UPDATED FAB 50: Where Do We Go From Here?

Two new teams crack the latest FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com for the unprecedented 2020-21 season. This season is unlike any other because some teams are already wrapping up, while a few states still haven’t tipped off. Meanwhile, some teams have upwards of 25 games under their belt, while others have played less than five. Read along to see how we plan to make sense of these unique scenarios as the season winds down.

By Ronnie Flores

RELATED:   “In The Paint” Podcast | The Future Of Big-Time HS Basketball | FAB 50 Rankings Criteria | How To Make A HS Version Of March Madness  | Updated Mr. Basketball USA Tracker 

Two competitive basketball strongholds, the Chicago Public League and the Baltimore Catholic League, got their respective 2020-21 seasons underway last week. While BCL favorite St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.) rang up two wins, CPL contender Whitney Young (Chicago) started off on the right foot with three wins. The Windy City’s highest ranked team in the latest FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com, No. 19 Simeon (Chicago), is scheduled to open its season this week against cross-town Curie.

In stark contrast to the plight of teams just tipping off or those states still waiting to play (i.e. California, West Virginia, New Mexico, Washington and Oregon), teams in the Virginia High School League (VHSL) wrapped up their state championships last week. FAB 50 bubble club Green Run (Virginia Beach, Va.) fell from the ranks of the unbeaten in the VHSL Class 5A state title game after losing to once-beaten Stone Bridge (Ashburn, Va.) on Saturday evening, 86-78, in a game played on Stone Bridge’s home court.

Green Run held a 18-point lead in the first half, only to see the Bulldogs rally behind the play of Dylan Hundertmark, who netted an incredible 18 fourth-quarter points and finished with 27 overall to lead Stone Bridge to its first ever VHSL state crown. The Bulldogs, who finish 16-1, also got a big game from Jacob Thomas, who finished with 27 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. Green Run, who was on the FAB 50 bubble all season long, finished 9-1.

Teams that have now completed the 2020-21 season are noted with a special asterisk in the FAB 50 this week and moving forward.

In many VHSL regions, teams opted out of winter sports and didn’t play this season. For instance in Class 4, Region A, 12 of 14 teams opted out due to COVID-19, according to Matthew Hatfield of VirginiaPreps.com. Even for teams able to play this season, the number of completed games has been all over the board, as evidenced by Stone Bridge’s and Green Run’s respective final won-loss marks.

This creates a rankings scenario unique to this season because of the wide range of games played among the nation’s elite and the circumstances in which the games have been played under. In addition, teams that are full members of a state association have strict travel restrictions, limiting the number of ranked out-of-region opponents they are able to line up. Those games are where the best opportunities to move up in the FAB 50 lay.

The two best examples of this scenario are the situations for No. 17 Blair Academy (Blairstown, N.J.) and No. 40 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.). Coach Joe Mantegna’s club at Blair Academy doesn’t have any more games officially scheduled. That’s right, the team could finish its season 2-0. The club is currently going through a quarantine period and Mantegna hopes to schedule more games in March or April, but there are no guarantees.

For coach Steve Turner’s club at Gonzaga, it lost to fellow Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) powers No. 4 DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) and No. 28 Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.). Because of COVID-19 protocols and restrictions, Gonzaga has no other official games scheduled right now. Turner is having his boys compete as a club/travel team to get his players the best opportunities to catch the eye of college recruiters via stream or game film.

Blair Academy fell two spots in the FAB 50 this week and will have trouble maintaining a spot in the Top 20 of the final FAB 50 in its current situation. For Gonzaga, a final FAB 50 ranking will be hard to maintain with a 0-2 mark… even though as it stands now those losses are to higher ranked teams. Although coach Turner told Ballislife.com he honestly feels like he’d have a Top 25 team under normal circumstances, he understands the unique situation we are in as rankings compilers.

We do have a few teams with 0-0 marks or only a few games under its belt ranked, as to give fans a sense of how we project those teams would fare against FAB 50 competition and where they would fall in the pecking order in their respective state. That’s why we put so much research and work into our preseason rankings so were not moving up or moving out teams blindly. It’s based on years of accumulating scores and knowing the relative strength of teams from various states at any given time.

