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Top Teams and Players

November 16, 2009 1 comment

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”).

Categories: Rankings

All-Tourney Teams

Sorry about the delay guys, I hope you all had a happy new year.

This will probably be pretty controversial, but here goes:

National Division

MVP – Justin Cobbs (Sr) – Bishop Montgomery

1st Team

  • Kendall Marshall (Jr) – Bishop O’Connell
  • Michael Panaggio (Sr) – Bishop Montgomery
  • Kendall Williams (Jr) – Los Osos
  • Tyler Honeycutt (Sr) – Sylmar
  • Josh Smith (Jr) – Kentwood

2nd Team

  • Austin McBroom (So) – Campbell Hall
  • Michael Williams (Sr) – Taft
  • Gary Hicks (Sr) – Sylmar
  • Justin Hawkins (Sr) – Taft
  • Darius Nelson (So) – Sheldon

Elite Division

1st Team

  • Mardell Johnson (Sr) – Rio Americano
  • Mitrell Clark (Sr) – El Dorado
  • Josh Manning (Sr) – Fremont
  • Tony Freeland  (Sr) – Fremont
  • Jeremy Ford (Sr) – Mission Hills

2nd Team

  • Kyle Odister (Sr) – Rio Americano
  • Sean Butler (Sr) – LACES
  • Charles White (Sr) – El Dorado
  • Chris Dyer (Sr) – Campolindo
  • Marcus Moreland (Sr) – El Dorado

All-Defensive Team (Both Divisions)

  • Kendall Marshall (Jr) – Bishop O’Connell
  • Brandon Bivens (Sr) – Bishop Montgomery
  • Justin Hawkins (Sr) – Taft
  • Tyler Honeycutt (Sr) – Sylmar
  • Jeremy Ford (Sr) – Mission Hills

All-Underclassmen Team (Both Divisions)

  • Austin McBroom (So) – Campbell Hall
  • Landon Drew (Fr) – Taft
  • Ramon Eaton (So) – Sheldon
  • Darius Nelson (So) – Sheldon
  • Larry Savage (So) – Bishop O’Connell
Categories: Rankings

ESPN Rankings, Tournaments

Week 6 Rankings

Taft moved up one spot to #43 and Bishop O’Connell moved up 2 spots to #47.

Espn.com’s writers Christopher Lawlor, Ronnie Flores, Ryan Canner-O’Mealy, and Doug Huff, who compile the weekly Top 50 rankings and writeup had this to say about the Classic:

“Top programs will traverse the globe for superior competition. Those searching for elite pre-Christmas events can catch them this week at: Iolani Prep Classic (Honolulu); Mission Prep Christmas Classic (San Luis Obispo, Calif.); Bank of America City of Palms Classic (Fort Myers, Fla.); Chick-Fil-A Classic (Columbia, S.C.) and Hoop Group Tip-Off Classic (the two New Jersey sites this weekend are Union High and Seton Hall University in South Orange).”

It is especially impressive to see our name up there with so many heavily-funded tournaments that have 100x the resources we do.

Categories: Rankings

ESPN Rankings Week #4

44. Taft (Woodland Hills) – 3-1

After losing to Leuzinger (#42 in ESPN Rankings), they turned back around and beat a national power in Compton Dominguez (#46). But 6’9” big man transfer DeAndre Daniels did not get cleared to play this season.

49. Bishop O’Connell (Arlington, VA) – 4-0

With two big upset wins over Kinston and Gonzaga (#47), Kendall Marshall and the Vikings have vaulted into the ESPN Top 50. Marshall also outplayed Kinston’s 5 star dynamic scorer Reggie Bullock in their win.

Categories: Rankings

CalHiSports Rankings

California State Rankings (All Divisions) – Last Year’s Record 

#5. Taft – 27-4

Freshman Landon Drew will also contribute and as he gains experience and jells with Carter and Hawkins this team will only get better and better.

Check out his exclusive ESPN On The Rise Video here: http://sports.espn.go.com/broadband/video/videopage?categoryId=3066082&brand=null&videoId=3656291&n8pe6c=1

#12. Campbell Hall – 31-5

Sophomore Austin McBroom, the most polished PG in the 2011 class, continues to grow physically and mentally and should help this team on the offensive end with ballhandling especially. He compliments Hornbuckle and Johnson very well.

#24. Bishop Montgomery – 26-7

PG Justin Cobbs is a blazing ballhandler who is committed to Minnesota, and this team will go as far as he takes them.

#34. Sheldon – 19-11

This team will improve exponentially from last season and will be dangerous with super athletic 2011 top 75 prospects Ramon Eaton and Darius Nelson (younger brother of Duke star Demarcus Nelson).

Categories: Rankings

Rivals Top 150 2009 with MP Christmas Classic Affiliations

#5. Jordan Hamilton, SF 6’7” 210 lbs, came to the Christmas Classic as a top ranked sophomore with the Dorsey Dons, now is the best small forward in the nation and an elite scorer leading a powerhouse Compton Dominguez team. He is taking his 5 star talents to play for Rick Barnes at Texas next year. 

#7. Kenny Boynton, SG 6’2” 187 lbs, came to the Christmas Classic as a freshman where he started for the Ely Tigers, now is the second ranked shooting guard in the nation for American Heritage. He is a five star player and has an impact jumpshot, which he will take to Florida next year in hopes of bringing Billy Donovan more NCAA Tournament glory.
#29. Tyler Honeycutt, SF 6’7” 185 lbs, will come to the Classic with his Sylmar this year after shooting up the prospect rankings with a major breakout on the summer circuit. UCLA picks up another 4 star recruit in Honeycutt.
#60. Junior Cadougan, PG 5’11” 185 lbs, came to the Classic last year with his high flying Christian Life team as a junior and was the only non-senior to make the All-Tourney 1st Team. A 4 star rated player who is very smart passer and tough leader who will attend Marquette next year.
#89. Aaron Dotson, SG 6’4” 180 lbs, came to the Classic as a junior and as a sophomore with the Seattle-area dynasty, Rainier Beach. Made the All-Tourney 2nd Team last year, a bouncy high waisted athlete who shoots well, can penetrate, and plays very composed, he will attend LSU next year.
Categories: Rankings

Ranked Teams at the Classic

Taft (Woodlands Hills, CA) is ranked as the #26 team in the country by ESPN, and is ranked as the #7 team in the Western Region by ESPN.

Last year, they went 27-4 but they lose their All-American PG Larry Drew, who will play for UNC this year. Justin Hawkins (UNLV) and 6’5” forward Terran Carter will lead this year’s team.
Campbell Hall (North Hollywood, CA) is ranked as the #16 team Western Region by ESPN.
After losing their team leader and PG Jrue Holliday, the Gatorade POY and a former Christmas Classic MVP, from a 31-5 team last year, the Vikings turn to senior forward Keegan Hornbuckle and junior forward Deuce Johnson.
Categories: Rankings