1. DUNCANVILLE(Texas) 39--0
The Panthers areprimed for a second straight Class 5A championship with the return of juniorforwards Shawn Williams and Roger Franklin. Last season, Williams led the teamwith 14.5 points per game and Franklin averaged a team-high seven rebounds. ADec. 19 showdown against No. 3 Oak Hill at Southern Methodist University willbe a big test.
2. ST. PATRICK(Elizabeth, N.J.) 30--2
DexterStrickland, Scout.com's top junior point guard, will be the go-to guy for theCeltics, but he will not be alone. Kansas-bound power forward Quintrell Thomas(7.5 rebounds per game) and promising freshman forward Mike Gilchrist will needto step up for the Celtics to win the New Jersey Tournament of Champions forthe third straight year.
3. OAK HILL(Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 40--1
ExplosiveArizona-bound point guard Brandon Jennings, who had 15.2 points and a team-high11.2 assists per game last season, will carry the scoring load along withArtesia (Lakewood, Calif.) transfer and USC-bound guard Malik Story (14.7points per game).
4. MONTVERDE(Fla.) 30--0
Last season TexasA&M signee Dashan Harris averaged 12.6 points and set the school assistsrecord (300). He will lead an international team, featuring Cameroon-bornforward Steve Tchiengang (Vanderbilt) and Australian senior forward FemiAkinpetide.
5. ST. ANTHONY(Jersey City) 28--1
Five Division Isenior guards—Rutgers-bound Mike Rosario, Pitt signee Travon Woodall,Marquette-bound Tyshawn Taylor and Fordham recruits Jio Fontan and AlbertoEstwick—will lead the Friars. The athletic 6'5", 170-pound junior forwardDominic Cheek will add speed to the up-tempo offense.
6. ST. EDWARD(Lakewood, Ohio) 25--1
All five startersreturn from a team that didn't lose last season until the state semifinalagainst Moeller (Cincinnati). The Eagles' frontcourt features two BigTen--bound bruisers, 6'8", 220-pound Michigan State recruit Delvon Roe(22.5 points, 11.5 rebounds per game) and 6'8", 240-pound Indiana signeeTom Pritchard (14 points, 7 rebounds).
7. ST. BENEDICT'S(Newark) 24--1
Big man andLouisville signee Samardo Samuels (6'8", 240), who averaged 19.7 points and10.3 rebounds last season, joins junior forward Gregory Echenique (9.8 reboundsper game) to form the nation's top frontcourt. The Gray Bees also add highlyanticipated Canadian sophomore transfer, forward Tristan Thompson.
8. MATER DEI(Santa Ana, Calif.) 33--4
Twin towers Davidand Travis Wear, both 6'10 1/2" juniors, will be the primary targets for6'1", 180-pound Gary Franklin, one of Hoop Scoop's top five sophomores.Franklin needs to mature quickly for a repeat run at Division II state andTrinity League titles.
9. NORCROSS (Ga.)29--3
The Blue Devilsare favored to win a third straight Class 5A title thanks to the athleticsenior forward Al-Farouq Aminu (Wake Forest), who averaged 13.7 points, 9.5rebounds and two blocked shots a game, and point guard Taariq Muhammad (7assists per game).
10. RICE (NewYork, N.Y.) 27--4
The New York CityCatholic League powerhouse will rely on a pass-happy four-guard lineup and willfeature UConn-bound point guard Kemba Walker (9 assists per game), seniorsharpshooter Chris Fouch (16 points per game), junior swingman Durand Scott (13points per game) and 6'8" sophomore Kadeem Jack.
For the completeTop 25 go to SI.com/highschool.
REX C. CURRY/THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS