2017-18 Top 25 Preview

Penny Hardaway looks to lead Memphis East to it’s first ever “Mythical National Title” with another loaded roster.                       (Photo: Ozark Photo Zone)

As the summer comes to an end and football season commences, its time to take a look at HS Hoops Elite’s WAY TOO EARLY Top 10. Many familiar names are featured in this early version of our preseason rankings, however a few new programs have crept into the national spotlight with the development of young their talent and a few additions along the way.

Here is an early look at next year’s elite programs in HS Hoops:


Memphis East (TN)

Memphis East’s young core of the past two seasons has grown up and they have added some valuable pieces along the way. This year, the back-to-back state champions will be led by a stout frontcourt featuring 5-star 2019 prospects, 6’ 11” PF James Wiseman and 6’ 9” PF Chandler Lawson. The Mustangs also feature one of the best floor generals in the country, as 2018 5’ 11” PG Alex Lomax will look for his third consecutive state championship to cap off an excellent career.

Players To Watch:
2019 6′ 11″ PF James Wiseman
2019 6′ 9″ PF Chandler Lawson
2019 6′ 8″ PF Malcolm Dandridge
2018 6′ 5″ SF Ryan Boyce
2018 6′ 4″ SG Jayden Hardaway
2018 5′ 11″ PG Alex Lomax


2 Montverde Academy (FL)

Montverde Academy is looking to return to glory. After winning three consecutive Dick’s Nationals, they have fallen short the last two seasons, but made it all the way to the title game last year. 2018 6’ 7” SF RJ Barrett and 2018 6’ 3” PG Andrew Nembhard will lead the charge for this year’s Eagles as their top returners. Alongside their key returners, a new frontcourt will feature 2019 6’ 9” twins Makhi and Makhei Mitchell, both committed to Maryland.

Players to Watch:
2019 6′ 9″ PF Makhi Mitchell (committed to Maryland)
2019 6′ 9″ PF Makhei Mitchell (committed to Maryland)
2018 6′ 7″ SF Jordan Mitchell

2018 6′ 7″ SF RJ Barrett
2018 6′ 3″ PG Andrew Nembhard
2018 6′ 3″ PG Mike Devoe


Oak Hill Academy (VA)

The prestigious Oak Hill Academy has put together yet another loaded roster led by key transfers. Scoring juggernaut 2018 6’5” SG Keldon Johnson will take the reigns of the offense this season, while returning 2018 6’ 10” C David McCormack will anchor the paint. The Warriors will face another loaded schedule, with trips to the Chick Fil A Classic, Bass Pro TOC, Les Schwab Invitational, and Hoophall Classic among other top events around the country.

Players to Watch:
2018 6′ 10″ C David McCormack
2019 6′ 8″ PF BJ Mack (committed to Virginia Tech)
2018 6′ 5″ SF Keyontae Johnson
2018 6′ 5″ SG Keldon Johnson
2019 6′ 4″ SG Josh Nickleberry
2018 6′ 4″ CG Will Richardson
2020 6′ 8″ SF Joshua Hemmings


4 Mater Dei (CA)

Mater Dei has been one of the most consistent high school basketball programs in the nation, finishing last season ranked #8 in the nation. However, the Monarchs haven’t captured a California state championship since 2014 when they won their fourth consecutive state title. This year the California power will feature key returners 2018 7’ 2” C Bol Bol and 2018 6’ 2” floor general Spencer Freedman (committed to Harvard). Along with their key returners, elite 2019 6’ 3” SG PJ Fuller will provide an elite scoring punch to an already talented starting five.

Players to Watch:
2018 7′ 2″ C Bol Bol
2018 6′ 9″ PF Michael Wang
2018 6′ 6″ SF Harrison Butler
2019 6′ 3″ SG PJ Fuller
2018 6′ 2″ PG Spencer Freedman (committed to Harvard)
2019 6′ 6″ SF Clay Donohue


Wesleyan Christian (NC)

Wesleyan Christian fell just short of capturing their seventh state title last season, dropping a tight contest to Greensboro Day 63-60 in the state title game. This season, they will return the core of their offense with 2018 6’ 8” SF Jaylen Hoard (committed to Wake Forest), and 2018 6’ 6” SG Aaron Wiggins (committed to Maryland) returning to power the offense. Along with their key returners, transfers 2019 6’ 1” guards Keyshaun and Kobe Langley (both committed to Virginia Tech) will likely round out a loaded starting lineup.

Players to Watch:
2019 6′ 10″ PF DeAundre Wilkins
2018 6′ 8″ SF Jaylen Hoard (committed to Wake Forest)
2018 6′ 6″ SG Aaron Wiggins (committed to Maryland)
2019 6′ 1″ PG Keyshaun Langley (committed to Virginia Tech)
2019 6′ 1″ PG Kobe Langley (committed to Virginia Tech)
2019 6′ 5″ SG Shawn Walker Jr


McEachern (GA)

McEachern will look to get over the hump and capture their first ever state title, coming off their best year in school history. The Indians finished 29-1 last season, falling 56-49 in the state semifinals to eventual state champion Tift County. This season, McEachern returns their top 9 scorers, including 2019 6’ 5” SG Isaac Okoro who averaged 24.1 points per game and 2020 5′ 10″ PG Sharife Cooper who averaged 16 points per game. Along with key returners, talented newcomer 2019 6’ 9” PF Jared Jones will add another paint protector.

