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.
Oct. 29: Chester, Pa.
Oct. 30: Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
Oct. 31: Huntington Prep (W.Va.)
Nov. 1: Long Beach Poly (Calif.)
Nov. 2: Montverde (Fla.)
Nov. 5: Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
Nov. 6: Prestonwood Christian Academy (Plano, Texas)
Today's Case: Simeon Career Academy (Chicago)
Why they should be No. 1: The Wolverines have won three consecutive 4A state titles and have the goods for another run at a title. Start with one of the top players in the country in Jabari Parker and perhaps the best teammate in the country. The 6-foot-8 Parker averaged 19.5 points 8.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists last season and could become the first player from Simeon (sorry, Derrick Rose) to win four consecutive state titles. Besides Parker, Simeon has three other players who played for USA Basketball this past summer: senior guard Kendrick Nunn, who has committed to Illinois and averaged 15.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists last season; 6-7 sophomore forward Dennis Williams and 6-6 freshman center Benjamin Coupet.
Senior Jaylon Tate, another Illinois commit, is a solid point guard and 6-7 senior forward Kendall Pollard has said he will sign with Dayton. Two transfers from Leo (Chicago), 6-8 forward Russell Woods and guard Sean Moore Jr., are Division I recruits and give Simeon plenty of depth.
"If we're in the top 10, that doesn't happen to too many public schools," said Robert Smith, in his ninth year as the team's head coach. "It's a blessing to be considered. We have local guys who compete at a high level."
The team's schedule includes three other Top 10 teams in Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas) and Montverde (Fla.) Academy.
"We have to play the best to be considered for the best," Smith said. "We're doing this with local kids, not with kids from other countries."
Player Sound-Off: Jabari Parker, senior, forward: "I think we will be very well off. We're the team that has the most players coming back that was succesful, in the top five (of the Super 25) last season. With me and Kendrick Nunn, we have two leaders. We also have some transfers who are key guys. We have a team that has been together. Playing in Chicago helps us get adjusted before playing against tough crowds. It helps us maintain our confidence and maturity."
Follow Jim Halley on Twitter @JimHalley.