A detailed listing of the all-time No. 1 nationally-ranked high school basketball teams
Note: The FAB 50 National Team Rankings 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 they were compiled by the late Art Johlfs of Minnesota. They were compiled for many years by the late Barry Sollenberger of Phoenix, who merged them into the FAB 50 for the 1999-2000 season. The FAB 50 is the longest-running weekly national rankings.
(Each school listed with win-loss record, head coach and source of ranking. Rankings key: BIL – FAB 50 powered by Ballislife; GR – Grassroots Hoops FAB 50; SS – Student Sports FAB 50; ESPN – POWERADE/ESPN RISE FAB 50; Rivals – Rivals FAB 50; Fox – Fox FAB 50; NSNS – National Sports News Service; NPP – National Prep Poll — The Associated Press, ESPN, The Sporting News; USA – USA Today Super 25; BW – Basketball Weekly.)
FAB 50 ERA
6'7" - PG - 2020
2020 — Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) (25-0); HC-Kevin Boyle; BIL– In the preseason, defending FAB 50 champ IMG Academy edged the Eagles for the No. 1 spot by the slimmest of margins. As stated in the preseason, had Montverde Academy not blown a 16-point lead (63-47) to IMG Academy entering the fourth quarter of their GEICO Nationals semifinal contest, Montverde Academy would have started as preseason No. 1. IMG Academy went on to win the game and earn the 2019 FAB 50 No. 1 ranking with a GEICO Nationals championship. With Jaden Springer back and a host of other talented players, on paper the Ascenders had the talent to play with Montverde Academy, which returned Cade Cunningham and Moses Moody and also had a plethora of available talent on deck. When Scottie Barnes joined the Eagles’ roster, it turned a potential juggernaut into a virtual machine, as Montverde Academy ran roughshod through a national schedule with an average winning margin of 39 ppg. When the Eagles and IMG Academy met in the City of Palms Classic title game, the Ascenders gave Montverde Academy its toughest game of the season, falling 63-55 despite no true facilitator and highly-regarded Jalen Johnson not part of the equation. The Eagles opened the season with a 84-51 win over No. 20 Duncanville (Texas), defeated No. 4 DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) 76-56 and beat IMG Academy two more times. In addition, Kevin Boyle’s club defeated No. 29 Scotlandville (Baton Rouge, La.) 81-48 and No. 13 Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.) 83-47. In all, the Eagles defeated 12 FAB 50 ranked clubs (at the time of the matchup) and could have potentially faced three more had GIECO Nationals not been cancelled because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Despite not being able to participate at that event, Montverde Academy captured its fifth FAB 50 title in the past eight seasons, and fielded its best overall team in that time frame. Video-centric younger fans will want to compare this team to the 2016 Chino Hills (Calif.) that dominated its playoff competition and produced an average margin of victory of 28.4 ppg, but the all-time great team that is a better comparison is the undefeated 1993 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) team. The Warriors had a huge front line, had a Mr. Basketball USA talent (Jerry Stackhouse), beat one high school team 96-8 and beat six college teams. Oak Hill’s average margin of victory was 37.3 ppg. From the standpoint of producing an all-time great team that also had success at the next levels, this Montverde Academy team may one day be favorably compared to the undefeated 1983 Dunbar (Baltimore, Md.) team. The Poets also had a large winning margin (36.5 ppg) and produced three of the top 22 picks in the 1987 NBA Draft. Similar to Dunbar, this year’s Eagles team was incredibly balanced with seven players averaging 8.3 ppg or more led by Cunningham’s 13.9. He also averaged 4.2 rpg and 6.4 apg, while Barnes was third on the team in scoring (11.6 ppg), second in rebounding (6.5), second in assists (4.6 apg) first in deflections (1.7 dpg), and first in steals (1.9 spg). While the average margin of victory stands out, the individual numbers doesn’t do this team justice and it will interesting to follow how the players develop on the next levels of the game.
6'8" - PF - 2019
2019 — IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) (31-1); HC-Sean McAloon; BIL-USA.– In the preseason, defending FAB 50 champ Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) was No. 1, but during the regular season preseason No. 6 La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) beat the Eagles twice to rise to No. 1. The Lakers remained No. 1 until the final game of the season, when they were defeated, 66-55, by then No. 4 IMG Academy in the GIECO Nationals title game. By virtue of their win over a previously unbeaten No. 1 team, two additional quality victories at GEICO Nationals and six victories over teams that finished in the Top 12, the Ascenders moved up three spots in the final rankings to claim their first ever FAB 50 title. They join Montverde Academy as the only two Florida programs to win a mythical national dating back to 1952, which marks the beginning of the end-of-season National Sports News Service Rankings. IMG Academy defeated Montverde Academy in the GEICO Nationals semifinals, 74-73, after storming back from a 16-point deficit to begin the fourth quarter behind the play of junior guard Jaden Springer, who averaged 21.3 ppg in the three victories at the event. IMG Academy edges McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) for the FAB 50 crown, as the Indians were No. 2 when they received an invite to GEICO Nationals, then chose not to participate in the event. McEachern, the GHSA Class AAAAAAA champions, had an incredible season, defeating eight teams in the final FAB 50. Only one, however (No. 5 Mountain Brook of Alabama), finished in the Top 10. That was a significant win because Mountain Brook handed IMG Academy its only loss, a 72-67 setback that prevented a McEachern-IMG Academy game during a holiday tournament. The Ascenders were able to overcome that loss by defeating six FAB 50 ranked teams. The main difference between their resume and McEachern’s being that all six of those wins came against teams ranked in the Top 12: No. 3 La Lumiere, No. 4 Montverde Academy, No. 8 DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.), No. 10 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), No. 11 Sunrise Christian Academy and No. 12 University School (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.). IMG Academy defeated Sunrise Christian Academy, 65-50, in the quarterfinals of GEICO Nationals behind Springer’s 26 points, the same total he had in the comeback win over Montverde Academy. Had McEachern (which beat Sunrise Christian Academy in overtime) accepted the GEICO Nationals bid, not only could it have potentially met IMG Academy, it could have bolstered its resume to include wins over 11 FAB 50 clubs. As it stands, the quality of IMG Academy’s victories, including two over Top 5 teams that went into the game ranked higher, was enough to edge an unbeaten team with the common opponent factor in its favor. In addition to Springer, McAloon’s club was led by three McDonald’s All-Americans, GEICO Nationals MVP forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Villanova), wing Josh Green (Arizona) and post player Armando Bacot (North Carolina).
6'7" - SG - 2018
2018 — Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) (36-0); HC-Kevin Boyle; BIL-USA-NPP.– In the preseason, there was a huge rankings decision to determine if No. 1 should be the Eagles or Memphis East (Memphis, Tenn.). After beating Montverde Academy twice in three games in 2016-17 and finishing with the highest ranking ever for a team from Tennessee (No. 3), it was completely logical to place Memphis East at No. 1. We ultimately went with Montverde Academy because we reasoned it would be difficult for Memphis East to have the ball bounce its way and get the breaks for two consecutive seasons, while also factoring in the Eagles’ motivation level after coming up short the previous two seasons. When the dust settled there was no controversy, as Montverde Academy defeated 15 opponents who were ranked or previously ranked in the FAB 50 en route to an undefeated campaign. Memphis East lost three games and ended up ranked No. 4. By defeating No. 2 University School (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) 76-58 in the GEICO Nationals title game, Montverde Academy not only captured its fourth mythical national title in six years, it finished undefeated for the first time since head coach Kevin Boyle took over for the 2011-12 season. In each of those four championship seasons, the Eagles began their season as preseason FAB 50 No. 1. This is the first time MVA did not fall in the rankings and regain the top spot. In 2012-13, the Eagles lost back-to-back games, while the 2013-14 team lost on-court to Curie (Chicago, Ill.) in a game that was later forfeited by the Condors, and rose back to No. 1 after Curie lost on the court. The 2014-15 team lost one game in December (to Wheeler of Marietta, Ga.) before returning to No. 1 in the second poll of January. The ring-leader for Boyle’s club this season was Duke-bound left-handed big guard RJ Barrett, who broke Ben Simmons’ all-time GEICO Nationals scoring mark and averaged 26.7 points and 10 rebounds in his team’s three victories. Barrett had 25 points and 15 rebounds in the title game win over University, which defeated preseason No. 3 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 80-65 in the tournament semifinals to avenge an earlier loss.
