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October 31, 2007

Rivals.com FAB 50 Countdown: No's 11-30


(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. 11-30 and make sure to check back tomorrow for the top 10 teams in the nation!

11. St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.) 24-1 (7)
Head coach: Dan Hurley

Samardo Samuels will once again lead the Grey Bees, whose only loss last year was to FAB 50 No. 5 St. Patrick (N.J.). The University of Louisville commit has improved every year and this year should be no different. The 6-9 forward is continually a power in the paint and proved it again during the fall's iS8/Nike Tip-Off Fall Classic during which he led the way his team with 29 points in its first game. Adept from 15 feet and showing an increasing ability to move with the ball and take his man one-on-one has Samuels looking the part of a future NBA player. Complimenting Samuels is 6-2 junior Tamir Jackson, which gives St. Benedict's a strong front line. A big game for the Grey Bees, who do not compete it their state tournament, is a Jan. 25 game against FAB 50 Lincoln (NY).

12. Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 21-3 (nr)
Head Coach: Tyrone Slaughter

The Dolphins got a booster shot last summer when 6-3 junior Marcus Jordan transferred from Loyola Academy. The son of NBA legend Michael Jordan will join a talented veteran cast including senior guards Bryan Hall and A. J. Rompza and promising 6-foot-2 junior Chris Colvin. A key up front is 6-8 junior Stanford Brown. A trio of sophomores also are in the mix - Anthony Johnson, Ahmad Starks and Franklin Griffin. Johnson already is receiving major college attention.

13. Rice (New York, N.Y.) 27-4 (30)
Head coach: Maurice Hicks

Rice finished last season as the runner up to FAB 50 No. 10 Lincoln in the Class AA Federation Tournament, and also returns a core group of athletes, including Connecticut bound Kemba Walker. Walker runs the point and averaged 14 points per game last season. The senior's maturity has improved with games over the summer and fall. The Raiders will be hurt some by the recent transfer of Lamont "Momo" Jones and his 12 ppg to American Christian of Pennsylvania, but they should still have one of the best backcourts in the East. Also back with Walker is 6-1 Chris Fouch and 6-2 junior Durand Scott. Walker is not a flashy player, but Rice needs a consistent presence to run the point in head coach Maurice Hicks' offense and that is what Walker provides. Turnover does not seem to be in the 6-2 guard's vocabulary and with quick hands and feet he manages to wreck havoc with opposing ball-handlers.

14. Saginaw (Saginaw, Mich.) 25-1 (21)
Head Coach: Lou Dawkins

The defending state Class A champion Trojans remain the team to beat in Michigan with three starters returning from the title club. Anchoring the roster is 6-foot-7 all-stater Draymond Green, a Michigan State recruit who averaged 25 points, 13 rebounds and six assists as a junior. Returning in the backcourt are point guard Daniel West (6-1), a Bradley recruit with junior norms of 10 points, nine assists and six steals a game, plus 6-1 junior Mike Green (11 ppg). Also back is sixth man Will Marlow (6-2). Others expected to contribute are 6-2 sophomore Christian Dawkins and 6-3 senior Courtney Washington.

15. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.) 28-6 (49)
Head Coach: Brian Eagleson

With one of the nation's top rebounders and shot blockers flanked by experienced starters, the Monarchs start out No. 1 in Northern California and No. 1 for the state for schools in Division II (Fairfax is Division I). Mitty lost in last year Div. II state final in overtime to Mater Dei and had two points inadvertently taken off the scoreboard earlier in the game. UCLA-bound Drew Gordon headlines the cast of returnees. He's a 6-foot-9 four-year starter who routinely goes up beyond the box on the glass to swat shots or grab rebounds. Also back is 6-5 shooting guard Collin Chiverton (headed to St. Mary's), 6-8 forward Enoch Andoh (Bucknell) and 5-8 point guard Chris Weber. Junior John Adams also is returning. He's a 6-4 forward who was all-league as a sophomore.

