Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hoops news and notes

It's that time of year for prep hoops. Time for me to collect all the information necessary for doing the preseason Power 50 basketball rankings for RISE Magazine (and, in the past, Sporting News before they did away with their HS publications).

More and more so, it seems to be moving time for top players around the country.

Here are a couple big ones that, as of now, are still just in the rumor stage. But I am working to confirm one way or the other before the end of the month. They figure to have a major impact on our rankings, one way or the other.
  • Dick "Hoops" Weiss, maybe the best basketball columnist in the country, reports in the New York Daily News that talented junior point guard Lamont (Momo) Jones (a Louisville verbal) might be leaving NYC Catholic power Rice for American Christian School (Aston, Pa.). There, he would join blue chip 2-guard Tyreke Evans, who is a fifth-year senior, and thus makes AM ineligible for our poll. Otherwise, that potential 1-2 punch in the backcourt would make AM (13-7 last season) one of the teams to watch in the Northeast.
  • Maybe an even bigger rumor move involves another junior -- Renardo Sidney (photo), perhaps the top player in the Class of 2009. Artesia's new head coach Kennith Shyne told me earlier this month that he expects Sidney to be back, but Clark Francis' HoopScoop website is reporting that Sidney told them that he'll play this year at Los Angeles City champ Fairfax. This would be the third different school in three years for Sidney, who is originally from Mississippi. First day of classes at Fairfax is Sept. 5. We should know more by then if not sooner.
As always, defending National Prep Poll champ Oak Hill Academy is chocked full of high-profile transfers.

Information I received this week from coach Steve Smith shows six new key contributors coming his way ... literally from coast to coast. The group includes senior guards Willie Warren
(formerly of North Crowley HS in TX) and USC recruit
Malik Story (from Artesia HS in CA). A couple new big men are Keith Gallon (a 6-9 junior from Houston) and Danny Jennings (a 6-8 senior from Bishop Loughlin HS in Brooklyn).

With Arizona-bound superstar PG Brandon Jennings back for his senior year, needless to say Oak Hill will be hard to keep out of the No. 1 preseason ranking. Especially given the incredible schedule Steve Smith puts together, which this year will include likely preseason Top 10 (or 5) teams St. Patrick (NJ), Duncanville (TX), St. Benedict's (NJ) and Norcross (GA).

NOTE: The Renardo Sidney photo is courtesy of Mike Burnley, NBADraft.net.

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