but we ranked Paul VI and Columbus higher because their schedules are more national in scope and because Paul VI’s conference and post-season foes are much tougher. Marshall is ranked 14 spots higher than in the preseason last season and in order to have a legit shot at No. 1 it can’t afford a loss to another VHSL club. “We are self-motivated and pride ourselves on being the best,” coach Ty White said. “This is our deepest team ever. Could it be our best ever? That’s a good question because that 2020-21 group (that didn’t play) was a scary-good team.” The defending champions of the Chick-fil-A American Bracket Division, coach White’s club will look to defend its tourney title against the likes of No. 29 Grayson and highly-regarded Gray Collegiate Academy of South Carolina. John Marshall also has a date with No. 9 Sidwell Friends at the D.C. National Hoopfest (Dec. 9-10).

9. (16) Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C.) 29-4 
Key Players: PF Caleb Williams 6-7 2024 (No. 136, Georgetown commit), SG Jalen Rougier-Roane 6-4 2025 (No. 144, PG Acaden Lewis 6-3 2025 (No. 69, SG Jake Williams 6-4 2024, PG Caleb Gillus 6-0 2025.
Why This Ranking: The Quakers built upon a great 2021-22 season when it won the District of Columbia Schools Athletic Association (DCSAA) Class AA title by repeating as champions and going on to capture the second annual State Champions invitational (SCI). After breaking on to the national scene two seasons ago, coach Eric Singletary’s (252-129) club exceeded preseason expectations last year despite leading player Caleb Williams missing 13 games due to injury. For the second consecutive season, Williams led the Quakers in scoring (12.8 ppg, 40.7 3-point) and rebounding (6.0 rpg) while adding 1.8 apg and 1.0 spg. Even though he’s headed to Georgetown, Williams is grossly underrated nationally and the coaching staff feels he’s improved his overall play-making and leadership qualities. Singletary has two other returning starters and seven letterman back including Lewis (8.9 ppg, 2.2 apg, 1.1 spg), who is set to take over some of the on-court quarterbacking and clutch play-making that graduated Cam Gillus (Lehigh) provided. Rougier-Roane (11.8 ppg, 1.6 spg) is a versatile talent who is improving quite rapidly and will be important to Sidwell Friends’ ability to rebound the basketball at a level high enough to move up in the rankings from this spot. “Our greatest strength is our team culture, which is defined by core values of attitude, toughness, and intelligence,” Singletary said.
The Skinny: Singletary and the coaching staff love the continuity the veterans create, but we rate Paul VI as the DMV’s preseason No. 1 team despite the Quakers beating that club last season because there are small question marks about Sidwell Friend’s size and interior depth as it relates to beating the best teams in the FAB 50. Obviously the health of Caleb Williams and Rougier-Roane will be crucial while the perimeter depth is bolstered by Jake Williams and Caleb Gillus, Cam’s younger brother. Another reason to like this club’s chances to move up is the presence of Ian Condon (6-5, 2027). He’s only a freshman, but over the summer during the June scholastic live period Condon showed he could compete at the high major level of high school hoops. His 195-pound frame makes him a terrific downhill threat and he can also knock down the deep perimeter shot. In 2021-22, Sidwell Friends was a bit overwhelmed in their first CSI appearance against eventual champion (Calvary Christian Academy of Florida), but that experience helped it return to that event and excel. Sidwell Friends is confident it can 3-peat its regular season, conference and state titles, but will need to show it can rebound and make shots against national level size in order to knock off the teams ranked ahead. The schedule will give this club the opportunity to do just that, as it will participate in the Chicago Elite Classic (Dec. 1-2), at the D.C. Hoopfest (Dec. 9-10), DMV Elite Classic (Dec. 17), the Governor’s Challenge (Dec. 27), the Jordan Brand Holiday Classic (Dec. 29-30), the MLK Classic (Jan. 13-15) and the “Melo” Jordan Brand Classic (Feb. 3).