2017 — Nathan Hale (Seattle, Wash.) (29-0); HC-Brandon Roy; BIL-NPP.– The Raiders played above pre-season expectations and captured the WIAA Class 3A state title with an unbeaten mark. The mythical national crown came into focus after the Raiders defeated preseason No. 9 Sierra Canyon 67-65 to win the Les Schwab Invitational when that team was battling for a legitimate shot at No. 1. By that point in the season, Hale had already defeated Metro League rivals Rainier Beach and Garfield (both of whom started out the season FAB 50-ranked) and went on to defeat Garfield four times, including 68-51 in the state title game. Michael Porter Jr. grabbed 27 points and 17 rebounds and the Mcdonald’s All-American Game MVP finished his senior season with averages of 37.6 ppg, 14.5 rpg, and 5.2 apg. The Raiders edged out La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) for top rankings billing in a decision that was heightened when Hale was invited but decided not to participate in Dick’s Nationals, an end-of-season tournament the Lakers won over a field that included six other FAB 50-ranked teams. Similar to Oak Hill Academy in 2012 when it finished No. 1 but did not play at the event but owned a win over a La Lumiere team that No. 2 Findlay Prep lost to, the common opponent factor became paramount in Hale’s championship season. Hale (which also beat Oak Hill Academy of Virginia at the Hoophall Classic) defeated the Sierra Canyon team that La Lumiere suffered its only loss to. Oak Hill Academy was the preseason No. 1 and La Lumiere was No. 2. This was only the second time in the FAB 50 era that the FAB 50, the National Prep Poll and USA Today Super 25 didn’t name a consensus national champion, as Hale dropped in the USA Today poll after declining the Dick’s Nationals invite to No. 4, one spot behind a Findlay Prep team Sierra Canyon defeated 76-47.
6'6" - PG - 2016
2016 — Chino Hills (Chino Hills, Calif.) (35-0); HC-Steve Baik; BIL-USA-NPP.– The Huskies started out as California’s No. 1 ranked team, but a national title became in reach after the Huskies defeated preseason FAB 50 No. 1 and three-time defending champion Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) by a point in the quarterfinals of the City of Palms Tournament in Florida and went on to win that tourney title. After that, the Huskies won the Maxpreps Holiday Classic and defeated seven preseason ranked FAB 50 teams after New Year’s, including No. 36 Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.) 71-67 in one of California’s most anticipated regular-season games in recent memory. In the playoffs, the Huskies were even more dominant against the toughest playoff competition in California, defeating eight opponents by an average of 29 points in the CIF Southern Section and SoCal Open Division playoffs, including Bishop Montgomery 84-62. By winning the CIF Open Division state title, Chino Hills became the sixth public school since 2000 to earn the mythical national title and the first team ever from California’s Inland Empire region to earn national No. 1 honors. The last unbeaten team from California to finish No. 1 was Inglewood (29-0) in 1979-80, led by Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball Ralph Jackson (UCLA) and future NBA guard Jay Humphries. By finishing unbeaten with 35 wins, the Huskies tied the state record for most wins by an unbeaten team first set in 2013-14 by Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), according to Cal-Hi Sports. That Mater Dei team finished No. 2 in the FAB 50 behind Montverde Academy. Led by UCLA-point Lonzo Ball, Chino Hills averaged 98.5 points per game and tied a state record with 18 100-point games.
2015 — Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) (31-1); HC-Kevin Boyle; GR-USA-NPP.– For the second consecutive season, the Eagles defeated No. 2 Oak Hill Academy in the finals of the Dick’s Sporting Goods National High School Tournament. Senior Ben Simmons, led the way with 20 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in the 70-61 win over Oak Hill Academy, which fell to 0-4 in Dicks Nationals championship games. Montverde Academy became the first team in the weekly poll era (1976-current) to win three consecutive mythical national titles and only the second program following the legendary McClymonds (Oakland, Calif.) teams of 1958-60 led by future NBA standout and head coach Paul Silas. Simmons was a fixture on all three of Montverde’s championship teams and played a different role on each. He was a key reserve as a sophomore, the team’s best frontcourt and overall player as a junior and a facilitator and all-around threat as a senior. Montverde was the preseason No. 1 for the third consecutive season and fell from the top spot for one week this season after losing to Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) in the City of Palms Tournament championship game. Wheeler later lost to a West Linn (West Linn, Ore.) team the Eagles defeated 70-58. Oak Hill Academy then took over the top spot for a week before losing to Hamilton (Memphis, Tenn.) in a game that was later overturned in the Warriors’ favor via forfeit. Oak Hill and Montverde then met in the last game of the season to decide the mythical national title in the court. In all, Kevin Boyle’s club defeated 17 teams that were at some point ranked or included in the final FAB 50.
2014 — Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) (27-1*); HC-Kevin Boyle; SS-USA-NPP.– The Eagles defeated No. 3 Oak Hill Academy 71-62 in the finals of the Dick’s Sporting Goods National High School Tournament to capture their second consecutive mythical national title. Montverde Academy becomes the first repeat national champion in the FAB 50/National Prep Poll era since Oak Hill Academy in 1993-94. The Eagles’ championship at Dick’s Nationals capped off a season in which it beat 16 teams that were at some point ranked or included in the final FAB 50. That does not include Huntington Prep of West Virginia, which it defeated in the Dick’s Nationals semifinals, or Curie of Chicago, which beat the Eagles on the court only to have that game forfeited later on in the season. As it did the previous season, coach Kevin Boyle lined up a daunting schedule in late December and January and the Eagles came away 10-1 on the court playing around the country against some of the nation’s top teams. Montverde Academy also captured the tournament title at the prestigious City of Palms Classic. Boyle’s club wasn’t as strong on the interior as it 2013 club, but junior Ben Simmons had a breakout campaign. He averaged 20.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game at the Dick’s Nationals while McDonalds’ All-American shooting guard D’Angelo Russell often took over point guard duties and led the team in crunch time. In all, Boyle’s club carried seven Division I bound seniors.
2013 — Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) (26-2); HC-Kevin Boyle; SS-USA-NPP.– The Eagles defeated No. 22 Oak Hill Academy of Virginia (77-71, OT), Prime Prep Academy of Dallas (57-55) and No. 2 St. Benedict’s of New Jersey (67-65) to capture the 2013 National High School Invitational (NHSI) in North Bethesda, Md. to conclude the season. Montverde Academy defeated St. Benedict’s on a last-second 3-pointer by Jalyn Patterson. In the NHSI semis, St. Benedict’s ended the 54-game winning streak of No. 3 Findlay Prep, which beat Montverde Academy at the buzzer at the Hoophall Classic. Montverde’s other loss was also at the buzzer against unranked Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) two nights before the Findlay Prep game. The Eagles are the first FAB 50 No. 1 team to lose two games in 13 years, but not many teams around the country would have taken on the daunting January schedule coach Kevin Boyle lined up for his teams and both losses came in the game’s closing seconds. Montverde Academy started off as the nation’s preseason No. 1 team in the FAB 50, the only credible outlet to start the Eagles at No. 1, and their overall schedule and key wins were enough to overcome the two close losses to become the first ever Florida to finish ranked No. 1 in the nation since the National Sports News Service began end-of-the-season ratings in 1952. It’s also the first ever mythical national title for Boyle, who had two teams at now closed St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) open preseason No. 1 and a few others come within a buzzer beater of the No. 1 ranking.
