December 11, 2017

Boys’ hoops Top 25: DeMatha starts at No. 1, Perry Hall tops publics at No. 7

High school basketball is here, and the season dawns new storylines and heroics. Once again, we have you covered.

Perry Hall's Anthony Higgs and Annapolis' Trey Gross fight for a rebound in the MPSSAA Class 4A semifinal game at University of Maryland's Xfinity Center. Photo by Austin McFadden/MSA.

After four months of football, there’s no time to rest: It’s time for basketball, and a new season dawns more heroics and storylines. Last year, Gonzaga (WCAC), Mount St. Joseph (MIAA A), Bullis (IAC), Perry Hall (4A), Poly (3A), Patterson (2A) and Fairmont Heights (1A) all took home titles. After transfers and star players have graduated, shifting the landscape in every league, the competition has appeared to level off this winter.

As we continue to grow as a media outlet, we learn what works and what doesn’t work with every season. Last season, we only ranked the top 25 public schools in the state. This year, we are bringing everyone into consideration — private and public. With limited resources, we do our best to cover the state to the best of our ability. I sincerely wish I had enough to produce to girls’ rankings, but with school, trying to maintain a social life and other obligations around me, that’s not possible.

We will continue to put out our boys’ top 25 every Monday afternoon and update it weekly. With so much going on, I greatly appreciate emails and messages on Twitter with story ideas, intriguing games to cover and whatever we can do to improve the high school hoops scene.

Without further ado, here’s our first installment of the MSA Top 25.

Note: These rankings were compiled before the start of the private school season. Stars, offers and college commitments are from 247sports.

1. DeMatha Catholic Stags (Last year’s record: 23-8)

League: Washington Catholic Athletic Conference

With D.J. Harvey (Notre Dame), Ryan Allen (Delaware) and John Carlton (Connecticut) in college, it’s now the Hunter Dickinson and Justin Moore show in Hyattsville. Dickinson, a 6-11 center with 10 Division I high-major offers, is a 5-star recruit and is regarded as one of the top recruits nationally. Moore, meanwhile, is a 6-4 point guard with seven Division I high-major offers, including Villanova. The Stags also welcome sophomore 6-5 small forward Earl Timberlake, a 4-star transfer from Rock Creek Christian.

2. Gonzaga Eagles (D.C.) (32-5)

League: Washington Catholic Athletic Conference

The WCAC champs lost Prentis Hubbs (Notre Dame) for the season (ACL tear), but return 4-star power forward Terrence Williams (interest from Villanova) and two 3-star recruits in 6-4 combo guard Myles Dread (Penn State) and 6-4 combo guard Anwar Gill (three Division I offers). Myles Stute, a 6-5 small forward with four Division I offers, is also in the fold.

3. Mount St. Joseph Gaels (37-4)

League: Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference

Darryl Morsell is now turning heads as a Terp in College Park, but 5-star, 6-10 power forward Jalen Smith (Maryland) and 4-star, 6-2 point guard James Bishop (five Division I offers) remain in the forefront of another nationally renowned unit eyeing back-to-back conference titles. 

4. St. John’s College Cadets (D.C.) (25-10)

League: Washington Catholic Athletic Conference

The Cadets retain three 3-star recruits in 6-2 point guard Tre Wood (Massachusetts), 6-7 small forward Quanzi Samuels (offer from Mount St. Mary’s) and 6-2 shooting guard Casey Morsell (14 Division I offers). Darius Maddox (offer from Massachusetts), a 6-4 combo guard, enters a touted sophomore season.

5. John Carroll Patriots (22-11)

League: Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference

Two ESPN Top 100 recruits lead the charge for the Patriots this winter: Kentucky commit, 6-4 point guard Immanuel Quickley and Rutgers commit, 6-4 shooting guard Montez Mathis. Yavuz Gultekin (offer from Kansas State), a 6-7 junior small forward, looks to develop behind them.

