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The deals for Matt and Ryan Bewley are expected to top seven-figures over the two years, sources tell ESPN. The OTE is planning a September 2021 start-up with Kevin Ollie as the head coach. Matt Bewley is the No. 3-rated prospect in ESPN's Class of 2023; Ryan is ranked 12th. https://t.co/LapOobF6uW— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 21, 2021
2016 – Pat Donnelly, U-D Jesuit (Detroit, Mich.)
2015 – Sam Duane Jr., Corona del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.)
2014 – Gary McKnight, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
2013 – Quincy Lewis, Lone Peak (Highland, Utah)
2012 – Danny Henderson, Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas)
2011 – Bob Hurley, St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.)
2010 – Ed Azzam, Westchester (Los Angeles)
No one really knows how the basketball season will shake out in the high school setting. Many club teams managed to get in 40 or more games during the summer without an apparent negative impact. Still, schools will approach safety and virus control much differently than summer tournament operators, so the fact that club teams played bunches of games may not mean the same for high school teams.
And even if games are played, schedules have been disrupted, most notably in California. In that state, practice won't even begin until March, with the season set to end in mid-June. In other states, regular season schedules have been cut back and postseasons shortened or even eliminated entirely.
On top of all that, teams are much less likely to travel this year, which makes it more difficult to evaluate teams from a national perspective. Top 25 teams can be expected to dominate locally, but major intersectional events test them against their peers. That won't happen nearly as much this year, so it's likely there will be more unbeaten teams and fewer ways to determine which ones might stand above the others.
1. Lake Highland Prep (Orlando, Fla.)
Head coach: Al Honor | 2019-20: 29-2, No. 16 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: Eight players return from the Florida 4A championship team — including senior Alabama commit Kayla Blackshear and junior Nyla Harris — as the Highlands are taking their chance for national prominence seriously. The Orlando school travels to the United Bank Holiday Invitational (formerly the Crescom Bank Holiday Classic) in South Carolina and She Got Game in Atlanta, giving Lake Highland Prep one of the most challenging schedules in the country. Even amid a pandemic, strength of schedule has to count for something in the MaxPreps Top 25.
2. Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.)
Head coach: Frank Oliver Jr. | 2019-20: 27-5, No. 7 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: Despite losing five players off of last year's team, Bishop McNamara has once more reloaded (it seems like the DMV never runs out of talent). And even though the Mustangs may not travel much, the always tough Washington Catholic Athletic Conference provides plenty of opportunities to show how good this team really is.
3. Duncanville (Texas)
Head coach: LaJeanna Howard | 2019-20: 40-3, No. 5 in final Top 25
Breakdown: Even the loss of McDonald's All-American Deja Kelly won't slow the Duncanville roll, as plenty of talent returns for the defending 6A champions. That said, though, Texas has more than a few quality teams, and it won't be all that easy for the Pantherettes to hold on to this spot.
4. Hopkins (Minnetonka, Minn.)
Head coach: Tara Starks | 2019-20: 30-0, No. 4 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: Paige Bueckers is now the next big thing at UConn and coach Brian Cosgriff retired, but it will still be a surprise if Hopkins loses a game in Minnesota. Six-foot-four junior Maya Nnaji leads a deep, talented roster that should coast through however many games Hopkins winds up playing.
5. Edison Academy (Detroit)
Head coach: Monique Brown | 2019-20: 23-0, No. 8 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: Michigan State commit Damiya Hagemann tops the list of players with Power 5 potential on the Edison roster, which once again should be way too much for any Michigan team to overcome. And as with many teams this year, there will be no travel, so it will be hard to know how good Edison really is.
6. Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
Head coach: Kevin Kiernan | 2019-20: 30-3, No. 25 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: As always, Southern California is loaded with quality teams, and if Mater Dei can rise above the pack, No. 6 in the nation makes a lot of sense. But "rising above the pack" is a lot easier said than done. The Monarchs will need a big year from Stanford-bound Brooke Demetre, among others, to retain this ranking.
7. Westlake (Atlanta)
Head coach: Hilda Hankerson | 2019-20: 30-2, No. 14 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: Led by senior South Carolina commit Raven Johnson, Westlake's deep roster has one missing ingredient: size. A single returner is taller than 6-0, but that's the only weakness in an otherwise rock-solid top 10 team.
8. St. John's (Washington, D.C.)
Head coach: Johnathan Scribner | 2019-20: 22-9
Breakdown: Early last season without the injured Azzi Fudd — favored as the 2020-21 MaxPreps National Player of the Year — the Cadets were a very good team, but not a great one. As Fudd got healthier, St. John's got better and better. Fudd is now 100 percent and primed for as great season. Not coincidentally, so is St. John's.
9. Incarnate Word Academy (St. Louis)
Head coach: Dan Rolfes | 2019-20: 26-4
Breakdown: The Red Knights' quest for an eighth state title was denied by COVID, but with all but two players returning from a 26-4 team, Rolfes has all the pieces in place for another championship run. Like No. 7 Westlake, Incarnate Wood lacks a dominant post presence, but makes up for it with size up and down the roster.
10. St. John-Vianney (Holmdel, N.J.)
Head coach: Dawn Karpell | 2019-20: 28-1, No. 19 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: For most schools, being ranked No. 19 in the nation is the culmination of years of program building and, when seniors graduate, is followed by a swift decline. But Karpell and St. John-Vianney see their No. 19 ranking as the beginning of something special. Every player returns, including point guard Madison St. Rose.
