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March 12, 2008Compiled by Doug Huff & Mark Tennis of Student Sports
Contributing: Ronnie Flores, Brad Eye and members of the
Student Sports/Rivals.com National High School Network.
(Listed with won-loss record and previous rank in parentheses; After games of Saturday, March 8)
The old adage that players wins champions definitely holds true in this week Rivals.com FAB 50 national boys basketball rankings.
In the game that made national headlines last week, McDonald's All-American Mike Rosario netted 19 points as top-ranked St. Anthony beat Garden State rival St. Patrick's for the first time in four outings on its way to coach Bob Hurley's 22nd state title.
Similar to Rosario, Willie Warren from North Crowley High School in Fort Worth is a EA SPORTS All-American candidate. He closed out his prep career in grand fashion by leading the Panthers to a Texas Class 5A state title. Along the way he had big games against Duncanville, the preseason No. 1 team in the Rivals.com FAB 50, Madison of San Antonio and Dulles. Against Dullles in the state title game, Warren scored a game-high 27 points and he also hit a 25-foot shot to send North Crowley's regional quarterfinal game against El Paso Montwood into overtime where the Panthers eventually won by three points.
The state of Georgia has many talented players this season, including potential all-americans Derrick Favors (South Atlanta), Dequan Jones and Richard Howell of FAB 50 No. 14 Wheeler of Marietta plus Chris Singleton (Dunwoody). Well, you can call forward Al-Farouq Aminu the "King of Georgia" after leading Norcross to an unprecedented third consecutive large school state title. In the state title game win over Wheeler, Aminu scored 17 points and had six big blocked shots.
Another big name recruit and potential all-american that led his team to a state title was Georgetown commit Greg Monroe of Helen Cox in Louisiana. The Cougars didn't lose to any team in-state all season long and capped their season with a 75-51 victory over O.P. Walker as Monroe went for 27 points in dominant fashion.
So which star player will step up and lead his team to championship glory this weekend and help them climb up the national rankings ladder? Read on to find out as we present this week's Rivals.com FAB 50 national rankings:
1. St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) 30-0 (1)
The Friars won their 25th state championship, and 22nd under head coach Bob Hurley, by defeating Trenton Catholic, 74-44, in the finals of the Non-Public B state title tourney. Four players scored in double figures led by Rutgers recruit Mike Rosario's 17 points and Marquette recruit Tyshawn Taylor's 16 points. Earlier last week, St. Anthony defeated FAB 50 ranked St. Patrick's 64-52 in the finals of the North Jersey Non-Public B tournament as McDonald's All American Rosario led the Friars with 19 points.
2. St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.) 24-1 (2)
Season complete. The Gray Bees recorded wins over FAB 50 ranked teams such as No. 4 Chester, No. 7 Oak Hill, No. 15 St. Patrick and No. 27 Rice.
3. North Crowley (Fort Worth, Texas) 38-1 (3)
Coach Tommie Brakel's club received a big boost in last week's rankings and it looks like the Panthers are worthy of its rating boost as they finished the season with 35 consecutive wins and a Class 5A state title in tow. Dulles, ranked No. 30 this week in the FAB 50, hung with North Crowley the entire game and it wasn't until EA SPORTS National Player of the Year candidate Willie Warren converted a driving lay-up with 2:07 remaining that the Panthers took the lead for good in an eventual 73-67 victory. Warren completed a fantastic run through the state tournament by scoring 15 of his game-high 27 points in the fourth and final quarter of his prep career in a North Crowley uniform. Warren had a team-high 19 points and collected six steals in a 55-46 semifinal victory over Madison of San Antonio.
4. Chester (Chester, Pa.) 31-1 (4)
The Clippers defeated Penn Wood, 68-60, in the quarterfinals of the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs as Karon Burton scored a game-high 25 points. They also defeated Harrisburg, 61-51, last week in the second round of the PIAA Class AAAA tournament as five players scored in double-figures, led by Kevin Green-Germany's 15 points.
5. Saginaw (Saginaw, Mich.) 24-1 (6)
The defending state Class A champion Trojans advanced to the state tournament quarterfinals with a 69-39 win over Mount Pleasant. Draymond Green, a Michigan State recruit, led the way with 20 points. In the previous 79-67 tournament win over Carman-Ainsworth of Flint, Green netted 28 points and Daniel West had 27. Saginaw takes on Clarkston this week in the quarterfinals.
6. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.) 31-1 (9)
It looks like the Monarchs will have a nearly-healthy Drew Gordon in the lineup when they play No. 11 Mater Dei in this Friday's CIF Division II state championship. Gordon, a 6-9 senior headed to UCLA, was out nearly two months with a broken foot. He had 20 points and eight blocks in last week's 76-56 win over Fairfield for the Northern California Div. II title.
7. Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 34-4 (7)
Season complete. Warriors had key wins over FAB 50 No. 8 Norcross and No. 10 Duncanville.
8. Norcross (Norcross, Ga.) 29-2 (8)
The Blue Devils became the first Georgia largest class team to capture three straight state titles since 1938-40 when they defeated FAB 50 No. 14 Wheeler by 57-54 in the Class AAAAA finals. Wake Forest recruit Al-Farouq Aminu scored 17 points and had six blocks. In the semifinals, Norcross, which was unbeaten vs. in-state teams, routed Savannah by 79-46 as Aminu scored 17 and Denzail Jones 19.
9. Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) 31-1 (18)
The Purple Eagles jumped out to a 16-1 lead and went on to rout Theodore Roosevelt of Washington, D.C. in the city title game, 78-44. Junior Ian Hummer led the Purple Eagles with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Gonzaga plays next in the Alhambra Tournament on Friday.
10. Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas) 36-2 (22)
Season complete. With No. 3 North Crowley winning the Class 5A state title, these Panthers make a nice jump back up in the ratings. Duncanville, of course, lost to North Crowley in the Class 5A Region I semifinals by four points. Its other loss was in overtime to No. 7 Oak Hill Academy.
11. Ferris (Spokane, Wash.) 29-0 (12)
Season complete. A second straight Class 4A state title and a 58-game win streak tell the tale of the Saxons, who are now being compared to some of the best teams in Washington history.
12. Dominguez (Compton, Calif.) 32-2 (14)
They didn't get to avenge two losses to Taft of Woodland Hills, but the Dons did the next best thing in last week's CIF Southern California Div. I playoffs and that was to win the title with an 83-74 triumph vs. M.L. King of Riverside. Taft was in the same bracket, but was taken out in the semifinals by King. Dominguez will now play unbeaten McClymonds in the CIF Div. I state championship.
13. Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 34-1 (15)
David Wear and Andy Brown both pumped in 21 points as the Monarchs won the CIF Southern California Div. II title with a 76-59 win over Fresno Edison. Next up for the defending CIF Div. II state champs is a repeat matchup against FAB 50-ranked Archbishop Mitty in Friday's state finals. Mater Dei's only loss is to No. 12 Dominguez, 63-60, in the CIF Southern Section Div. I-AA final.
14. Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 30-3 (10)
The Wildcats finished as state Class AAAAA runnerup to FAB 50 No. 8 Norcross by 57-54 in the title game. Ari Stewart led all scorers with 18 points and Richard Howell had 12. In the semifinals, Wheeler bested Hirma, 68-54, as Howell had 22 points and 22 rebounds.
15. St. Patrick's (Elizabeth, N.J.) 25-5 (11)
The Celtics' season came to a end with a 64-52 loss to FAB 50 ranked St. Anthony in the finals of the North Jersey Non-Public B tournament, as junior Dexter Strickland scored 18 points. Earlier in the week, 13 players scored for the Celtics led by Strickland's 18 points in a 80-45 rout of Marist.
16. Marshall (Chicago, Ill.) 29-4 (30)
The Commandos advanced to this week's state Class 3A supersectional vs. North Chicago by besting St. Francis, 71-58 in the sectional finals. Davarius Davis scored a team-high 13 points. Earlier, the City Public
League champions defeated Central Catholic of Aurora, 74-62.
17. Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 26-4 (32)
With junior standout Lance Stephenson sitting out the game because it was senior day, the Railsplitters still cruised past Lehman, 111-59, in the second round of the PSAL playoffs. Lincoln also won last week over Kennedy, 70-53, as James Padgett netted 17 points.
18. Oregon City (Oregon City, Ore.) 26-1 (19)
The No. 1 seeded seeded Pioneers picked up a pair of Class 6A state playoff wins last week as they defeated Southridge, 77-59, and Canby, 67-51. In the win over Southridge, Pioneers' standout Brad Tinsley scored 28 points to move to second on the state's all-time scoring list ahead of Kyle Singler and Salim Stoudamire and now only trails current UCLA Bruin and former Lake Oswego sensation Kevin Love. Oregon City will face South Medford (Kyle Singler's old school) on Thursday and are two wins away from advancing to the state championship game.
19. McClymonds (Oakland, Calif.) 30-0 (29)
After defeating De La Salle of Concord, 50-37, to win their second straight CIF Northern California Div. I title and remain unbeaten, the Warriors move up 10 spots in this week's rankings. They have a chance to move up higher, too, as they face No. 10 Dominguez in Saturday's CIF Div. I state final. Junior guard Will Cherry had 18 points and 14 rebounds against De La Salle.
20. Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) 22-2 (20)
Season complete. Lone Peak became the second Class 5A team to win back-to-back state titles in Utah when they defeated Bingham, 67-53, on the first day of March.
21. New Albany (New Albany, Ind.) 24-0 (24)
Having to wait a few extra days for their Class 4A Seymour Regional semifinal game against East Central because of bad weather, the Bulldogs struggled early before finding their form. Pulling out a 53-36 win, New Albany was led by Donnie Hale with a game-high 26 points on 9 of 14 shooting. New Albany plays in the championship game Tuesday against Evansville Reitz.
22. Santa Margarita (Rancho SM, Calif.) 29-5 (26)
After finishing second in their league to FAB 50-ranked Mater Dei and losing in the CIF Southern Section Div. I-AA semifinals to FAB 50-ranked Dominguez, the Eagles played in their enrollment-based division in last week's CIF Southern California Div. III playoffs and won the title with an 67-39 romp past Bishop Montgomery of Torrance. Klay Thompson and Zack Zaragoza had 21 and 19 points, respectively, for Santa Margarita, which next week meets Sacramento (30-3) for the CIF Div. III state title.
23. Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) 27-3 (31)
The two-time defending state champion Wolverines captured the Class 3A sectional final over Leo, 72-52. It advances Simeon to this week's supersectional vs. Thornton Fractional North. In the win, Illinois-bound pivot Stan Simpson had 20 points, 10 rebounds and eight blocked shots. Junior Brandon Orange contributed 19 points.
24. Dillard (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 29-2 (34)
Season complete. Won state Class 5A title.
25. Lexington Catholic (Lexington, Ky.) 29-3 (35)
The Knights advanced to the regional finals with an 80-54 rout of defending state champion Scott County, who eliminated the Knights last season. Jordan Smart led the Knights with 20 points. Taylor Stewart netted 16. The Knights will play FAB 50 No. 32 Bryan Station in this week's finals with the winner advancing to next week's Sweet Sixteen tournament in Lexington's Rupp Arena.
26. Holy Cross (Flushing, N.Y.) 22-8 (nr)
This team was in the top 15 early in the season after some significant wins, then dropped way out after suffering a series of losses and has now regained its swagger. Last week, the Knights won their first CHSAA AA championship in 40 years with a 56-48 win against Christ the King as Virginia recruit Sylven Landesberg scored 24 points.
27. Rice (New York, N.Y.) 22-4 (5)
After looking at their strength of schedule, quality wins and what was possibly in front of them, the Raiders were moved up to the No. 5 slot last week. Their up-and-down nature, though, is now down after they lost to Holy Cross, 64-62, in the semifinals of the CHSAA Class AA playoffs. Connecticut recruit and McDonald's All-American Kemba Walker led the Raiders with 19 points.
28. Libbey (Toledo, Ohio) 21-2 (36)
The Cowboys advanced to this week's state Division II semifinals with a 65-51 victory over Lexington in the regional tournament finals. Ohio State-bound William Buford scored 20 points despite playing only 21 minutes and fouling out with 2:49 left to play. Libbey, playing in its fourth state Final Four, will take on unbeaten St. Paris Graham (26-0) in the semifinals.
29. Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.) 25-1 (25)
In a rematch of their closest win of the season, the Royals suffered their first loss of the season after starting out 24-0 by a 93-79 score to Minnetonka. Junior Trent Lockett led Hopkins with 21 points as these two teams could possibly meet once more in the playoffs for the Class 4A Section 6 championship. Hopkins got back to its winning ways with a convincing 85-61 win over Robbinsdale Armstrong to end the week.
30. Dulles (Sugar Land, Texas) 34-5 (37)
After knocking off previous No. 21 Klein Forest 70-66 in the Class 5A state semifinals, the Vikings fell to No. 3 North Crowley in the state final by seven points after taking an early lead. Dulles, a school named after former U.S. Secretary of State John Dulles, also get ranking points for splitting games with Sugar Land Hightower, the only team to beat North Crowley this season.
