Top teams jockey for position as others drop out


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.

Click here for regional rankings.

The first major shakedown of the ESPN RISE FAB 50 boys' basketball rankings has seven teams dropping out. This is the time of the season when teams are making moves in their conferences, leagues, regions or districts.

Some schools are even finishing their regular season schedules. Most states will start their postseasons in late February, culminating with state championships in March. There are still a few key events left on the national docket.

No. 13 Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) zooms up 30 spots in the FAB 50 rankings after beating longtime rival No. 15 DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.), 86-76. The teams have one regular season meeting left and could meet again in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference playoffs and at the 49th Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament in late March in Frostburg, Md.

No. 33 Norcross (Ga.), the two-time Georgia Class 5A champion and No. 38 Petersburg (Va.), Virginia's top-ranked Class AAA team, highlight the newcomers.

Previous-No. 15 Rainier Beach (Seattle) dropped three games last week and are out of the rankings. Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.,), a heavy favorite in the preseason rankings, has fallen by the wayside after a dogged disappointment. The Railsplitters are off this week but still have a few key games left in the regular season, notably against No. 5 St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.) on ESPNU at the Nike Super Six on Feb. 13. They still have the Brooklyn Borough and New York City Public School Athletic League tournaments remaining. So, redemption is still possible.

The top four teams continue their winning ways but expect a shake-up on Feb. 6 when top-ranked Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) hosts No. 3 St. Benedict's (Newark, N.J.) at the Nike Extravaganza on ESPNU. Two days earlier (Feb. 4), St. Benedict's plays St. Patrick at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway. A week later (on Feb. 13 and 14) St. Patrick plays Lincoln and No. 2 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) on back to back days.

Three-point play

Game Ball: Ian Hummer of No. 13 Gonzaga sparkled on both ends of the floor and changed the outcome of a key game against No. 15 DeMatha, earning him national player of the week honors. Hummer, a 6-foot-7, 220-pound forward, had 32 points (6 of 6 free throws), 15 rebounds and three blocked shots in n 86-76 victory over DeMatha. Hummer's slam dunk helped ignite the win. In two games, he totaled 41 points (9 of 10 free throws), 27 rebounds and six blocks. For the season, Hummer averages 15.2 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks on a balanced team.

The wins vaulted the Purple Eagles into first place of the ultra-competitive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. The DeMatha rematch is Feb. 20, closing out the regular season.

Hummer, who has a 3.5 grade-point average at a top-notch academic school and will attend Princeton, has tremendous bloodlines. His father, Ed, played on Princeton's Final Four team in 1965 and his uncle, John, played for the Tigers and in the NBA.

Game of the week: Florida's District 2-2A regular season championship is on the line when No. 48 Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville) hosts Providence Day (Jacksonville) Thursday on the campus of Edward Waters College AT 7:30 p.m. ET. Providence is undefeated in district play, including a 72-62 victory over ACD on Dec. 12. Providence shot 44 free throws in the contest and is led by Davidson-bound guard J.P. Kuhlman and 6-foot-8 sophomore Wayne Martin. The teams will likely meet again in next month's district and Class 2A regional tournaments. ACD has won six straight since an exhaustive holiday tournament schedule.

Prime Time viewing: A tripleheader featuring five Philadelphia-area teams comprises the Friday's Prime Time Shootout at Villanova University Pavilion. The lineup includes: Academy of New Church (Bryn Athyn, Pa.)-Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.), 6 p.m. ET; Penn Wood (Lansdowne, Pa.)-No. 31 Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia), 7:30; and No. 30 Chester (Pa.)-Roman Catholic (Philadelphia), 8. The night's top-rated player is 6-foot-3 guard Maalik Wayns of Roman Catholic, a Villanova recruit and ESPNU 100 player.

The two-day event continues Saturday at 12:30 p.m. when Our Savior New American (Centereach, N.Y.) plays North Guilford (N.C.) in the first of six contests. The top game of the day is No. 28 Jamesville-Dewitt (Dewitt, N.Y.), New York State's Class A defending champions, against North Catholic (Philadelphia) at 8 p.m. Rakeem Christmas, a sophomore center, paces North Catholic, while Syracuse-bound guard Brandon Triche is J-D's top gun.

Records are through Jan. 25.

Dropped out: No. 15 Rainier Beach (Seattle); No. 27 Winter Park (Fla.); No. 29 Bethel (Hampton, Va.); No. 31 North Central (Indianapolis); No. 39 Penn Wood (Lansdowne, Pa.); No. 47 Lincoln (Brooklyn, N.Y.); and No. 50 Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.).