Commentary

ESPN RISE Preseason FAB 50 Nos. 26 --50

Updated: November 4, 2009, 12:42 PM ET
By Doug Huff & Ronnie Flores | ESPN RISE

26. Holmes (Covington, Ky.)
Last Season's Record: 36-2, all-class state champion
Key Players: G Ricardo Johnson (6-4, Sr.); F Elijah Pittman (6-7, Sr.); G Jeremiah Johnson (6-3, Sr.)

[+] EnlargeJosh Selby
Liam Foley/Icon SMIJosh Selby, No. 5 in the ESPNU 100, is down to Arizona, Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Outlook: It's a challenging task to repeat as the one-class Kentucky state champion, but the athletic and experienced Bulldogs should give it a good shot. They were led to the 2009 title by a group of underclassmen that included all-state selections Johnson and Pittman. Johnson, the MVP of the state tournament, was second on the team in scoring (10.7 per game) and rebounds (5.6 per game). Pittman led in both categories with 14.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.

27. St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.)
Last Season's Record: 33-5, NHSI first round
Key Players: G Dante Holmes (6-3, Sr.); G Ronald Williams (5-10, Jr.); C Greg Lewis (6-8, Jr.)

Outlook: The Panthers face an ambitious schedule but seem ready for the challenge with the return of four of last season's top six players as well as two hyped additions: 6-foot sophomore DaQuan Cook and 6-foot-3 junior Sam Cassell Jr.

28. Bellaire (Bellaire, Texas)
Last Season's Record: 24-8, Class 5A bi-district round
Key Players: Tobi Oyedeji (6-8, Sr.); F Sheldon McClellan (6-6, Jr.); G Sebastian Douglas (6-3, Sr.)

Outlook: Two Big 12 recruits anchor the Cardinals, who seek an eighth straight district title. Oyedeji is a Texas A&M recruit, while McClellan has committed to Texas. They are joined by Douglas, a newcomer at the point. Other senior standouts include Kene Anyigbo (6-6), Jamel Outler (6-3) and 6-foot Jonathan Evans.

29. Lake Clifton (Baltimore, Md.)
Last Season's Record: 28-0, Class 3A state champion
Key Players: G Josh Selby (6-3, Sr.); F Durand Johnson (6-6, Sr.); C Kyree Watson (6-8, Sr.)

Outlook: The Lakers were in an elite group last season when they finished unbeaten with a state championship. It could be challenging to duplicate that campaign, but a revamped roster will give Lake Clifton a good shot. Two touted newcomers, Selby and Johnson, will join experienced veterans in Watson and 6-foot-4 senior guard Deontre Hayward.

Boys' Basketball Preview

Boys' Basketball Preview

High school basketball is back and ESPN RISE is getting you ready for boys' basketball season with a week's worth of previews, including the release of the Preseason ESPN RISE FAB 50 rankings.

Nov. 3
FAB 50 Nos. 26 -- 50
Best Players Ever By State

Nov. 4
FAB 50 Nos. 11 -- 25
Top Current Players By State
Highest Ranked Team Since 1988

Nov. 5
FAB 50 No. 1 -- 10
Preseason No. 1 By State
Regional Rankings
Five Burning Questions

30. Jefferson (Portland, Ore.)
Last Season's Record: 20-6, Class 5A state champion
Key Players: F Terrence Jones (6-8, Sr.); F Stephen Madison (6-6, Sr.); G Antoine Hosley (6-1, Sr.)

Outlook: Jones pulled down 13 rebounds per game last season to go with 24.6 points and five assists. Madison, a transfer from Prairie (Vancouver, Wash.), would have been one of Washington's top players. With Hosley plus additional returnees such as Noah Kone-Nelson (6-7, Sr.) and Rashaad Dent (6-4, Sr.), it could be one of the best Jefferson teams ever.

31. Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Last Season's Record: 25-7, Class 2A state champion
Key Players: F Justin Jackson (6-8, Sr.); G Ozzie Dilik (6-3, Sr.); G Shawn Smith (6-4, Soph.)

