Four-time defending CIF state champion Mater Dei of Santa Ana and playoff rival Etiwanda ranked in preseason GrassrootsHoops.net FAB 50 national boys basketball rankings. Rankings compiled by Cal-Hi Sports Managing Editor Ronnie Flores released in three parts with teams No. 16-30 published Monday. Nation’s top 15 teams will be released Tuesday.
Mater Dei of Santa Ana has won four consecutive CIF state title in the highest division, but there is a good possibility the Monarchs won’t open the season as the top-ranked team in the Cal-Hi Sports preseason boys basketball rankings.
The second part of the preseason GrassrootsHoops.net FAB 50 national rankings (teams No. 16-30) was released on Monday and Mater Dei checked in at No. 17. Etiwanda, the team the Monarchs defeated in a classic SoCal regional open division semifinal last season on their way to their second consecutive CIF Open Division state title, was ranked No. 26.
The 2014-15 preseason Grassroots Hoops FAB 50 is being released in three parts. On Sunday afternoon part one (teams No. 31-50) was published. The final part (teams No. 1-15) will be released Tuesday at 11 am PT.
Mater Dei finished No. 2 in the FAB 50 last season behind Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), but coach Gary McKnight’s program is expected to take a step back nationally with the graduation of 2014 Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball Stanley Johnson (now at Arizona). The Monarchs are still one of the favorites to capture the CIF Open Division state title, but they don’t have the best player in the state (that would be Bishop O’Dowd’s Ivan Rabb) and two freshmen (Harrison Butler and Michael Wang) may have to play key roles. Mater Dei still has key players back, one of the state’s best coaching staffs and will venture to the City of Palms Tournament in Florida to test itself against some other highly-ranked FAB 50 teams.
Etiwanda also graduated a first team all-state player (USC’s Jordan McLaughlin), but are still strong in the backcourt with junior Garrett Carter and a host of other young, but talented, guards. Pepperdine commit Kameron Edwards (6-5) leads the front court and the team is bolstered by Upland transfer Marquis Reed (6-4). Reed played well at the West Coast Showdown Showcase event Flores attended on Sunday and his talents will compliment the ability of senior forward Delewis Johnson (6-4).
Please check back for the final installment (which will include other California clubs) and bookmark GrassrootsHoops.net for national boys basketball coverage. Make sure to follow Flores on Twitter as well (@RonMFlores) as he tweets out other basketball notes and tidbits on a daily basis.