October 30, 2007

Rivals.com FAB 50 Countdown: No's 31-50


(Compiled by StudentSportsBasketball.com Senior Editor Doug Huff & Senior Writer Mark Tennis. StudentSportsBasketball.com Managing Editor Ronnie Flores also contributes to the Rivals.com FAB 50. Mike Loveday of MDVarsity.com also provides additional write-ups, which include final 2006-2007 won-loss record & FAB 50 ranking where applicable.)

Note: The Rivals.com Preseason FAB 50 Rankings are the most up-to-date ratings you'll find anywhere. Most preseason rankings found on newsstands are compiled over the summer, including the ones our own Huff compiles for The Sporting News, and those rankings do not reflect recent transfers and schedule upgrades in the world of prep basketball. If you enjoy reading our extensive preseason coverage, you'll love the premium content we provide during the season, so it you haven't already now would be a great time to join our team. Read on below for our extensive write-ups for teams ranked No. 31-50 and make sure to check back tomorrow for the next set of teams as we count down to No. 1!

31. Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.) 28-3 (20)
Head coach: Dennis Seddon

One piece of news to come out of Philadelphia in recent weeks has been the commitment of Courtney Stanley to Loyola University-Chicago. The 6-1 point guard averaged eight points per game last season as Roman Catholic defeated Neumann-Goretti 59-56 to win the Catholic League championship game again. The title is the school's 28th in all. Stanley is a talented ball-handler who gives Roman Catholic a steady presence in the backcourt along with 6-foot point guard, and Villanova recruit, Maalik Wayns. Steady is what the team will need as the Cahillites face a tough schedule with a game against FAB 50 ranked Chester (PA) on Feb. 2 and a stop at the Gonzaga Classic in D.C.

32. Franklin (Seattle, Wash.) 24-3 (nr)
Head Coach: Jason Kerr

In last year's Class 4A state semifinals, the Quakers lost to eventual champion Ferris of Spokane, 100-79, and had 6-8 center Deangelo Casto score 27 points against them. This year, Casto is on their side after moving from the other side of the state and joins forces with returning guard Peyton Siva to make Franklin the team to beat in Washington. Casto was first team all-state as a junior with an average of 15.4 ppg. Siva was second team as a sophomore with 18.6 ppg. Siva is not the only talented junior on hand, either. Kerr has high hopes for 5-11 combo guard Sterling Carter, 6-2 guard Freddy Wilson and 6-2 guard Chris Holmes. Franklin's biggest game of the season, as far as national rankings go, could come on January 21 against Fairfax of Los Angeles at the King Holiday Hoopfest, which will take place at the University of Washington.

33. Raleigh-Egypt (Memphis, Tenn.) 29-6 (nr)
Head coach: Jimmy Adams

Putting a finger on Raleigh-Egypt may prove difficult this season, mostly due to the rotating lineup that will likely change from game to game. Adams uses a rotating lineup and also brings up players from the junior varsity team throughout the season. Because of that, Adams returns three players who started last year and 10 players who saw significant playing time. Junior guard Gentry Hines already has an offer from Ole Miss and sophomore Ronald Brown is gaining interest from UTEP. Anthony Jones Jr., is the son of former Los Angles Laker Anthony Jones Sr. Adams also keys in on point guard Jeremy Holmes when talking about this year's team, "If he does his job at the point, I think everyone else is solid." Adding to the returnees are three transfers who all started at their previous schools. Arnett Moutie is already committed to UTEP while Marvin Paige and Reggie Fondren give the team depth at forward.

34. Marion (Marion, Ind.) 21-4 (nr)
Head Coach: Joe Luce

The Giants should contend with Lawrence North and others for the top billing in the Hoosier State. Leading the way is 6-3 Julius Mays, a North Carolina State recruit who averaged 20 points and five assists last season. He's joined by veterans Jay Edwards (6-4) and junior Scott Wood. Frontcourt player Lamar Jackson and junior playmaker Jovon Freshwater also figure in the mix.

35. Midwest City (Midwest City, Okla.) 27-1 (37)
Head Coach: Rodney Dindy

Midwest City has won four straight Class 6A state titles, but must replace two starters and four players from last year's team. Luckily for Dindy, the Bombers return three starters and the team looks to be a strong favorite to repeat. Jarrod McDaniel, James Davis and Chuck Sanders are the senior leaders. Five sophomores looking to see significant playing time this season are Xavier McClish, Deontrey McCoy and Deandre Clayton. Dindy said the team will be bigger and faster than last year and will challenge opponents on both offensive and defensive rebounding. McDaniel is ideal for Midwest City at the point due to his ability to create open scoring chances for teammates.

