FloHoops' Preseason Prep Top 25: The Full Rankings

FloHoops' Preseason Prep Top 25: The Full Rankings

Memphis East (TN) and Montverde Academy (FL) sit atop FloHoops' Preseason Prep Top 25 to begin the 2017-18 high school basketball season.

Oct 29, 2017 by Brett Regan
FloHoops' Preseason Prep Top 25: The Full Rankings

Ready or not, the 2017-18 high school basketball season is here, and there is no better way to start it than with FloHoops' preseason top 25 rankings.

The stage is set. The best of the best teams in the country have been revealed. All that is left is to tip it up and enjoy yet another incredible ride.


Here are the full top 25 rankings to begin the season:

No. 1: Memphis East (TN)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 33-3 (TSSAA Class AAA State Champions)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: 3

Key Player To Watch: 2019 Flo40 No. 2 James Wiseman

Outlook: In a sport dominated by prep schools at the national level, Memphis East proved time and time again it belonged in the conversation as the country’s best throughout last season. Unfortunately, the magical ride had to end with its second consecutive state title and nothing more. The Mustangs were unable to participate at DICK’s Nationals but watched it from the stands. Now they return this season as hungry and as loaded as ever. In fact, one could argue this year’s squad is even better than last season after adding key transfers in Flo40 big man James Wiseman and shooting guard Ryan Boyce to an already strong nucleus of point guard Alex Lomax, Flo40 wing Chandler Lawson, and big man Malcolm Dandridge. Head coach Penny Hardaway has a team for the ages in Memphis, and they should be exciting to watch all season long.

No. 2: Montverde Academy (FL)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 26-5 (DICK’s Nationals Runner Up)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: 6

Key Player To Watch: 2018 Flo40 No. 1 R.J. Barrett

Outlook: Armed with the best player in the country and a completely reloaded roster, the Eagles are looking to overcome their DICK’s Nationals championship loss from a year ago and soar back to the top. The potential of this team is scary. Flo40 No. 1 R.J. Barrett is only getting better, which is frightening on its own. Flo40 point guard Andrew Nembhard (Florida) is back healthy, and the new pieces in place leave this squad with very few weaknesses. Michael DeVoe should boost the perimeter scoring even more. Karrington Davis and Jordan Mitchell could be strong complementary pieces, and a brand new front line featuring Makhi and Makhel Mitchell, Kevin Zhang, and Filip Petrusev gives head coach Kevin Boyle everything he needs to make another title run. Chemistry will be key here in the early going.

No. 3: Mater Dei (CA)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 33-3 (CIF Section & Regional Finalist)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: 12

Key Player To Watch: 2018 Flo40 No. 4 Bol Bol

Outlook: Since the moment 7-foot-2 center Bol Bol became eligible to play last January, the Monarchs have seemingly become the team to beat in California. Mater Dei didn’t exactly have the happiest of endings last season, with losing to Bishop Montgomery twice in both state playoffs, but this squad returns in 2017-18 with hopes to win it all since the Monarchs are ineligible to participate in DICK’s Nationals. The returning core of point guard Spencer Freedman (Harvard), wing Michael Wang (Penn), and Bol all played on the same California Supreme (CA) team in the Nike EYBL this summer, so Mater Dei's chemistry has the potential to be better than ever. The Monarchs also added 2019 Flo40 No. 27 guard P.J. Fuller, an athletic Nathan Hale (WA) transfer, to the mix for more scoring. Head coach Gary McKnight should love the makeup of this team and the chance to make loud national noise in tournaments such as the Culligan City of Palms Classic and Les Schwab Invitational in December.

No. 4: La Lumiere School (IN)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 29-1 (DICK’s Nationals Champions)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: 1

Key Player To Watch: 2018 Flo40 No. 40 Tyger Campbell

Outlook: The Lakers might have lost nine seniors and head coach Shane Heirman to the college game, but don’t sleep on the defending national champions. First-year coach Patrick Holmes has a new-look squad that's ready to compete at the highest of levels. Of course, losing McDonald’s All Americans Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brian Bowen and several other key pieces, will make things difficult at first, but there is a lot to like about this team. La Lumiere returns Flo40 point guard Tyger Campbell, who is perhaps the most experienced floor general on the national stage in the country, and added athletic wings Charles Smith IV and Emanuel Miller and Flo40 big man Isaiah Stewart. This will be far from a down year in La Porte, IN.