6. St. Frances Academy Panthers (16-18)

League: Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference

The Panthers return three starters and have brought in some promising transfers, hoping to bring back a banner to the academy. Led by sophomore guard Ace Baldwin; 6-4 shooting guard Ed Ferguson (North Carolina A&T); 3-star, 6-8 power forward Koran Moore (six Division I offers); and 6-7 power forward Jason Murphy (offer from Old Dominion).

7. Perry Hall Gators (26-2)

League: Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association 4A North

Perry Hall graduates eight role players from its first state title in school history, but brings back the nucleus and may have the tallest starting five in the state in 6-5 guard Tyler Holley, 6-8 forward Anthony Walker (interest from Connecticut), 6-9 wing Anthony Higgs (Ole Miss) and 6-10 forward Laquill Hardnett (offers include Rhode Island, St. Joseph’s and Towson).

8. Baltimore Polytechnic Engineers (21-7)

Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association 3A North

De’Vondre Perry, last year’s MSA Player of Year, steered the Engineers to their first state title and is now shining at Temple. But don’t look past Perry-less Poly, because it returns four starters, including 6-5 senior guard Demetrius Mims (Long Beach State) and sophomore point guard Rahim Ali. The Engineers also brought in 6-6 sophomore forward Justin Lewis, a 4-star transfer from Calvert Hall.

9. Georgetown Prep Little Hoyas (20-6)

League: Interstate Athletic Conference 

Senior guard Jared Bynum (St. Joseph’s) and forwards Mezie Offrum (George Washington) and Ike Nweke (Columbia) lead the Little Hoyas as favorites in the IAC.

10. Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cougars (24-11)

League: Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference

Jordon Jones (offer from Coppin State), a 6-6 power forward, holds the keys to the Cougars this year, who reached the MIAA A title game a year ago. Former Lake Clifton guard Rasheed Brown transfers to the program as an important addition in the backcourt.

11. Rock Creek Christian Academy Eagles (28-4)

League: Capital Beltway

Backcourt pieces Sherif Kenney and Timberlake have transferred, but 6-10 center Jermaine Harris (Rhode Island) holds down the RCCA camp this winter.

12. Patterson Clippers (26-3)

League: Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association 2A North

Though Marvin Price, last winter’s Baltimore Sun Player of the Year, transferred to Huntington Prep, the Clippers should be be favored to win another state title this season. Scrappy guards Gerard Mungo and Daesean Jones and forward Darrion Pitts are returners from a team that allowed only 40 points per game. The team also added Riverdale Baptist transfer Zach Blackwell.

13. Bullis School Bulldogs (19-6)

League: Interstate Athletic Conference

With no more Chyree Walker (Delaware), the Bulldogs will rely on backcourt gunners Vado Morse (Mount St. Mary’s) and Lincoln Yuetter, looking to repeat as IAC champs.

14. Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. Pumas (21-1)

League: Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association 4A South

The Pumas lost four shoe-in starters to graduation, which keyed a spot in the USA Today national poll and a run to the state Final Four. With so many new faces, like guard Sherwyn Devonish — a transfer from Bladensburg — it’s hard to gauge Wise at this juncture.

15. Dulaney Lions (17-7)

League: Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association 4A North

The Lions have so much young talent, but yet so much uncertainty, their season could end as state champions or having to stomach an early playoff exit. Their lone returning starter is sophomore Che Evans, a 6-6 shooting guard with nine high-major offers. Ryan Conway will be one of two freshmen starters and Calvert Hall transfer Josh Cornish (Southern Utah) brings needed leadership as the only senior starter.

16. St. Maria Goretti Gaels (26-9)

League: Baltimore Catholic League

The Gaels graduated their fearless leader, Elijah Clarence (Illinois State), and lost Amir Harris to transfer, but with 4-star R.J. Blakney in the fold, the Hagerstown program should remain competitive.

17. Riverdale Baptist Crusaders (31-9)

League: Capital Beltway

Floor general Donovann Toatley and senior wing David McCullough are back in action for the Crusaders this winter, eyeing another private school title.

18. McDonogh School Eagles (20-10)

League: Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference

The Eagles will lean heavily on productive 6-2 guard Noah Locke (Florida), while his new cast settles around him.

19. Eleanor Roosevelt Raiders (19-5)

League: Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association 4A South

Barly Kanu has transferred, but do-it-all point guard Jaden Faulkner returns to shoulder the load for the Raiders.

20. St. James Saints (12-14)

League: Baltimore Catholic League

Bryce Golden (Pittsburgh), a 6-9 small forward, anchors the Saints this winter.

21. Bladensburg Mustangs (17-5)

League: Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association 4A South

Double-double machine, 6-6 small forward Daniel Oladapo looks to carry Bladensburg in a loaded 4A South as a senior.

22. Potomac Wolverines (19-7)

League: Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association 3A South

Senior Jason Newman and sophomore Corey Dyches return in pursuit of another state title run that fell short to Poly in March.

23. Stephen Decatur Seahawks (25-2)

League: Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association 3A East

The Seahawks’ only two losses came to Virginia state champion Potomac at the Governor’s Challenge and a walloping by Poly in the state Final Four. The team lost standout forward Keve Aluma (Wofford) and Gary Briddell, but have Kevon Voyles (Maryland-Eastern Shore) and 6-9 sophomore forward Churchill Bounds around to make another title push.

24. Fairmont Heights Hornets (17-8)

League: Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association 1A South

With seven players who started at least 10 games last year back in the mix, the Hornets will enter this winter as the heavy favorites to repeat as Class 1A state champs.

25. Oakdale Bears (22-3)

League: Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association 2A West

The Bears graduated a host of impact players, but retain junior Collin Schlee — a potent scorer — and senior point guard Drew Jezioro, which are fresh off a summer league title over Washington Post-ranked Springbrook.

On the bubble: Allegany, Annapolis, Bethesda-CC, Calvert, Calvert Hall, Dundalk, Edmondson, Glenelg Country, Huntingtown, Joppatowne, Kent Island, Lake Clifton, Linganore, Meade, Mervo, Milford Mill, Old Mill, Paint Branch, Potomac, Quince Orchard, Richard Montgomery, River Hill, Seneca Valley, Severn, Springbrook, St. Paul’s, St. Mary’s Ryken, Thomas Johnson, Walt Whitman, Wilde Lake, Woodlawn

About Kyle McFadden 363 Articles

Kyle McFadden is a graduate from Linganore High School’s Class of 2014, a sports junkie and general news-hound. He got his start as a sports writer in January 2014 for Linganore’s student-run newspaper The Lance, where he wrote 13 articles.

McFadden then launched his own blog in October 2014 called The Beltway Dispatch covering collegiate, local high school and professional sports. Formally known as The Beltway Dispatch, McFadden and Evan Engelhard merged respective platforms in June 2015 to make what is now Maryland Sports Access.

With baseball, basketball and golf experience, McFadden brings ample knowledge to the helm of MSA. McFadden covers a wide variety of sports in football, baseball, basketball, golf, hockey, lacrosse, soccer and specializes in the collegiate and high school levels.

McFadden volunteers his time at Damascus Road Community Church — serving as a mentor to the youth, basketball coach at the varsity and junior varsity levels, and leads a small group of high school sophomores every Wednesday night.

Although he’s only been around journalism since January 2014, he’s a high school sports reporter for The Baltimore Sun and freelancer for The Frederick News-Post.

McFadden’s work has also appeared in DMV newspapers The Aegis, The Capital Gazette, The Daily Times (Delmarva Now), The Hometown Observer, Howard County Times, Germantown Pulse and The Towson Times. He’s also won two Mike Powell Excellence in Journalism awards and has appeared on The Best of SNO, which showcases top student work of high school and college journalists.

McFadden currently studies at Frederick Community College and plans to transfer to the University of Maryland in the fall of 2018 to work on a bachelor’s degree in journalism with aspirations to be a national college basketball writer.

Contact: Twitter

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