Strong frontcourt leads No. 13 Chaminade while others to watch around the state include Bullard of Fresno in the CIF Central Section and St. Mary’s of Stockton in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section.
For the first 12 teams that were written up for these rankings, CLICK HERE.
(This is the 34th consecutive season that CalHiSports.com will provide state rankings; first 20 teams with long writeups, next 15 with shorter writeups, then group of next best teams to watch; Last year’s final rating in parentheses with 2012-13 win-loss record)
Note: During the season, all of our writeups and analysis and predictions of what’s coming next will be posts for our Gold Club members only. To become a member of our Gold Club so you can check out all of our boys basketball content, CLICK HERE. An updated all-time state record book will soon be part of that content.
13. (32) Chaminade (West Hills) 27-8
The CIFSS Division III-A runner-ups return three starters and a nice blend of newcomers on a team that was in consideration to be the San Fernando Valley’s highest ranked team. We went with El Camino because ‘Nade is still young at certain spots and must replace graduated point guard Jason Martin. Not many state-ranked teams have a 1-2 frontcourt combo like Long Beach State-bound Jack Williams (6-9, Sr.) and Trevor Stanback (6-11, Soph.) Williams is arguably the state’s best rebounder (16 rpg) and Stanback was last year’s state freshman of the year after posting norms of 9 points, 10.7 rebounds and five blocks. Cleveland of Reseda transfer Michael Oguine (5-10, Jr.) is athletic and one of the better junior guards in Southern California. If the newcomers blend in and Stanback continues to make offensive improvement, this team could challenge Loyola for the Mission League title.
14. (14) Serra (Gardena) 26-7
The Cavaliers begin the season in the same spot they finished in last year’s final ratings. Despite winning a second consecutive CIFSS Div. IV-AA title, it was a trying year for two-time state champion coach Dwan Hurt (462-135). This year, he expects everyone to be on the same page and fully expects even greater results. Returning all-CIFSS choice Tavarion Dawson (6-7, Sr.) is a tough check and Cal-St. Fullerton bound Ron Freeman (6-6, Sr.) is a versatile scorer and defender. Hurt lost his backcourt to transfer, but he has high expectations for lead guard Lafayette Dorsey (5-11, Soph.) and two-guard Jason Richardson (6-2, Jr.). Smooth lefty Ian Carter (6-6, Soph.) will be an X-Factor and the team will add depth after four football players, including Mr. Football front-runner Adoree Jackson (6-0, Sr.), join the club in late December.
15. (12) Bullard (Fresno) 27-3
On paper, the Knights are the CIF Central Section’s clear No. 1 and bubble club Central of Fresno is as close to a consensus No. 2 as one can get in a season which challengers will emerge during the season. First-year coach Jeff Schmidt has the luxury of three returning all-league performers in Calvin Young Jr. (6-5, Sr.), Austin Armstead (6-3, Jr.) and Quinn Rystad (6-0, Sr.) and a group of players that come from a winning culture. Young Jr. is an all-state candidate and and an undersized load on the block. Armstead has tons of ability, so it’s just a matter of him putting it all together while Rystad will have to bring some of the intangibles to the table that graduated Corey Silverstrom and Chris Russell provided. We’ll see right away how much Bullard misses Silverstrom and Rusell against No. 5 Bishop O’Dowd at the NorCal Tip-Off Classic.
16. (27) De La Salle (Concord) 26-5
The Spartans have been ranked a bit too high in the preseason the past few years, so we’ll use a bit more caution and let them work towards the top 10. Still, you have to like a team that won the East Bay Athletic League with three freshmen starters under the tutelage of veteran coach Frank Allocco (606-85). Starting point guard Eric Daul (6-0, Jr.) returns after missing last season with a knee injury. The post is manned by Patrick Marr (6-7, Sr.) and the super sophs include Devin Asiasi (6-3, Soph.), Nikhil Peters (6-3, Soph.) and Jordan Ratinho (6-3, Soph.). Peters was first team all-EBAL and Asiasi is already a starter on the school’s illustrious football team.
17. (8) Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 32-2
The Knights began last season 29-0 and climbed high in some national polls, but in the end they didn’t win a state or regional title so they’ll have a slow climb in the rankings this year. Veteran coach Doug Mitchell (531-143) welcomes back some highly-skilled perimeter-oriented players, but his graduation losses up front are heavy. The versatility of forward Ognjen Miljkovic will particularly be missed, but junior Stevie Thompson Jr. (6-2, Jr.) has developed into a complete scoring threat whereas he was mainly a spot-up shooter last year. Long Beach State-bound Justin Bibbins (5-7, Sr.) would be a national Top 100 type if he was over six-foot, but on this level he impacts games as much as any point guard in the state. Newcomers Chris Barnes (6-3, Soph.), Jordan Schaleel (6-5, Fr.) and Ethan Thompson (6-1, Fr.) are talented, but don’t solve Mitchell’s concerns on the interior.
