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The bar has been set high for first-year Huntington St. Joseph Prep (W. Va.)
head coach Arkell Bruce.
Predecessor Rob Fulford built the program from the ground up, turned the Fighting Irish into a national overnight and recruited one of the most talented prospects of the last decade (Andrew Wiggins) to Huntington – not exactly a high school hoops hotbed.
Until now.See the entire preseason national Top 25
Outside of Findlay Prep, Montverde Academy and Oak Hill Academy, nobody has sent more players to the Division I level over the last five years than Huntington St. Joseph Prep.
Despite the coaching change, the talent flow from Huntington to major college programs all over the country will continue under Bruce.
This year's roster is highlighted by a plus-sized front line featuring 6-foot-11 Thomas Bryant
, 6-10, 290-pound Levi Cook
and 6-8 Ted Kapita
, who could pass for a SEC defensive end.
Newcomer Karim Ezzeddine
, a 6-9 French import, could also be a factor for the Fighting Irish.
"Nobody has better bigs than we do," Bruce said. "We've got a group that's going to be tough to compete with."
Not to be overshadowed, the backcourt has its fair share of firepower as well. Wing Miles Bridges
is a five-star junior prospect and guards Ronshad Allen-Shabazz
and Curtis Jones
can fill it up.View gallery of Huntington St. Joseph Prep preseason photo shoot
Freshman guard Jonathan Kabongo
is another intriguing name on the perimeter. He is the younger brother of former Findlay Prep and Texas point man Myck Kabongo. Huntington St. Joseph Prep's last five years:
2013-14 – 28-5, No. 11 final national ranking
2012-13 – 30-3, No. 5 final Academy Top 10 national ranking
2011-12 – 28-2, No. 3 final Academy Top 10 national ranking
2010-11 – 25-3
2009-10 – 27-5