If teams don’t accumulate a big enough sample size to prove their rankings worth, they’ll likely fall in the FAB 50. And for teams that don’t get to play an official 2020-21 season, we’ll simply remove them from the rankings as we did with preseason No. 37 Coronado (Henderson, Nev.).

For the teams from states that are scheduled to play in the spring (i.e. California, Washington, Oregon), it will be hard for them to move up as they normally could with a full slate of games. They simply won’t have enough quality opponents to face, as the rest of the country will be wrapped up and there won’t be the normal slate of tournaments.

We’ll also have to determine when to announce our FAB 50 national champion. In every season prior to 2020-21, we waited for all games to be completed, but this season could stretch into June if Oregon has an official season. We’ll have to determine if there is any realistic chance a team playing its season in the spring can overtake the No. 1 team (which is likely to emerge from GEICO Nationals scheduled for April 1-3). Right now that answer is “no”. The same thing applies for our 2020-21 Mr. Basketball USA announcement, although we’ll likely wait until all games are complete to announce for annual Elite All-American Team.

With much of our Southeast Region completing its seasons on time, and with the majority of our West Region going to a spring schedule, we’ll also publish our final regional rankings at various times as states finish up.

Besides the VHSL title games, the big result that came in this week was Creighton Prep (Omaha, Neb.) knocking off previous No. 25 Millard North (Omaha, Neb.), 76-75, as Prep’s Justin Sitti nailed two free throws with 4.3 seconds remaining to seal the victory. Sitti finished with 15 points, while 6-foot-9 junior Luke Jungers scored a season-high 22 points in the comeback victory.

Creighton Prep in this week’s highest ranked newcomer at No. 44, while the Mustangs drop out of this week’s rankings. It may seem as if Millard North, which owns a win over No. 27 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), is penalized in the rankings too harshly for the one-point loss, but whomever emerges as Nebraska’s Division A state champ will finish ranked ahead of the Warriors.

Millard North has a split with No. 22 Bellevue West (Bellevue, Neb.), whose only other loss is to No. 2 Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.). Creighton Prep’s only two losses are to Bellevue West, including a 79-77 overtime setback on January 30.

RELATED:   “In The Paint” Podcast | The Future Of Big-Time HS Basketball | FAB 50 Rankings Criteria | How To Make A HS Version Of March Madness  | Updated Mr. Basketball USA Tracker 

Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
Powered by Ballislife.com

(10th poll of 2020-21 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, February 21; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included; ***Does not include results vs. out-of-season opponents; ****Season complete.)

No.Prev.High School (City)Record
11Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)20-1
22Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)18-2
33IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)21-2
44DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.)9-0***
55Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah)18-6
66Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.)7-0
77Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head, N.Y.)0-0
88Camden (Camden, N.J.)6-0
99Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.)8-1
1010Milton (Milton, Ga.)23-2
1111Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)0-0
1212O’Dea (Seattle, Wash.)0-0
1313Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.)24-0
1414Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas)22-1
1516Waxahachie (Waxahachie, Texas)15-2
1617Homestead (Ft. Wayne, Ind.)22-0
1715Blair Academy (Blairstown, N.J.)2-0
1818North Mecklenburg (Huntersville, N.C.)8-0
1919Simeon (Chicago, Ill.)0-0
2020St. Raymond (Bronx, N.Y.)0-0
2121Christian Brothers (Memphis, Tenn.)19-0
2222Bellevue West (Bellevue, Neb.)20-2
2323St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)2-0
2424Westlake (Austin, Texas)24-1
2526Houston (Germantown, Tenn.)15-3
2632Central Pointe Christian (Kissimmee, Fla.)28-5
2727Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)16-8
2828Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)7-4
2929Poly (Baltimore, Md.)0-0
3030St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.)3-0
3131Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.)0-0
3237Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.)6-0
3333La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)8-8
3435Sandy Creek (Tyrone, Ga.)24-4
3536Combine Academy (Lincolnton, N.C.)21-3
3639Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.)4-1
3738Pace Academy (Atlanta, Ga.)23-1
3840Grayson (Loganville, Ga.)21-3
3941St. Xavier (Cincinnati, Ohio)16-2
4034Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)0-2
4142Bishop Miege (Shawnee Mission, Kan.)16-0
4244St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio)20-2
4343Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)0-0
44NRCreighton Prep (Omaha, Neb.)20-2
4547Ballard (Louisville, Ky.)8-0
4646Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.)0-0
4748Waukee Senior (Waukee, Iowa)9-2
4849Ribet Academy (Los Angeles, Calif.)0-0
4950Edmond Memorial (Edmond, Okla.)12-1
50NRCherry Creek (Greenwood Village, Col.)8-0