2012 — Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) (44-0); HC-Steve Smith; ESPN-USA-NPP.–It was a remarkable comeback for No. 2 Findlay Prep in the championship game of the ESPNHS National High School Invitational, but going to overtime to beat No. 3 Montverde Academy is not what the Pilots needed to create a change at the top of the final POWERADE FAB 50. Oak Hill’s 44-0 record, including a win over the La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) team Findlay Prep lost to, is the best in school history. It is second-best all-time for a mythical national champion after the 46-0 mark for Kashmere (Houston) in 1974-75. On their way to perfection, the Warriors defeated teams from 13 states, the District of Columbia and Canada, including five FAB 50 ranked teams. Leading the way for coach Steve Smith, now with a 27-year 860-53 record, were 5-foot-11 point guard and McDonald’s All-American Tyler Lewis, a North Carolina State commit, plus 6-foot-5 Jordan Adams (UCLA), 6-foot-3 D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Georgetown) and 7-foot A.J. Hammons (Purdue). For Smith and the program at Oak Hill Academy, this year’s FAB 50 national crown is the seventh since 1993. The Warriors claimed their last one in 2007 with a 40-1 record. Their other No. 1 finishes were in 2004 (38-0), 2001 (33-0), 1999 (31-0), 1994 (30-1) and 1993 (36-0). Oak Hill Academy was invited to play in the NHSI, but declined this year, citing the team’s recent tour of exhibition games in China. The No. 1 team won’t always come as a result of the NHSI championship game, but we won’t always automatically rank an unbeaten club that declines an invite No. 1, or move up a team to No. 1 after it finishes an unbeaten season while turning down an invite to an event it is eligible for. Every situation like this one requires a deep examination of the circumstances.
6'7" - PG - 2012
2011 — St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) (33-0); HC-Bob Hurley, Sr.; ESPN-USA-NPP.–Montrose Christian felt if it won the end-of-season ESPN RISE National Invitational (NHSI), it would consider itself national champions. No one would deny the Mustangs those feelings and the winner of the NHSI did indeed win a national championship. But it’s not the same as being considered national champion among every state champion in the land and it’s not the same as a mythical national champion based on national rankings. According to criteria that have been used for over 20 years by the POWERADE FAB 50 rankings compilers, Montrose ends at No. 2 in final rankings behind St. Anthony, which did not compete at the NHSI. The Friars capped the school’s sixth unbeaten season with their 11th Tournament of Champions state crown and fourth national poll championship. International Basketball Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley, who surpassed 1,000 career wins during the season, won his 24th Non-Public B state crown with a 62-45 win over FAB 50 No. 3 St. Patrick. The Friars’ victims also included FAB 50 ranked Mount Vernon (Mount Vernon, N,Y.), Boys & Girls (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Friends Central (Wynnewood, Pa.) plus DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) by a 75-25 margin and Linden (Linden, N.J.), the only team to defeat FAB 50 No. 2 Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.). The Friars were led by 5-foot-9 senior point guard Myles Mack, a Rutgers recruit, and 6-foot-7 junior Kyle Anderson, who had a terrific game vs. Mr. Basketball USA Michael Gilchrist in the big showdown 62-45 win over St. Patrick.
2010 — Yates (Houston, Texas) (32-0); HC-Greg Wise; ESPN-USA-NPP.–The Lions are the first from Texas to end No. 1 in the nation since 2002 when Lincoln (Dallas) won the Class 4A state title and went 40-0 behind future NBA star Chris Bosh. En route to winning its own Class 4A state crown, Yates set a national record with 15 straight 100-point games and also established a new state record with 170 points in a single outing. Despite the high-scoring antics, Yates didn’t come close to having the best record of an unbeaten team from Houston that finished No. 1 in the nation. That total is 46-0 for Kashmere High, which the National Sports News Service (FAB 50 precursor) named the No. 1 team for 1974-75 in the end of the season poll. In this year’s Class 4A state final, the Lions swamped Lancaster, 92-73, and won their second straight title. They also extended their two-year winning streak to 58 games. A 97-96 victory over No. 2 Neumann-Goretti in the final game at the Iolani Classic in Hawaii wound up being the mythical national title decider. Key players for head coach Greg Wise’s team were senior Joseph Young (Providence), senior Brandon Peters (Western Kentucky) and senior Darius Gardner (Stephen F. Austin). Wise’s team, with depth and a signature full-court defense that never let up, captured its second straight Class 4A title and had an average winning margin greater than 40 points per game.
2009 — Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) (33-0); HC-Michael Peck; ESPN-USA-NPP.– The Pilots captured the inaugural ESPN RISE National High School Invitational in North Bethesda, Md., beating previous No. 1 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), 74-66. Avery Bradley Jr. (20 points) and junior Cory Joseph (18) combined to score 38 points and both were named to the all-tournament team, which Bradley copping tourney MVP honors. A Mr. Basketball USA finalist headed to Texas, Bradley Jr. played lockdown perimeter defense in three victories and veteran Oak Hill Academy coach Steve Smith praised Bradley as the best guard his program has faced. Coach Michael Peck’s two-year old program competed as a team that did not allow postgraduates for the first time and topped No. 5 Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.), 60-43, in the semifinals, as Bradley scored 13 of his game-high 27 points in the first quarter and had 15 points, six rebounds and five assists in a 76-55 first round win over Mountain State Academy (Beckley, W.Va.). The three-day tournament had six ranked teams and two regional ones, playing to packed arenas at Georgetown Prep’s Hanley Center. Other big contributors were seniors D.J. Richardson and Victor Rudd.
2008 — St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) (32-0); HC-Bob Hurley, Sr.; Rivals-USA-NPP.–The Friars capped an unbeaten season with their 10th state Tournament of Champions title. It was the fifth unbeaten season, and third national crown, for 36-year coach Bob Hurley, who guided No. 1 teams in 1989 and 1996. Hurley has a 933-101 career record with 22 of the school’s 25 North Jersey Non-Public B crowns. The Friars defeated Science Park, 69-36, in the TOC final after routing Immaculata, 76-41, in the semifinals. During the season, the Friars defeated two Top 25 teams in Utah champion Lone Peak and state rival St. Patrick. The team was led by 6-foot-3 senior guard Mike Rosario, an EA SPORTS All-American candidate and Rutgers recruit. Hurley’s son, Danny, coached the No. 2 team in the country at St. Benedict’s in nearby Newark. Hurley Sr. was recently elected to the Naismith Hall of Fame, only the second high school coach ever selected following six-time mythical national title winning coach Morgan Wootten of DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.).
2007 — Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) (40-1); HC–Steve Smith; SS-USA-NPP.–The Warriors captured their sixth national ranking title by recording their second straight 40-1 record season and winning 96 of their last 98 games. This season, Oak Hill defeated six of seven teams ranked in the top 30 of the FAB 50. The Warriors defeated No. 8 Norcross, No. 9 South Medford, No. 13 Mater Dei, No. 22 Liberty Tech, No. 23 Fairfax, and No. 27 Montrose Christian. Oak Hill’s lone loss was by 78-75 to No. 5 Simeon in Chicago. Three Warriors will earn All-America honors including McDonald’s All-American Nolan Smith, a Duke recruit, who averaged 22 points and 4.5 assists a game. Other A-A honorees are Michigan recruit Alex Legion and Brandon Jennings. Coach Steve Smith has a 22-year record of 684-40 with previous national titles in 2004, 2001, 1999, 1994 and 1993. Why wasn’t Oak Hill No. 1 last year despite an identical 40-1 season? Because they lost their last game to Kevin Durant and Montrose Christian plus Lawrence Central of Indianapolis went unbeaten with Greg Oden and Mike Conley and went wire-to-wire as our No. 1 team. The FAB 50 was the only national ranking last year that had that squad No. 1 from the start and considering what that duo is doing this season at Ohio State our rankings look even more credible.
