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Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Bloomington South KOs DCD, rises in FAB 50 rankings

Editor's note: The ESPN RISE FAB 50 boys' basketball rankings are compiled by Christopher Lawlor, Ronnie Flores, Ryan Canner-O'Mealy and Doug Huff. They will be released each Tuesday throughout the season.

Click here for regional rankings.

As expected, the Midwest Region of the ESPN RISE FAB 50 boys' basketball rankings has a new look, with No. 15 Bloomington (Ind.) South knocking out No. 21 Detroit Country Day (Beverly Hills, Mich.) in a battle for supremacy.

Now that DCD has dropped two spots in the Midwest, it appears Bloomington South and No. 16 Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.) are favorites to run the table. Winning Class 4A and 5A titles (large school classes) in Indiana and Minnesota, respectively, won't come easy, but with tough tests down the stretch, the postseason already abounds.

Texas and California also join the postseason fray. To win a state title in Texas, teams need to embark on a seven-game win streak. In other words, the slate has been wiped clean and single elimination is the format. In California, teams must go through layers before reaching the state final in Sacramento. Team can absorb a loss during the sectional tournaments and still qualify for regional tournaments.

New Jersey wraps up its regular season this week, with several county tournaments playing out this week. Kevin Boyle of No. 4 St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) will coach with a heavy heart after the death of his older brother, Neil, early Sunday. In a classy gesture, Linden coach Phil Colicchio requested that officials to push back the date of the Union County Tournament semifinal against St. Patrick from Tuesday to Thursday. Boyle said Sunday night he would miss the game with Linden. Colicchio's act defines sportsmanship.

Three-Point Play

Game Ball: Point guard Jordan Hulls of No. 15 Bloomington (Ind.) South engineered the offense in a pair of victories, earning him player of the week honors. His most impressive of the two outings came during a hard-earned 73-67 win over previous-No. 15 Detroit Country Day (Beverly Hills, Mich.). Hulls, an Indiana University recruit, scored nine of his game-high 27 points as the Panthers won a key interstate battle among Midwest powerhouses. He also scored 14 points when the undefeated Panthers clinched the Conference Indiana championship, thrashing Perry Meridian (Indianapolis), 91-46. Hulls averages 17.6 points and 5.5 assists for Indiana's top-ranked Class 4A club.

Games of the week: The City of Philadelphia is arguably the best basketball city in the nation. On Saturday, the best of the best from the Catholic and Public leagues will clash for city championships at Temple University's Liacouras Center. In the Class AA, West Catholic-Imhotep Prep, 1 p.m. ET while the Class AAA game is No. 20 Neumann-Goretti-Franklin Learning Center (7 p.m.). Roman Catholic meets Southern on Sunday (1 p.m.) for the Class AAAA crown. Girls' games are also on the docket.

America's Team: USA Basketball announced the 10-player roster for the 2009 USA Men's Junior National Select Team that will compete in the 12th Annual Nike Hoop Summit on April 11 (10 p.m. ET) at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore.

Here's the complete roster: DeMarcus Cousins of LeFlore (Mobile, Ala.); Leslie McDonald of Briarcrest (Memphis); Mason Plumlee of Christ School (Arden, N.C.); Avery Bradley of Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.); Derrick Favors of South Atlanta (Atlanta); Abdul Gaddy of Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma, Wash.); Xavier Henry of Putnam City (Oklahoma City); John Henson of Sickles (Tampa, Fla.); Mike Moser of Grant (Portland, Ore.); and John Wall of Word of God (Raleigh, N.C.).

John Olive of Torrey Pines (San Diego) was named head coach of the USA Team. The World Select Team roster, announced in March, will consist of 11 players, age 19 or younger from FIBA's five geographic zones.

Additionally, The Atlanta Tipoff Club Monday announced finalists for the 2009 Naismith Boys' High School Player of the Year awards. The lists were determined by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, comprised of leading basketball journalists and administrators, which based its criteria on player performances this season.