36. Westchester (Los Angeles, Calif.) 26-7 (nr)
Head Coach: Ed Azzam

The Comets were a young team last season that advanced all the way to the SoCal Div. I regional final where the wheels came off in a 77-44 loss to Western League rival Fairfax. The Comets hope to get back to that point this season as they only lose three lettermen and two regulars off that club, including one player that made all-city (6-7 Dane Suttle) as a junior who really didn't play much down the stretch last season as a senior. Leading the whopping 11 returnees are senior all-city players Jarred DuBois (6-3) and Oscar Bellfield (6-1). DuBois is a versatile talent who can play both inside and out while Bellfield is an excellent defender. Both were selected to the first team underclass all-state team last season. Another returnee selected to the all-state underclass team, 6-foot-7 Dwayne Polee Jr., is expected to step up and play a bigger role offensively this season as a sophomore. Although the Comets have excellent depth provided by the likes of 6-foot-6 Cordell Handnot, they have now lost six of their past seven meetings against Fairfax after dominating the rivalry during the first half of this decade.

37. Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 22-7 (nr)
Head Coach: Doug Lipscomb

Four veterans return as Wheeler will bid to dethrone Norcross as the king of the Georgia courts. Graduation claimed North Carolina State recruit and All-American J.J. Hickson but 6-5 senior DeQuan Jones made strides over the summer and should lead the team. Other touted players are a pair of juniors in 6-6 Ari Stewart and 6-7 Richard Howell plus 5-7 sophomore point guard Phil Taylor.

38. De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) 28-3 (nr)
Head Coach: Frank Allocco

Four starters and 10 letter winners are back for a program that has won two CIF Division I state titles since 2000. The Spartans will still be young, but junior point guard Brandon Smith and sophomore center John McArthur may be the two most talented players at De La Salle since the Barry brothers (Scooter, Brent, Jon, Drew) played there. Smith averaged 10.3 points and 5.2 assists per game as a sophomore and is "one of the greatest boys I have ever coached," said Allocco. McArthur started as a freshman for the Spartans and is a dominant interior player. Among others to watch is 6-6 junior guard Jefferson Powers, who can shoot the three or slash to the basket, and greatly improved 6-2 shooting guard Greg St. Jean, son of former NBA head coach Garry St. Jean.

39. McCluer North (Florissant, Mo.) 26-3 (nr)
Head Coach: Randy Reed

McCluer returns four starters from the team that won the Missouri 5A crown with a 69-57 victory over Rockhurst. With three D-I athletes, McCluer is a favorite to repeat as champion. Last season's team was led by underclassmen and because of that the only losses to graduation were a couple of role players. Southern Illinois commitments Anthony Booker and Torres Roundtree along with Saint Louis-bound Femi John provides a solid nucleus for Reed. Booker is a 6-8 center that will dominate the paint while John will anchor the frontcourt. Roundtree is a smooth handler with the ball and is able to create his own shot and along with John at the other guard position the backcourt is in steady hands.

40. Linn-Mar (Marion, Iowa) 24-1 (50)
Head Coach: Mark Hutcheson

Iowa's top-ranked team will be seeking a third state Class 4A crown in four years after winning titles in 2007 and 2005. Nine lettermen return including two starters -- senior point guard Grant Gibbs (6-5) and junior pivot Zach Bohannon (6-6). Gibbs, a Gonzaga recruit, averaged 13 points as a junior.

41. New Hanover (New Hanover, N.C.) 29-4 (nr)
Head Coach: Franklin McMillian

There is little change to the team that won the state championship last season with four starters and eight players overall returning. The big change is who is in charge of it. McMillian takes over as head coach after the resignation of Linc Lyles. The change to McMillian should be negligible as he runs the same offensive and defensive scheme that Lyles' ran. New Hanover returns seven-footer and Wake Forest commitment Ty Walker who can dominate on both offense and defense. Crosstown transfer Jakiel Moore helps solidify the guard position and 6-7 forward Nick Becton will help New Hanover's interior defense. Walker is a shot-blocking center whose offensive game is rapidly improving. In fact, Walker is now a threat from the three-point line which, for a player who was already tough to guard, makes him almost impossible to cover. New Hanover will have little trouble in the area with Wilmington almost an island unto itself in North Carolina, so expect the real challenge for Wildcats to come once they reach the state tournament.

42. Kingwood (Kingwood, Texas) 39-3 (26)
Head Coach: Royce Huseman

The Mustangs lost Texas Tech recruit Mike Singletary and a few other veterans who helped them advance to their third consecutive Class 5A state title game, but they just have enough returning to warrant a spot in the FAB 50. Besides, Huseman has an excellent track record and his last three clubs have all been nationally ranked while racking up 112 wins against only 13 losses. Leading the returnees this year is a pair of 6-foot-5 dynamos in Jordan McGowan (6 ppg., 4 rpg.) and Nick James (5 ppg), both who are expected to double their production of last year. Two underclass players that should make an impact for Huseman are 6-foot-2 junior Hunter Martin and talented 6-foot-2 sophomore Tevin Svihovec. This club might start off slowly, but its coaching, defense and experience should lead to another deep run in the state tournament where top-ranked Duncanville is the obvious roadblock for every 5A team in Texas.