7'0" - C - 2006
2006 — Lawrence North (Indianapolis, Ind.) (29-0); HC–Jack Keefer; SS-USA-NPP.–The Wildcats went wire-to-wire as the No. 1 ranked FAB 50 team and stamped itself among the legendary squads in the basketball-rich Hoosier State. As a comparison, USA Today had them No. 5 in its preseason rankings. Lawrence North became only the third state team to win three consecutive state crowns by capturing the Class 4A title with an 80-56 finals’ romp over eight-time champion Muncie Central. The other two teams were Marion from 1985-87 and Franklin from 1920-22. The win streak of 45 games ties the state mark set by the Oscar Robertson-led Indianapolis teams of 1955-56 at Crispus Attucks. The average winning margin was 20.3 points and victims included Ohio Division II champion Dayton Dunbar, No. 19 in the FAB 50, and defending Illinois Class AA champion Glenbrook North, No. 30 in the FAB 50. Leading North were two four-year regulars, and Ohio State recruits, who helped teams compile a 103-7 record — Greg Oden, the 7-foot consensus National Player of Year honoree, and guard Mike Conley. Oden averaged 22 points, 10.5 rebounds and shot 74% from the floor. Conley averaged 16.5 points. Coach Jack Keefer won his fourth state title. North is the first Indiana mythical national champion since Washington of East Chicago captured the 1971 crown.
2005 — Niagara Falls (Niagara Falls, N.Y.) (28-1); HC–Dan Bazzani; SS-NPP.–Our FAB 50 national championship nod to Niagara Falls is as much a nod to how strong New York teams were this year than any other factor. The Wolverines won their first mythical national championship on the strength of titles at the City of Palms tourney in Florida and the New York Federation state playoff tourney. In Florida, Niagara Falls defeated FAB 50-ranked Arlington Country Day of Jacksonville, Fla., the Florida 2A state champion, and Raines of Jacksonville, a 4A power. On their way to the New York Federation championship, the Wolverines defeated FAB 50-ranked New Rochelle and regionally ranked John F. Kennedy and Xaverian. The only loss for the Wolverines was to FAB 50-ranked Vashon of St. Louis, 69-66, in OT. Leading the way for Niagara Falls was junior wing Paul Harris, arguably the nation’s best on-ball defender who scored 19 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out four assists with a broken thumb on his shooting hand in the state title game. He averaged 19.7 points and 12.6 rebounds while sophomore point guard Johnny Flynn contributed 15.2 points, 5.6 assists and 3.4 rebounds.
6'2" - PG - 2004
2004 — Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) (38-0); HC–Steve Smith; SS-USA-NPP.–The Warriors claimed their fifth mythical national ranking title by going wire-to-wire as No. 1 and posted the winningest season in team history. Two All-Americans led the way — Josh Smith (6-8), an Indiana recruit, and Rajon Rondo (6-1), a Kentucky signee. Smith, who might declare for the NBA Draft, averaged 23 points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots a game and is probably the most athletic player in school history. Rondo set a school record by averaging 12 assists per game, including single-game efforts of 31, 27 and 27 while chipping in 20 points per night. The Warriors defeated teams from 13 states, including FAB 50 No. 7 Mount Vernon, No. 8 Westchester and No. 11 Fairfax. While the legendary 1993 Oak Hill team had more depth than this club, the starting five on this club matches up with any previous team, according to head coach Steve Smith. The closest winning margins were by five points over Dougherty and 10 points versus Moeller (Ohio) and the Warriors claimed titles at Iolani Prep Classic in Honolulu, the GlaxoSmithKline Invitational in Raleigh, N.C., the Mountain State Coal Classic in Beckley, W.Va., and won marquee games at the NIKE Extravaganza in Los Angeles and the Prime Time Shootout in Trenton, N.J. Smith now has an 19-year record of 570-36.
6'8" - SF - 2003
2003 — St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) (26-0x); HC–Dru Joyce, Sr.; SS-USA-NPP; x-forfeit losses not included. –Irish capped unbeaten, on-court season with third state title in four years — the Division II title this time — and defeated teams from seven states: California, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Included in those wins were victories over three Top 10 ranked teams — No. 3 Mater Dei, No. 8 Oak Hill Academy and a dominating 78-52 win over California Division I state champ and No. 4 Westchester of Los Angeles. LeBron James made a statement by scoring 52 points in the win over the Comets in his first game back with the team after being suspended for two games for accepting two “throwback” jerseys from a local sporting goods store. The Fightin’ Irish also made a statement by beating Oak Hill by 20 points on national television, one of the worst losses in the Steve Smith-era for the Warriors. It was a season that wound up even better than expected, if that’s possible, with James in the lineup. King James’ team played one of the most ambitious schedules ever and did not lose on the court. The MVP in the McDonald’s and EA SPORTS Roundball Classic All-Star games and the probable No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, James averaged 30.6 points for the season and ended with 2,646 career points, third best in Ohio history, while the Irish went 102-5 on the court with four FAB 50 rankings. This team wasn’t just James, either, as the nucleus of the team played together since middle school. Forward Romeo Travis, point guard Dru Joyce Jr., the son of the head coach, and the role players meshed well with James and this team has to be considered among the all-time best considering the teams they beat during an unbeaten season. St. Vincent-St. Mary’s started No. 7 in the FAB 50 (as a comparison the Irish began No. 23 by USA Today) and had it not been upset in the Division II state final in 2002 (James’ only in-state loss in four years) and finished No. 40, this year’s team would have began at No. 3 instead of four spots lower. In our rankings system it goes to show that what a program accomplished prior can affect pre-season positioning and play in role in how fast or high a team can rise in the FAB 50. Obviously with the schedule and results this team played, those four spots became a moot point as that loss fueled the fire more than anything else.
2002 — Lincoln (Dallas, Texas) (40-0); HC–Leonard Bishop; SS-USA-NPP.–The Tigers won the Class 4A title by routing nationally-ranked and defending champion Beaumont Ozen, 71-51, in the final. Lincoln, led by center Chris Bosh (Georgia Tech recruit) and Bryan Hopkins (Southern Methodist), went unscathed against a schedule that included three other FAB 50 teams besides Ozen. An early-season win over FAB 50 ranked Midwest City (Okla.) vaulted the Tigers into the rankings and they also recorded wins over No. 23 Fort Worth Dunbar and No. 24 Cedar Hill. They took over the No. 1 spot when defending national champion Oak Hill Academy suffered its only loss versus No. 28 Mater Dei in the Golden State. In 2001, Sugar Land Willowridge was an impressive large class state champ from Texas with a perfect record. This year Lincoln did it again, but unlike Willowridge, the Tigers were able to finish No. 1 in the nation instead of No. 2 to become the first Texas boys basketball team in 27 years to claim a mythical national rankings championship. The last Texas team to claim No. 1 honors was the 46-0 record Houston Kashmere team, which was crowned No. 1 in 1975 by the National Sports News Service. Two other Houston teams also captured titles in the 1970s. Legendary coach Jackie Carr guided Wheatley High to top spots with 43-1 and 39-0 records in 1973 and 1970, respectively.