31. Ridgeway (Memphis, Tenn.) 31-3 (39)
The Roadrunners had no problems in running themselves to this week's state tournament as they defeated Craigmont, 80-55, in their lone game last week. UTEP commit Jason Jones led Ridgeway in the section title game with 22 points in the win over the Chiefs.
32. Bryan Station (Lexington, Ky.) 30-2 (40)
The Defenders eliminated rival Paul Dunbar, 67-60, in the regional semifinals for the 13th consecutive win over Dunbar. The Defenders advance to play FAB 50 No. 25 Lexington Catholic in this week's regional finals with the winner moving on to next week's Sweet Sixteen tournament at Rupp Arena. Shelvin Mack led the win with 21 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Dacoby Burnett scored 17.
33. M. L. King (Riverside, Calif.) 32-3 (nr)
After just missing getting into the FAB 50 last week, the Wolves left no doubt they belong this week after advancing to the CIF Southern California Div. I championship game where they lost to Dominguez of Compton. Before that, though, King notched wins over FAB 50-ranked Westchester of Los Angeles and FAB 50-ranked Taft of Woodland Hills. One of their other losses is to Dominguez and the other one is to Mater Dei.
34. Mt. Vernon (Mt. Vernon, N.Y.) 23-3 (nr)
West Virginia recruit Kevin Jones scored a game-high 31 points to go along with 14 rebounds to lead the Knights to their eighth trip to the state final four in nine seasons by defeating Binghamton, 93-72, in the regional final. The Knights rolled past Minisink Valley, 75-35, in the semifinals of the Class AA tournament as Jones scored a game-high 29 points.
35. Klein Forest (Houston, Texas) 33-4 (21)
Down 49-30 midway through the the third period, the Eagles made a furious comeback to tie the game at 56-56 only to come up short in a 71-66 loss to No. 30 Dulles in the Class 5A state semifinals. Klein Forest was led in a losing effort by Elliott Lloyd with 16 points.
36. Taft (Woodland Hills, Calif.) 27-4 (13)
Coach Derrick Taylor's team lost in the CIF Southern California Div. I semifinals, 83-82 in double-overtime, to M.L. King of Riverside. Before that, the Toreadors won twice in the regional playoffs, 78-52, over Chino Hills and 85-62, over El Camino of Oceanside.
37. South Oak Cliff (Dallas, Texas) 26-8 (nr)
After dispatching Boerne, 53-46, in the Class 4A state semifinals, SOC did what it has for the last four seasons on the court -- capture the UIL Class 4A state championship, this time with a 80-77 victory over Fort Worth Southwest. The Golden Bears also won titles between 2005 and 2007, but the Dallas ISD ruled James Mays' program had to forfeit the title won during the 2005-2006 season for using an ineligible player. SOC had a tough stretch where it lost four consecutive games and seven of 13, but it closed out the season with 15 wins. J'mison "Bobo" Morgan had 13 points, eight rebounds and eight blocks in the championship game win over Southwest, but the real hero of the game was Brandon Jones, who came up with two steals, two big rebounds, an assist, and two clutch free throws in the final minute to seal yet another championship for Mays' program.
38. Yates (Houston, Texas) 26-3 (38)
Season complete. The Lions lost to Houston Wheatley in overtime in the Class 4A regional finals, but retain their same spot in the FAB 50 this week because their whole body of work is quite impressive. They were simply dominant in district play, lost to 5A state semifinalist Madison by only one point and also beat No. 7 Oak Hill Academy and No. 15 St. Patrick's back in December.
39. Fairfax (Los Angeles, Calif.) 27-6 (27)
Following up their close loss to Taft in the L.A. City Section title game, the Lions won twice in the CIF Southern California Div. I, including a 66-55 victory in the quarterfinals over an Etiwanda of Rancho Cucamonga squad that entered 30-2. Their season ended in the next round, though, in a 80-77 overtime loss to FAB 50-ranked Dominguez.
40. Westchester (Los Angeles, Calif.) 28-5 (28)
Like their L.A. City Section rankings mates, the Comets also drop in this week's rankings but not all the way out. In their case, a 77-75 loss to M.L. King of Riverside in the CIF SoCal Div. I quarterfinals was the season-ender. Westchester did get a win over Fairfax in three tries, so that's enough probably for a final FAB 50 ranking for the season.
