While high school football is still in the spotlight, the first big weekend of basketball is underway.
In Washington, Ill., the State Farm Tournament of Champions tipped Tuesday afternoon. The event will play host to 23 teams from eight states through Saturday, including national No. 3 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.). The Pilots take on Brehm Prep (Carbondale, Ill.) on Thursday.
In Texas, the Thanksgiving Hoopfest brings teams from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma to Duncanville High School. Several marquee matchups are on the slate, including No. 9 Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas) facing No. 18 Douglass (Oklahoma City, Okla.) on Saturday night. Other big games include Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas) taking on LeBryan Nash and Lincoln (Dallas, Texas), and Isaiah Austin and Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas) hooking up with Hall (Little Rock, Ark.).
With the upsets, buzzer-beaters and highlight dunks ready to commence, MaxPreps glances ahead at the 2010-11 season.
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2011 Top 100
2012 Top 100
2013 Watch List
Coach of the Year – Ed Azzam, Westchester (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Player of the Year – Harrison Barnes, Ames (Ames, Iowa) / All-American Team
Junior of the Year – Austin Rivers, Winter Park (Winter Park, Fla.) / Junior All-Americans
Sophomore of the Year – DaJuan Coleman, Jamesville-DeWitt (DeWitt, N.Y.) / Sophomore All-Americans
Freshman of the Year – Aquille Carr, Patterson (Baltimore, Md.) / Freshmen All-Americans
Player of the Year Candidates
1. Austin Rivers, Sr., G, Winter Park (Winter Park, Fla.) –
The future Duke Blue Devil is a clutch scorer capable of going for 45 on any given night. Winter Park's schedule is lined with nationally-ranked teams like Milton, Montverde Academy, Penn Wood and St. Patrick, so Rivers will have plenty of showcase opportunities.2. Adonis Thomas, Sr., G/F, Melrose (Memphis, Tenn.) –
Thomas won't produce the point totals that Rivers will, but keeping Melrose in the national championship conversation against a rugged schedule would be a significant accomplishment worthy of POY consideration. 3. Michael Gilchrist, Sr., F, St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) –
Without Duke freshman Kyrie Irving in the lineup, Gilchrist's production should improve dramatically. The No. 1-rated player in MaxPreps.com's 2011 Top 100 will join Rivers and Thomas in December at the City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers, Fla.4. Trevor Lacey, Sr., G, Butler (Huntsville, Ala.) –
The highest-rated uncommitted senior in America, Lacey is out to a sensational start for 3-0 Butler. The 6-4, 190-pound shooting guard already has two 50-point scoring outbursts, resulting in an average of 47.6 points per game.5. Bradley Beal, Sr., G, Chaminade (St. Louis, Mo.) –
The numbers will be there for Beal. Leading Chaminade to a state title – as he did as a sophomore – puts the future Florida Gator in the National Player of the Year race.
Junior of the Year Candidates
1. DaJuan Coleman, F, Jamesville-DeWitt (DeWitt, N.Y.) – MaxPreps.com's Sophomore of the Year last winter, Coleman averaged 24.1 points and 15.4 rebounds per game. Jamesville-DeWitt is 52-3 in his two seasons with the program.
2. Shabazz Muhammad, G, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) – Muhammad waited patiently and allowed seniors to shine for Nevada's Class 4A state champions as a sophomore. He still managed to average 19 points per game and earn first team All-State honors, so it should be interesting to see what he can accomplish in a lead role.
3. Marcus Smart, G, Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas) – Smart is building an impressive track record of success, carrying Marcus to Texas' Class 5A semifinals last year and then leading his team to a tournament title at the prestigious adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas over the summer.
4. Isaiah Austin, F/C, Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas) – The 7-footer's unique skill set – which includes a legitimate perimeter game – hasn't translated into high school dominance yet. Could this be the year?
5. Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell, G, Park Tudor (Indianapolis, Ind.) – Expected to make a commitment to Indiana University today, Ferrell averaged over 22 points per game for the Hoosier State's Class 2A runner-up as a sophomore.