Outlook: The Apaches will be seeking their sixth consecutive Class 2A state championship with a new look as only two veterans return: Smith and 5-foot-11 Leroy Rivera. First-year seniors include Jackson, a Cincinnati recruit, Dilik, 6-8 John Brown, 6-6 Wes Blackman and 5-10 Chris Blunt. Two sophomores, 5-11 Jermaine Armstrong and 6-2 Ian Baker, will be counted on to contribute. As is Angel Mathias, a 6-foot-6, 295-pounder from Puerto Rico.

32. DeSoto (DeSoto, Texas)
Last Season's Record: 33-8, Class 5A state champion
Key Players: C Keith Davis (6-9, Sr.); G Darius Terrell (6-1, Sr.); G Adrian White (6-1, Sr.)

Outlook: The defending Class 5A state champion Eagles return touted big man Davis plus two athletic guards. Davis, an all-atate selection as a junior, impressed in tournament play a year ago. Terrell and White are standouts in basketball and football. Both have committed to Texas for football.

33. Waukegan (Waukegan, Ill.)
Last Season's Record: 26-5, Class 4A state runner-up
Key Players: F Jereme Richmond (6-7, Sr.); G Mike Springs (6-0, Sr.); G Aaron Johnson (5-10, Jr.)

Outlook: With five of the top six players returning from last season's state runner-up, Waukegan should give defending champ Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) competition for the brass ring. Richmond, who anchors the squad for the third straight year, is bound for Illinois. Waukegan's guard-dominated lineup also returns Springs, Johnson and 6-foot-2 senior Steve Conner.

34. Scott County (Georgetown, Ky.)
Last Season's Record: 28-4, regional runner-up
Key Players: G Ge-lawn Guyn (6-3, Sr.); G Chad Jackson (6-4, Sr.); F Dakotah Euton (6-8, Sr.)

Outlook: The Cardinals should again challenge defending state champion Holmes (Covington, Ky.) for state supremacy. Guyn, Jackson and Euton are all back after earning all-state recognition a year ago. Other contributors should be 6-foot-2 senior Austin Flannery, 6-4 junior Robbie Barber and 6-3 sophomore Tamron Manning.

35. White Station (Memphis, Tenn.)
Last Season's Record: 30-7, Class AAA state champion
Key Players: G Joe Jackson (5-11, Sr.); C Eric Richardson (6-9, Sr.); G Andre Hollins (6-3, Jr.)

Outlook: The defending state champion Spartans return six, including Jackson, a four-year varsity player who was named MVP of the state tournament. Jackson, the state's No. 1 recruit, has committed to Memphis. White Station also has some size in Richardson, 6-foot-6 junior Marvin Williams and 6-foot-7 senior Jordan Miles. Another returnee is senior point guard Julian Burton.

36. Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)
Last Season's Record: 29-5, Alhambra Catholic Invitational champion
Key Players: G Tyler Thornton (6-1, Sr.); G Cedrick Lindsay (6-1, Sr.); F Malcolm Lemmons (6-4, Sr.)

Outlook: The Purple Eagles return four of their top six players and eight overall from a squad that won its second straight title Alhambra Catholic Invitational last year. Thornton is bound for Duke, while Lindsay and Lemmons are committed to Richmond and Robert Morris. Three veteran juniors include 2009 sixth man Cahli Thomas (6-1), Kevin Hogan (6-4) and Oliver Ellison (6-8). Promising freshmen Kris Jenkins and Nate Britt look to contribute.

[+] EnlargePerry Ellis
Steven Maikoski/USA BasketballSophomore Perry Ellis is causing a buzz while leading preseason No. 42 Wichita Heights (Wichita, Kan.).

37. Callaway (Jackson, Miss.)
Last Season's Record: 33-6, Class 4A state champion
Key Players: G Deville Smith (5-11, Jr.) F Jeverik Nelson (6-7, Sr.); F Terran Gilmore (6-6, Soph.).