No. 5: Oak Hill Academy (VA)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 39-5 (DICK’s Nationals Quarterfinals)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: 8

Key Player To Watch: 2018 Flo40 No. 10 Keldon Johnson

Outlook: If legendary head coach Steve Smith had it his way, things would be a little different right now. Not only did the Warriors’ repeat bid come up short in the opening round of DICK’s Nationals with a stacked, experienced roster last year, but they also start this season more short-handed than originally anticipated. The good news is Oak Hill still has a very talented team with the additions of Flo40 wing and big-time scorer Keldon Johnson, hyper-athletic guard Keyontae Johnson, and emerging point guard Will Richardson to complement returning big man David McCormack (Kansas commitment), and there is still time for each player to learn his role before the Warriors dive into their incredible schedule. However, Oak Hill is not as deep without the expected arrivals of 2019 Flo40 prospects Ashton Hagans and Josh Nickelberry, and it definitely altered the squad's ranking a little bit to begin the 2017-18 campaign. Regardless, this is still one of the best teams in the country and will be looking to hoist another national championship trophy when it is all said and done.

No. 6: University School (FL)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 20-7

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: NR

Key Player To Watch: 2019 Flo40 No. 1 Vernon Carey Jr.

Outlook: Losing in the state playoffs to eventual champion Calvary Christian Academy might have been a big deal last season, but the best days are right around the corner for the Sharks. It all starts with Vernon Carey Jr., the No. 1 junior in the country, as the centerpiece, but University School added plenty of weapons around him this season. Senior point guard Drue Drinnon proved to be clutch throughout the Nike EYBL. Fellow senior shooting guard Trey Doomes can fill it up, and 2020 Scottie Barnes is easily a top five player in his class. This is one of the season's most intriguing teams and could be one of the biggest forces in all of high school basketball during the 2017-18 campaign.

No. 7: Hudson Catholic (NJ)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 26-4 (NJSIAA Non-Public B Runner Up)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: NR

Key Player To Watch: 2018 Flo40 No. 14 Jahvon Quinerly

Outlook: In a new age of positionless basketball, no team is scarier than Hudson Catholic. The Hawks don't have a ton of size by any means, but they possess a trio of Flo40 point guard Jahvon Quinerly, shooting guard Luther Muhammad, and Flo40 versatile forward Louis King (Oregon) who can all score at will. A Tournament of Champions crown is certainly at stake here, and there is no doubt those three prospects can carry Hudson Catholic against any opponent in any game.

No. 8: Findlay Prep (NV)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 33-3 (DICK’s Nationals Semifinals)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: 4

Key Player To Watch: 2018 PF Reggie Chaney

Outlook: The heartbreak. Oh, the heartbreak. The Pilots were so close to playing for a national title before several misses at the free-throw line in the second half of the DICK’s Nationals semifinals cost them an opportunity to cut down the nets. Add in the fact Flo40 McDonald's All American PJ Washington (Kentucky) and a monster senior class are now gone, and there's no doubt it was a challenging offseason for head coach Paul Washington Sr. to rebuild the roster. Luckily, Washington found a new batch of seniors to join the program alongside returners Reggie Chaney, Jack Schwietz, and Spencer Washington. Connor Vanover, a 7-foot-3 center, should boost the frontline, while Memphis East transfer TJ Moss and Kyler Edwards will add depth in the backcourt. Although this team hasn't played a ton together, all of its pieces are very experienced individually and it shouldn't take too long to get ready for a big-time national schedule.

No. 9: IMG Academy (FL)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 26-2 (DICK’s Nationals Quarterfinals)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: 7

Key Player To Watch: 2019 Flo40 No. 7 Chol Marial 

Outlook: To say the end of last season was disappointing would be an understatement. The Ascenders, as the No. 2 seed at DICK's Nationals, had all of the right pieces and depth to win a national title. However, Greensboro Day (NC) spoiled those plans with a 59-40 win over IMG that started a long offseason of change. McDonald's All American point guard Trevon Duval (Duke) and several others graduated. Flo40 big man Emmitt Williams transferred to Oak Ridge (FL), and head coach Vince Walden left to take an assistant job at Arkansas State. Have no fear, though, because new coach Sean McAloon has a squad. Flo40 big man Silvo de Sousa (Kansas) is the lone key returner, but 7-foot-3 center Chol Marial is a difference maker at both ends. Noah Farrakhan, a 2020 point guard, has a year of experience playing a national schedule, and 2019 guard Josh Green and 2018 guard Keyshwan Embery are nice threats to have on the wing. LSU commit Darius Days, a 2018 forward, can also play with the best of them. It should surprise absolutely no one to see this program continue its winning ways.