Four of the five finalists are playing in the Nike Hoop Summit for the USA Men's Junior National Select Team. They are Kenny Boynton of American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.), Cousins, Favors, Sidney and Wall. The winner will be announced March 23 at an awards banquet.

Records are through Feb. 22.

Rankings: Preseason / Week 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 14 / 16 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 21 / Final

Rank Team Record Previous Note
1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 28-0 1 As expected, the Monarchs opened the CIF Southern Section Division I-AA playoffs as the No. 1 seed in a rugged bracket and blew out San Clemente, 75-48. Junior guard Gary Franklin led four Monarchs in double figures with 27 points. There was no letdown in the second round against Upland in an 85-52 win as Franklin netted 24 points. In their next game, the Monarchs face Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley).
2 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 35-0 2 Keith "Tiny" Gallon recorded a double-double, 19 points and 12 rebounds, in a 104-75 wipe out of Quality Education Academy (Winston-Salem, N.C.). The Warriors play Charlotte (N.C.) Christian on Saturday (noon ET) at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena.
3 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 29-0 3 The Pilots beat God's Academy (Dallas), 74-51, at the Dallas Basketball Classic. Tristan Thompson, who transferred earlier in the week, made his debut and scored one point in four minutes. The originally scheduled game against Duncanville (Texas) was cancelled.
4 St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) 22-3 4 The Celtics advanced to the Union County Tournament semifinals, crushing Roselle, 75-37, and Union Catholic (Scotch Plains), 82-38. Dexter Strickland (18 points) and Joshua Daniels (13) combined to score 31 points against Union Catholic. Coach Kevin Boyle's team plays Linden Thursday in the semifinals. The winner plays Plainfield or Elizabeth in Saturday's final. In the Non-Public B tournament, the Celtics open March 6 against the winner of Morristown Beard-St. Mary's (Jersey City) in the North quarterfinals. Sophomore Michael Gilchrist is likely lost for the rest of the season with a foot injury.
5 Madison (San Antonio) 33-1 5 The Mavericks closed out the regular season, clipping Reagan (San Antonio), 54-52, as Coppin State-bound forward Jonathan Landry scored 15 points and Stephen Baird 10. Next up is Akins (Austin) in a bi-district playoff game. The Region 4 semifinals and final are March 6-7 at University of Texas San Antonio's Convocation Center.
6 LeFlore (Mobile, Ala.) 29-2 6 The Rattlers are heading back to the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center for the Class 5A state semifinals against Parker (Birmingham) on Friday. The winner plays No. 32 Butler (Huntsville) or Talladega in Saturday's 5A final. In the South Regional final, 6-foot-10 DeMarcus Cousins, a McDonald's All American, produced 35 points and 13 rebounds in a 70-65 win over Eufaula, who led by five points in the fourth quarter. The Rattlers beat Wilcox Central, 94-59, in the region semifinals.
7 Strake Jesuit (Houston) 32-0 7 The Crusaders were perfect during the regular season, annexing the District 18-5A title after beating Stratford (Houston), 71-61.Notre Dame-bound guard Joey Brooks hit for 26 points (making 6-of-10 shots), grabbed six rebounds and dished out six assists. Next up is Katy in a bi-district playoff game.
8 St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.) 22-2 8 In a quiet week, the Grays Bees ripped Upper Room Christian (Dix Hills, N.Y.), 95-42.
9 Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) 19-1 9 Villanova-bound center Mouphtaou Yarou dropped in 22 points and hauled down 10 boards and Isaiah Armwood added 17 points and 12 boards in a 76-52 win over Ballou (Washington, D.C.). The Mustangs play KIMA (Washington) Tuesday and hope to reschedule another one for later this week. They will play No. 2 Oak Hill Academy on March 6.
10 De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) 25-1 10 The Spartans completed their regular season with their 21st straight win, knocking off California (San Ramon) High, 47-23. Point guard Brandon Smith scored his 1,000 point and became the winningest player in program history (113-9 overall record). John McArthur led all scorers with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Beau Levesque and Brandon Smith chipped in eight each, with Levesque grabbing nine rebounds and Smith five assists. The Spartans open the postseason Friday in the quarterfinals of the CIF-North Coast Section, Division I playoffs against either San Ramon Valley or James Logan (Union City).
11 Westchester (Los Angeles) 27-2 11 The Comets sent a message as the top seed in the CIF-City Section, crushing Carson, 80-35, in the opening round. Westchester forced 19 turnovers as the Colts had trouble with Westchester's trapping and pressing. Guards Dominique O'Connor and Jordin Mayes combined for 28 points for coach Ed Azzam's club, which plays Fremont (Los Angeles) in Tuesday's quarterfinals.
