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SI.com basketball Top 25

Duncanville takes pole position; Jersey pulls rankings

Posted: Friday December 7, 2007 2:28PM; Updated: Friday December 21, 2007 4:33PM
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It didn't take long for St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.) to establish itself as a national title contender. Last Thursday, the Gray Bees defeated Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 68-62 behind 29 points from junior guard Tamir Jackson. If Jackson and the backcourt can continue to contribute, the Bees will be able to take some of the load off of 6-foot-9 forwards Samardo Samuels (Louisville) and Gregory Echenique, a junior who has been offered by Duke. As for Oak Hill, the road only gets tougher as the Warriors travel to Texas Wednesday to play top-ranked Duncanville (Texas). The Panthers have won 53 straight games while still developing juniors Shawn Williams and Roger Franklin.

High School Basketball Power Rankings
Rank LW School
1 --
Duncanville (Texas) (14-0)
Fresh off an unbeaten campaign that culminated with a Class 5A state championship, the Panthers will be led by highly recruited juniors Shawn Williams (6-foot-7, 195 pounds) and Roger Franklin (6-5, 205). Collins (Klein, Texas) and Desoto (Texas) provide in-state challenges, but Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) will be the big test.
2 --
St. Patricks's (Elizabeth, N.J.) (2-0)
After a breakout summer, junior guard Dexter Strickland (6-3, 175) needs to be the go-to-guy for the Celtics, but he will not be alone. Kansas-bound power forward Quintrell Thomas (6-8, 225) and freshman Mike Gilchrist (6-7, 185) will help St. Patrick's battle for a third straight New Jersey Tournament of Champions title.
3 --
St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.) (5-0)
The beastly duo of Louisville-signee Samardo Samuels (6-9, 230), who averaged 19.7 points and 10.3 rebounds last season, pairs with the ever-improving junior forward Gregory Echenique to form the nation's top front court. Jamaican freshman Tristan Thompson (6-8) enters with great expectations and the talent to match.
4 --
Montverde (Fla.) (10-0)
Texas A&M signee Dashawn Harris, who averaged 11 points and 10 assists in setting the school assists record (300) last season, is charged with bringing an international unit together. Cameroon-born Steve Tciengang (Vanderbilt) can shoot and Australian Femi Akinpetide (6-6, 215) is an athletic swing player.
5 --
St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) (2-0)
Got guards? A senior band of four Division I ballhandlers leads the Friars. Rutgers recruit Mike Rosario (6-2, 170), Pitt-bound Travon Woodall (5-11, 185) and Marquette signee Tyshawn Taylor (6-3, 165) will have dynamic junior Dominic Cheek (6-5, 170) to feed on the break. Senior point guard Jio Fontan (Fordham) is the glue guy who keeps Bob Hurley's team together.
6 --
St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) (3-0)
Big Ten-bound bruisers Delvon Roe (Michigan State) and Tom Pritchard (Indiana) should dominate the low post in the Buckeye state, and all five starters return for a team that did not lose last season until the state semifinal to Moeller (Cincinnati).
7 --
Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) (4-0)
Twin towers David and Travis Wear, who both stand 6-foot-10, will be the pillars of the Monarchs offense. Sophomore Gary Franklin (6-1, 180) inherits the ball handling responsibilities from Kamyron Brown, who is now at Oregon. Franklin needs to mature quickly for Mater Dei to repeat as Division state champs.
8 --
Norcross (Ga.) (5-0)
Senior forward Al-Farouq Aminu, a 6-8, 210-pound freak athlete who averaged 13.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and two blocked shots per game last year, looks to lead the Blue Devils to a third straight Class 5A title before moving on to Wake Forest. Point guard Taariq Muhammad, who joins Aminu as the lone returning starters, averaged seven assists per game last season.
9 --
Rice (New York, N.Y.) (2-0)
As the class of New York City's Catholic league, the ready-to-run Raiders carry high expectations. UConn-bound point man Kemba Walker (6-2, 175) is complemented by sharpshooter Chris Fouch (16 points per game) and junior swing man Durand Scott (6-3, 180). Sophomore Kadeem Jack (6-foot-8) adds size to a guard-oriented attack.
10 --
Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) (4-0)
Coach Stu Vetter boasts the nation's best junior class. Led by Isaiah Armwood (6-8), Tristan Spurlock (6-7) and 6-6 Terrell Vinson, the Mustangs have the athleticism and depth to contend for a national title.
11 --
Fairfax (Los Angeles) (5-0)
The rich got richer when 6-foot-11 center Renardo Sydney transferred in from Artesia. Ranked by many as the nation's top junior, Sydney is complemented by 6-2 guard Chris Solomon, who averaged 11.5 ppg and 2.5 apg last season and 6-6 forward Solomon Hill (8.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg).
12 --
Lincoln (Coney Island, N.Y.) (4-0)
Led by 6-5 junior slasher Lance Stephenson, the Railsplitters appear on track to take home a third consecutive PSAL city title and contend with Rice for the state's Federation AA championship. Buoyed by three transfers, Tiny Morton's squad will need power forward Justin Greene to increase his production against an ambitious national schedule.

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