No. 10: Garfield (WA)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 23-6 (WIAA Class 3A Runner Up)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: NR

Key Player To Watch: 2018 PF J’Raan Brooks

Outlook: The good news is Flo40 stars Michael and Jontay Porter are no longer at Nathan Hale, a squad the Bulldogs lost to four times last season, including in the state championship game. The best news is the Raiders' coach also isn't at Nathan Hale anymore — he left to join his alma mater, Garfield. Fresh off guiding the Raiders to a perfect 29-0 mark, former NBA All Star Brandon Roy now coaches the Bulldogs and boasts a roster built for perhaps another unblemished run. Losing high-major prospects Daejon Davis (Stanford) and Jaylen Nowell (Washington) might seem tough, but big man J’Raan Brooks is back for his senior season. Jamon Kemp, a 2019 forward, is returning, and the Garfield added a lot of talent in 2018 forward Ed Chang, 2019 prospects Pierre Cockrell and Jaden McDaniels, and 2020 guard MarJon Beauchamp. This team, which has a lot of size and length, should have no problem in the Seattle Metro League, especially with Roy at the helm.

No. 11: Shadow Mountain (AZ)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 27-1 (AIA Class 4A State Champions)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: 17

Key Player To Watch: 2019 SG Jaelen House

Outlook: One of the most dominant teams in all of high school a year ago is back to prove last season was far from a fluke. Make no mistake about it, the Matadors and their head coach, former NBA star Mike Bibby, deserve any and all praise given. They won their first three playoff games by 40, 68, and 40 points before completely dismantling Tuscon Salpointe Catholic 81-48 to capture their second consecutive state title and hung with Montverde Academy (FL) in the first half at DICK’s Nationals without star guard Jaelen House. Not having Marcus Shaver and his 22 points per game around could give this team a different look, but House and Jovan Blacksher thrive so much playing up-tempo that Shadow Mountain will be hard for anyone to stop once again.

No. 12: Wesleyan Christian (NC)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 28-5 (NCISA Class 3A Runner-Up)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: NR

Key Player To Watch: 2018 Flo40 No. 19 Jaylen Hoard (Wake Forest)

Outlook: When it came to close losses, perhaps no team had it rougher than the Trojans last season. After all, three of their five losses came to No. 24 Greensboro Day by no more than five points, including a 63-60 defeat in the state title game, and another was a two-point loss to Christ School. Nevertheless, it was still a good season, and the pieces are in place to make a monster run in 2017-18. Flo40 forward Jaylen Hoard (Wake Forest) is as versatile as they come. Senior guard Aaron Wiggins (Maryland) can fill it up, and 2019 twins Keyshawn and Kobe Langley (Virginia Tech) are blossoming young prospects. Don’t be surprised to see this team creep into the top 10 before it is all said and done.

No. 13: McEachern (GA)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 29-1 (GHSA Class AAAAAAA Semifinals)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: NR

Key Player To Watch: 2019 Flo40 No. 31 Isaac Okoro

Outlook: A promising season, one that seemingly had a coveted DICK’s Nationals bid all but locked up, came to a screeching halt in the state semifinals last season. McEachern's loss to Tift County in the playoffs was absolutely crushing, no doubt, but the good news is the entire squad is back to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Flo40 wing Isaac Okoro is the star, but there is great depth. Sharife Cooper, a 2020 point guard, has a full year of experience under his belt, and 2019 transfer forward Jared Jones might be the missing link for McEachern to potentially make a national title run. Look out.

No. 14: Paul VI (VA)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 29-8 (VISAA Division I Runner Up)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: NR

Key Player To Watch: 2018 G Brandon Slater (Villanova)

Outlook: It had already been an incredibly long season in the WCAC by the time the Panthers met Trinity Episcopal in the state title game in early March, but the 17-point loss still leaves a sour taste and sparks a plot for revenge. Paul VI lost shooting guard Aaron Thompson (Butler) to graduation, and his production will be missed. But a nucleus of senior wing Brandon Slater (Villanova), 2019 guard Anthony Harris, and 2020 guard Jeremy Roach is going to be tough to stop. The Panthers are arguably the favorites to win their league this season, and there is every reason to believe they can hoist the Virginia state trophy, too.

