Nobody has ever dominated the high school basketball landscape quite like Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.). The program finished No. 1 during a 2019-20 campaign abbreviated by the pandemic, capturing its fourth national title in eight seasons. The Eagles of a year ago went 25-0 and won by an average margin of nearly 40 points per contest.
The Orlando-area powerhouse tops our Preseason MaxPreps Top 25 high school basketball rankings behind a roster featuring seven players ranked in the top 40 of their respective classes.
Since hiring head coach Kevin Boyle in 2011, Montverde Academy has held a top 10 spot in the final national rankings each of the past nine seasons, winning over 90 percent of the time it takes the floor. But the Eagles have helped raise the bar for other programs. IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), the 2018-19 national champions, and Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) both have the talent to challenge for the top spot.
Perhaps no program is more illustrative of the ever-changing face of the high school game than Ypsi Prep Academy (Ypsilanti, Mich.), which could be a contender in its first season of existence behind top prospect Emoni Bates. Fellow preseason top 10 team Prolific Prep is a relative newcomer as well, hitting the floor for the first time in 2014.
We can't overlook the black cloud hanging over the 2020-21 season. The biggest storyline of all will undoubtedly be the ongoing pandemic and how teams deal with limited scheduling options, state health department restrictions, staggered starts and an almost complete void of annual national tournaments and showcase events.
It's certainly made things messy from a rankings standpoint. We've made every team eligible for our preseason and final MaxPreps Top 25. However, states that do not begin until January or later will not be featured in our weekly rankings until their respective seasons begin.
Keep on reading for a look at the top 25 teams entering the season. In-depth previews are available by clicking on each team.
MaxPreps Top 25 High School Basketball Rankings
1. Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)
Head coach: Kevin Boyle | 2019-20: 25-0, No. 1 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: The defending national champions feature eight players ranked No. 64 or higher in their respective class, led by a trio of top 10 prospects in Jalen Duren, Caleb Houstan and Dariq Whitehead. Montverde has won 81 of its last 85 games dating back to 2017.
2. IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
Head coach: Sean McAloon | 2019-20: 19-6, No. 19 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: One season removed from capturing the program's first national title, the Ascenders have all the talent to challenge for the throne once again in 2020-21. IMG is led by six top 50 players, including five-star prospects Moussa Diabate, Jarace Walker and Jaden Bradley.
3. Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.)
Head coach: Luke Barnwell | 2019-20: 22-3, No. 4 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: Following a 22-3 campaign, the Buffaloes appear to have all the pieces for a run at their first GEICO Nationals title. Sunrise Christian Academy features plenty of size with four projected starters who stand 6-foot-7 or taller as high-major prospects Kenny Pohto, Zach Clemence, Gradey Dick, Kendall Brown and Kennedy Chandler make up a formidable starting five.
4. Ypsi Prep Academy (Ypsilanti, Mich.)
Head coach: Corey Tucker | 2019-20: N/A
Breakdown: This first-year program has an abundance of talent. Preseason MaxPreps National Player of the Year favorite Emoni Bates – regarded by some as the game's top amateur prospect in the world – leads the way flanked by backcourt stars in Jaden Akins and Dillon Hunter.
5. Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.)
Head coach: Mark Phelps | 2019-20: 31-3, No. 7 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: Prep expects to feature a starting five taller than many NBA lineups with Mouhamed Gueye (7-0), Nathan Bittle (6-11), Adem Bona (6-9), Kamari Lands (6-8) and Isael Silva (6-3). Bona made his way to California from Turkey in recent months and was immediately installed as a top 10 prospect by 247Sports.
6. Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
Head coach: Grant Rice | 2019-20: 29-3, No. 14 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: The Gaels hope to break a national record by winning their 10th consecutive state championship. Gorman features one of the game's top backcourt duos as Zaon Collins and Will McClendon both earned MaxPreps Junior All-American honors last season. A number of talented transfers are expected to compete for starting frontcourt spots.