Outlook: Four of the top six players return from a team that won the Class 4A crown plus the all-class Grand Slam title last year. Smith averaged 16.2 points, 5.1 assists and 4.2 steals per game a year ago, while Nelson contributed 9.2 points and nine rebounds. A newcomer, Gilmore adds strength up front to the veteran-laden squad.

38. De La Salle (Chicago, Ill.)
Last Season's Record: 21-5, Class 4A sectional finalist
Key Players: F Mike Shaw (6-8, Jr.); F Andre Henley (6-6, Sr.); F Jon Jesse (6-7, Sr.)

Outlook: The Meteors return a bevy of rangy frontcourt players, including Shaw, one of the state's top juniors. Four returnees are taller than 6-foot-6, including Shaw, Henley, Jesse and Aaron Samuel (6-7). Rob Robinson is another experienced player who could help De La Salle challenge defending Class 4A champion Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) for state honors.

39. Coral Reef (Miami, Fla.)
Last Season's Record: 27-4, Class 6A state champion
Key Players: G Charles Hankerson Jr. (6-5, Sr.); G Devin Rahming (5-11, Sr.); F Jerel Miller (6-3, Sr.)

Outlook: Coach Gaston "Chachi" Rodriguez has some rebuilding to do, but the Alabama-bound Hankerson is a good place to start. He scored 27 points in the state title game last year, and averaged 21.6 points for the season. Coral Reef will need increased production from Rahming and Miller to repeat.

40. Lincoln (Dallas, Texas)
Last Season's Record: 26-8, Class 4A regional quarterfinalist
Key Players: F LeBryan Nash (6-7, Jr.); F Keaton Miles (6-6, Jr.); G Courtney Hooper (6-3, Soph.)

Outlook: If any Class 4A team could threaten defending champion Yates (Houston, Texas) this season, it could be Lincoln. Anchored by Nash, a top 10 recruit from the Class of 2011, Lincoln has a cast of talented players. The veterans also include Miles, 6-foot-3 senior Dekarrien Eldrideg and 6-foot-1 senior Steven Goven. Hooper moves up from last season's freshman squad.

41. Winter Park (Winter Park, Fla.)
Last Season's Record: 24-8, Class 6A state semifinalist
Key Players: G Austin Rivers (6-4, Jr.); F Robert Lovaglio (6-4, Sr.); F Adam Jones (6-7, Sr.)

Outlook: The Wildcats return more firepower than defending Class 6A state champ Coral Reef a year after after a national coming-out party at the City of Palms Classic. Winter Park has the players and schedule to move up in the ratings this year. Rivers, who averaged 23.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last year, leads the way. Jones led the team in rebounds last year.

42. Wichita Heights (Wichita, Kan.)
Last Season's Record: 24-1, Class 6A state champion
Key Players: F Perry Ellis (6-7, So.); G Evan Wessel (6-3, Jr.); G Dreamis Smith (6-0, Jr.)

Outlook: It was big news in Kansas last summer when Ellis announced he would simply be attending the University of Kansas camp. Ellis averaged 19.2 points and 11.7 rebounds per game as a freshman while leading Wichita Heights to its first state title since 1977. Wessel and Smith are also back to form a potentially strong backcourt. This team still could be a year away from rising into the top 15 teams of the FAB 50.

43. Princeton (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Last Season's Record: 25-2, Division I state runner-up
Key Players: G Jordan Sibert (6-4, Sr.); G Marcus Davis (6-2, Sr.); F Darrien Wilkins (6-5, Sr.)

Outlook: The Vikings return three of their top six players from last year's state runner-up squad. Davis returns at the point for his fourth varsity season while Wilkins is back after serving as a solid sixth man a year ago. Sibert, an Ohio State recruit, leads the way. Princeton will be bolstered by transfers Greg Williams and Lionel Hill.

44. Chaminade (St. Louis, Mo.)
Last Season's Record: 27-4, Class 5 state champion
Key Players: G Brad Beal (6-4, Jr.); F Brendan Kelly (6-3, Jr.); F Brandon Hannah (6-4, Jr.)