2001 — Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) (33-0); HC–Steve Smith; SS-USA-NPP.–The Warriors went wire-to-wire as the nation’s No. 1 team and completed its march to the mythical national crown with a 93-79 victory in late February over Notre Dame Academy of Winchester, Va. Steve Smith’s club posted wins over five state champions and beat programs from 11 states overall. Three of those teams — No. 3 St. Vincent-St. Mary of Akron, Ohio; No. 8 Salem of Salem, Va.; and No. 13 Osseo of Osseo, Minn. — lost their only games of the season to Oak Hill. There were two close results for a program that has now won 98 of its last 100 games. The first was Billy Edelin’s last minute layup that proved to be the winning points in a 79-78 victory over St. Vincent-St. Mary and super sophomore LeBron James on Jan. 13. Three weeks later, DeSagana Diop scored with six seconds left, pushing a Feb. 3 game against Blue Ridge (Dyke, Va.) to overtime, which the Warriors won 76-69. Oak Hill defeated schools from 11 states, including four teams in the final FAB 50 and numerous regionally ranked teams. Oak Hill won five tournaments, including national events in Las Vegas, St. Louis and Raleigh. Seniors Rashaad Carruth (Kentucky), Edelin (Syracuse) and Diop (possibly NBA bound) led the Warriors. This team set school records for field goal percentage (62.1), three-point percentage (45.5) and assists per game (24.5). Diop averaged 14.6 points, 13.1 rebounds (387). Mario Boggan (14.4 ppg), the top junior contributor, shot a staggering 81.6 percent from the field and had 32 points and 12 rebounds in the final win. Edelin, the leading scorer (21.2 ppg), shot 73.6 percent. Rashaad Carruth (18.5 ppg) hit a school-record 118 3-pointers and Justin Gray (10.1 ppg) rounded out the lineup for a program that won the program’s fourth mythical national title since 1993 and set school records for field goal percentage (62.1), three-point percentage (45.5) and assists per game (24.5).
7'0" - PF - 2001
2000 — Dominguez (Compton, Ca.) (35-2); HC–Russell Otis; Fox-USA-NPP-NSNS.–The Dons took over the No. 1 spot in the FAB 50 after a 60-47 victory in February over defending national champion Oak Hill Academy of Virginia. That 13-point victory avenged an earlier 54-50 loss to the Warriors at the Iolani Classic in Hawaii. The Dons’ other loss was in their fourth game in overtime to No. 17 Clovis West of Fresno, which played in the California Div. I state final. They did not avenge that defeat, but beat No. 23 Artesia of Lakewood 72-63 in the finals of the Best of the West Tournament one day after the Pioneers defeated Clovis West in the semifinals, 72-47. The Dons capped their season by winning a fourth state Division II state title in last five years and finished with a 28-game win streak. The ringleader for Dominguez was 7-foot center Tyson Chandler, who dominated state and numerous national opponents as well with athletic play and shot-blocking ability. “The Franchise” scored 18 points in limited minutes against Philadelphia’s Eddie Griffin in a matchup pitting the nation’s best junior (Chandler) versus an elite All-American senior (Griffin) and led Dons to a 21-point win over Roman Catholic. He also had 17 points and defended well in the return win over Oak Hill, which finished No. 2 in the FAB 50, and finished with game norms of 20.1 points, 11.3 rebounds, 4.7 blocks and 3.2 assists while earning National Junior Player of the Year honors. Steve Moore and point guard Micah McKinney were other key players although McKinney missed the state tournament final with a broken hand. “I’ve said all year that this was a team of great chemistry,” head coach Russell Otis remarked. “I’ve had some teams before that had better talent, but what separates these guys is that basketball-wise they do whatever it takes to win.”
National Prep Poll Era
1999 — Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) (31-0); HC–Steve Smith; NPP-USA-NSNS.–The routine was the same almost every week for the Warriors from Oak Hill Academy — study hard and go to class the first four days of the week. On Fridays, it was time to hit the road, venturing to such places as Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Minneapolis. On every one of its trips this year, the “Road Warriors” came home a winner as they won five tourney titles in five different states, including the 54-team Reebok Holiday Classic in Las Vegas. The team’s closest game of the season was a 61-60 victory over No. 5 Christ The King of Middle Village, N.Y., at the Glaxco-Wellcome tourney. Other close calls came against Minnetonka, Minn., and No. 3 Dominguez of Compton, Calif., 64-60. Six-foot-7 Ronald Slay led Oak Hill in scoring with 16.3 points per game and also collected 6.5 rebounds per game. Slay also was MVP at the Reebok Holiday Classic, where the Warriors rolled past No. 7 Mt. Zion of Durham, N.C., 81-50, in a title match up performance that head coach Smith called ”our best game of the year” against a team Oak Hill beat twice. Travis Watson, also 6-foot-7, set a school single season rebound record with 386 (12.5 per game) and scored at a 15.3 ppg clip. The backcourt also was strong with Jerry Reynolds (12.7 ppg), junior Cliff Hawkins (11.7 ppg) and senior point guard Steven Blake (8.8 ppg, 7.3 apg.). The 31-0 record marked the school’s third undefeated season in the last nine years, following the 29-0 record established in 1989-90 and the 30-0 mark from 1992-93. “To be honest I didn’t think at the beginning of the season we would be as good as we have over the past four or five years,” Smith said. “Talent-wise, it’s not the best we’ve had. But once they got on the floor they were great.”
1998 — St. John’s (Frederick, Md.) (25-0); HC–Stu Vetter; NPP-USA-NSNS.–On Saturday, February 28 at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C., St. John’s at Prospect Hall laid claim to the mythical national title with a 32-25 victory over Oak Hill Academy of Virginia. The game was played without a shot clock and marred by poor shooting, but salvaged by St. John’s tenacious defense and a court-ordered appearance from junior Damien Wilkins, who had previously been suspended from school. He scored eight points and helped neutralize the Warriors’ tall frontline. No. 5 Oak Hill had its 23-game winning streak snapped and besides No. 23 Liberty, Mo., no other top 25 ranked team besides St. John’s finished the season undefeated. All-American Jason Capel iced the game with two free throws with 19.5 second left as the 6-foot-8 Duke recruit led a team that won tournaments in Hawaii, North Carolina and Maryland. The Vikings beat two other top 25 teams and finished the season having won 36 games in a row and 50 of their last 51 games. It was the second mythical national crown for head coach Stu Vetter, as he led Flint Hill Prep of Oakton, Va. to a 23-0 record in 1987 and No. 1 ranking by the National Sports News Service (National Prep Poll precursor) and USA Today.
1997 — Manual (Peoria, Ill.) (31-1); HC–Wayne McClain; NPP-USA-NSNS.–The Illinois High School Association coined the phrase “March Madness” years ago, but this year the moniker really hit home as the Manual Rams has to survive – and win – three games within a 24-hour period to claim the mythical national title. Manual dropped an overtime game to Carver of Chicago in December and needed some divine intervention to set up a historic Class 2A semifinal showdown with Thornton on Harvey. Defending national champion St. Anthony’s of New Jersey was knocked off in overtime 82-80 by Rice of New York after sophomore Kenny Satterfield drained a 17-footer to send the game into overtime. St. John’s Prospect Hall of Maryland was then moved up to No. 1, but the next weekend they were stunned by St. Francis of Baltimore, 75-74, at the Charm City Classic as All-American pivot Mark Karcher swished a 25-footer with 2.9 seconds left. Manual was in position to claim the mythical national title after that as it beat Chicago Public League champ Whitney Young in the quarterfinals, although a shoulder injury to emotional leader Sergio McClain put a scare in Rams’ fans. In the titanic meeting with No. 14 Thornton before 11,522 fans, the Rams fell behind 18-4 but junior Frank Williams got them back in the game and Manual led 29-26 at halftime. Thornton then took a 37-29 lead but an injured McClain led a 20-0 charge and his team took a 49-37 lead. Amazingly, Thornton made one last push before falling, 65-62. The Rams then beat West Aurora 47-41 in the final, their 24 consecutive victory and 32nd consecutive playoff win that secured a unprecedented fourth straight Class AA state title. The coach’s son led the team with a 18 ppg., but his value really wasn’t measured by stats. In addition to McClain and Williams, McDonald’s All-American center Marcus Griffin contributed to the team’s historic run.
