For the next two weeks, Jim Halley and Jason Jordan of USA TODAY High School Sports will take a look at the 10 high school boys basketball teams with a shot to be ranked as the preseason No. 1 team in the country. Next up, alphabetically, is Long Beach Poly out of California.
Monday's Case: Chester, Pa.
Tuesday's Case: Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
Wednesday's Case: Huntington Prep (W.Va.)
Today's Case: LONG BEACH POLY (Calif.)
Why it should be No. 1
Roschon Prince is the engine that makes Poly go.
Prince, a senior swingman who is committed to Southern Cal, has started varsity for the last four years and has the experience to lead the Jackrabbits. He plays a great two-man game with senior forward Jordan Bell.
When the defense keys on Prince, Bell is the guy who uses his athleticism to make things happen in the paint. He also serves as a shot eraser defensively. The Jackrabbits got a big addition to the backcourt this season when Kameron Chatman transferred from Jefferson (Portland). Chatman gives Poly a versatile combo guard who can score in a variety of ways and defend either position in the backcourt. Junior guards Chris Sullivan and Kameron Murrell give the Jackrabbits depth and speed in the backcourt.
Poly coach Sharrief Metoyer said that the way the Jackrabbits want to play – “grinding teams out in the half-court” – will give them a distinct advantage.
“We’ll go eight or nine deep,” Metoyer said. “Our team is very patient. Some teams just want to run every play, all the time, but we know when and when not to do that. I like our chances against anyone.”
Roschon Prince, senior, forward: “We’re No. 1 because we have three top 100 players in the senior class and another top 25 player in the junior class. Then we have a lot of underrated guys who just haven’t gotten the same looks that the rest of us have. We’re deep and we’re hungry, so we come out every night looking to dominate. We’re really focused so I feel like that’s why we’re the No. 1 team in the country.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter @JayJayUSAToday.