No. 15: Archbishop Molloy (NY)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 21-8 (CHSAA Class AA Intersectional Runner Up)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: NR

Key Player To Watch: 2019 Flo40 No. 4 Cole Anthony

Outlook: What happens when one of the most talented guard-big tandems returns hungrier than ever? The nation is about to find out. Everyone knows 2019 Flo40 No. 4 Cole Anthony and 2018 No. 11 Moses Brown can score, especially considering both averaged over 20 points per game last season, but each prospect has taken his game to such a higher level this summer that should elevate his stats and the Stanners throughout the season. A city title is the goal, and this dynamic duo will be garnering plenty of national attention along the way.

No. 16: Bishop Montgomery (CA)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 31-2 (CIF Open Division State Champions)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: 5

Key Player To Watch: 2018 SG David Singleton (UCLA)

Outlook: Simply put, there was no team in the country that had a more impressive finish to the 2016-17 season than the Knights. They took down No. 10 Sierra Canyon, beat No. 12 Mater Dei twice, won against No. 15 Chino Hills, and defeated a talented Woodcreek team to win the CIF Open Division crown. Having lost star Ethan Thompson (Oregon State) and Jordan Schakel (San Diego State) to graduation is certainly tough, but getting David Singleton back is huge. You know head coach Doug Mitchell will have this team ready to make another run this year.

No. 17: Cretin-Derham Hall (MN)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 25-7 

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: NR

Key Player To Watch: 2018 Flo40 No. 25 Daniel Oturu (Minnesota)

Outlook: Solid guard play? Check. Capable shooters? Check? A dominant big man? Check. Experienced bench? Check. Anything a good prep team needs to be successful, the Raiders have it. With returning almost all of its key production from last year, this squad appears up to the task to be Minnesota’s best. It all starts with Daniel Oturu. The 6-foot-10 big man is walking double-double who can take over any game on both ends, and his production should lead to big opportunities for guards Ryan Larson, Jaeden King, and Jake Prince and forward Sy Chatman throughout the season.

No. 18: Sierra Canyon (CA)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 27-3 (CIF Southern Section Semifinalist)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: 10

Key Player To Watch: 2019 Flo40 No. 9 Cassius Stanley

Outlook: No Marvin Bagley III? New coach? No problem. The end of last season was far from ideal for the Trailblazers, who failed to win a state title despite boasting one of the best rosters and resumes in the country, but a new era is about to begin. Andre Chevalier takes over at the helm, and the first-year coach has a roster that should be fun to watch all season long. Transfer and 2019 wing Cassius Stanley is out-of-control good. Duane Washington Jr. showed off his clutch factor during the Nike EYBL, and 2019 prospects Kenyon Martin Jr. and Scotty Pippen Jr. (yes, former NBA stars Kenyon Martin's and that Scottie Pippen’s kids) are developing into strong players of their own. It is a completely different team than last season, but this one is just as captivating.

No. 19: DeMatha Catholic (MD)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 25-9

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: NR

Key Player To Watch: 2019 G Justin Moore

Outlook: Of all of the teams ranked to begin the season, the Stags might be the most intriguing. Sure, losing three seniors — D.J. Harvey (Notre Dame), Josh Carlton (Connecticut), and Ryan Allen (Delaware) — to Division I schools is going to be a challenge for DeMatha Catholic, but the team's core is so young and talented that it has the potential to certainly uphold the school’s storied tradition while playing in one of the toughest leagues in the country, the WCAC. Justin Moore, a 2019 guard who averaged 14 points per game last season, has reportedly returned to form from an ACL injury this past January and 7-foot center Hunter Dickinson, a 2020 prospect, had an impressive summer playing in the Nike EYBL for Peach Jam finalist Team Takeover. Add in 2020 transfer and lockdown defender Earl Timberlake to the mix and this squad could be a handful this season and beyond.