11. DeSoto (Texas)
Head coach: Andrea Robinson | 2019-20: 32-3, No. 23 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: While some teams scramble to find a 6-footer to play the post, DeSoto's Robinson has three players 6-4 or taller — and all three juniors are ranked in the Hoopgurlz 2022 Top 60. Size matters but beating Duncanville in postseason matters more, and that's DeSoto's biggest hurdle.
12. Reynoldsburg (Ohio)
Head coach: Jack Purtell | 2019-20: 18-8
Breakdown: How can an eight-loss team start out No. 12 in the nation? When two elite transfers — Louisville-bound Alexia Mobley and Imarianah Russell — bulk up an already solid roster. Ohio, though, has its usual crop of quality teams, so Reynoldsburg is far from a lock to hold on to this slot.
13. Norman (Okla.)
Head coach: Michael Neal | 2019-20: 25-1, No. 24 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: With point guard Kelbie Washington running the show and 6-1 Chantae Embry scoring and rebounding, Norman is looking to do even better than last year — which would take some doing, since Oklahoma's best only lost once.
14. New Hope Academy (Landover Hills, Md.)
Head coach: Sam Caldwell | 2019-20: 23-8
Breakdown: Caldwell always attracts talent, and that trend continues in his third year at New Hope. This year's roster is headed by point guard Kennedy Fauntleroy and 6-2 post Maria Gakdeng, but there's plenty of firepower after those two — and thus a ranking in the top 15.
15. Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C.)
Head coach: Tamika Dudley | 2019-20: 25-6
Breakdown: A new power is rising in the always-loaded DMV, as junior Kiki Rice, who averaged 26.8 points, 10 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.6 blocks per game a year ago, is the prime mover behind the Quakers' jump into elite status. Sophomore Jadyn Donovan also averaged a double-double for this young team, so get used to hearing the name.
16. Hoover (Ala.)
Head coach: Krystle Johnson | 2019-20: 32-3
Breakdown: Hoover is traditionally one of the strongest high school sports schools in Alabama and with sophomore Reniya Kelly and junior Aniya Hubbard leading the way, add girls basketball to the list of powerhouse Buccaneers programs. Of course, at 32-3, Hoover wasn't half-bad last year, but expecting more this time around would not be a mistake.
17. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.)
Head coach: Sue Phillips | 2019-20: 26-3
Breakdown: Clearly the best in Northern California, Mitty rolls out a deep, talented team chock full of Division I players. The best are probably seniors Marley Langi and Hunter Hernandez, but Phillips has multiple options and many ways to win.
18. Cypress Creek (Houston)
Head coach: Jennifer Alexander | 2019-20: 41-1
Breakdown: Yes, Cypress Creek played 42 games last year and lost just one. On top of that Texas commits Rori Harmon (15.6 points, 5.2 assists per game) and Kyndall Hunter (20.0 points per game) return for their final season, so there's no reason to expect much drop off. In fact, Cougars' fans might wonder why No. 3 Duncanville and No. 11 DeSoto are ranked higher.
19. Ensworth (Nashville, Tenn.)
Head coach: Mary Taylor Cowles | 2019-20: 28-0, No. 9 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: Ensworth might not be quite as good as last year — but it's hard to top a perfect season and a top 10 national ranking. Still, the Cambridge sisters — freshman Jaloni and junior Kennedy — will keep Ensworth in the national conversation and at the top of the Tennessee list.
20. Rutgers Prep (Somerset, N.J.)
Head coach: Mary Klinger | 2019-20: 26-5
Breakdown: As always, New Jersey produces plenty of quality players, and Rutgers Prep has a lot of them. Senior Christina Dalce and freshman Mikayla Blakes are the top two, but they are just the tip of the iceberg on a deep, experienced team that could easily wind up in the top 10 at season's end.
21. Valley Vista (Surprise, Ariz.)
Head coach: Rachel Matakas | 2019-20: 28-3
Breakdown: With 6-0 wing Jennah Isai distributing and 6-1 power forward Marisa Davis, a Washington commit, taking care of business inside, Valley Vista is the best in Arizona — and primed to make the jump from regional power to national recognition.
22. Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.)
Head coach: Mike McDonald | 2019-20: 21-7
Breakdown: It used to be that Archbishop Wood passed the ball 15 times before taking a mid-range jumper, hoping to win 39-38 — but those days are long gone. Led by Villanova signee Kaitlyn Orihel and 6-0 junior wing Ryanne Allen, Philly's best is looking to score early and often ... and win going away.
23. Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)
Head coach: Special Jennings | 2019-20: 17-6
Breakdown: Usually a 17-6 team that loses six seniors to graduation isn't going to find a home in preseason national rankings, but Montverde has a lot coming back plus several quality out-of-state transfers. Bottom line: No. 1 Lake Highlands Prep isn't the only Sunshine State power.
24. Chiawana (Pasco, Wash.)
Head coach: Mike Brown | 2019-20: 23-5
Breakdown: Led by Oregon State's prize recruit, Talia Von Oelhoffen, Chiawana is out to erase memories of last year's late-season slump and stake a claim as Washington's best — not to mention a home in the MaxPreps Top 25. To do that, Von Oelhoffen will likely have to improve on her 26.2 points and 9.5 rebounds a game, but she's good enough to make that happen.
25. North Central (Indianapolis)
Head coach: DeeAnn Ramey | 2019-20: 17-10
Breakdown: It's an unusual year, which is why a 10-loss team creeps into the preseason rankings, but the word from Indiana is that North Central will be the state's best — and also plans to travel to Ohio to test itself against some top teams across the border. The key performer is Arizona State-bound Meg Newman, who leads a balanced attack.