Players to Watch:
2019 6′ 9″ PF Jared Jones
2019 6′ 8″ SF Babatunde Akingbola
2018 6′ 6″ SF Brandon Suggs
2019 6′ 5″ SG Isaac Okoro
2020 5′ 10″ PG Sharife Cooper
2019 5′ 9″ PG Jerod Bush


IMG Academy (FL)

IMG Academy had an excellent season in 2016-17, finishing 26-2 and earning their first berth to Dick’s Nationals in program history. Despite losing their entire starting lineup from last year’s squad, the Ascenders have reloaded nicely. 2019 7’ 3” C Chol Marial and 2018 6’ 9” PF Silvio De Sousa (committed to Kansas) will form an intimidating frontcourt, while 2019 6′ 6″ SG Josh Green will provide a scoring punch on the wing.

Players to Watch:
2018 7′ 3″ C Chol Marial
2018 6′ 9″ PF Silvio De Sousa (committed to Kansas)
2019 6′ 6″ SG Josh Green
2018 6′ 3″ PG Keyshawn Embery


Hudson Catholic (NJ)

Hudson Catholic just missed the New Jersey tournament of champions last season, falling in the NJSIAA Non-Public B final to Patrick School and finishing 26-4. This season, the Hawks return 4 of 5 starters and will feature a trio of top 100 2018 prospects. The Hudson Catholic “Big 3” will showcase 2018 6’ 8” PF Louis King, 2018 6’ 0” PG Jahvon Quinerly (committed to Arizona), and 2018 6’ 4” SG Luther Muhammed as their experienced core will look to capture the school’s first ever New Jersey tournament of champions title and their first state title since 1976.

Players to Watch:
2018 6′ 8″ PF Louis King
2018 6′ 6″ PF Danny Rodriguez
2018 6′ 5″ SF Schackylle Dezonie
2018 6′ 3″ SG Luther Muhammad
2018 6′ 0″ PG Jahvon Quinerly (committed to Arizona)
2018 6′ 7″ PF Precious Ikediashi


9 Findlay Prep (NV)

Findlay Prep has been one of the most dominant Prep schools in the nation since joining the scene in 2006. The Pilots have appeared in each of the 9 Dick’s Nationals/NHSI tournaments, winning three titles (tied for most in event history with Montverde). Although Findlay Prep have remained in the national spotlight, they haven’t captured the Dick’s/NHSI title since 2012. This year, another talented roster led by key transfers 2019 7’ 3” C Connor Vanover and 2018 6’ 3” PG Jamie Lewis (committed to North Carolina State) will look to get over the hump and capture their first Dick’s Nationals title in six years.

Players to Watch:
2018 7′ 3″ C Connor Vanover
2018 6′ 7″ PF Reggie Chaney
2018 6′ 6″ SF Spencer Washington
2018 6′ 4″ SG TJ Moss
2018 6′ 4″ SG Kyler Edwards
2018 6′ 3″ PG Jamie Lewis (North Carolina State)


10 University School (FL)

A young squad has gotten another year of experience under their belts and appear poised to have a breakout season behind top 2019 prospect 6’ 10” PF Vernon Carey Jr. Despite losing his running mate, Balsa Kaprivica to transfer in the offseason, University School will return three starters from last season and a number of key transfers. These transfers include Carey’s new running mate 2020 6’ 7” SF Scottie Barnes who will provide a new look with a smaller team that will likely look to get up and down more this season.

Players to Watch:
2019 6′ 10″ PF Vernon Carey Jr
2020 6′ 7″ SF Scottie Barnes
2018 6′ 3″ SG Trey Doomes
2019 6′ 2″ SG Joshua Sanguinetta
2018 6′ 0″ PG Drue Drinnon
2019 5′ 10″ PG Xavien Flowers


Honorable Mention: (in no order) Shadow Mountain (AZ), Dematha Catholic (MD), La Lumiere (IN), St. Benedict’s Prep (NJ), Greensboro Day (NC), Archbishop Molloy (NY), Chino Hills (CA), Paul VI (VA), Webster Groves (MO), Apple Valley (MN)


Previous Rankings:

2016-17 Top 25
2015-16 Top 25
2014-15 Top 25
2013-14 Top 25

2018 Player Rankings
2017 Player Rankings
2016 Player Rankings

2015 Player Rankings


WAY TOO EARLY Top 10:

  1. Memphis East (TN)
  2. Montverde Academy (FL)
  3. Oak Hill Academy (VA)
  4. Mater Dei (CA)
  5. Wesleyan Christian (NC)
  6. McEachern (GA)
  7. IMG Academy (FL)
  8. Hudson Catholic (NJ)
  9. Findlay Prep (NV)
  10. University School (FL)