Commentary

ESPN RISE Preseason FAB 50 Nos. 11 -- 25

Updated: December 2, 2009, 4:24 PM ET
By Doug Huff & Ronnie Flores | ESPN RISE

[+] EnlargeHarrison Barnes
AP Photo/Steve PopeHarrison Barnes led preseason No. 25 Ames (Iowa) to a state title as a junior.

11. Christ School (Arden, N.C.)
Last Season's Record: 36-2, N.C. Independent Schools Class 3A champion
Key Players: C Marshall Plumlee (6-11, Jr.); G Tony Kimbro Jr. (6-6, Jr.); G DeMarcus Harrison (6-4, Jr.)

Outlook: The Greenies return four veterans from a team that won its third straight state title last season. Anchoring the squad is Plumlee, brother of Duke freshman Mason Plumlee, who was an All-American at Christ School last year. Kimbro Jr.'s father was a standout at Louisville. Senior forwards Sebastian Koch (6-9) and Lucas Troutman (6-10) will help Plumlee out up front. Newcomers include senior guard Eric Smith, a South Carolina recruit, and Harrison.

12. Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)
Last Season's Record: 21-7
Key Players: F James Bell (6-4, Sr.); F Jamail Jones (6-6, Sr.); C Papa Samba Ndao (6-9, Sr.)

Outlook: The Eagles have reloaded to bid for a seventh straight 20-victory season, a stretch that included an unbeaten 2006-07 campaign. Eight veterans return, including three starters. Bell, a Villanova recruit, led the team in scoring at 22 points per game last season. Ndao, senior guard Kaleb Clyburn and 7-foot senior Ugo Okam are also back. Newcomers include Jones, a Marquette recruit, and 7-foot-2 junior center Mark Overdevest, a New Zealand Junior National player.

13. Milton (Alpharetta, Ga.)
Last Season's Record: 24-8, Class AAAAA state runner-up
Key Players: F Julian Royal (6-8, Jr.); G Dai-Jon Parker (6-3, Jr.); F Evan Nolte (6-4, So.)

Outlook: Even before the final buzzer sounded in last year's state AAAAA title game, it was clear the Eagles were going to be loaded for the 2009-10 season. Although No. 21 Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) defeated Milton, 73-53, in that game, coach Dave Boyd's club returns four starters. Royal and Parker are ranked No. 43 and No. 52, respectively, in the ESPNU Super 60. Nolte was last year's AAAAA Freshman of the Year and returns alongside junior guard Shannon Scott.

14. Pershing (Detroit, Mich.)
Last Season's Record: 26-1, Class A state champion
Key Players: G Keith Appling (6-3, Sr.); F Juwan Howard Jr. (6-6, Sr.); G Kiedez Foster (6-1, Sr.)

Outlook: The Doughboys are the team to beat in Michigan this season after capturing the state crown in a one-loss campaign. The top returnee is point guard Appling, a Michigan State recruit who scored a state-tournament-record 49 points in the title game against Kalamazoo Central (Kalamazoo, Mich.). The Western Michigan-bound Howard Jr. is the son of former NBA player and Michigan standout Juwan Howard.

15. S.R. Butler (Huntsville, Ala.)
Last Season's Record: 34-3, Class 5A state champion
Key Players: G Trevor Lacey (6-2, Jr.); F Ryan Ervin (6-4, Sr.); F Dallas Jones (6-3, Sr.)

Outlook: The Rebels welcome back nine of their top 10 players from a team that won its second straight state title last year. With Lacey and Ervin leading the way, Butler is looking for its sixth state crown overall. Lacey was named last year's state tourney MVP, while Ervin impressed with 13 points and 11 boards in the victory over Parker (Birmingham, Ala.) in the championship game.

16. Northland (Columbus, Ohio)
Last Season's Record: 27-1, Division I state champion
Key Players: F Jared Sullinger (6-9, Sr.); F J.D. Weatherspoon (6-6, Sr.); G Trey Burke (5-11, Jr.)

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

Outlook: Two Ohio State recruits anchor the lineup for the Vikings in Sullinger and Weatherspoon. The 260-pound Sullinger is rated the nation's No. 1 power forward in the ESPNU 100 and was last year's Ohio Mr. Basketball. Meanwhile, the super-athletic Weatherspoon adds versatility to the lineup. Northland has lost only one regular season game the last two years and is clearly the team to beat in the Buckeye State.

17. Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.)
Last Season's Record: 26-9, Class 4A state champion
Key Players: F Sam Thompson (6-7, Jr.); G Anthony Johnson (6-3, Sr.); G Ahmad Starks (5-8, Sr.)

Outlook: The Dolphins return a host of underclass talent in a bid to repeat as state champions. Thompson, a highly regarded prospect, joins two Division I-bound seniors as team anchors: Johnson, a Purdue recruit, and Starks, an Oregon State commit. Whitney Young has a pair of promising young low-post prospects in 6-foot-8 sophomore Jermaine Morgan and 6-foot-8 freshman Thomas Hamilton, who's one of the nation's top recruits in the Class of 2013.

18. Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Last Season's Record: 26-3, Class AAA state quarterfinalist
Key Players: G Tony Chennault (6-2, Sr.); F Daniel Stewart (6-6, Sr.); G Tyreek Duren (6-2, Sr.)