10. (28) Richmond Heights (Richmond Heights, Ohio) 29-0 
Key Players: SG Dorian Jones 6-4 2025 (No. 29, Ballislife Underclass All-American), PF T.J. Crumble 6-8 2026 (No. 11, SF Hosea Steele Jr. 6-4 2024, PG De’Erick Barber 5-11 2025, SG Demarris Winters Jr. 6-3 2025, PF Jeremy Wilson 6-5 2024. 

Why This Ranking: Usually the preseason top-ranked Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) squad hails from the association’s D1 ranks, but that’s not the case this season as coach Quinten Rogers’ club is a slam dunk preseason state No. 1 choice. The two-time defending D4 state champs had no trouble with in-state foes last season and will be much better this season. Even if they didn’t add Crumble, who led Lutheran East of Cleveland Heights to the D3 state crown as a mere freshman, the Spartans would still be better than last season and deserving of the top billing among Midwest Region teams. That’s because Richmond Heights returns all five starters and all but one letterman from an undefeated championship club. Crumble gives this unit more muscle inside and should make Jones, the returning D3 state player of the year, that much more dangerous. He averaged 21.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg and 3.0 spg and was joined on the all-state team by Barber (8.9 ppg, 3.9 spg). Barber is the team’s quarterback and is a ball-hawk of defense. Steele (15.7 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 4.9 apg), another all-state honoree, is a terrific all-around talent while Winters (14.5 ppg) and Wilson (12.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg) are quality shooters. Steele’s and Wilson’s rebounding numbers could go down with Crumble in the fold, but the decrease could lead to more success on a national scale if the talented sophomore meshes with the veterans.
The Skinny: This club hasn’t lost since the second day of 2022 and enters the season riding a 49-game winning streak. Rogers (135-25) loves his team’s makeup and feels despite all the returning talent, the group is unselfish and likes to share the ball. Rogers also feels their discipline will make a difference in the big games, which there are many more of this year. That winning streak will severely be tested and even if the Spartans drop a game in 2023-24, it won’t necessarily mean they are not a better club than the 2022-23 unit. Richmond Heights participates in the Scholastic Play-By-Play Showcase vs. No. 37 St Ignatius in a battle of Ohio’s top two preseason ranked clubs. The Spartans also take on highly-regarded Huntington Prep of West Virginia in Canton. It also travels to Florida for the City of Palms Classic, where the Spartans have a monster opening-round game vs. No. 7 IMG Academy. If this club shows it can battle on the interior with some of the nation’s best, there is no reason why it can’t move up in the rankings.

11. (11) Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.) 33-2 
Key Players: SG Trent Perry 6-3 2024 (No. 36, Ballislife Underclass All-American, USC commit), SG Robert Hinton 6-4 2024 (No. 99, Harvard commit), SF Nikolas Khamenia 6-5 2025 (No. 34
Why This Ranking: This program started out at No. 2 among CIF programs last season behind a senior-oriented club at Centennial of Corona, but came out the winner of the CIF’s big prize, the state open division crown, to finish as the state’s top ranked team and right in the range expected of it in the preseason (No. 15). Coach Dave Rebibo (193-54 at Harvard-Westlake) counts three starters back, but of the four lettermen who graduated only those two senior starters logged significant minutes. The young players who had major roles off the bench are better and there is a bit more depth to navigate its defense of the state open crown. Perry (16 ppg, 7 rpg, 6 apg) is the catalyst and can score in a variety of ways or change the momentum of a game with a big play at either end. Hinton (10 ppg, 4 rpg, 51 percent shooting) has tons of experience, is crafty and is a tough shot-maker. Khamenia’s (9.9 ppg, 6 rpg, 4 apg) impact on last year’s team can’t be measured by stats alone, as he can dissect defenses with pin-point precision, can score in bunches or operate as a setup man. Khamenia also has a mean streak and was lauded for his defensive work on highly-regarded junior Toude Yessoufou of St. Joseph (Santa Maria, Calif.) in the CIF open title game.
The Skinny: This club opened at No. 2 in California last year and it was preseason No. 1 Centennial that won the CIF Southern Section open crown after the Wolverines were knocked out during pool play. Rebibo and crew would love to accomplish what Centennial did in 2021-22 when it finished No. 5 in the FAB 50: that’s win both section and state open crowns. The Wolverines have the personnel to do it and could move up from this position should they do so. From a national perspective, Harvard-Westlake must show it can rebound and hold its own on the interior and finish at the rim at a high percentage versus its FAB 50 level foes. Dominique Bentho (6-8, 2026) is that physical presence inside and he must replace the 10 rebounds per game graduated big Jacob Huggins (Princeton) produced. Christian Horry (6-3, 2024) is a quality playmaker and Amir Jones (6-2, 2026) provides plenty of spark if Rebibo wants to change lineups and beat teams down the floor. The Wolverines face highly-regarded Perry of Arizona at Hoophall West in Scottsdale, Ariz. (Dec. 2), head to the Les Schwab Invitational in Portland, Ore. (Dec. 27-30) with out-of-state teams such as Perry and No. 3 Columbus, and meet No. 21 McEachern on national television at the Spalding Hoophall Classic on MLK Monday.