12 Fairfax (Los Angeles) 24-3 12 The Lions, the No. 2 seed in the CIF-City Section playoffs, opened with a ho-hum 91-52 victory over West Adams Prep, as five players reached double figures. Junior guard Jordan Weathers led five double-figure scorers with 25 points. The big news off Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles this week was Sunday's announcement that center Renardo Sidney, the No. 5 in the ESPNU 100, will play his college ball at USC. Sidney still needs a qualifying standardized testing score to become eligible. Next up is Washington (Los Angeles) on Tuesday in the quarterfinals. If the Lions win, they'll likely meet regionally-ranked Taft (Woodland Hills) on Friday at the USC's Galen Center.
13 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) 24-3 14 The Stags are regular-season champions of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference after edging Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.), 68-65. Super sophomore Quin Cook scored 25 points and Naji Hibbert had 13. The Stags, the No. 1 seed in the WCAC Tournament, also topped Bishop O'Connell (Arlington, Va.), 64-53, in a game televised on ESPNU.
14 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) 24-4 13 The Purple Eagles split a pair of games but lost to previous-No. 14 DeMatha (Hyattsville), 68-65. Duke-bound junior Tyler Thornton's potential game-tying 3-pointer drew iron as time expired. Forward Ian Hummer struck for a game-high 25 points and Cedrick Lindsay added 18. Coach Steve Turner's club will be the second seed in the upcoming WCAC Tournament.
15 Bloomington South (Bloomington, Ind.) 19-0 19 The Panthers beat previous-No. 15 Detroit Country Day (Beverly Hills, Mich.), 73-67, before 3,000 hometown fans. Indiana-bound guard Jordan Hulls scored 27 points and 5-10 sophomore Dee Davis added 18. They also beat Perry Meridian (Indianapolis), 91-46, clinching the Conference Indiana title. The Panthers conclude the regular season Thursday at Decatur Central. The Class 4A section playoffs tip March 3.
16 Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.) 21-0 16 Minnesota's top-ranked Class 4A team scored more than 100 points in each of two easy wins last week. The Royals rocked Robbinsdale-Armstrong, 101-74, and Columbia Heights, 102-68. In the Columbia Heights rout, six Royals scored in double figures, with Arizona State-bound Trent Lockett leading the way with 23 points.
17 Rice (Manhattan, N.Y.) 17-3 17 The Raiders closed out the regular season with a win over St. Francis Prep (Fresh Meadows), 80-49. Shemel Williams struck for 15 points and James Stukes added 12. The Raiders play St. Peter's (Staten Island) Tuesday in the CHSAA Class AA New York Archdiocesan semifinals. The winner plays Bronx schools St. Raymond or All Hallows for the title.
18 Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 21-3 18 Idle. The Royals have a bye in the opening round of the CHSAA AA Brooklyn-Queens Diocesan Tournament and play Wednesday in the semifinals. The final is Friday in CTK's Savage Gymnasium.
19 Christ School (Arden, N.C.) 33-2 20 The Greenies won the CAA tournament and regular-season titles. In the tournament final, they stopped Asheville Christian, 63-49. Lakeem Jackson scored 15 points and had four steals and Mason Plumlee added 11 points and five blocks. Next up is the North Carolina's Independent 3A championships in Charlotte, where they will play either Charlotte Latin or Charlotte Country Day on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. ET.
20 Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia) 22-2 22 The Saints rolled past North Catholic (Philadelphia), 77-62, in the semifinals of the Philadelphia Catholic League Tournament. Junior forward Daniel Stewart had 18 points and eight boards and threw down five monstrous dunks. The Saints went for their fifth PCL title in 11 years Monday night against archrival Roman Catholic (Philadelphia). Saturday's they compete for the Philadelphia City Class AAA District12 title against Franklin Learning Center (Philadelphia) at Temple University's Liacouras Center.
21 Detroit Country Day (Beverly Hills, Mich.) 18-1 15 The Yellowjackets had their 18-game win streak halted last week in Bloomington, Ind. DCD, which opened the week with an 83-73 win over Flint Northern, lost to ESPN RISE ranked Bloomington South, 73-67. Jordan Dumars scored 18 points, making four 3-pointers against South.
22 McClymonds (Oakland, Calif.) 24-1 26 The Warriors upped their win streak to eight games heading into the postseason, knocking off Oakland foes Fremont, 84-42, and Skyline, 74-50. Next up is Castlemont (Oakland) in the CIF-Oakland Section playoffs.
23 South Atlanta (Atlanta) 24-3 28 The Hornets have regained their swagger after dropping back-to-back games in mid-January to No. 2 Oak Hill Academy and No. 6 LeFlore (Mobile, Ala.). Last Saturday, they wrapped up the Region 4-AAA title, defeating Spalding (Griffin), 104-45, for their 10th straight win. Next up is Thomson on Saturday in the first round of the Class AAA state tournament.
24 Thornton (Harvey, Ill.) 24-1 24 The top-ranked Illinois Class 4A team hiked its win streak to 23 games with a 72-54 victory over rival Thornwood. The Wildcats, playing without regulars Reggie Smith and Jamal Gray, were led by 6-foot-3 senior Trevell Rivers with 17 points, including four dunks, and 11 rebounds. Thornton closes regular season play this week vs. Thornridge (Dolton).
25 Northland (Columbus, Ohio) 19-1 25 The Vikings captured their third consecutive City League title with a 62-56 victory over Eastmoor Academy (Columbus). Jared Sullinger, a 6-foot-8, 275-pound junior and Ohio State recruit, led the way with 31 points and 23 rebounds and J.D. Weatherspoon contributed 17 points.

