Last year, a broken hand forced Braxton Ogbueze to miss the first two months of United Faith Christian's season. The campaign ended with the Falcons losing in the NCISAA 1A final for the first time in three years.
Mix that motivation with a full season for Ogbueze and you see why the Falcons are our top preseason team in North Carolina and No. 30 in the POWERADE FAB 50 rankings.
Not far behind, though, is West Charlotte, the defending 4A champs who return 13 players this year. That bunch includes junior center Kennedy Meeks, who dominated last season's tournament and has college coaches drooling.
Stay tuned for more in the ESPNHS holiday/basketball issue, but for now, let these rankings hold you over:
1. United Faith Christian (Charlotte)
2. West Charlotte
3. Charlotte Christian