16. Taft (Woodland Hills, Calif.) 20-4* (nr)
Head coach: Derrick Taylor

All five starters are back from a squad that was 20-4 and in contention for the L.A. City Section title until it was hit with 16 forfeit losses. The Toreadors possibly would have been No. 1 preseason in the talent-laden section if Renardo Sidney had not transferred over to Fairfax. Head coach Derrick Taylor won his first title on the shoulders of L.A. Lakers guard Jordan Farmar back in 2004 and although this club doesn't have a Farmar, it does have superior depth as all five starters return plus eight of the top 10 players. Leading the way is North Carolina recruit Larry Drew Jr. (14.8 ppg.), already a two-time all-city selection who teams with 6-foot-2 junior defensive whiz Justin Hawkins (UNLV verbal) to give Taft one of the best backcourts in the state. Last season, Taylor coached at the McDonald's All-American Game in Louisville and this season Drew just might play in that game in Milwaukee. The other three starters -- 6-6 senior Eugene Phelps (Long Beach State), 6-1 junior Bryce Smith, and 6-5 junior Terran Carter -- were all double digit scorers and first team all-league selections. Add 5-foot-10 Michael Williams from a 22-3 JV team plus LaVerne Christian transfer Cody Terry and you have the makings of a juggernaut, although a lack of size could be a hindrance.

17. Chester (Chester, Pa.) 28-6 (nr)
Head Coach: Fred Pickett

Pickett describes this year's Chester team as interchangeable. The team has five players who can play multiple positions and with four starters and its top eight players returning from a team that went to the state championship, experience is also a factor. This year's team is hungry and after holding the state's No. 1 ranking and losing in the title game, it's been working hard in the off-season to prepare for another run. Last year's starting point guard, Karon Burton, is back and the 5-9 athlete will have Nasir Robinson and Rahlier Jefferson back. Pickett said the biggest difference between this year and last year's team is its quickness. This year the team gains quickness with the tremendous improvement of two-guard Kevin Green-Germany and Alonzo Jones. Nine to 10 players will be played every night which gives the team needed experience and depth heading into the playoffs, but to get there the team will have at least one hurdle. On Feb. 2. Chester plays FAB 50 No. 30 Roman Catholic.

18. Dominguez (Compton, Calif.) 21-7 (nr)
Head Coach: Russell Otis

The Dons won the California Div. II state title in 2004 and lost in the SoCal regional final in 2005, but slipped noticeably the last two seasons from the dominance usually displayed by Russell Otis-coached teams. This is the season Dominguez likely returns to national prominence as the program might have its most depth since Tyson-Chandler led teams in 1999 and 2000. Although a dominant post presence like Chandler isn't around on this team, the Dons do potentially have a 20 ppg. scorer in 6-foot-7 Dorsey of Los Angeles transfer Jordan Hamilton. A third team all-state selection last season, Hamilton is often listed as one of the top 10 juniors in the country but may play only one season for Otis. Also returning to the fold is 6-foot-8 junior Aaron Moore, who spent most of last season at Riverside Poly after playing for the Dons as a freshman. At one time, Moore was considered one of the top 10 players in his class nationally. Dominguez was dominant in the summer and has young players in its program who would be potential starters at most other schools. That excellent depth is provided by the likes of senior Darren Turpin (6-4), juniors Myron Green (6-3) and Thurman Woods (6-5) plus sophomores Chayson Williams (6-3) and Kevin Smith (6-0).

19. Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) 33-2 (5)
Head Coach: Robert Smith

The Wolverines lost three key players, including All-America guard Derrick Rose, from a two-time state Class AA title team but was reinforced last summer when 6-foot-9 Stanley Simpson transferred in to join two key holdovers. They are point guard Kenyon Smith, an Illinois State recruit, and 6-6 Pierre Sneed. Another transfer is 6-6 Steve Walker, a Northern Illinois recruit. A pair of newcomers also are in the playing time mix. They are Josh Anderson, the son of ex-NBA player Nick Anderson, and Brandon Orange.

20. Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) 24-1 (48)
Head Coach: Quincy Lewis

This could be one of the best teams ever from Utah and the Knights could get a chance to prove that by playing a more national schedule this season, including their appearance on Dec. 27-29 at the T-Mobile Invitational in New Mexico where they could face St. Anthony of New Jersey. Headlining a group of experienced players is 6-4 junior guard Tyler Haws, who was MVP of last year's Class 5A state playoffs where he shot 69 percent on three-pointers. In the state final, when Lone Peak drubbed Riverton, 68-43, the leading scorer was 6-7 Bracken Funk, who also returns this year and is headed to Fresno State. Also back is 6-9 Justin Hamilton (Iowa State) and 6-7 Josh Sharp, who also could end up with a Division I ride.

21. American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.) 17-9 (nr)
Head Coach: Danny Herz

The ranking stock of the state Class 3A private school rose last summer when 6-foot point guard Kenny Boynton transferred in after leading Ely of Pompano Beach to the state Class 6A crown last season. Boynton, the runner-up for EA Sports National Sophomore of the Year and state overall Player of the Year, averaged 29.1 points and four assists. He will join two of his summer teammates from an AAU team that won a national tournament title -- center Eloy Vargas (6-10) and transfer Ray Taylor. Other major contributors should be 6-6 junior Sudan native Bok Bok, 6-8 transfer Jake Wheeler and 5-10 junior Everton Chin.

22. South Oak Cliff (Dallas, Texas) 33-3 (36)
Head Coach: James Mays II

After EA SPORTS and McDonald's All-American Darrell Arthur moved on to the University of Kansas following the 2005-2006 season, some felt the Bears would be down in 2006-2007 but SOC responded by winning its third consecutive Class 4A title with a 54-42 victory over Beaumont Ozen. SOC is shooting for an unprecedented fourth consecutive large school state title with 6-foot-10 senior center J' Mison Morgan leading the way. Morgan, a defensive stalwart who averaged four blocks, nine rebounds and 14 points per game, was an all-area selection by the Dallas Morning News and is considered one of the two best senior college prospects in the state. Rounding out South Oak Cliff's stellar frontcourt is 6-foot-6 Brandon Jones and 6-foot-5 Baron Brown. The Bears, who lost twice to defending 5A state champ Duncanville last season, welcome back four other lettermen to aid their pursuit of a fourth consecutive title.

23. Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 33-4 (13)
Head Coach: Gary McKnight

Although Mr. Basketball Taylor King now plays at Duke University, the returning players gained enough experience along the way and should make a run at defending the Monarchs' Div. II state title. In fact, all four of Mater Dei's losses last season were to teams that finished in the FAB 50 top 12 and the Monarchs might be more balanced not having to rely on points from King. Six-foot-10 twins Travis and David Wear return for their junior season much improved and are expected to develop into go-to offensive players. Another junior, 6-foot-7 Andy Brown, will be a full-time starter and at times last year in the Monarchs' big games played like the second best player on the club. Moving into the starting role at point guard for three-year starter Kamyron Brown is 6-foot-1 sophomore Gary Franklin, who has the potential to be a better player than the Oregon recruit. Depth will be provided the likes of seniors Blake Arnett (6-0) and Jamaal Trice (6-5) and sophomore Michael Pierce (6-0).

24. LeFlore (Mobile, Ala.) 32-3 (19)
Head Coach: Otis Hughley

The defending state Class 6A champion Rattlers got some unexpected help since school opened. DeMarcus Cousins, a 6-foot-10 junior ranked among the nation's top underclassmen, moved in after playing at Birmingham Erwin last season. He joins four players from a team that lost only to three FAB 50 ranked teams last season. The only returning starter is rangy 6-foot-5 wing Nick Williams, a Marquette recruit. Other senior veterans include 6-7 touted DeMario James plus 6-6 center James Buford and 6-4 forward Melvin Payne.

