Editor's note: The ESPN RISE FAB 50 boys' basketball rankings are compiled by Christopher Lawlor, Ronnie Flores, Ryan Canner-O'Mealy and Doug Huff. They will be released each Tuesday throughout the season.
The first round of December holiday tournaments are complete and now it's time for the post-Christmas events to play out. Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) continues to sit atop the ESPN RISE FAB 50 boys basketball rankings after an impressive showing last week at the Bank of America City of Palms Classic in Florida.
The Monarchs stopped then-No. 2 St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) in the final for their second Palms' title in three years.
New No. 2 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) rattled off its 19th straight win to open the season, capturing the Iolani Prep Classic in Honolulu, clipping No. 11 Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) in double overtime for the title. OHA is off until January, earning a much deserved rest following a busy two months.
No. 3 St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.) needed last-second heroics from Texas-bound junior Tristan Thompson to nip Dillard (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) in the final of the Kreul Classic in Florida.
This week's tournaments for the most part will conclude Tuesday or Wednesday. Top billing goes to the Beach Ball Classic, with McDonald's Tampa Hoops Classic, Arby's Classic, Bojangles Basketball Shootout, GSK Holiday Invitational, Proviso West Invitational, Whataburger Tournament and Coca-Cola Dallas ISD Tournament.
The holiday shakeup has begun as six teams drop from the ESPN RISE rankings. No. 19 Strake Jesuit (Houston) won its 17th consecutive game to vault into the rankings. Joey Brooks, a Notre Dame recruit, pumped in a game-high 27 points leading Strake in the finals of the Houston ISD Tournament. Strake is one of Texas' top Class 5A teams behind No. 6 Madison (San Antonio).
Game Ball: Lakeem Jackson of No. 9 Christ School (Arden, N.C.) gave the South Carolina Gamecocks' fans a glimpse of the future, earning the player of the week honors at the Chick-Fil-A Classic in Columbia, S.C. Jackson, a 6-foot-5 senior, totaled 53 points, 19 rebounds, 10 assists and eight steals in three contests as the Greenies won the tournament. Jackson, named Most Valuable Player, saved his best for the final, making 10 of 16 shots for 23 points and had six rebounds. For the tournament, he made 23 of 40 shots (57.5%).
Games of the Week: The ESPN RISE rankings should receive a New Year's shake following the 29th Annual Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The 16-team field is loaded with talent and nationally ranked teams. The final is Wednesday in the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, tipping at 7:30 p.m. ET and the third-place game is 5:30. Tuesday's semifinal pairings are No. 4 St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J)-Pennsbury (Fairless Hills, Pa.) at 7 p.m., followed by No. 26 Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.)-No. 35 Martin Luther King (Riverside, Calif.), 8:45. Pennsbury upended No. 41 Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.), 54-49, Monday in the quarterfinals. West Virginia-bound Dalton Pepper poured in 32 points for the winners.
Watch List: Xavier Henry of Putnam City (Oklahoma City), the nation's top-ranked senior according to ESPNU 100, headlines the Naismith Boys' High School Player of the Year watch list, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced.
Also mentioned are Kenny Boynton of American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.); Avery Bradley of Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.); DeMarcus Cousins of LeFlore (Mobile, Ala.); Derrick Favors of South Atlanta (Atlanta); Abdul Gaddy of Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma, Wash.); John Henson of Sickles (Tampa); Renardo Sidney Jr. of Fairfax (Los Angeles); Lance Stephenson of Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and John Wall of Word of God Academy (Raleigh, N.C.).
The watch lists was comprised by leading basketball journalists from around the country who form the national voting academy, and identify players under consideration for this award.
In February, the voting academy will narrow the list down to five candidates, with the winner being selected and recognized by the Atlanta Tipoff Club at the end of the high school basketball season.
Records through Dec. 28.
Dropped out: No. 31 San Diego High (Calif.); No. 33. Paterson Catholic (Paterson, N.J.); No. 35 Leuzinger (Lawndale, Calif.); No. 37 Taft (Woodland Hills, Calif.); No. 48 Jefferson (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and No. 50 Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.).