A new year means a return to an old favorite. The Just a Minute with Justin Young column returns. And what a time for a comeback. The national rankings will have a shake-up in high school hoops after a week of crazy action. One team remains on top though. We tackle that along with the case for RJ Davis, a huge commitment for Providence and a scholarship offer worth noting.
THE BEST IN ALL THE LAND
The best high school teams i’ve seen this season so far are…
- Montverde Academy
- The Field
Ranking the top 25, 50, whatever high school programs in the country is not an easy task. I’m glad I’m not in charge of that. The conversation is subjective because of all of the parameters of high school hoops now. Public school vs. Private/Prep school? State association or self-funded traveling teams? How do you measure apples against apples? You don’t. So, I’m just going off what my eyes have seen. And I’ve seen a lot so far this high school season.
Montverde is the clear cut top dog in the prep ranks at the moment. They are huge across the board, they have our No. 1 (Cade Cunningham), No. 3 (Scottie Barnes) and No. 8 (Day’Ron Sharpe) nationally-ranked players on the roster. They have coaching, great size and great competitors. Try beating them.
Their 15-0 record is bigger than just that undefeated number. Their closest game this season was a 63-55 win over IMG Academy in the City of Palms championship. Everything else has been a blowout of epic proportions. And Monteverde isn’t shying away from the competition. They have a schedule that is challenging. Up to this point, they are rising to the occasion.
Like college basketball, anyone can lose on any given night. Except for Montverde. And that’s just right now. This sentence could age poorly in the coming weeks. A rematch with IMG Academy is on the horizon at the HoopHall Classic in Springfield, Mass. on Sunday, Jan. 19. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.
For the record, Hamilton Heights is my second-place vote as the best team in high school hoops.
Coming off a week where everyone beat everyone inside the top 25 MaxPreps poll, there is probably not a right answer to the order of things when it comes to ranking the top overall programs in the nation.
Paul VI (VA) has lost three in a row since making it all the way up to No. 2 on the Ball Is Life top 50 poll. IMG Academy (FL) fell victim to no shot clock and ball-holding thanks to Briarcrest Christian (TN) at the National HoopFest in Memphis.
Sunrise Christian (KS) lost to Huntington Prep (WV) at the Cancer Research Classic a day after beating fellow top 10 program La Lumiere at the same event.
West Oaks (FL) beat Prolific Prep at the Mustang Madness on the Grind Session circuit. Sierra Canyon (CA) and the traveling show lost to Minnehaha (MN) at the Target Center in front of a sold out crowd over 17,000 people.
Parity is alive and well in high school hoops, y’all. Expect at the top. And that’s where Monteverde will continue to sit.
Side note… a match-up between Grayson of Georgia and Dorman of South Carolina would be terrific. Two quality programs that are your local neighborhood schools. Purists would love to see it. So would I.
LET’S TALK ABOUT RJ DAVIS FOR A SECOND
I’m going to just go ahead and say it, future North Carolina guard RJ Davis is playing as well as any point guard in the country right now. I’d argue that he’s been in that category since he showed out at the NBPA Top 100 camp.
While the McDonald’s All-American team may be something that he’s on the outside looking in for, I think we have to put his name into the conversation for the team. Yes, there are a lot of point guards in the mix for the game this year because of the depth of talent at the top of the position. I get that. I do. But I think we also have to consider the value that the senior year of HS has.
With that said, Davis led the City of Palms in scoring at 25 points a game and was also the third-best assists per game player at the event. He was also a pilot in Stepinac’s huge win over then-ranked No. 2 Paul VI (VA) at the Slam Dunk to the Beach. The body of work is there and it should be considered.
FRIARS QUIETLY ADD KEY COMMITMENT
J’yare Davis committed to Providence on Sunday, announcing his decision on FS1’s Big East show. The 6-foot-7 forward from the Sanford School (DE) is an important score for Ed Cooley and his program.
Davis was MIA from the travel scene last year because he was nursing an injury. That kept him out of the national conversation and almost out of sight and out of mind with college recruiters. But Providence stayed the course and ultimately that was a difference-maker, Davis said.
He was good at the City of Palms and the Slam Dunk to the Beach. So good, in fact, I thought he was the best uncommitted player I saw at the loaded City of Palms before Christmas.
His commitment may not move the needle right now but for the Friars, having players like Davis in the program is one of the reasons why the program is a constant in the post-season.
IF YOU AIN’T TRYING
Hey, I can’t fault a school for believing there’s a chance.
Filed under "Shoot Your Shot". https://t.co/pqKGtY6kj2— Justin Young (@JustinDYoung) January 5, 2020
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