Every beginning to a new high school basketball season brings up questions on who the best team in the state is. Cal-Hi Sports has recently released its preseason Boys basketball rankings and we take a deeper look into our Norcal representation. The rankings are controlled by mostly Southern California teams, however 2 of the top 6 are Northern California schools.
The highest of which is Campolindo, which features St.Mary’s commit Aidan Mahaney. The Cougars last year boisted a 15-0 record and were actually ranked higher than now 3rd ranked Harvard-Westlake. However with no regionals or state championships, Campolindo hasn’t had the opportunity to compete against Southern California’s upper echelon. It is worth noting that Aidan Mahaney already has one state championship under his belt, and another that he wasn’t able to compete for due to the cancellation of the game because of the pandemic starting. Campolindo also features other notable guards such as juniors Shane O’Reily and Logan Roberson. The backcourt becomes complete as you add in senior Cade Bennet, son of St. Mary’s coach, Randy Bennet. The Cougars have built a winning culture these past couple of years that it would be foolish to think a ranking means anything in the grand-scheme of things for them.
The second NorCal team on the list is 6th ranked Modesto Christian. The Crusaders are an interesting team as they feature one of the best sophomores in the nation with Jamari Philipps. Jamari is a 6’3 point guard that has received national attention as he dominated the EYBL circuit this past summer. With offers from a plethora of division one schools, Jamari has lived up to his top 20 ranking. Modesto’s strength however is the amazing amount of depth it has. The team also features two high-level guards in juniors, BJ Davis and Darius Smith. BJ has been on a tear this past summer picking up many mid-major offers in the process. Smith on the other hand is a do-it -all point guard who filled the stat sheet last season as a sophomore. Their frontcourt however holds the key to their success as it features two potential-filled young players. 6’7 sophomore Manasse Itete is an athletic freak that plays with a force older than his age, while junior 6’10 Prince Oseya has the size and length to be a special rim-protector.
SAN JOAQUIN MEMORIAL
The last team on the top 15 is also the last Norcal team to be featured, San Joaquin Memorial. The Panthers feature JoJo Hunter, a top 100 player in the class of 2022. Averaging close to 25 ppg last year, Jojo received numerous college offers but decided to stay home at Fresno State. Jojo’s natural scoring ability makes him a first option most schools do not have. They also have another promising player in junior Mike Davis Jr, who won All-California second team last year. With the additions of sophomore Dre Davis and senior Amir Callaway, SJM has bolstered its lineup to make a run at a state title this season.
Dublin comes in at 26 in the California rankings by Cal Hi Sports. The team is led by Courtney Anderson a junior who holds offers from Nevada, USF, SJSU, Arizona State and more. Donovan Cooks an old school PG that looks to facilitate for the team, a vocal leader and a knockdown shoot. The Gaels also welcomes a new player on the team from San Lorenzo 6'4 lefty guard Mehki Thomas and a freshman phenom JD Stokes.