Sophomore of the Year Candidates
1. Aquille Carr, G, Patterson (Baltimore, Md.) – The 5-7 guard took the Baltimore high school basketball scene by storm last season, then backed it up with impressive play on the summer circuit.
2. Stephen Clark, G, Douglass (Oklahoma City, Okla.) – Another smallish guard (5-9), Clark plays a big role for Oklahoma's defending Class 4A state champions, who carry a 30-game win streak into 2010-11.
3. Jabari Parker, G/F, Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) – Huge things are expected at Simeon this season despite losing leading scorer Brandon Spearman (University of Dayton). Parker should more than make up for Spearman's lost production as the Chicago superpower aims for back-to-back state titles.
4. Julius Randle, F/C, Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas) – The 6-8, 215-pound Randle teams with 6-9, 235-pound Kansas commitment Zach Peters to form high school basketball's second-most formidable frontcourt (see Jahlil Okafor below). Randle posted 15.0 points and 9.8 rebounds per game last season for the 35-3 Lions.
5. Kasey Hill, G, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) – After averaging over 20 points per game as a freshman at Mount Dora Bible, Hill took his game to Montverde Academy and will have a chance to prove those numbers were no fluke against a national schedule.
Five (or six) Freshmen to Watch
1. Shaqquan Aaron/Stanley Johnson, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) – Legendary Monarch head coach Gary McKnight has not one, but two stud freshmen he expects to compete for a starting spot.
2. Trey Lyles, G/F, Arsenal Tech (Indianapolis, Ind.) – According to Arsenal Tech head coach Frank Kendrick, Lyles can play all five positions, but will see most of his minutes this season on the perimeter. The versatile 6-9 frosh phenom is already committed to Indiana.
3. James Blackmon, G, Bishop Luers (Fort Wayne, Ind.) – The son of Bishop Luers head coach James Blackmon, James Jr. is also committed to Indiana and has built quite a rep through the middle school camp and tournament circuit. With former Knight star Deshaun Thomas now at Ohio State, the young guard should have a chance to come in and put up big numbers right away.
4. Dakari Johnson, C, St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) – Listed at 6-9 and anywhere between 230 and 255 pounds, Celtics head coach Kevin Boyle lured the Brooklyn native to Elizabeth where he could be the next mega-star to come out of the program.
5. Jahlil Okafor, C, Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) – The 6-9, 285-pound Okafor joins 6-10, 290-pound Thomas Hamilton and five other players listed 6-6 or taller at Whitney Young, giving the Dolphins the title in the "Most likely to be mistaken for a college team" category.
Five Games/Events That Will Impact National Championship
1. State Farm City of Palms Classic (Dec. 17-22) – The tournament field for the Fort Myers, Fla., event includes six of the top 15 teams in the country – Milton (Ga.) (No. 2), Melrose (Memphis, Tenn.) (No. 4), St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) (No. 5), Winter Park (Fla.) (No. 7), Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) (No. 12) and Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) (No. 15).
2. Milton (Ga.) vs. Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) (Jan. 15, 2011) – Preseason No. 1 (Oak Hill Academy) takes on No. 2 (Milton) as part of the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass.
3. Melrose (Memphis, Tenn.) vs. Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) (Dec. 3) – This matchup comes so early the loser could still emerge as the No. 1 team in the nation later in the season.
4. Beach Ball Classic (Dec. 27-31) – Bishop Gorman captured the crown at the BBC last December, helping the Gaels put together a resume that ended with a No. 7 final national ranking. With six of the top 50 teams in the country dotting the field, could No. 16 Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) or No. 18 Douglass (Oklahoma City, Okla.) make the event a showcase for their respective programs?
5. Montverde Academy Invitational (Jan. 27-29, 2011) – No. 3 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) could still be harboring national championship hopes in late January, but it won't be easy to make it to February unscathed. A number of competitive teams await the Pilots in central Florida, including host Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.).