1996 — St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) (31-0); HC–Bob Hurley, Sr.; NPP-USA-NSNS.–St. Anthony wore a bulls eye on its back every night, but the preseason No. 1 boys basketball team lived up to its billing. The Friars captured the New Jersey Group and overall championships, extending their winning streak to 53 in a row. St. Anthony’s 61-57 overtime win over No. 23 Shawnee in the New Jersey TOC was a fitting end to a dominant season in which Garden state teams were the most talk-about nationally. Head coach Bob Hurley Sr. won his 600th game early in the season when the Friars downed Crenshaw of Los Angeles, 90-74, in the finals of the Above the Rim Tournament in San Diego as tourney MVP Ajmal Basit netted 36 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. No. 15 Crenshaw went to win the California Div. I state title and St. Anthony also downed St. Raymond’s of the Bronx at Madison Square Garden, No. 6 St. John’s of Prospect Hall, No. 24 St. Patrick of Elizabeth and also recorded a win over a Kobe Bryant-led Ardmore (Pa.) Lower Merion team. Hurley’s team snuck up on opponents when it won the TOC in 1995 with wins over Paterson Catholic, St. Patrick of Elizabeth, and unbeaten and nationally-ranked Shawnee of Medford, but this team played up to lofty expectations every game. National Junior of the Year Anthony Perry paced the team with averages of 20.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists and has led the Friars team in scoring all three of his seasons on the varsity. Six-foot-5 leaper Ike Williams and 6-foot-3 sharpshooter Mike Frey and Basit also played key roles in St. Anthony’s championship season.
1995 — St. Augustine (New Orleans, La.) (37-1); HC–Bernard Griffith; NPP-USA-NSNS.–The Purple Knights opened the season unranked in the National Prep Poll Top 25, but climbed to the No. 1 spot during the season and capped their improbable run to the top of the polls with a 57-33 victory over Catholic-Baton Rouge in the Class 5A state title game. St. Augustine lost its second game of the season to in-state rival Glen Oaks and top-notch junior Lester Earl, but won two holiday tournaments and finished the season riding a 36-game winning streak. Bernard Griffith upped his record to 242-36 in his eight seasons at St. Augustine and has been selected district coach of the year six times and was also named Student Sports National Coach of the Year this year. Leading the Purple Knights to their third state title overall was 6-foot-5 forward Maurice Robertson, the Times-Picayune’s All-Metro Large Schools most outstanding player who averaged 17.0 ppg. The other bookend forward was 6-foot-7 junior Eugene Edgerson, a no-nonsense type that checked in with norms of 15.9 points and 6.0 rebounds. The preseason No. 1 team, St. John’s of Prospect Hall, finished No. 2 after losing in overtime to Laurel (Md.) Baptist, which received 40 points and six assists from Louis Bullock to pull out a 62-56 victory. Preseason No. 2 Oak Hill Academy lost three times, but beat preseason No. 4 Mater Dei in the finals of the Las Vagas Holiday Classic while preseason No. 3 Farragut of Chicago, led by consensus national player of the year Kevin Garnett and super junior Ronnie Fields, was stunned in the Class 2A state quarterfinals by a Thornton of Harvey team led by Tai Streets.
1994 — Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) (30-1); HC–Steve Smith; NPP-USA-NSNS.–Oak Hill had the fire power to finish unbeaten for the second consecutive season, but they were stunned 65-48 at the Las Vegas Holiday Prep Classic by Dominguez of Compton, a team that finished regionally ranked at 28-4. Since Dominguez did not win a California Div. II state title, the Warriors needed some help to climb back to the top of the polls and that exactly what they got when previously unbeaten King of Chicago was upset by Westinghouse, 59-58, and Mater Dei of Santa Ana suffered its first and only loss to No. 2 Crenshaw of Los Angeles, 71-67, in a much-anticipated Div. I SoCal Regional final. Those results allowed Oak Hill to finish No.1 after the early loss in Las Vegas. Leading the way for the Warriors was the stellar backcourt of 6-foot-2 Curtis Staples and 6-foot-5 Tarik Turner, both transfers from St. John’s Prospect Hall in Maryland. Staples, a Virginia commit, averaged 24 points and four assists while Tuner will join Mr. Basketball USA Felipe Lopez at St. John’s. Six-foot-11 Mark Blount, 6-foot-6 Tavares Johnson and 6-foot-7 Alex Sanders, holdovers from Oak Hill’s dominant 1993 club, were the leaders up front. Sanders actually was the only returning starter for a club that won the Above the Rim Tournament in San Diego with wins over St. John’s Prospect Hall and Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland as Oak Hill has now won 157 of its last 161 games. No. 2 Crenshaw had a team with a comparable resume and comparable talent to Oak Hill, but they lost to Simon Gratz of Philadelphia, 70-65, and then to Columbia (S.C.) Richland Northeast, 74-65, in the third place game of the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C. when all-state forward Kris Johnson was suspended for violating a team rule.
6'6" - SF - 1993
1993 — Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) (30-0); HC–Steve Smith; NPP-NSNS; Philadelphia, Pa., Simon Gratz (31-0); HC–Bill Ellerbee; USA.–The Class of 1993 produced a ton of quality individual talent and three dominating teams, but when it was all said and done the best team was judged to be Oak Hill Academy. Coach Steve Smith had his first unbeaten club in 1990, when 6-foot-10 Elite All-American Anthony Cade led the Warriors to a 29-0 mark and No. 2 ranking. Despite a No. 3 finish in USA Today’s Super 25, this was clearly Smith’s best team in his eight years as Oak Hill’s head coach. In 1990, Oak Hill played second fiddle to Chicago King, but this season the Jaguars, with twins towers Rashard Griffith and Thomas Hamilton, finished No. 3 at 32-0 behind No. 2 Simon Gratz of Philadelphia, which finished 31-0. Gratz was led by Mr. Basketball USA Rasheed Wallace and was named the third best team all-time in city history by the Daily News, but Oak Hill was simply on another level. The Warriors rolled to the tournament title at the Las Vegas Holiday Prep Classic and tournament director Larry McKay remarked, “It was like men playing against boys as the Warriors dominated a talented field of teams.” In all, Oak Hill beat teams from 11 states and Australia and finished 30-0 against high school competition and 36-0 overall. First team Elite All-American Jerry Stackhouse, who scored 27 points in the McDonald’s All-America Game, averaged 25.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists. Point guard Jeff McInnis set a school record with 303 assists and averaged 17 points and will join Stackhouse at North Carolina. Center Makhtar Ndiaye averaged 10.3 rebounds and 8.1 blocks a game and depth was provided by the likes of guard Jermaine “Sunshine” Smith, center Mark Blount and forwards Alex Sanders and Tavares Johnson. In all, nine players are considered Div. I recruits.
1992 — Dunbar (Baltimore, Md.) (29-0); HC–Pete Pompey; NPP-USA-NSNS.–The Poets went wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team and have won 52 consecutive games. Considering No. 2 Oak Hill Academy finished with two losses, including one to the Poets, there’s no question Dunbar is the top team in the land but ultimately this team is going to be judged against the Poets’ legendary 1983 unit, the club most veteran observers feel is the best high school team of the modern era. “With the ’92 team, it was almost like ‘now it’s my turn to take over the game’ with each of the players,” explained Sam Davis of the Baltimore Sun, who followed both teams on the prep beat for the Baltimore Sun and traveled to see them play in showcase games. “The 1992 team wasn’t always on the same page. They were a free-spirited team with their own goals. (Pete) Pompey is a good coach and a good man, but doesn’t have (1983 head coach) Bob Wade’s dominant personality.” This year’s Poets faced tougher competition overall than the 1983 unit as they won a tournament in Erie, Pennsylvania, played at the KMOX Shootout in St. Louis and also played at the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Dunbar defeated No. 12 Simon Gratz of Philadelphia in the Beach Ball finals after Gratz had defeated No. 7 St. Joseph’s of Alameda, California in the semifinals, 60-53. Jason Kidd and company from St. Joseph’s were edged in the finals of the Great Florida Shootout by St. Raymond’s of the Bronx, but that New York club was no match for Dunbar as they beat the New Yorkers, 93-82, in the semifinals of the Charm City Classic. In finals, Pompey’s club beat No. 14 St. Anthony’s of New Jersey and also embarrassed highly regarded Vashon, 75-49, in front of that school’s hometown fans at the KMOX Shootout. Leading the way for Dunbar was a pair of McDonald All-Americans in 6-foot-6 Donta Bright, the National Sophomore of the Year in 1990, and 6-foot-2 Michael Lloyd. 6-foot-6 junior Keith Booth will likely play in the McDonald’s game next year and Davis also points to the play of unsung hero Cyrus Jones as a main reason Dunbar was able to survive its moments of individualism.