18. (39) Newark Memorial (Newark) 23-8
The Cougars competed in the first NorCal Open Division regional and should be a factor as long as veteran coach Craig Ashmore is around. In informal polls of the state’s top coaches, his name is always mentioned right near the top. This season, he welcomes back veteran guard Joey Frenchwood (5-11, Sr.) and forward Damien Banford (6-5, Sr.), the latter who is a rugged defender and the type of player Ashmore loves to go to battle with. The key to the season for the defending CIF North Coast Section Div. II champion is the development of Matthew Thomas (6-9, Sr.). If he steps up, Newark Memorial will be tough to beat.
19. (NR) St. Mary’s (Stockton) 20-8
The Rams want to erase the memory of last year’s heart-breaking, one-point loss to El Camino of Sacramento in the Sac-Joaquin Section Div. II playoffs and have the horses to do it. Coach Ken Green welcomes back 11 lettermen, including all-state underclass choice and UCSB-bound Gabe Vincent (6-2, Sr.), who averaged 20.9 ppg. Devin Williams (5-9, Jr.) gained valuable experience last season as a quarterback for the offense and Jacob Aruta (6-1, Jr.) is a dependable perimeter scorer and rebounder. Salesian of Richmond transfer Lance Coleman II (6-5, Jr.) gives Green some frontcourt muscle and big-game experience.
20. (25) Windward (Los Angeles) 20-9
After winning the Div. IV state title in 2011, the Wildcats have missed the regional playoffs the last two seasons after losing in the quarterfinals of the loaded CIFSS Division IV-AA playoffs. With the CIFSS’ new open division, the other brackets won’t be filled with the same quality teams but Villegas is confident his team can compete with the section’s best. He welcomes back one of California’s top trios of juniors in Roy Hemsley (6-6, Jr.), Roman Davis (6-6, Jr.) and Mason Shepherd (6-6, Jr.). Breland Brandt (6-5, Soph.) provides athleticism around the basket and Jaylen Harris (5-10, Fr.) takes over at the point. Harris’ production will be key because graduated all-stater Jordan Wilson was the difference between Windward being able to compete with the state’s top teams and being just a solid state-ranked club.
Next 15 teams that received consideration for the Top 20:
21. (NR) Rancho Cucamonga 24-5
After losing on the road to a talented Inglewood club in the CIFSS Div. I-AA playoffs, the Cougars feel they now have the talent and experience to go further. Victor Joseph (6-0, Sr.) and Jordan McNellys (6-1, Sr.) return in the backcourt, transfer Brian Beard Jr. (5-9, Sr.) brings championship experience while Daylan Lawrence (6-4, Sr.) is a major athlete on the wing.
22. (NR) La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 28-6
The CIF San Diego Section’s top-ranked team is junior dominated, while Fritz Eibel (6-5, Sr.) provides energy and senior leadership. The junior crew includes Tommy McCarthy (6-1, Jr.), Brady Twombly (6-5, Jr.), Patrick Fisher (6-4, Jr.) and Travis Fuller (6-7, Jr.).
23. (NR) Chino Hills 24-5
The defending Sierra League champions are led by talented Lonzo Ball (6-4, Soph.), regarded as one of the nation’s best sophomores. Improved players around him include Bishop Mency (6-5, Sr.) and Nnamdi Okongwu (6-8, Jr.), plus newcomer LiAngelo Ball (6-3, Fr.) provides energy on defense and the ability to put up points in a hurry.
24. (28) J.W. North (Riverside) 31-4
Veteran coach Mike Bartee will miss CIFSS Div. II-AA Player of the Year Dorian Butler, but there is enough returning talent for the Huskies to make noise in the regional playoffs once again. Two-guard Deshon Taylor was a all-CIFSS choice last season and lead guard Dikymbe Martin (5-11, Soph.) is highly-regarded.
25. (NR) Moreau Catholic (Hayward) 18-10
With 90 percent of his team’s total offensive production returning, coach Frank Knight (a former all-state guard at Oakland Fremont) feels his young team has what it takes to wrestle the Mission Valley League crown away from Newark Memorial. Oscar Frayer (6-5, Soph.) is one of the NCS’ top overall players, fellow sophomores Brandon Lawrence (6-3, Soph.) and Armond Simmons (5-11, Soph.) are also highly-regarded and Damari Milstead (5-11, Fr.) is the top-ranked NorCal prospect in the 2017 class.
26. (NR) El Camino (Oceanside) 26-7
With Dakota Orr (5-10, Sr.), Chad Morrison (6-4, Sr.) and Sam Bockman (6-6, Jr.) returning plus six other lettermen, coach Ray Johnson’s club has the ability to move up. Transfer and Oregon State-bound Devin Watson (6-0, Sr.) will only make it more potent especially after he finds his exact role in the offense.
27. (NR) Cantwell Sacred Heart (Montebello) 20-10
The Cardinals are the type of team the CIFSS’ best don’t want to see as a low seed in the Open Division playoffs: tough and experienced. Guard Joey Covarrubias (6-1, Sr.) gets better the tougher the competition is while Serbian transplants Bolsa Dragovich (6-9, Jr.) and Gligorise Rakocevic (6-9, Jr.) give coach George Zedan an inside finesse-power combo few teams in the state can match.