Outlook: Seven of the top eight players from last year return for the Saints, including four starters. The Wake Forest-bound Chennault is a dynamic four-year veteran and one of the nation's top recruits. Point guard Duren runs the show for longtime coach Carl Arrigale, while Stewart is an athletic frontcourt player. Mustafaa Jones, a 6-foot senior, is the other returning starter.

[+] EnlargeTyler Lamb
Jeremy Myers for ESPN.comTyler Lamb heads an impressive group at Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) that checks in at No. 19 in the preseason rankings.

19. Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
Last Season's Record: 31-2, CIF Southern Section Division IAA finalist
Key Players: G Gary Franklin Jr. (6-2, Sr.); G Tyler Lamb (6-5, Sr.); G Keala King (6-6, Sr.)

Outlook: Franklin, a three-year starter at point guard, averaged 14.2 points and 4.5 assists per game last year. The UCLA-bound Lamb, No. 38 in the ESPNU 100, and the addition of the Arizona State-bound King, who transferred from Dominguez (Compton, Calif.) and is No. 53 in the ESPNU 100, give Mater Dei arguably the nation's top backcourt. Coach Gary McKnight (828-76) should break the state record for career wins (843) this season.

20. Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.)
Last Season's Record: 25-4, CHSAA Class AA runner-up
Key Players: F Maurice Barrow (6-5, Sr.); G Omar Calhoun (6-3, So.); G Corey Edwards (6-1, Jr.)

Outlook: The Royals should again be in contention for city and state titles after finishing runner-up to FAB 50-ranked Rice (New York, N.Y.) in the New York Catholic High School Athletic Association Class AA finals last season. Several veterans return, while Calhoun provides a spark. Other standouts include Edwards, a point guard, and Barrow, a power forward who'll lead the way in the paint.

21. Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.)
Last Season's Record: 25-7, Class AAAAA state champion
Key Players: G Jelan Kendrick (6-5, Sr.); G Phil Taylor (5-10, Sr.); G Joey Jerome (6-5, Sr.)

Outlook: The Wildcats got a major boost in a bid this season for a fifth Class AAAAA state title since 2000 with the addition of Georgia's top senior prospect, Kendrick, who played last season at Westlake (Atlanta, Ga.). Kendrick, the No. 24 player in the ESPNU 100, joins three returning starters in the Florida International-bound Taylor, the Winthrop-bound Jerome and 6-foot-3 junior Karl Cochran.

22. Taft (Woodland Hills, Calif.)
Last Season's Record: 27-5, CIF Division I Southern Regional semifinalist
Key Players: G Bryce Jones (6-5, Sr.); F DeAndre Daniels (6-7, Jr.); G Spencer Dinwiddie (6-3, Jr.)

Outlook: The Toreadors will be gunning for their third L.A. City Section title in seven years. And if the chips fall into place, coach Derrick Taylor could be hoisting his first CIF state trophy. A big reason is the dynamic duo of Jones and Daniels. The USC-bound Jones is rated No. 98 in the ESPNU 100, while Daniels has committed to Texas. Other key players include senior guard Jordan Gathers, sophomore forward Brandon Perry, and sophomore guards Steven Jones and Landon Drew.

23. Pine Crest (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Last Season's Record: 28-4, Class 3A state champion
Key Players: G Brandon Knight (6-3, Sr.); F Tevin Westbrook (6-6, Jr.); G Trey Henry (6-1, So.)

Outlook: Knight scored 27 points in the 60-44 victory over Jones (Orlando, Fla.) that gave the Panthers a second straight state title last year. After missing half his sophomore season with a back injury, Knight came back with a vengeance last winter, averaging 31.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 3.0 steals per game while earning Gatorade National Player of the Year honors. Westbrook is a double-double threat, while Henry is a top player in his class. Senior center Brett Buzzard is ready to step up.

24. Jesuit (Portland, Ore.)
Last Season's Record: 25-3, Class 6A state champion
Key Players: F Kyle Wiltjer (6-9, Jr.); G Stephen Holt (6-3, Sr.); F Jordan Akwenuke (6-5, Jr.)

Outlook: Coach Gene Potter is looking for his fourth state title in 11 years and returns six of his team's top eight players. The Crusaders possess the type of inside-outside balance that could take them a long way. Wiltjer is one of the nation's top juniors and was an All-State selection last year along with Holt, a smooth point guard committed to St. Mary's (Calif.). Akwenuke can score in transition or on mid-range jumpers. Junior guard Jack Grodahl is the team's outside-shooting marksman.

25. Ames (Ames, Iowa)
Last Season's Record: 26-0, Class 4A state champion
Key Players: F Harrison Barnes (6-8, Sr.); C James Kohler (6-8, Sr.); F Doug McDermott (6-7, Sr.)

Outlook: The Little Cyclones will be seeking their eighth state title with a veteran team anchored by Barnes, the No. 1 prospect in the ESPNU 100. Barnes, who averaged 19.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game last season, is among a group of four returning players who saw major minutes. The Northern Iowa-bound McDermott, son of Iowa State coach Greg McDermott, came off the bench to average 14 points and seven rebounds per game.

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