7. Coronado (Henderson, Nev.)
Head coach: Jeff Kaufman | 2019-20: 20-8
Breakdown: Coronado and first team MaxPreps Junior All-American Jaden Hardy received an influx of offseason talent headlined by high-major commits Frankie Collins and Legend Geeter. The Nevada power had a strong showing at last month's Top Flight Invite playing as "Air Nado." The Cougars beat No. 17 Minnehaha Academy and No. 5 Prolific Prep before losing to No. 2 IMG Academy in a competitive championship game.
8. Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati)
Head coach: Carl Kremer | 2019-20: 25-1
Breakdown: A model of consistency over the past three seasons, Moeller has won 74 of 75 games dating back to 2017. Logan Duncomb, Alex Williams, Will McCracken and Evan Mahaffey lead a senior-laden group entering as overwhelming favorites to capture another state title.
9. Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)
Head coach: Glenn Farello | 2019-20: 27-8
Breakdown: Trevor Keels is expected to be the go-to scorer this season while Knasir McDaniel will again orchestrate the offense from the point. Newcomers DeShawn Harris-Smith and Kris Mickens provide depth for a program looking for its first Washington Catholic Athletic Conference crown since 2013-14.
10. DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.)
Head coach: Mike Jones | 2019-20: 30-3, No. 5 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: The Stags have established themselves as a mainstay in the MaxPreps Top 25, finishing in the top 10 each of the past three seasons. Top 100 junior Rodney Rice joins eight returners who saw minutes last season led by Elijah Hawkins, Jordan Hawkins, Jacoi Hutchinson and Tyrell Ward.
11. Camden (N.J.)
Head coach: Rick Brunson | 2019-20: 29-1, No. 16 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: The Panthers return seven of their top eight scorers led by sophomore star Dajuan Wagner Jr. Sophomore guards Cian Medley, Cornelius Robinson and Sebastian Robinson will step into larger roles this season, while a pair of 6-7 senior forwards — Taquan Woodley and Jerome Brewer Jr. — anchor the paint.
12. Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.)
Head coach: John Mosco | 2019-20: 22-5
Breakdown: The Vikings enter with lofty expectations behind a senior-filled roster that returns virtually all of its production from last season. The guard-oriented lineup features four Division I prospects with returning Philadelphia Catholic League MVP Rahsool Diggins, Marcus Randolph, Daeshon Shepherd and Jaylen Stinson leading the charge.
13. West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.)
Head coach: Kenny Gillion | 2019-20: 28-7
Breakdown: A program on the rise, Gillion's team notched wins over Oak Hill Academy (Mouth Of Wilson, Va.) and Prolific Prep last season. Top returner A.J. Neal is joined by elite twin sophomore forwards Matt and Ryan Bewley, along with top 100 senior prospect Wesley Cardet.
14. Legacy Early College (Greenville, S.C.)
Head coach: B.J. Jackson | 2019-20: 22-10
Breakdown: Returners Ike Cornish, TyRek Priestley, Perry Smith Jr. and Jacobi Wright all are expected to see increased roles after the Lions graduated three of their top six scorers. The addition of five-star guard Bryce McGowens could put this team over the top with a much-needed scoring punch. The Lions are expected to compete in the newly-formed National Interscholastic Basketball League, which features six ranked teams.
15. La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.)
Head coach: Pat Holmes | 2019-20: 23-3, No. 8 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: Earned a sixth consecutive GEICO Nationals invite last season (though the event was canceled due to COVID-19) with a 151-15 record during that time period. The perennial powerhouse features an influx of talent after losing four starters, adding Vincent Iwuchukwu, Kebba Njie, Jeremy Fears Jr., Ryan Mabrey and J.J. Starling.
16. O'Dea (Seattle)
Head coach: Jason Kerr | 2019-20: 23-6
Breakdown: In addition to reigning MaxPreps Junior of the Year and Duke commit Paolo Banchero, O'Dea returns nine of its top 10 contributors, including John Christofilis, Jermaine Davis and Max Debiec.
17. Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Head coach: Lance Johnson | 2019-20: 25-3, No. 13 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: The school's all-time leading scorer Jalen Suggs is now at Gonzaga but the No. 2 prospect in the senior class Chet Holmgren returns to lead the charge. He's joined by top 150 junior Prince Aligbe along with a capable returning backcourt of Hercy Miller, Donovan Smith and Isaiah Davis.
18. Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.)
Head coach: Stephen Cook | 2019-20: 28-3, No. 11 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: First-year coach Cook looks to replicate the success of last year's squad despite losing four of the top five scorers to graduation. An influx of prospects gives this team an opportunity to climb up the rankings as it gains chemistry with returning starters Reggie Bass and Felix Okpara joined by transfers Lewis Duarte, Bretner Mutombo and Jaret Valencia.
19. St. Frances Academy (Baltimore)
Head coach: Nicholas Myles | 2019-20: 38-4, No. 18 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: Despite losing four of their top five scorers from last season, the Panthers return Julian Reese, Kyrie Staten, Byron Ireland and Jonathan Lamothe. Key additions Derik Queen and Cortez Johnson will bolster depth for the Baltimore power.
20. Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)
Head coach: Andre Chevalier | 2019-20: 30-4, No. 15 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: The Trailblazers have starpower but will face challenges with a March 12 start in California. Top 50 prospects Amari Bailey, Bronny James and Pennsylvania transfer Chance Westry lead the way.
21. Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
Head coach: Steve Smith | 2019-20: 37-3, No. 6 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: Despite losing most of the team's production from last season, Smith was able to piece together a competitive roster with the additions of top 25 prospects Caleb Foster and M.J. Rice, along with Xavier Brown, Camryn Carter and AJ Williams. Five-star juniors Dior Johnson and Zion Cruz left the program prior to the start of the year.
22. Milton (Ga.)
Head coach: Allen Whitehart | 2019-20: 26-5
Breakdown: The Eagles return seven of their top eight contributors from a team that advanced to the Class AAAAAAA state semifinals. Returning MaxPreps Sophomore All-American Bruce Thornton and MaxPreps Freshman All-American Kanaan Carlyle guide a talented backcourt. Milton welcomed West Forsyth transfer Broc Bidwell and four-star Meadowcreek transfer Kendall Campbell over the summer.
23. Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah)
Head coach: Paul Peterson | 2019-20: 27-2, No. 3 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: New head coach Peterson looks to build on last year's success with second team MaxPreps Sophomore All-American Richard Isaacs Jr. and the addition of top 50 senior Nolan Hickman and Division I forward Robbie Armbrester.
24. Houston (Germantown, Tenn.)
Head coach: Mike Miller | 2019:20: 29-4
Breakdown: NBA champion Miller left his assistant coaching job at the University of Memphis to take over at Houston. Top 50 senior prospect Jerrell Colbert and Minnesota transfer Cal Greene join returning starters Zander Yates and Mason Miller to form one of the top frontcourts in high school hoops.
25. Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.)
Head coach: Larry Thompson | 2019-20: 24-7, No. 24 in final MaxPreps Top 25
Breakdown: Defending Class AAAAAAA state champions will be favored to make it two in a row after dropping down a class this year. After missing much of last season due to injury, five-star Isaiah Collier leads the way for a team that returns key contributors Jahiem Hudson, Max Harris and Jamill Giles and adds four-star transfer Kaleb Washington.
The Next 25
26. Long Island Lutheran (Brookville, N.Y.)
27. St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio)
28. Simeon (Chicago)
29. Pace Academy (Atlanta)
30. Duncanville (Texas)
31. Marshall (Richmond, Va.)
32. St. Mark's (Dallas)
33. Westtown (West Chester, Pa.)
34. Richardson (Texas)
35. Blair Academy (Blairstown, N.J.)
36. Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.)
37. Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)
38. Millard North (Omaha, Neb.)
39. Combine Academy (Lincolnton, N.C.)
40. Silver Creek (Sellersburg, Ind.)
41. Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)
42. Grayson (Loganville, Ga.)
43. Liberty Heights (Charlotte, N.C.)
44. King's Fork (Suffolk, Va.)
45. Patrick School (Hillside, N.J.)
46. Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.)
47. St. Mary Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.)
48. Fern Creek (Louisville, Ky.)
49. Waukee (Iowa)
50. St. Raymond (Bronx, N.Y.)