Five High School Hoops Contenders
A look at the most talented boys high school basketball teams.
by Kellon Hassenstab / @Hoopniks
Though the end of the high school basketball season often results in a “mythical” national champion, the increasing amount of showcase events, like the Spalding Hoophall Classic, and tournaments, such as the City of Palms Classic, ensures that many of the top teams in the country actually play head to head.
The majority of elite teams face daunting schedules, especially over holiday breaks or during in-season showcases, and an increasing number of state associations are allowing their finest squads to participate in the season ending ESPN National High School Invitational.
A mix of basketball factories, schools which import players from across the country, and more traditional high schools, are among the best in the land this year, as once the ball is sent up at tip-off, all bets are off and the best combination of team play, coaching and discipline often prevails. With that said, there’s no substitute for talent, which none of the following ten teams are short on.
Check out the five most talented high school hoop teams in the land, with another five that will also be gunning for recognition as the “national champion” at the end of the season.
Findlay Prep (Henderson, NV)
The top dog on the West Coast features a pair of Top 10 national prospects in Arizona commit Brandon Ashley and brute bulldog Anthony Bennett. Both are post prospects that will be hard to stop. Former UCLA commit Dominic Artis will run the show from the point, and several imported overseas talents are also on the roster. Keep in mind, the four losses suffered by Findlay Prep was considered a disappointing season, showing just how high expectations are in the Sin City suburb.
Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, VA)
The runner-up at the ESPN Rise National High School Invitational had an underclassmen dominated team, spelling out what could be a nightmare for opponents this year. The Warriors could put a starting lineup of players already committed to DI schools on the floor, which members of the team already committed to the ACC, Big East, Big Ten and Pac-12. Coach Steve Smith is among the grandmasters of coaches in high school hoops, so bet on the Oak Hill Academy being a serious national title contender.
Marcus (Flower Mound, TX)
For an encore after winning the Texas 5A state championship during a season that saw the Marauders lose one game, a team of mostly Marcus players got together and ran the table, winning the prestigious adidas Super 64 tournament under the name Texas Assault. The linchpins of this team with Texas-sized talent are guards Marcus Smart and Phil Forte, both of whom are headed to Oklahoma State to play in college. New Mexico commit Nick Banyard also helps down low.
Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV)
One word to describe 6-6 wing Shabazz Muhammad, arguably the best player in the senior class nationally, is relentless. If he can keep his foot to the accelerator all year long, Gorman has as good a shot as anybody to contend to be among the best teams nationally. A frontcourt composed of three future high-major college players 6-8 and larger in Rosco Allen, Ben Carter and Demetris Morant (UNLV) will cause some colleges to envy the talent. The Gaels must distribute the ball to their stars and have improvement from the backcourt.
Simeon (Chicago, IL)
After winning a gold medal for the USA Basketball 16U team in the FIBA Americas tournament, 6-7 junior Jabari Parker would like nothing more than a national title to add to his growing laundry list of achievements. He’s considered by some the best high school hooper in the nation. The Wolverines have won two straight state titles, and have the top senior in Illinois, 6-7 Steve Taylor, a Marquette pledge, as the Robin to Parker’s batman. USA 16U teammate, guard Kendrick Nunn, will hurt defenders if they sleep on him.
Grace Prep (Arlington, TX) – Baylor bound center Isaiah Austin brings 7-feet of skill to the floor, and will be helped out by a supporting cast that includes Oklahoma commit Jelon Hornbeak, and elite 2014 guard Emmanuel Mudiay.
Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA) – The long-standing SoCal powerhouse has another deep and talented roster, with future high-major signees Katin Reinhardt (UNLV) and Xavier Johnson (Colorado) hoping to lead the Monarchs to another California title.
Miller Grove (Lithonia, GA) – The interior duo of 6-9 Tony Parker and 6-8 Brandon Morris (Georgia) lead the Wolverines into play as what should be the best team in the loaded Peach State.
Montrose Christian (Rockville, MD) – Forward Justin Anderson, a Virginia commit, has more bounce than most, and talented junior forward Ishmail Wainwright is a welcome addition to a team that won the ESPN Rise National High School Invitational and finished No. 2 nationally last year.
St. Anthony (Jersey City, NJ) – Last year’s national champion has an enviable combination of UCLA pledge Kyle Anderson as a 6-8 point guard impresario on floor, and Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley on the bench.
Kellon Hassenstab runs Hoopniks.com, a leading independent website that covers college basketball recruiting and boys high school basketball. During the basketball season, Hoopniks publishes the Terrific 30 presented by Krossover, a weekly high school boys basketball team rankings poll. Follow him on twitter @Hoopniks, or contact by e-mail at Kellon@hoopniks.com.