Dropped Out: Previous No. 25 Millard North (Omaha, Neb.), No. 45 River Rouge (River Rouge, Mich.).

Bubble Teams:  Adams (South Bend, Ind.) 20-1; American Fork (American Fork, Utah) 15-6; Blue Ridge (St. George, Va.) 11-0; Blue Valley Northwest (Overland Park, Kan.) 17-1; Callaway (Jackson, Miss.) 9-0**; Calvary Christian Academy (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 13-7; Carmel Christian (Matthews, N.C.) 23-1; Cedar Falls (Cedar Falls, Iowa) 17-0; Centennial (Corona, Calif.) 0-0; Central (Little Rock, Ark.) 18-4; Chaminade (St. Louis, Mo.) 17-1; Christ The King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 0-0; Clinton (Clinton, Miss.) 17-1; Eagle’s Landing (McDonough, Ga.) 24-1; Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.) 0-0; Elder (Cincinnati, Ohio) 17-3; Evanston (Evanston, Ill.) 7-0; Fairhope (Fairhope, Ala.) 27-1; Fenwick (Oak Park, Ill.) 5-1; Forest Hill (Jackson, Miss.) 18-1; Garfield (Seattle, Wash.) 0-0; Grand Blanc (Grand Blanc, Mich.) 4-1; Green Run (Virginia Beach, Va.) 9-1****; Jefferson (Portland, Ore.) 0-0; Kell (Marietta, Ga.) 17-6; Kingfisher (Kingfisher, Okla.) 19-1; Knoxville Catholic (Knoxville, Tenn.) 20-3; Las Cruces (Las Cruces, N.M.) 0-0; Lawrence North (Indianapolis, Ind.) 21-2; Legacy Early College (Greenville, S.C.) 9-7; Liberty Heights (Charlotte, N.C.) 14-1; Magnolia (Magnolia, Ark.) 17-0; McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) 21-4; Mentor (Mentor, Ohio) 19-0; Millard North (Omaha, Neb.) 22-2; Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio) 13-4; Mundelein (Mundelein, Ill.) 7-1; North Laurel (London, Ky.) 16-0; Notre Dame College Prep (Niles, Ill.) 8-1; Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.) 21-2; Patrick School (Elizabeth, N.J.) 6-1; Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.) 22-3; Perry (Gilbert, Ariz.) 10-1; Rangeview (Aurora, Col.) 9-0; Richardson (Richardson, Texas) 21-1; River Rouge (River Rouge, Mich.) 3-1; Seattle Prep (Seattle, Wash.) 0-0; Shadow Creek (Pearland, Texas) 20-2; Shawnee (Lima, Ohio) 21-1; South Grand Prairie (Grand Prairie, Texas) 19-0; Starkville (Starkville, Miss.) 17-2; Stone Bridge (Ashburn, Va.) 16-1****; St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) 0-0; St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) 0-0; St. Mark’s (Dallas, Texas) 7-1; Sunnyslope (Phoenix, Ariz.) 11-1; Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.) 8-0; Westlake (Saratoga Springs, Utah) 18-3; Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 22-5; Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 3-0; Windward (Los Angeles, Calif.) 0-0.

Note: The FAB 50 powered by Ballislife.com is a continuation of the National Sports News Service ratings that began in 1952. These were the first national high school rankings and the late Art Johlfs of Minnesota compiled them. They were compiled for many years by the late Barry Sollenberger of Phoenix, who merged them into the FAB 50 21 years ago.

Ronnie Flores is the national Grassroots editor of Ballislife.com. He can be reached at ronnie@ballislife.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores

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