12. (BB) Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) 26-11 
Key Players: PG Nyk Lewis 6-2 2025 (No. 32, Ballislife Underclass All-American), SF Derek Dixon 6-5 2025 (No. 74, SF Alex Touomou 6-6 2025, C Christian Gurdak 6-9 2025 (No. 91
Why This Ranking: The Purple Eagles have been a staple in the FAB 50 in the 2010s and 2020s and return to the preseason fold as a major FAB 50 title contender. Last season, coach Stephen Turner (440-165) had a team that was one of the first bubble clubs at No. 16 in the East Region, and it finished in that exact same spot after tying for fourth place in the powerful Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC). With four starters and 10 lettermen returning, Turner is confident this group can capture the program’s first WCAC Tourney crown since 2018-19. It begins with Lewis, an all-WCAC and first five Washington Post All-Met choice as a sophomore after averaging 17.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 4.0 apg and 1.6 spg. Dixon (14 ppg, 4 rpg, 3 apg) is a knockdown shooter with size with a tight enough handle to take pressure off Lewis. Touomou (6 ppg, 4 rpg, 1 bpg) has great defensive instincts, can block shots with both hands and run the floor to finish plays. Turner’s lineup has plenty of versatility and experience to survive its tough conference foes and a national schedule.
The Skinny: The Purple Eagles rate as a solid WCAC No. 2 behind No. 5 Paul VI of Virginia and in front of No. 43 Bishop O’Connell. After all, Gonzaga was ranked in the preseason between No. 10 and No. 47 every season between 2015-16 and 2021-22 and is motivated to get back in the FAB 50 conversation after last season. “I like our depth, ability to defend at all positions, and the fact we like to share the ball,” Turner said. The veteran coach is a bit concerned about rebounding, but with Gurdak (7 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2 apg, 1.3 bpg) coming over from Paul VI most of that concern has been addressed. William Harper (6-4, 2025) and Blake Harper (6-5, 2024) add size and depth on the perimeter while Tyson Harley (6-4, 2026) and Carter Meadows (6-6, 2026), both Grid-Hoop studs, add toughness on the interior. Three WCAC teams are preseason ranked for the tenth time in the past 12 seasons and Gonzaga’s schedule is once again national in scope. Turner’s club is scheduled to compete in the Chicago Elite Classic (Dec. 1-2), will host its own Gonzaga Classic (Dec. 8-10) and is slated to play No. 36 Hudson Catholic at the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Massachusetts on Jan. 14. Gonzaga will also participate in the King Cotton Holiday Classic in Pine Bluff, Ark. (Dec. 27-29).

