One side says transfers are the bane of high school sports and players should sit out at least a season before becoming eligible.
The other side says that families should be able to send their kids to school wherever they feel is best, and that since no entity really polices transfers and punishes cheaters, they should become as much a part of the high school scene as texting at lunch.
A look at this year's Xcellent 25 offers evidence for both sides. No. 1 Bishop O'Dowd has no transfers, though as a private school it draws players from a large metropolitan area, and neither does No. 2 Whitney Young.
No. 6 Riverdale Baptist, however, made up for the loss for four starters by importing almost an entirely new roster, and No. 7 Riverdale also added some key additions through transfers.
This activity has not gone unnoticed at higher levels and, in Florida, the legislature stepped in to make transferring during the summer even easier than before, with no restrictions on the justification for the transfer or limitations on recruiting. In California, the transfer rules were loosened for 2012-13, and the largest grouping of schools in the state called for the elimination of any penalty for switching schools for athletic purposes.
In the end, though, it doesn't really matter. Once the games begin, the players who are present play and the scoreboard decides. This year, the most important scoreboards will be at the Naples Holiday Shootout in Florida (No. 2 Whitney Young, No. 3 Science Hill, No. 10 Dreher, No. 12 McDonogh and No. 17 Hathaway Brown) and at the Nike TOC in Arizona (No. 1 Bishop O'Dowd, No. 4 St. Mary's (Phoenix), No. 13 Central Catholic, No. 14 Rock Bridge and No. 23 Mater Dei) — and as always, teams that play in those kind of events get a boost in the preseason rankings. After all, winning one of those tournaments requires beating some of the best teams in the country, and that's the best path to a No. 1 ranking at season's end.View last season's Final Xcellent 25 Girls Basketball RankingsMaxPreps Preseason Xcellent 25 Girls Basketball Rankings Presented by the Army National Guard
1. Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland, Calif.) 30-3 Last season
Let's make it simple: The Dragons have a 6-4 post who's signed with Virginia Tech — and she doesn't start. That would be Breanna Brown
, and she plays behind K.C. Waters
(Cal) and Oderah Chidom
(Duke). Point guard Ariell Bostick
is off to San Diego State next year, and two sophomore guards are Big Six-level talents as well. And O'Dowd, a defending state champion, will be in the top bracket at the Nike TOC in Phoenix. 2. Whitney Young (Chicago) 34-0
Usually even an elite team that returns only two starters is going to drop out of the top ten, but Dolphins' coach Corry Irvin hasn't hiccupped before when the graduation reaper has struck, and she does have do-everything Linnae Harper
to lean on. People describe Harper as a 5-7 power forward, but basically she's just a basketball player — and one of the best in the country. With seven other returners, lots of Division I talent and the usual monster schedule, Whitney Young is once again a force to be reckoned with. 3. Science Hill (Johnson City, Tenn.) 38-1
One probably wouldn't expect a school with "science" in its name to be a basketball powerhouse, but with all five starters — and every rotation player — back from a team that lost only to No. 7 Riverdale, the Hilltoppers may have found a new formula. But solving the top ten equation might be harder this year, as the trip to the Naples Holiday Shootout in Florida promises matchups with several other 99th-percentile types, and will be a challenging experiment in a lab far from home.4. St. Mary's (Phoenix) 30-0
The Knights won the national title without leaving the state of Arizona last year, and some say that even though they won the Nike TOC, the road wasn't that tough. This year they're not leaving Arizona either, but they're still in the Nike TOC, and they still have the heart of that No. 1 team. Two players did graduate, but four Big Six recruits return, plus two more D-1 talents, and this senior-laden team is unlikely to drop off very much. But it's always easier to sleep in your own bed. 5. Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) 30-5
Last year, the DMV (District of Columbia-Maryland-Virginia) was the unquestioned focal point of high school girls' basketball talent. This year there's been a bit of a dropoff, but with No. 6 Riverdale Baptist, No. 12 McDonogh and Good Counsel firmly in the Xcellent 25, it's still the place to go to see the best at this level. The Falcons are led by senior point guard Lindsey Spann
and senior post Amanda Fioravanti
, but they have a lot more in the cupboard to deal with a challenging schedule.