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Top Teams and Players

1. The top projected team entering this year’s event is Taft High School out of Woodlands Hills, CA. Taft is one of the favorites to win the LA City Section Division 1 Championship this year.

To take a quick look back, current UNC point guard Larry Drew Jr. and current Lakers’ point guard Jordan Farmar head a long list of talented guards to come from Taft. Last year’s team, who placed 3rd in the Classic, was led by Justin Hawkins and Terran Carter, who now play for UNLV and CSU Northridge, respectively. This year’s team is led by senior guard Bryce Jones (6’5”), committed to USC, and junior forward DeAndre Daniels (6’8”), committed to Texas. Larry Drew Jr.’s little brother Landon Drew (5’10”), a highly touted sophomore, could start for the Toreadors at point guard.

Bryce Jones is ranked 141 overall in the 2010 Class by Rivals.com.

DeAndre Daniels is ranked 33 overall in the 2011 Class by Rivals.com.

This Taft team should be particularly competitive because of their depth, height (5 players listed at 6’5” and up), and overall athleticism.

Taft also plays in the Westchester Tournament and the Max Preps Holiday Classic. They will also play St. Patrick of Elizabeth, NJ in a game that will be nationally televised by ESPN, possibly the high school basketball game of the year.

2. Another top team in this year’s tourney is Washington DC area school FW Ballou. This team is a bit of an unknown, but they certainly have the potential to run the table at the tournament. After winning last year’s DCIAA championship and coming within 7 points of its first ever City Title, Ballou coach Jenkins Dormu has challenged his team with a truly rigorous national schedule. Aside from participating in this tournament, Ballou will play in the DC-Baltimore challenge, a post-Christmas tournament in Arkansas, the Mayoral Cup in Baltimore, and a huge game against Montrose Christian.

Ballou’s top returner is Donte Thomas (6’3”). Thomas made the All-Beltway 1st team last year as a junior guard and may be the best all-around scorer in the DC area. He reportedly has offers from Hawaii, San Jose State, and Rutgers but he will attend Prep School next year. Junior center Marquis Gentry 6’8”, 220 lbs, also returns as the main paint presence. He has drawn interest from Xavier and Drexel, but will also attend Prep School. Interestingly enough, last year point guard Zalmico Harmon played for the Bishop O’Connell team that placed 2nd in the tournament. He has since transfered to Ballou, along with 2 other players from Donte Thomas’ AAU team God’s Glory. Harmon (5’10” senior guard), Antonio Pittman (6’5” senior forward), and Christian Leach (6’2” junior guard) all have joined the team this year. Ballou now possesses a very deep and talented roster, and along with the workouts they have put in together over summer, may have what it takes to thrive throughout their tough schedule. They also possess the height and athleticism to compete with top echelon teams such as Taft.

3. Campbell Hall of North Hollywood once again returns to the Classic with some top talent. Current 76er and former Classic MVP Jrue Holiday ran the point for Campbell Hall three years ago when they won the tournament. This year’s team must overcome the loss of multi-talented forward Keegan Hornbuckle (Colorado) and their head coach. New Head Coach Steve Wachs will lead Campbell Hall this year as they hope to build on last year’s 4th place finish. The Vikings are led by James “Deuce” Johnson, a 6’7” forward committed to Louisiana Tech, and talented junior guard Austin McBroom (6’0”).

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Categories: Rankings
  1. eaglezuke
    November 26, 2009 at 2:25 am

    Great information!

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