13. (BB) Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.) 22-10 
Key Players: PG Boogie Fland 6-3 2024 (No. 7, Ballislife Underclass All-American, Kentucky commit), PG Danny Carbuccia 6-0 2025 (No. 32, PF Braylan Ritvo 6-7 2024.
Why This Ranking: The Crusaders are preseason FAB 50 ranked for the fourth time in five years, as last season was the only one in which they were just out of range. We pegged Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.) and Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) as the NYC Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) AA title favorites. It was Archbishop Stepinac, however, that defeated Hayes, 69-66, to win the title and coach Patrick Massaroni (143-76) has nearly his entire unit back. With Hayes’ Ian Jackson transferring to Our Savior Lutheran, Fland (17.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.7 apg) is the CHSAA’s top player and could be in line for All-American acclaim if the Crusaders play up to par. Carbuccia (10.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.4 apg) is quite the specimen at lead guard with his handle, speed and shot-making ability. Ritvo is the perfect complement to Stepinac’s talented backcourt, as he can excel without the ball, is a board man and keeps defenses honest with his outside shooting. Simply put, this team has plenty of weapons and depth.
The Skinny: With four starters and 10 lettermen returning there is a lot to like about a program that has been remarkably consistent from a national perspective and rates as the early CHSAA favorite over Christ the King and St. Raymond’s (Bronx, N.Y.). Stepinac opened up No. 34 in 2022, No. 35 in 2021 and No. 36 in 2020 and even though it wasn’t preseason ranked last season, the Crusaders broke into the rankings before falling to Long Island Lutheran in the New York Federation AA title game, 81-57. Massaroni is a bit concerned about his interior in order to compete with teams such as LuHi, but loves his team’s depth, defense and unselfishness. The fourth returning starter is Jordan Gabriel (6-8, 2025) while the depth is provided by Hassan Koureissi (6-4, 2026), Josiah Jervis (6-4, 2026), Dylan Perry (6-7, 2026) and Adonis Ratliff (6-7, 2026). The Crusaders always schedule tough outside the CHSAA and this season will take on No. 33 Perry and highly-regarded Centennial (Corona, Calif.) at Hoophall West (Dec. 1-2), play highly-regarded St. Frances Academy of Baltimore (Dec. 8) plus No. 18 Don Bosco Prep at the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Massachusetts (Jan. 14). The Crusaders take on the winner of top-ranked Montverde Academy and the Cannon School in their first game at the City of Palms Tournament in Florida on Dec. 21.

14. (14) Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Air, Kan.) 22-8 
Key Players: PG David Castillo 6-1 2024 (No. 45, Kansas St. commit), SF Miikka Muurinen 6-9 2026, PG Jeremiah Green 6-2 2025 (No. 48, SG Elijah Elliott 6-4 2024 (Florida Atlantic commit), PF Spencer Ahrens 6-9 2025 (No. 119
Why This Ranking: The Buffaloes have the ability to compete with nearly any team in the country and start off in the exact same spot they finished in 2022-23, but a notch below their preseason forecast of the past two seasons. Last season, they began No. 2 with a veteran club, but dropped a few more regular season games than expected and finished fifth in NIBC play. In 2021-22, they finished No. 3 after beginning at No. 3 and in 2020-21, the Buffaloes finished No. 2 after beginning at No. 3. This year expectations are a bit tempered as coach Kyle Lindsted takes over the program from Luke Barnwell (now on the staff at Texas Tech). Linsted is back, as he was at Sunrise Christian for 16 years before Barnwell and has eight years of experience at the collegiate and NBA levels. This unit will have to show it can play at a NIBC championship level and Castillo is a great place to start. He leads by example in practice and is a culture-first player. Green is a talented lead guard and has assumed a leadership role and Elliot can also play on the ball. “All three can play the point and all can play off the ball,” Linsted said. “The interchangeability of those guys is going to be a problem.” Ahrens and Kany Tchanda (6-9, 2024) are skilled face-up fours and could potentially make the Buffaloes tough to match up with defensively. Muurinen could be the X-factor, as he is ultra-talented and on the radar of pro scouts already. He can shoot it from the outside and is going to be one the best prospects in his class down the line. If he adjusts to NIBC play and the interior pieces mesh, Sunrise Christian could move up in the rankings.
The Skinny: Sure, there are a bunch of new faces and a new head coach, but Branson, Mo., is familiar ground for Lindsted. Barnwell actually incorporated some of the things Linsted brought to the program, so the transition may be smoother than a normal coaching change at this level. As much as Lindsted likes his unit’s offensive versatility, athleticism and wing and backcourt depth, he is concerned about rim protection against the national schedule his team will face. A late key addition was Bronson Schmidt-Uili (6-11, 2024), who played last season at Oak Hill Academy of Virginia, and additional depth is provided by Nicolas Niare (6-6, 2025) and Seven Bahati (6-5, 2024). Schmidt-Uili is the closest thing Sunrise Christian has to a traditional post player, so if he can get the job done, it will only make Ahrens and Muurinen that much more effective and the team harder to game plan for. The Buffaloes will participate in the Dr. Pepper Classic, the Heartland Hoops Classic and Jumaine Jones Classic. At GEICO Nationals, the program is 3-4 (.429) all-time after upsetting Montverde Academy in the quarterfinals last year before falling to eventual champion Link Academy in the semifinals, 67-61.