1991 — Simon Gratz (Philadelphia, Pa.) (27-1); HC–Bill Ellerbee; NPP; Detroit, Mi., Southwestern (26-1); HC–Perry Watson; USA-NSNS.–The Bulldogs repeated as the Public League champion with a 47-43 victory over Franklin Learning Center at the Civic Center. A year earlier, Gratz had rolled past Franklin LC, 80-60, as then 6-foot-8 freshman Rasheed Wallace scored 23 points in the easy win. Gratz didn’t seal the win this year, however, until second team all-city guard Levan Alston (11.4 ppg.) sealed the game with two free throws after no-nonsense post presence Wilfred Kirkaldy drew an offensive foul on FLC’s Faron “Meatball” Hand with eight seconds left. Alston and National Sophomore of the Year Wallace (13.8 ppg.) were the double-digit scorers in a balanced starting lineup that included forward Andre Griffin, center Calvin Wingfield and junior guard Contrell Scott. The 6-foot-9 Kirkaldy, a Brooklyn native who played his junior season at Oak Hill Academy, actually didn’t start but played the important minutes at center and averaged 14.1 ppg., and the Bulldogs often got a spark off the bench from freshman dynamo Shawn ”Reds” Smith, a 5-foot-8 guard. Speaking of Oak Hill, the No. 4 Warriors handed Gratz its only loss, 67-59, in the semifinals of the Great Florida Shootout. The Bulldogs, however, won the Beach Ball Classic in South Carolina with a 44-40 victory over St. Joseph’s of Cleveland and were able to move back in front of the Warriors in the polls after Oak Hill suffered an uncharacteristic 28-point loss to a Robert Hughes-coached club at Dunbar of Fort Worth, Texas.
1990 — King (Chicago, Ill.) (32-0); HC–Landon Cox; NPP-USA-NSNS.–Chicago Public League power Martin Luther King opened up the season as the National Prep Poll’s and USA Today’s No. 1 ranked team. King, under Landon “Sonny” Cox, then went wire-to-wire as the nation’s top team and won the Illinois Class AA state title with a 65-55 victory over cross-town Gordon Tech. In the first all-city final in state tournament history, 6-foot-4 McDonald’s All-American Jamie Brandon netted 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds while bruising 6-foot-6 forward Johnny Selvie added 17 points and 11 rebounds. Selvie was a four-year starter as was Brandon, who ended his career with 3,174 points, second on the state’s all-time career scoring list and was called the, “Money player every truly great team has,” by veteran talent scout Bob Gibbons. Although the Jaguars played down to the competition at times, they indeed faced tough teams in the public league and during the Windy City Classic while remaining undefeated despite the distractions of Selvie’s arrest on drug charges. The IHSA also made King forfeit 13 games for using an ineligible player, a ruling that was overturned after an appeal by King. Cox had a senior-oriented team, as five of the top six players were seniors, including Brandon, Selvie, 6-foot-3 guard Ahmad Shareef, 5-foot-10 Fred Sculfield and top sub Damian Porter, a 6-foot-10 center. Sculfield backed up 6-foot-11 Rashard Griffith, the National Freshman of the Year who is expected to help keep King in the national rankings picture over the next three years and also expected to be Chicago’s next great prep player as Brandon departs for the University of Illinois.
1989 — St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) (32-0); HC–Bob Hurley, Sr.; NPP-USA-NSNS.–The Friars capped an unbeaten season by winning the first state Tournament of Champions with a 62-55 victory over regionally-ranked Elizabeth. Six-foot-7 Jerry Walker, a Seton Hall recruit, was named tourney MVP and 6-foot-4 wing Terry Dehere, also headed to Seton Hall, scored a team-high 20 points in the title game while 6-foot point guard Bobby Hurley Jr., a Duke recruit, adding 16 points for the Friars. St. Anthony had to overcome some adversity throughout the season and came through with flying colors. In the preseason, Bobby’s younger brother Danny, the top player on the junior varsity team as a freshman who was expected to be the top guard off the bench as a sophomore, shattered his finger and missed the season. Later in the season, 6-foot-7 Sean Rooney, the team’s top rebounder, tore ligaments in his ankle during a 64-43 win over All Hollows of the Bronx. Six-foot-6 junior Jose Ortiz stepped in the lineup for Rooney and the Friars didn’t miss a beat, defeating teams from 10 states in addition to winning the TOC and finishing the season riding a 50-game winning streak. Highlighting the regular season was a tournament victory at the Great Florida Shootout and an impressive 64-45 victory, in front of a national television audience, over No. 9 Flint Hill Prep of Oakton, Va. in the finals of the King Cotton Classic in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The Friars even recorded a 68-59 victory over Solesbury Prep of Pennsylvania, a school with post-graduates, to close out the regular season. Rounding out the team’s excellent starting line up is 6-foot-5 freshman Rodrick Rhodes, who edged California phenom Jason Kidd, from St. Joseph’s of Alameda, for National Freshman of the Year honors.
1988 — Tolentine (Bronx, N.Y.) (30-1); HC–John Sarandrea; NPP-USA-NSNS.– There was little doubt the Big Apple fielded the best crop of teams nationally among cities known for producing basketball talent this season. Most veteran observers also considered the CHSAA the best league in the country and it was the Wildcats that captured the school’s first CHSAA title since 1982. The season opened on a good note for Tolentine as the Wildcats defeated two-time defending CHSAA champ Archbishop Malloy of Queens, 76-72, before an overflow crowd. Tolentine was led to victory by 6-foot-7 Elite All-American Malik Sealy with 19 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Sealy, New York’s Mr. Basketball, was the ringleader all season as he finished the season shooting 65.4 percent from the field with norms of 21.4 points and 10.2 rebounds and was named tourney MVP of both the CHSAA and state championships. In the CHSAA final, the Wildcats had an expected return match up with No. 8 Malloy. Malloy took a 37-36 halftime lead, but Sealy responded by scoring six straight points to tie the game at 49. He eventually scored 18 of the Wildcats’ final 27 points, including a resounding dunk that gave his team a 63-61 lead, in an eventual 70-65 victory. Tolentine went on to win the Class A state title with a 95-69 win over Our Savior Lutheran of the Bronx as sophomore forward Brian Reese netted 23 points with Sealy adding 21 points. Reese was one of two standout sophomores on Tolentine’s squad, the other being guard Adrian Autry. The CHSAA’s also had a third 10th-grader, Cardinal Hayes’ Jamal Mashburn, considered among the top 10 nationally and two of the 10 best juniors nationally in Malloy’s Kenny Anderson and Christ the King’s Jamal Faulkner. Outside the Big Apple, the Wildcats only lost to No. 2 St. Anthony of Jersey City, N.J., 62-58, but that contest was actually played in Hawaii in the championship game of the Iolani Prep Classic. In the semifinals St. Anthony downed Dunbar of Baltimore, 84-71, while the Wildcats mauled No. 17 Flint Hill Prep of Virginia, 97-69, to end that program’s 59-game winning streak. Tolentine was then able to jump back in front of St. Anthony in the polls after the Friars were upset by Ferris of Jersey City after leading by nine points with just under two minutes remaining.
All-Time No. 1’s
1987 — Flint Hill (Oakton, Va.) (23-0); HC–Stu Vetter; NSNS-USA.
