1st Regular Season FAB 50: Lots of Movement!


There was a full slate of holiday showcases and tournaments over Thanksgiving weekend and the results caused plenty of movement in the first edition of the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com for the 2024-25 season. The fastest-rising club is new No. 6 No. 32 Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) as it knocked off previous No. 3 Columbus (Miami, Fla.). EYBL Scholastic play will causes movement n coming weeks while Combine Academy (Lincolnton, N.C.) leads list of newcomers at No. 21.

By Ronnie Flores

As we stated in the preseason, the teams that made up the back end of the FAB 50 National Team Rankings powered by Ballislife.com have plenty to prove and work to do in order to move up into the top half of the nation's longest-running national rankings. The gap between the majority of the Top 25 and the bottom 25 is growing wider each year and the teams at the top of the rankings generally play tough schedules and tend to beat up each other.

These two rankings factors are especially true for teams that belong to the newly-announced Nike EYBL Scholastic League, a 14-team loop previously called the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (NIBC). One of its members, preseason No. 23 Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah), pulled off the first upset of the 2023-24 regular season when it took down previous No. 3 Columbus (Miami, Fla.), 75-73, in one of the marquee games of the Holiday Hoopsgiving in Atlanta, Ga.

The Tigers shot the ball well from the outside, canning 12-of-31 3-pointers, while the Explorers made 5-of-24 in a two point game. Coach Paul Peterson got a big game from 6-foot-8 2024 (senior) forward Bhan Buom with 19 points, six rebounds and 4 assists. Junior guard Isiah Harwell also played well, scoring 15 points and canning 3-of-7 3-pointers, while 6-foot-4 senior Fischer Brown nailed four 3-pointers and finished with 12 points for a team that moves up 17 spots in the first rankings update of the regular season.

The reason the Tigers are able to move up (despite a 65-56 loss to Dream City Christian of Arizona at the Holiday Hoopsgiving) is they have plenty of landmines upcoming in league play, plus Columbus can't fall too far in the rankings (falling four spots to No. 7) as it owns victories over previous No. 21 McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.), 86-59, and over previous No. 6 Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.), 81-78 in overtime. On top of that, Columbus will get its crack on the road at top-ranked Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) on December 1 (5:30 pm ET, ESPN2). That game will feature last year's Mr. Basketball USA, junior Cameron Boozer of Columbus, and this year's preseason front-runner, Duke-bound senior forward Cooper Flagg of Montverde Academy.

Boozer, the only sophomore to ever earn a production-based national player of the year honor, had 26 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in a losing effort versus Wasatch. Incredibly, in the overtime victory over Prolific Prep, Boozer fouled out with 55.9 seconds remaining in regulation and with the Explorers trialing 68-61. That's when his twin brother Cayden Boozer, a 6-foot-4 junior point guard, spark the comeback. Columbus cut its deficit to 70-69 on his 3-pointer with 7.1 seconds remaining, then Prolific Prep's Winters Grady put his team up three after two made free throws. Columbus' Jase Richardson then sprinted to the 3-point line and threw in a banked 3-point shot as time expired to send the game into overtime and the Columbus faithful into a frenzy.

Richardson, a Michigan St. pledge who began his career at Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.), finished with 19 points, including five in overtime after going for 17 points and seven rebounds in the close loss to Wasatch Academy. Cayden Boozer finished with 25 points, while top-rated junior A.J. Dybansta scored 35 points for Prolific Prep.

Prolific Prep will look to rebound from the loss this Saturday in Louisville, Ky., when The Crew takes on No. 2 Link Academy (Branson, Mo.) at the Derek Smith Shootout. Link Academy will take on top-ranked Montverde Academy on December 8 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

This week, four University Interscholastic League (UIL) teams fell from the rankings, but Lone Star State hoop fans shouldn't fret. There are many fine teams in Texas and two that were on the preseason FAB 50 bubble and in the Southwest Region Top 20 moved in as unbeaten clubs: No. 30 Stony Point (Round Rock, Texas) and No. 43 Plano East (Plano, Texas). Texas' preseason top-ranked teams have also played many more games already than many teams from other regions in the country and started off playing tough schedules, particularly at the Thanksgiving Hoopfest in Dallas. We envision a scenario where some of the UIL's top state title contenders can and will move back in after the rest of the country begins to play games. Some of the teams with 0-0 records at this point, and those that remain in the rankings that don't play high-powered schedules, are susceptible to being hopped down the line by those that took on tough teams early or play a schedule more national in scope.