15. (BB) Myers Park (Charlotte, N.C.) 28-4 
Key Players: SF Sir Mohammed 6-6 2024 (No. 54, Ballislife Underclass All-American, Notre Dame commit), PG Bishop Boswell 6-4 2024 (No. 69, Tennessee commit), PF Sadiq “A.J.” White Jr. 6-8 2025 (No. 27, Ballislife Underclass All-American).
Why This Ranking: The Mustangs were the preseason No. 1 North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) team last season and ended their season in grand fashion, capturing the Class 4A state title in their first championship appearance since 1966. With three starters and nine lettermen returning, Myers Park is the NCHSAA preseason No. 1 once again because all three of them are major college prospects and productive high school players. Mohammed (13.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.9 spg) is one of the most versatile players in the country and a nightmare matchup as a big guard. White (11.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.5 spg, 1.5 bpg) doubled his production from a highly-anticipated freshman campaign and is only getting better. Boswell (12.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 5.3 apg, 1.7 spg), who scored 22 points in the state title game win over Richmond, has a football background and uses that toughness on the hardwood. He was lauded for his defensive work in the 2023 state title game on N.C. State-bound Paul McNeil Jr. “With our length and versatility, we have guys who can make plays in a variety of ways and it gives us the ability to match up (defensively) in a number of different situations,” said coach Scott Taylor.
The Skinny: The Mustangs’ talent level is on par with teams in this range, but they begin higher than last season (No. 26) because of the experience. In order to move up from this spot, the Mustangs must win the big out-of-state matchups, which will be more plentiful in 2023-24. Last year, Myers Park lost to regionally-ranked Archbishop Stepinac of New York and to FAB 50 title contender Columbus of Miami, but also to Carmel Christian and Chambers in-state, neither which captured a state title. Leading scorer Elijah Strong (Wofford) moves on, but Taylor is confident in his team’s depth. John Hines (6-2, 2026) is another with a football background who is ready to expand his role, Ashton King (6-4, 2025) is a physical play-maker and defender, while A.J. Jamison (6-3, 2025) is a zone buster who Taylor feels can really make a difference. Myers Park has a loaded schedule that includes games at the D.C. Hoopfest (Dec. 9-10), the City of Jasper Classic (Dec. 19-20) and the John Wall Invitational (Dec. 27-30).

RELATED: Preseason 2023-24 FAB 50 (16-30) | Preseason 2023-24 FAB 50 (31-50) | Preseason East Region Top 20 | Preseason Southeast Region Top 20  | Preseason Midwest Region Top 20 | Preseason Southwest Region Top 20 | Preseason West Region Top 20 | Preseason FAB 50 Show (REPLAY) |  Ballislife Podcast Network | FAB 50 Rankings Criteria | History of High School Team Rankings

Note: The FAB 50 powered by 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 24 years ago.

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


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