1986 — Camden (Camden, N.J.) (30-0); HC–Clarence Turner; NSNS-USA.
1985 — Spingarn (Washington, D.C.) (31-0); HC–John Wood; NSNS; Dunbar (Baltimore, Md.) (28-1); HC–Bob Wade; USA.
1984 — Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) (31-2); HC–Ron Palmer; NSNS; DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) (39-2); HC–Morgan Wootten; USA.
1983 — Dunbar (Baltimore, Md.) (31-0); HC–Bob Wade; NSNS-USA.
1982 — Calvert Hall (Towson, Md.) (34-0); HC–Mark Amatucci; NSNS-BW.
1981 — Quincy (Quincy, Ill.) (33-0); HC–Jerry Leggett; NSNS-BW.
1980 — Inglewood (Inglewood, Calif.) (29-0); HC–Vince Combs; NSNS-BW.
1979 — Southwest (Macon, Ga.) (28-0); HC–Don Richardson; NSNS-BW.
1978 — DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) (28-0); HC–Morgan Wootten; NSNS-BW.
1977 — West Philadelphia (West Philadelphia, Pa.) (30-0); HC–Joey Goldenberg; NSNS-BW.
1976 — Dunbar (Washington, D.C.) (29-0); HC–Joe Dean Davidson; NSNS; Canarsie (Brooklyn, N.Y.) (24-0); HC–Mark Reiner; BW.
1975* — Kashmere (Houston, Texas) (46-0); HC–Weldon Drew; NSNS; Verbum Dei (Los Angeles, Calif.) (28-1); HC–George McQuarn; BW.
1974 — Verbum Dei (Los Angeles, Calif.) (30-2); HC–George McQuarn.
1973 — tie: Wheatley (Houston, Texas) (43-1); HC–Jackie Carr; Verbum Dei (Los Angeles, Calif.) (29-2); HC–George McQuarn.
1972 — Thornridge (Dolton, Ill.) (33-0); HC–Ron Ferguson.
1971 — Washington (East Chicago, Ind.) (29-0); HC–John Molodet; Schenley (Pittsburgh, Pa.) (25-3) HC–Spencer Watkins.
1970 — Wheatley (Houston, Texas) (39-0); HC–Jackie Carr.
1969 — Compton (Compton, Calif.) (30-0); HC–Bill Armstrong.
1968 — Compton (Compton, Calif.) (32-0); HC–Bill Armstrong.
1967 — tie: Ambridge (Ambridge, Pa.) (27-0); HC–Charles DeVenzio; Newark (Newark, N.J.) (26-0).
1966 — DeWitt Clinton (New York, N.Y.) (21-0); HC–Robert Buckner.
1965 — DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) (28-1); HC–Morgan Wootten.
1964 — Power Memorial (New York, N.Y.) (30-0); HC–Jack Donahue.
1963 — Power Memorial (New York, N.Y.) (27-0); HC–Jack Donahue.
1962 — DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) (29-3); HC–Morgan Wootten.
1961 — Collinsville (Collinsville, Ill.) (32-0); HC–Vergil Fletcher.
1960 — McClymonds (Oakland, Calif.) (22-0); HC–Paul Harless.
1959 — McClymonds (Oakland, Calif.) (22-0); HC–Paul Harless.
1958 — McClymonds (Oakland, Calif.) (21-0); HC–Paul Harless.
1957 — Middletown (Middletown, Ohio) (27-0); HC–Paul Walker.
1956 — tie: Middletown (Middletown, Ohio) (25-0); HC–Paul Walker; Crispus Attucks (Indianapolis, Ind.) (31-0); HC–Ray Crowe.
1955 — Crispus Attucks (Indianapolis, Ind.) (31-1); HC–Ray Crowe.
1954 — Pampa (Pampa, Texas) (28-0); HC–Clifton McNeely.
1953 — Pampa (Pampa, Texas) (26-0); HC–Clifton McNeely.
1952 — Compton (Compton, Calif.) (32-0); HC–Ken Fagans.
*All selections prior to 1975 by National Sports News Service (unless noted)
National Interscholastic Tournament Finals (at University of Chicago, Bartlett Gym)
1930 — Athens (Athens, Texas) d. Jena (Jena, La.), 22-16; HC–Jimmy Kitts.
1929 — Athens (Athens, Texas) d. Classen (Oklahoma City, Okla.), 25-21; HC–Jimmy Kitts.
1928 — Ashland (Ashland, Ky)., d. Canton (Canton, Ill.), 15-10; HC–James Anderson.
1927 — Morton (Cicero, Ill.) d. Batesville (Batesville, Ark.), 18-16; HC–H. K. Long.
1926 — Fitchburg (Fitchburg, Mass.), d. Fargo (Fargo, N.D.), 25-14; HC–Clarence N. Amiott.
1925 — Wichita (Wichita, Kan.), d. El Reno (El Reno, Okla.), 27-6; HC–A. R. Young.
1924 — Windsor (Windsor, Colo.), d. Yankton (Yankton, S.D.), 25-6; HC–Joseph E. Ryan.
1923 — Kansas City (Kansas City, Kan.), d. Rockford (Rockford, Ill.), 43-21; HC–C. W. Corsant.
1922 — Lexington (Lexington, Ky.), d. Mt. Vernon (Mt. Vernon, Ohio.), 46-28; HC–John Barclay.
1921 — Washington (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) d. West Lafayette (West Lafayette, Ind.), 43-19; HC–Leo V. Novak.
1920 — Wingate (Wingate, Ind.), d. Crawfordville (Crawfordville, Ind.), 22-16; HC–Merrill Eaton.
1918-19 — not staged because of World War I.
1917 — Township (Evanston, Ill.) d. Freeport (Freeport, Ill.), 27-22, ot.; HC–James W. Bixby.
Note: Head coaches (HC) listed for championship team.
National Catholic Interscholastic Tournament Finals
(at Loyola University, Chicago; Alumni Hall)
1941–Leo (Chicago, Ill.) d. St. Francis Mission (St. Francis, S.D.), 49-41, ot.
1940–Catholic (Fort Wayne, Ind.) d. St. Michael (Santa Fe, N.M.), 35-33.
1939–Catholic (Fort Wayne, Ind.) d. Leo (Chicago, Ill.), 44-37.
1938–St. Xavier (Louisville, Ky.) d. Loyola (Winnetka, Ill.), 31-22.
1937–Fenwick (Oak Park, Ill.) d. Catholic (Joliet, Ill.), 30-27.
1936–De La Salle (Chicago, Ill.) d. St. Mary (Anderson, Ind.), 45-29.
1935–St. Xavier (Louisville, Ky.) d. St. Mel (Chicago, Ill.), 29-24.
1934–Catholic (Joliet, Ill.) d. St. Mary’s (Stockton, Calif.), 30-17.
1933–Cathedral (Indianapolis, Ind.) d. St. Rita (Chicago, Ill.), 31-10.
1932–St. Patrick (Chicago, Ill.) d. St. Mel (Chicago, Ill.), 22-20.
1931–De La Salle (Minneapolis, Minn.) d. Academy (Jasper, Ind.), 23-21.
1930–De La Salle (Chicago, Ill.) d. Academy (Jasper, Ind.), 25-14.
1929–De La Salle (Chicago, Ill.) d. St. Stanislaus (Bay St. Louis, Miss.), 25-16.
1928–De La Salle (Joliet, Ill.) d. University (St. Louis, Mo), 32-11.
1927–De La Salle (Joliet, Ill.) d. Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.), 26-11.
1926–St. Xavier (Louisville, Ky.) d. Aquinas (Rochester, N.Y.), 18-16.
1925–St. Mel (Chicago, Ill.) d. Marquette Academy (Milwaukee, Wis.), 15-7.
1924–Spalding (Peoria, Ill.) d. Marquette Academy (Milwaukee, Wis.), 21-7.