28. (NR) Fairfax (Los Angeles) 19-13
The Lions haven’t been a big factor on the statewide level in recent seasons and begin in the same preseason spot as last year when they started outside the top 25 for the first time since the 1997-98 season. Coach Harvey Kitani (676-242) could win his 700th game if players such as Sage Woodruff (6-5, Sr.), Olisnmeka Nwachie (6-6, Sr.) and talented guard Lindsey Drew (6-2, Jr.) play up to expectations.
29. (NR) St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 16-11
The Wildcats start out as the West Catholic Athletic League’s No. 1 team in a year where the WCAL doesn’t have a Aaron Gordon-type player to dominate upfront. Among perimeter players in the league, and all of NorCal, you’ll be hard pressed to find one better than Trevor Dunbar (5-10, Sr.), who will get help from fellow returning all-leaguer Julian Marcu (6-1, Sr.) and Troy Rike (6-8, Sr.).
30. (NR) Damien (La Verne) 26-7
The defending CIFSS Division III-AA champions have to prove they can get by Chino Hills (which beat them twice) in the Sierra League before it can move up. Coach Matt Dunn welcomes back three starters including Malik Fitts (6-5, Jr.), Micah Robinson (6-2, Jr.) and Jeremy Hemsley (6-4, Jr.), the latter one of the fastest-rising junior prospects in the country.
31. (NR) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 17-11
Coach Ty Nichols brings in the best crop of freshmen in the state — and probably the nation — since the group captured the AAU 14-Under National Championship last summer. Cody Riley (6-7, Fr.) is a man-child, Ira Lee (6-7, Fr.) is already a big-time matchup problem, Remy Martin (5-10, Fr.) is also talented, but it’s returning all-state underclass choice Devearl Ramsey (5-10, Soph.) that makes this team go.
32. (NR) Sacramento 25-6
Coach Derek Swafford’s club may be a year away from statewide prominence because of its youth, but with nine returning lettermen they’ll be dangerous to deal with. Solomon “Devin” Young (6-6, Soph.) doesn’t look or play like a tenth-grader and Christian Terrell (6-4, Soph.) is an all-CIFSJS candidate.
33. (NR) Village Christian (Sun Valley) 27-5
We were going to have coach Jon Shaw’s club closer to the top 25, but Alemany transfer Razhaun “Bear” Henderson (6-4, Sr.) won’t be eligible until Jan. 6 and fellow Alemany transfer Bennie Boatwright (6-8, Jr.) hasn’t been cleared just yet. Bryan Alberts (6-5, Sr.), a power guard and touch matchup, returns as does Marsalis Johnson (6-7, Sr.).
34. (5) Sheldon (Sacramento) 27-6
Don’t cry for the Huskies despite the graduation of a stellar senior group because they have a nice blend of newcomers and holdovers to keep them in contention for a section crown. The four-time defending Sac-Joaquin Section Div. I champions welcome Trey Belton (6-5, Jr.) from Capital Christian and Ty Rattler (6-0, Sr.) from Modesto Christian and return highly-regarded point guard Devin Greene (5-10, Soph.).
35. (10) St. Augustine (San Diego) 29-4
The defending CIF Div. III state champions did lose Brynton Lemar to graduation, but all-state guard Trey Kell (6-4, Sr.) returns. Eric Monroe (5-11, Soph.) is a highly-regarded young guard, but it’s going to be Kell’s ability to dominate for stretches at a time that will carry this club.
For the first 12 teams that were written up for these rankings, CLICK HERE.
Teams On The Bubble (Listed Alphabetically):
Alemany (Mission Hills) 14-13
Brentwood (Los Angeles) 27-5
Campbell Hall (North Hollywood) 16-12
Capital Christian (Sacramento) 26-5
Central (Fresno) 20-10
Crespi (Encino) 23-10
El Cerrito 22-11
Foothill (Santa Ana) 21-6
Foothills Christian (El Cajon) 20-15
Hart (Newhall) 25-3
Harvard Westlake (North Hollywood) 17-11
Hoover (San Diego) 31-6
JSerra (San Juan Capistrano) 17-9
Los Osos (Rancho Cucamonga) 19-9
Mayfair (Lakewood) 22-6
Mission Viejo 26-5
Monte Vista (Danville) 20-7
Morningside (Inglewood) 10-17
Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 17-15
Orange Lutheran 18-10
Pacific Hills (Los Angeles) 29-4
Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove) 28-6
Price (Los Angeles) 24-4
Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley) 24-7
Riordan (San Francisco) 20-12
San Gabriel Academy (San Gabriel) 24-10
Santa Monica 29-7
Servite (Anaheim) 17-13
Silverado (Victorville) 23-6
St. Joseph Notre Dame (Alameda) 25-9
View Park Prep (Los Angeles) 24-14
Villa Park 24-8