We nearly decided to keep Texas power Duncanville (Texas) in the FAB 50, but eventually decided the margin of defeat versus Stony Point was a bit too large (90-65). We also had to make room for Alta (Sandy, Utah), which defeated preseason No. 14 Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.), 75-56, at the 5 for The Fight Hoopfest in Utah on Nov. 20.

Alta will take on No. 46 Corner Canyon (Draper, Utah) on December 5. That club dropped an early season contest to still unbeaten and newcomer Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.), which jumps into the FAB 50 at No. 28 after starting out two spots outside of the FAB 50 at No. 11 in the preseason Southeast Region Top 20.

The next FAB 50 update is scheduled for Monday, December 11.

RELATED: Preseason 2023-24 FAB 50 National Rankings | Preseason 2023-24 Mr. Basketball USA Tracker | "In The Paint" Podcast (Spotify) | "In The Paint" Podcast (YouTube)
Updated FAB 50 National Team Rankings
Powered by Ballislife.com
(1st poll of 2023-24 regular season; Through games played on Sunday, November 26; *Indicates forfeit wins, forfeit losses not included; **Indicates forfeits and defaults not included)

[table id=213 /]

Dropped Out: Previous No. 27 Oak Cliff Faith Family (Dallas, Texas), No. 30 Brennan (San Antonio, Texas), No. 41 Ben Davis (Indianapolis, Ind.), No. 45 South Grand Prairie (Grand Prairie, Texas), No. 47 Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas).

Bubble Teams: American Fork (Utah) 0-1; Archbishop Riordan (San Francisco, Calif.) 0-1; Atascocita (Humble, Texas) 8-1; Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas) 4-0; Ben Davis (Indianapolis, Ind.) 0-1; Berkmar (Lilburn, Ga.) 3-0; Blue Valley Northwest (Overland Park, Kan.) 0-0; Brennan (San Antonio, Texas) 6-4; Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.) 4-0; Broken Arrow (Broken Arrow, Okla.) 0-0; Brownsburg (Brownsburg, Ind.) 2-0; Camden (Camden, N.J.) 0-0; Canton (Canton, Miss.) 4-0; Cathedral (Indianapolis, Ind.) 2-0; Centerville (Centerville, Ohio) 0-0; Central Cabarrus (Concord, N.C.) 1-0; Chaminade (St. Louis, Mo.) 0-0; Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 0-0; De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) 1-0; Desert Mountain (Scottsdale, Ariz.) 0-0; Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.) 3-0; Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas) 3-3; Eastern Hills (Ft. Worth, Texas) 5-1; Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.) 0-0; Fishers (Fishers, Ind.) 2-0; Homewood Flossmor (Flossmor, Ill.) 4-0; Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.) 0-0; Kenwood Academy (Chicago, Ill.) 1-0; Lake Travis (Austin, Texas) 8-0; Lawrence North (Indianapolis, Ind.) 1-0; Little Rock Christian Academy (Little Rock, Ark.) 2-0; Lyon County (Eddyville, Ky.) 0-0; Madison Prep (Baton Rouge, La.) 3-0; Marquette University (Milwaukee, Wis.) 0-0; Mater Lakes Academy (Miami, Fla.) 2-0; Millennium (Goodyear, Ariz.) 4-1; Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.) 3-0; Newton (Covington, Ga.) 4-1; North Crowley (Ft. Worth, Texas) 9-1; Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) 3-0; Oak Cliff Faith Family (Dallas, Texas) 4-3; Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 7-0; Salesian (Richmond, Calif.) 2-0; Seven Lakes (Katy, Texas) 7-3; South Grand Prairie (Grand Prairie, Texas) 7-2; St. Rose (Belmar, N.J.) 0-0; Sunnyslope (Phoenix, Ariz.) 2-0; Thornton (Harvey, Ill.) 4-0; Valley (West Des Moines, Iowa) 0-0; Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.) 1-1; Volcano Vista (Albuquerque, N.M.) 0-0; Wayzata (Plymouth, Minn.) 0-0; W.T. White (Dallas, Texas) 5-1.

Note: The FAB 50 powered by Ballislife.com is a continuation of the National Sports News Service ratings that began in 1952. These were the first national high school rankings and the late Art Johlfs of Minnesota compiled them. They were compiled for many years by the late Barry Sollenberger of Phoenix, who merged them into the FAB 50 24 years ago.

Ronnie Flores is the national Grassroots editor of Ballislife.com. He can be reached at ronnie@ballislife.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores

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