Let the debate begin whether it should be Chino Hills or Sierra Canyon sitting on top of the California preseason boys basketball rankings as the FAB 50 preseason national rankings by sister site GrassrootsHoops.net and powered by Ballislife.com has the Huskies at No. 11 and Trailblazers at No. 13. Mater Dei, Bishop Montgomery and Corona Centennial also gained rankings.
Note: On Monday, Nov. 9, official practices are beginning for many schools around the state (both boys and girls teams). That means it’s also time for preseason prognosticating. We hope you enjoy this free post on our site. Look for the CalHiSports.com preseason rankings for boys hoops coming soon. Not all of that content will be free, however. Some will be for our Gold Club members only. Sign up today at a great rate for upcoming season. Price is going up soon. For info, CLICK HERE.
There are two boys basketball teams clearly a notch above the rest in California heading into the 2015-16 season – Chino Hills and Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth.
It was debated long and hard between the two and decided to give Chino Hills the nod as preseason No. 1 from California and No. 11 overall in the preseason FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com. That also will be reflected when the preseason State Top 20 is compiled.
It wasn’t so much that Chino Hills had an excellent summer, including beating Sierra Canyon in the Ron Massey Memorial Fall Hoops Classic after trailing by 13 late. It’s the fact while Sierra Canyon has the better overall personnel, none of its individual players have proven they can carry a team like Lonzo Ball has the ability to do.
That’s what makes the Huskies’ ranking so precarious – the team is clearly not among the nation’s elite when Ball is not on the floor and while the Huskies look like world-beaters at times, other times they take bad shot attempts and look average. The difference could be last year’s experience and the emergence of Elijah Scott (6-4, 2017) as a big-time player.
The Huskies (24-8 last year) certainly have plenty of incentive heading into this season. Last year, they were stung by forfeits and an upset loss to San Ramon Valley (Danville) in the CIF Division I state final.
Coach Steve Baik has plenty of newcomers on this team, but is optimistic as long as he has the Ball brothers in the lineup, particularly Lonzo Ball, the state’s best returning player. Lonzo averaged 24.3 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 9.1 apg, 4.5 spg and 3.5 bpg as a junior and is as unique a talent as there is in the country with his ability to rebound like a power forward and pass the ball from various angles and spots even other good high school players can’t.
Li’Angelo Ball also can score in bunches and incoming freshman La’Melo Ball is as flamboyant and fearless as a freshman can be. This team has an abundance of firepower and better athleticism than last season.
All three Ball brothers have committed to UCLA.
Sierra Canyon (26-4 last year) was placed almost right behind Chino Hills in the FAB 50 preseason list at No. 13. This club is big, fast in the open court and has tons of experience.
Despite the fact Sierra Canyon rolled to the CIF Division V state title last year, the Trailblazers and Chino Hills both lost in the CIF Southern Section Open Division quarterfinals and still have plenty to prove locally.
PF Cody Riley (the Cal-Hi Sports State Sophomore of the Year) is as productive as any forward in the country while PG Devearl Ramsey is a ball-hawk and a complete steal for Nevada. Junior PG Remy Martin also is as fast as any guard in California with the ball in his hands. The first eight players in the rotation, in fact, are back and there isn’t a glaring weakness you can point to.
Junior PF Ira Lee (6-8) also is returning after missing last season with a shoulder injury and this is the season head coach Ty Nichols has been pointing to for two years. After all, the team went 3-1 at last year’s City of Palms Tournament and defeated No. 5 DeMatha with four sophomores in the starting lineup, including Adam Sieko (6-3, 2017).
For the complete FAB 50 release, please visit Ballislife.com or click on the links below:
Three other teams from California have gained preseason FAB 50 recognition:
19. Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 29-5
Key Players: C M.J. Cage 6-10 2016 (No. 54 Rivals.com, Oregon Commit), SG Bailey Stout 6-2 2016, PG Spencer Freedman 6-0 2018.
Why This Ranking: The Monarchs have plenty of pieces back from a team that came within a whisker of capturing their fifth consecutive CIF state championship in the highest division. The difference was a last-second missed lay up and a timeout that wasn’t awarded that would have resulted in a technical foul in favor of Mater Dei. What veteran coach Gary McKnight (1024-90) likes about this team is having a talented post player in Cage and a veteran guard in Stout, not to mention the addition of Freedman. The sophomore transfer is one of the best pure shooters in the country and Mater Dei’s offensive system will lead to scoring opportunities for his teammates.
40. Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 31-2
Key Players: SG Ethan Thompson 6-4 2017 (No. 46 Rivals.com), SF Jordan Schakel 6-5 2017, SG David Singleton 6-4 2018.
Why This Ranking: Stephen Thompson Jr. (a second team Grassroots Hoops All-American now at Oregon State) will be missed, but this team has the ability to replace his scoring. The Knights played above expectations last season and won the coveted CIF Southern Section Open Division title before falling to Mater Dei in the SoCal Open regional semifinals. In order for Bishop Montgomery to play above expectations once again, underclassmen will need to step up and somebody will need to emerge as the go-to player in crunch time. Thompson is a great place to start, as he’s grown physically in the last year and is one of the best scorers in his class nationally. Singleton is a throwback – tough as nails with the ability to interchange with Thompson as the primary ball-handler. Schakel often doesn’t get the credit he deserves, but in more than one big game last season he was head coach Doug Mitchell’s best player with his combination of scoring, rebounding and play-making.
43. Centennial (Corona) 25-6
Key Players: SF Jordan Griffin 6-3 2016 (Long Beach St. commit), PF Ike Anigbogu 6-8 2016 (No. 37 Rivals.com, UCLA commit), C Jalen Hill 6-10 2017 (No. 26 247Sports.com, UCLA commit).
Why This Ranking: The Huskies were highly-regarded in the preseason last year and had ambitions of winning a CIF state title, but it came crashing down in a loss to Chino Hills in the SoCal D1 regional final. This year the expectations are not quite as high and that could be an advantage for Centennial because the talent level is once again there. Griffin is one of the best jump shooters on the West Coast and will be the Huskies’ go-to player on the perimeter. Anigbogu is a big-time shot blocker and should have a great season because of a greater emphasis to get him the ball inside. He and Hill didn’t play much together last season, but head coach Josh Giles has a lot of options to utilize the talented duo.