No. 20: Apple Valley (MN)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 30-2 (MSHSL Class AAAA State Champions)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: 25

Key Player To Watch: 2018 Flo40 No. 5 Tre Jones (Duke)

Outlook: It feels like forever ago since Tre Jones put on a virtuoso 24-point, 18-rebound, five-assist performance to take down undefeated Champlin Park for the state title, but that’s mainly because the 6-foot-2 Flo40 point guard has continued on a tear ever since. Jones has cemented his status as the best point guard in the country and even helped the Eagles avenge both losses last season to take the crown. This is a veteran team with a huge senior class that is searching for its third state title in four years.

No. 21: Webster Groves (MO)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 29-2 (Missouri Class 5A State Champions)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: NR

Key Player To Watch: 2018 PG Courtney Ramey

Outlook: Any team with a dynamic inside-out duo will be a tough out in any game, and that’s what the Statesmen have in 2018 point guard Courtney Ramey, who just decommitted from Louisville, and big man Carte’Are Gordon (Saint Louis). Those two alone made winning last season's Missouri Class 5A state title look easy for Webster Groves, which blew out Lee’s Summit West 70-35 in the championship game. Ramey and Gordon are back for more and could certainly make some noise at the Culligan City of Palms Classic in December.

No. 22: Austin Westlake (TX)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 29-7 (District 25-6A Champions)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: NR

Key Player To Watch: 2018 F Brock Cunningham (Texas)

Outlook: It's difficult to choose only one key player to watch on this team because an argument could be made that each prospect in the Chaps’ starting five is just as vital to Westlake's success as the next player. Brock Cunningham, a 6-foot-6 forward and Texas commit, is coming off a stellar 14.7 point, 11.3 rebound season. Meanwhile, 2018 guard Keonte Kennedy (Xavier) brings a great scoring punch, high-major 2019 big man Will Baker is a stud, 2018 forward Matt Mayer (Baylor) is versatile, and 2018 point guard Luke Pluymen (St. Edward’s) has experience. This is the same team that took a talented Findlay Prep (NV) squad to overtime last season, and you better believe being another year older and having the hunger to win a state title will make Westlake a dangerous opponent.

No. 23: Jefferson (OR)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 27-1 (OSAA Class 6A State Champions)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: NR

Key Player To Watch: 2018 Flo40 No. 38 Kamaka Hepa

Outlook: Coming off the school’s first state title at the 6A level, the Democrats have plenty of momentum heading into this season. Sure, losing leading scorer Geno West, will sting, but star forward Kamaka Hepa, who sat out Jefferson’s only loss a year ago to No. 14 Gonzaga (DC), is back with more confident than ever and has a game that will be a nightmare for any team to guard. Add in transfer Khalil Chatman, who played on the Seattle Rotary E16 Nike EYBL team, and this is a squad with the potential to repeat as state champion. Don’t be surprised if the Democrats give a big-named school a run at the Les Schwab Invitational in December.

No. 24: Greensboro Day School (NC)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 34-4 (NCISA Class 3A State Champions)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: 13

Key Player To Watch: 2018 SG John Newman (Clemson)

Outlook: Trying to replace the leadership and production of J.P. Moorman (Temple signee) and the stability at point guard with Jordan Perkins (NC Central) is not going to be easy. However, the Bengals still return plenty of experience from last season's team, which won another state title and earned a DICK’s Nationals berth, and head coach Freddy Johnson found some impressive players to help reload the roster. Senior guards John Newman, Will Dillard, and Alex Michael are the foundation players, but expect transfer 2018 point guard Tripp Greene, who averaged 18 points per game at Forsyth Country Day last season, 2019 forward Nicholas Evtimov, and 2021 guard Carson McCorkle to have solid, contributing roles throughout the year.

No. 25: Brentwood Academy (TN)

2016-17 Season Record (Result): 30-2 (TSSAA Division II-AA State Champions)

2016-17 Final FloHoops Top 25 Ranking: 21

Key Player To Watch: 2018 Flo40 No. 8 Darius Garland

Outlook: There are many incredible ways to describe point guard Darius Garland on the court, but being a winner might be his best attribute of all. The 6-foot-1 floor general can score at the pace of the best floor generals in the country — as seen last season in averaging nearly 24 points per game and throughout the Nike EYBL — and makes every player around him better. Yet, it is his ability to understand what needs to happen in order to win that stands out the most. After capping a 19-game unbeaten streak with a commanding state title win last season, Brentwood is heading into the new season with a lot of promise and a player to help lead the charge in Garland.