1. Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)Head coach:
Michael Peck2010-11 record:
28-4, National High School Invitational participantPlayers to watch: Dominic Artis
(6-0, 165, Sr., G), Brandon Ashley
(6-8, 225, Sr., F, Arizona verbal commitment), Anthony Bennett
(6-7, 235, Sr., F), Winston Shepard
(6-8, 205, Sr., F), Nigel Williams-Goss
(6-3, 180, Jr., G), Christian Wood
(6-7, 190, Jr., F, UNLV)Pilots scouting report:
Peck isn't exactly sandbagging, but even with a half-dozen Top 100-caliber prospects on the roster he is taking a cautious approach to forecasting the 2011-12 season.
"We've got talent, but talent has got to produce and be effective in a system," Peck said. "After going through this five years now, you never know. I feel really good about our team but a lot of it is going to be up to them."
The Pilots were picked preseason No. 1 by MaxPreps two years ago, but faltered twice, including a loss against Jared Sullinger and Northland of Columbus, Ohio. Defending the Sullingers of the high school basketball world should be a strength for Findlay Prep this winter as eight players measure in at over 6-foot-7.
That group includes the tandem of Ashley and Bennett, a pair of five-star forwards. Their presence should allow 6-8 Shepard to play some on the wing and perimeter, where he showed promise on the summer circuit with club team Dream Vision.
Not to be ignored, Artis, Williams-Goss and Italian import Amedeo Della Valle
provide plenty of firepower in the backcourt.
The schedule is brutal – as usual – with showdowns against nationally-ranked Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)
, Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas)
and Simeon (Chicago, Ill.)
. The Bishop Gorman and Simeon games are just five days apart in January, but Peck isn't looking that far ahead.
"You can make yourself sick thinking about this and that," Peck said. "I'm just looking at things one day at a time and locked in on our team."
[Continue to next slide for Preseason Xcellent 25 quick list]