Outlook: Beal, who dropped 30 points in the state final last year, averaged 23 per game on the season. One of the top juniors in the nation, Beal will be joined by two others who started as sophomores last season -- Kelly and guard Luke Bumgarner (6-1) -- as well as Hannah, who came off the bench.

45. Federal Way (Federal Way, Wash.)
Last Season's Record: 28-2, Class 4A state champion
Key Players: F Cole Dickerson (6-5, Sr.); G Isiah Umipig (6-0, Sr.); F Jaleel Williams (6-6, Jr.)

Outlook: Dickerson averaged 17 points per game as a junior and has committed to the University of San Francisco. Umipig's return should be even more beneficial than Dickerson's due to his point guard skills. Umipig had 19 points in last year's state final.

46. Paterson Catholic (Paterson, N.J.)
Last Season's Record: 26-5, North Jersey Non-Public B runner-up
Key Players: F Fuquan Edwin (6-6, Sr.); F Derrick Randall (6-8, Jr.); G Jermaine Peart (6-2, Sr.)

Outlook: The Cougars have a veteran cast returning from a team that finished as Non-Public B runner-up to St. Patrick. Randall will be joined in the lineup by Edwin, a Seton Hall recruit, and Peart. Other returnees in the mix for playing time are seniors Jayon James (6-5) and Trevon Clemmings (6-7) as well as junior Myles Mack (5-9).

47. Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas)
Last Season's Record: 27-10, Class 5A regional finalist
Key Players: F Perry Jones (6-11, Sr.); G Cameron Lenzy (5-10, Jr.); F Luke Mergerson (6-8, Jr.)

Outlook: One of the nation's top big men, Jones, anchors a Panther squad that should contend for state honors. Jones, a Baylor recruit, will be joined in the lineup by three experienced juniors -- Lenzy, Mergerson and 6-foot-3 guard Jamar Goodwin.

48. Salesian (Richmond, Calif.)
Last Season's Record: 31-4, CIF Division IV state champion
Key Players: F Desmond Simmons (6-7, Sr.); F Kendall Andrews (6-3, Sr.); G Dominic Artis (5-8, Soph.)

Outlook: The transfer of top junior Jabari Brown to Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) cost the Chieftains a few spots in the preseason rankings, but they still have four starters back from a state title team. Simmons, headed to Washington, had 31 points and 19 rebounds in the championship while Andrews put in a layup at the buzzer to win it. Artis is a creative playmaker, the complete opposite of massive sophomore center Freddy Tagaloa (6-8, 285).

49. Jamesville-DeWitt (DeWitt, N.Y.)
Last Season's Record: 27-2, State Federation Class A runner-up
Key Players: F DaJuan Coleman (6-8, So.); G Lamar Kearse (6-0, Sr.); G Tim Snyder (6-2, Sr.)

Outlook: Coleman comes back after earning EA SPORTS National Freshman Player of the Year honors last year. He anchors a team that advanced to the Federation Class A finals last year. Coleman is a strong post player and rebounder who earned All-State honors and was one of only two rising sophomores to play at this past summer's Boost Mobile Elite 24. Kearse returns at point guard while Snyder transfers in. Other returnees include seniors Jailann Kinsey (5-10) and Zach Firestone (6-4) plus 6-foot-6 sophomore Tyler Kavanaugh.

50. Bishop Miege (Shawnee Mission, Kan.)
Last Season's Record: 23-2, Class 5A state runner-up
Key Player: G Trevor Releford (5-11, Sr.); G Rodney Givens (6-1, Sr.); F Curtis Okafor (6-5, Jr.)

Outlook: The Stags lost to Highland Park at the buzzer in the state final and look like favorites this year with all-state selections Releford and Givens leading the way. Releford, who averaged 18.6 points per game last year, has committed to Alabama. Justin McCay, who has committed to Oklahoma for football, and frequent double-digit scorer Seamus Martin also return.

Ronnie Flores covers high school basketball for ESPNRISE.com. Mark Tennis and Paul Muyskens contributed to these rankings.