Rank Team Record Previous
26 Dominguez (Compton, Calif.) 24-5 27
27 Plano West (Plano, Texas) 28-2 29
28 Petersburg (Va.) 25-0 30
29 Pershing (Detroit) 18-1 33
30 Lawrence North (Indianapolis) 19-2 31
31 Bearden (Knoxville, Tenn.) 27-2 32
32 Butler (Huntsville, Ala.) 31-3 43
33 Fayetteville (Ark.) 25-0 35
34 Lake Clifton (Baltimore) 22-0 36
35 Centennial (Roswell, Ga.) 24-4 34
36 St. Frances Academy (Baltimore) 27-3 48
37 Provo (Utah) 21-0 38
38 Princeton (Cincinnati) 19-1 39
39 Franklin (Seattle) 21-1 40
40 Holmes (Covington, Ky.) 27-2 41
41 Bellevue (Wash.) 21-1 42
42 Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.) 27-2 44
43 Yates (Houston) 27-1 45
44 Olympia (Orlando, Fla.) 24-4 46
45 St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) 20-4 46
46 Jamesville-Dewitt (Dewitt, N.Y.) 20-1 50
47 Cedar Hill (Texas) 29-3 NR
48 Newman Smith (Carrollton, Texas) 29-3 NR
49 Norcross (Ga.) 25-2 23
50 North Crowley (Fort Worth) 30-5 NR

Dropped out: No. 21 Boyd Anderson (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.); No. 37 Atlantic Shores Christian (Chesapeake, Va.); and No. 47 Rock Bridge (Columbia, Mo.).