Inside the FAB 50: Hoophall Preview

The No. 1-ranked team in this week’s POWERADE FAB 50 and 10 other nationally rated squads might learn from history in the upcoming Spalding Hoophall Classic.

Last season, top-ranked Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) took a 16-0 record into the Spalding Hoophall Classic at Blake Arena in Springfield, Mass., but was knocked off by Milton (Ga.) 75-69.

At the same event, FAB 50 No. 2 St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) dominated DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.), another ranked team, 75-25, and took over the No. 1 ranking for the rest of the season. The FAB 50 champion Friars ended with a 33-0 record.

This weekend, FAB 50 No. 1 Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) could face its stiffest challenge of the season against No. 6 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.), while No. 2 Oak Hill Academy takes on No. 19 Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas).

If Simeon loses to Findlay and Oak Hill beats Prestonwood, history could repeat with Oak Hill on the other side of the rankings move.

Oak Hill plays on Saturday, while the Simeon-Findlay matchup headlines a five-game slate on Martin Luther King Day.

Findlay may be without 6-foot-8, 230-pound senior forward Anthony Bennett, who has been nursing an injury and has seen limited game action the past couple of weeks.

Three games Saturday feature FAB 50-ranked teams: No. 2 Oak Hill Academy vs. No. 19 Prestonwood Christian; No. 5 DeMatha vs. Northwest Catholic (West Hartford, Conn.); and No. 9 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) vs. No. 50 Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.).

The first four games on Monday also will feature FAB 50 teams: No. 1 Simeon vs. No. 6 Findlay Prep; No. 4 St. Anthony vs. No. 34 Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.); No. 5 DeMatha vs. No. 24 Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas); and No. 22 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) vs. Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.).

FAB 50 Spotlight Player of the Week:

Gary Harris, Hamilton Southeastern (Fishers, Ind.)

The 6-foot-4 senior shooting guard has helped the Royals return to the FAB 50 at No. 42 after they were No. 44 in the preseason.

One of the nation’s top two-sport athletes (football and basketball), the Michigan State-bound Harris scored 30 points as the Royals handed previous No. 46 Muncie Central (Muncie, Ind.) its first loss, 60-51.

A Mr. Basketball candidate regarded as Indiana's top senior prospect, Harris will lead the Royals in a pair of road games this weekend -- at Brownsburg (Ind.) on Friday and against Troy (Ohio) at the Flyin' to the Hoop event Saturday in Dayton, Ohio.

FAB 50’s best two-sport schools

This week’s basketball rankings include two schools that also were among the nation’s best in the final football FAB 50.

Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), which is No. 24 this week in basketball and is playing at the Spalding Hoophall Classic also was No. 8 in the final FAB 50 in football. The Gaels went 15-1 on the gridiron and won their third straight Class 4A state title.

One athlete at Bishop Gorman that plays both sports is 6-foot-6, 280-pound Ronnie Stanley, an offensive tackle and power forward.

The other school is Union (Tulsa, Okla.). The Redskins entered this week at No. 48 in the FAB 50 at 9-0 on the season. They recently won their fourth straight Class 6A state football title and were No. 24 in the final FAB 50.

Here are a few other schools that have been FAB-ulous in both sports so far this year:

Bob Jones (Madison, Ala.) – No. 44 this week in basketball; went 10-2 in football with both losses to national powerhouse Hoover (Hoover, Ala.).

De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) – Just dropped out of the FAB 50 in basketball but could go back in later this season as one of the top teams in Northern California; went 13-1 in football and were No. 10 in the final FAB 50 after winning third straight CIF state open division bowl game.

Heights (Wichita, Kan.) – No. 11 this week in basketball; went 12-1 in football and was going for third straight state title before loss to Olathe South (Olathe, Kan.).

Jesuit (Portland, Ore.) – No. 40 this week in basketball; made it to the Class 6A state semifinals in football before loss to eventual champion Lake Oswego (Lake Oswego, Ore.).

Salesian (Richmond, Calif.) – No. 38 this week in basketball; won CIF North Coast Section Division IV title in football and went 14-0. Freddy Tagaloa (6-8, 320) is committed to Cal for football and starts at center in basketball.