41. Hillcrest (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) 33-3 (42)
Season complete. Won state Class 6A title.
42. LeFlore (Mobile, Ala.) 30-3 (43)
Season complete. State Class 6A runnerup.
43. St. Xavier (Cincinnati, Ohio) 23-2 (nr)
The Bombers advanced to this week's state Division 1 semifinals by outlasting city rival Withrow, 52-51, in the regional finals. Senior point guard Brad Loesing led the way with 14 points. The Bombers, last year's state runnerup to city rival Moeller, advanced to its third Final Four in the last four years. St. Xavier will take on Lakewood St. Edward (21-4) in the semifinals. St. Edward was the preseason state No. 1-ranked team but lost star player Delvon Roe with an early-season injury.
44. Helen Cox (Harvey, La.) 36-7 (nr)
The Cougars captured their first state title by routing O.P. Walker, 75-51, in the Class 4A title game. Georgetown recruit Greg Monroe was named the game's outstanding player after the 6-foot-10 pivot scored 27 points, including 21 in the second half. The touted college prospect also had 13 rebounds and five blocked shots. Teammate Calvin Thompson had 21 points and 10 rebounds. The Cougars played a national schedule this season and didn't lose to an in-state team.
45. Norland (Miami, Fla.) 26-6 (nr)
Season complete. Won state Class 6A title.
46. Central (Omaha, Neb.) 25-3 (nr)
Josh Jones scored 21 points as the Eagles defeated Bellevue East, 59-58, to win their third straight Class A championship. It is only the eighth time in Nebraska history to threepeat and the first since 1998 when Lincoln Northwest won four in a row. Jones also had 29 points when Central defeated Bellevue West, 80-66, in the semifinals.
47. Elkins (Sugar Land, Texas) 31-4 (nr)
Season complete. At first it may seem strange to jump this Lone Star State club back in the FAB 50 when it lost to eventual Class 5A state runner-up Dulles in a regional quarterfinal game, but looking at the entire season paints a different picture. The Knights beat Dulles not once, but twice during the regular season. They also beat the Hightower team that handed 5A state champ North Crowley its only loss two out of three times.
48. Hall (Little Rock, Ark.) 29-2 (nr)
Tournament MVP Marland Smith, a junior, scored 17 points as the Warriors defeated Benton, 57-46, in the Class 6A championship game. Hall finished the season by winning its final 17 games.
49. Webster Groves (Webster Groves, Mo.) 29-3 (nr)
The Statesmen end up No. 1 in Missouri after winning the Class 5 state title, 71-62, over defending champion McCluer North. St. Charles West would have been No. 1 if it had won the Class 4 final, but it was upset by Notre Dame of Cape Girardeau, 48-36. Drew Hanlen had 19 points and five assists for Webster Groves.
50. Memorial (Tulsa, Okla.) 29-5 (nr)
For the fourth time in school history, the Chargers are state champions as they defeated Putnam City North, 55-46, in the Class 6A title game. Dominick Cornelius scored 13 of his game-high 15 points in the second half to hold off the Panthers as he was 9-of-10 at the free throw line in the final quarter. Memorial took out previous FAB 50-ranked Putnam City, 40-38, in the quarterfinals.
Dropped Out: Previous No. 16 Eisenhower (Decatur, Ill.); No. 17 Homewood-Flossmoor (Flossmoor, Ill.); No. 23 Putnam City (Oklahoma City, Okla.); No. 22 Wheatley (Houston, Texas); No. 41 Dunwoody (Dunwoody, Ga.); No. 44 Patterson Catholic (Paterson, N.J.); No. 45 Starkville (Starkville, Miss.); No. 46 Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.); No. 47 Petersburg (Petersburg, Va.); No. 48 Dudley (Greensboro, N.C.); No. 49 McCluer North (Florissant, Mo.); No. 50 Trotwood-Madison (Trotwood, Ohio).
About Doug Huff & Mark Tennis
Huff is one of only three journalists who've been inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame. He's known as the founder of the national record book, originated the prestigious Street&Smith's preseason All-American teams and still updates football and boys basketball national records regularly for Student Sports. Huff is beginning his 21st consecutive season of compiling national high school football rankings. No one has done this type of work for more years. Tennis has been executive editor of Student Sports for 13 years and has been compiling California state rankings for 27 years. Huff and Tennis have worked together on the FAB 50 rankings since 1999.