The worst storm to hit the San Francisco Bay Area in years coincides with the Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland, Calif.)
boys basketball team's scheduled flight to Florida Thursday morning.
"We're just hoping we can get out of here," O'Dowd coach Lou Richie said.
What waits on the other side of that flight is pretty ominous also. At least from a basketball perspective.
The Dragons meet the nation's No. 1 team in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 presented by the Army National Guard
, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)
in a made-for-TV special that also pits arguably the top two senior players.
Montverde's Ben Simmons
, a 6-foot-9 forward with guard skills, and O'Dowd's 6-10 post Ivan Rabb
make this an ultra attractive high school match-up. The game is scheduled 6:30 p.m. (EST) Friday on ESPN2.
O'Dowd (2-0) is No. 7 in the country by MaxPreps, but as high as No. 2 by prepnation.com. Simmons is the consensus No. 1 senior recruit and Rabb is ranked as high as No. 2.
"It's not often you get the opportunity to play the No. 1 team in the country," Richie said. "On national TV. And have the No. 1 and 2 teams in the country ever faced off with the No. 1 and 2 recruits?"
No one is quite sure.
Rabb and O'Dowd got off to a resounding start on Nov. 29 against previous No. 7 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas). Rabb had 28 points and 20 rebounds in a 63-55. On Saturday, Rabb had 20 points and 10 rebounds in a 59-41 win over Riordan (San Francisco).
"No disrespect to Riordan or coach (Rich) Buckner, but we didn't play well," Richie said. "We'll need to step up our game considerably to play with these guys."
Simmons was the MaxPreps Junior National Player of the Year last season, averaging 18.5 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game for the nation's No. 2 team. The native of Australia is powerful built at 220 pounds, but is nimble with the ball. He's signed with LSU.
He's surrounded by trees — 7-4 Jean Marc Christ Koumadje
(signed to Florida State), 7-footer Doral Moore
(Wake Forest), 6-8, 260-pound Noah Dickerson
(Florida) and 6-9 freshman sensation E.J. Montgomery
O'Dowd counters with 6-8 Isaiah Thomas
and 7-footer Mike Hauser
, but the Dragons will hope to beat Montverde with quickness, led by Boise State-bound point guard Paris Austin
and Austin Walker
Montverde Academy (6-0) beat previous No. 10 Plano West-Texas 68-51 last week as Simmons had 23 points.