43. South Medford (Medford, Ore.) 28-2 (9)
Head Coach: B.J. Gould

Kyle Singler led the Panthers to last year's Class 5A state title over Kevin Love and Lake Oswego and while Kyle is now at Duke, there's still plenty of returning firepower. Point guard Michael Harthun (6-3) was an all-state pick last year, too, and will return to run the squad once again. Two more Singlers also are still on hand. Mitch Singler, a 6-3 shooting guard, and E.J. Singler, a 6-5 forward, aren't as highly regarded as their big brother but they're still two players who rank among the best in Oregon. Grant of Portland, Oregon City and Westview of Portland all seem to be getting support for a No. 1 preseason state ranking, but South Medford is the defending champ and does have enough returning to be No. 1 until it loses.

44. Benedictine (Richmond, Va.) 29-3 (nr)
Head coach: Sean McAllon

The name everyone knows on Benedictine is University of North Carolina-bound Ed Davis and with only one other starter returning from last season's team, it is no wonder, but according to head coach McAllon this year's team may be more talented than last year. In addition to Davis, is Virginia Commonwealth commit Bradford Burgess. Combine them with 6-7 forward Wayne Whiting and 6-3 transfer Darien Brothers and the team looks to be rounding into shape. The team is young and inexperience may be the weak spot, but McAllon is confident. "I have some young athletes who do some things better than last year's players," McAllon said. "This group doesn't miss open shots." Helping stabilize the backcourt is sophomore Kevin Gill, who was brought up from the JV last year and played well. On Dec. 15, Benedictine will take on Oak Hill.

45. Monsignor Pace (Miami, Fla.) 28-5 (nr)
Head Coach: Mark Lieberman

The defending state Class 4A champion Spartans return three key players from last season's title team. Ray Shipman (6-5) is the anchor after averaging 24.8 points and seven rebounds a game last season. Senior Terrance Saintel and 6-5 junior Rakeem Buckles also have improved during the summer to make the Spartans a favorite to defend their title.

46. DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) 27-6 (34)
Head Coach: Mike Jones

DeMatha will be a young team this season and with several transfers the Stags will have to prove they can gel if they hope to defend their Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) Championship. Six-foot-six Rahem May-Thompson, a transfer from England, was on a U16 World Championship team last season. Naji Hibbert, a 6-4 junior guard, will be the leader of the team and already holds offers from Clemson, Maryland and Miami among others. Sophomore Josh Selby also looks like a player. He transferred from John Carroll (Md.) and played significant minutes over the summer. The loss to this year's team is Kenny Tate who is going to focus on football. The Stags have won three straight WCAC titles and five overall since 2001.

47. Lexington Catholic (Lexington, Ky.) 23-10 (nr)
Head Coach: Curtis Turley

Three key players return from a team that lost to eventual state Class A champion Scott County in the 11th Region semifinals last season. Leading the way are seniors Taylor Stewart (6-5), Nathan Novosel (6-5) and three-point shooter Jordan Smart (6-6). Stewart, an athletic wing, averaged 17 points and nine rebounds last season.

48. St. Xavier (Cincinnati, Ohio) 21-6 (nr)
Head Coach: Scott Martin

Three senior starters return from last season's state Division 1 runner-up squad that could challenge FAB 50 ranked Lakewood St. Edward for state honors. Frontcourt veterans include 6-7 Walt Gibler, who averaged 15.9 points last season, and 6-6 Michael Budde (7.9 ppg). The backcourt leader will be 5-11 guard Brad Loesing, who averaged 12.9 points as a junior.

49. Campbell Hall (North Hollywood, Calif.) 33-1 (18)
Head Coach: Terry Kelly

California state junior player of the year Jrue Holiday leads a team with three returning starters plus a nice blend of talented newcomers and young players who should be a year better. If Compton's DeMar DeRozan isn't the state's top prospect, then it has to be the smooth 6-foot-3 Holiday and his 22.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 3.9 steals per game. Holiday is joined in the backcourt by 6-foot senior Dallas Rutherford, a capable scorer and distributor who was slowed by injuries last season. Also expect improvement from 6-foot-6 junior Keegan Hornbuckle (11 ppg.) and promising 6-foot-7 sophomore James "Deuce" Johnson, a physical specimen who should provide a presence underneath for this perimeter-oriented club. Kelly has 152 wins against 29 losses as the Vikings' head coach and Kelly expects this club to be better defensively than the units that won consecutive Div. IV state titles.

50. Mountain View (Mesa, Ariz.) 28-4 (38)
Head Coach: Gary Ernst

There's plenty of changes taking place for the Toros as many players from last year, particularly Harper Kamp (Cal) and Kendall Wallace (UNLV), are gone from a team that won a historic third straight state title. But Ernst, who is one of the nation's top coaches with an overall record of 664-265 in 33 years (the last 23 at Mountain View), also still has 6-5 shooting guard Brendon Lavender around. The University of Arizona-bound prospect is expected to fill up the score sheets and is regarded by many as the state's top player. If the younger players and the complimentary players from last season step up, there's no reason to think that Mountain View won't again rule the roost in Arizona by the end of the season.

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