25. New Hope (Columbus, Miss.) 32-6 (nr)
Head Coach: Robert Byrd

Four senior starters and three key reserves remain from last season's state Class 4A runner-up squad that enters the season No. 1 ranked in Mississippi. Anchoring the squad is 6-foot-9, 245-pound pivot Rashanti Harris. The all-stater averaged 17.9 points,12.4 rebounds and shot 60 percent from the floor. The team's top scorer, 6-2 Dale Hughes (23 ppg), also returns along with two other starters - Kendrick Bush (6-4) and Ray Knight (6-1), who averaged 14 points and five assists as a junior.

26. Mt. Vernon (Mt. Vernon, N.Y.) 24-5 (nr)
Head coach: Bob Cimmino

The defending state champion Mount Vernon team will look a bit different this year with the graduation of Mike Coburn, who now plays at Rutgers. Coburn was the team captain and a dominant personality on the team the past two years, but with four starters back along with eight players overall it's still going to be a team to beat in New York. Co-captain Kevin Jones and Ketema Brooks are back to lead the team and did a good job leading the team in summer ball, but Cimmino would like to see them become more vocal leaders. Cimmino attributes the team's tough schedule as the reason for the program's success and this year is no different. To get the Knights ready for the tough conference schedule, they will travel to Hawaii to play in the Iolani Prep Classic, which has Montrose Christian (MD) and Rice (NY) participating.

27. Lawrence North (Indianapolis, Ind.) 16-8 (nr)
Head Coach: Jack Keefer

The Wildcats appear ready to return to the type of state title contention they enjoyed during the recent Greg Oden-Mike Conley era. The top player is three-year varsity veteran Stephen Van Treese. The 6-foot-9 Van Treese also is rated the state's top junior prospect. Other promising junior veterans are 6-9 Jeff Robinson and 6-7 Chris Read. A touted sophomore is slender 6-8 Dominique Ferguson.

28. Helen Cox (Harvey, La.) 36-4 (nr)
Head Coach: Tyrone Mouzon

An experienced Cougar squad, anchored by 6-foot-10 All-America Greg Monroe, will bid to capture a state Class 4A title this season after falling short a year ago. Monroe, rated among the top five senior recruits this season, averaged 19.3 points and double-digit rebounds last season. Supporting Monroe will be three other veterans in 6-3 senior guard Calvin Thomas, 6-5 junior wing Taj Givens and Trevon Flores. Another familiar player back is senior point guard Tony LaCoure, who returns from Texas after being relocated following Hurricane Katrina.

29. Marshall (Chicago, Ill.) 26-7 (nr)
Head Coach: Courtney Hargrays

A new head coach will be guiding the Commandos, who have placed third in Class AA the last two years. Courtney Hargrays, a former Marshall player who has served as a girls basketball assistant coach for five seasons, was named in October to replace dismissed head coach Lamont Bryant. The Commandos had gone 108-23 in four seasons under Bryant, who lost his job for allegedly breaching the school's code of conduct for coaches, but is seeking legal action to regain the job. Returning to the squad are two of the state's top players in 6-3 Ryan Hare, an Oregon State recruit, and touted 6-2 junior guard Darius Smith. Guard Ardarius Simmons also has college attention. Others in the mix include 6-5 sophomore Quontangelo Temples, 6-6 Dorian Tyler, 6-4 Jaron Lee, 6-6 junior Eriq Harris, guard Davaris Davis and junior guard Dion Stamps, also a touted football running back.

30. Scott County (Georgetown, Ky.) 34-2 (17)
Head Coach: Billy Hicks

The defending state Class A champion rates the nod despite the recent arrest of top player Bud Mackey on drug charges. While his situation is uncertain, the Cardinals still retain a lot of experienced senior talent from last season, including 6-6 Jordan Lee (8.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg), 6-4 Cameron Hundley (7.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg), and 6-5 sixth man Tyler Portwood. Junior Richie Phares (6-7) impressed in summer play and should contribute. Four other seniors should be in the mix--Markus Burchfield, Adrian Givens, Tyler Royse and Jordan Adams.

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