With nary a preseason ranking released as of today, whispers among most experts have Montverde Academy as the prohibitive favorite to repeat as the national champion in boys’ high school basketball this year. Many also believe they will be repeat champions at this year’s Culligan City of Palms Classic. Despite the Montverde chatter, this year’s COP field is filled with potential giant-killers. These teams could fly under the radar and take down the mighty Eagles.
One of those teams is Greensboro Day School (Greensboro, NC). Longtime Coach Freddy Johnson brings his squad to Fort Myers for the first time in his storied career. With more than 1,100 career wins and 11 state titles since 1977, Johnson has been waiting a long time to bring a team to the COP. A pair of all-staters, 6-5 senior Michael Zanoni (12.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg) and 6-4 junior Jaydon Young (11.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 3.8 apg), could help Johnson leave the COP with a couple of upset wins.
Another possible shakeup in the brackets could come thanks to Chicago’s Whitney Young High School. Always a national threat, the Dolphins had a short season last year due to COVID-19, however, a stacked 2021-22 team features 6-8 senior A.J. Casey (18 ppg, 8 rpg, 4 apg). Whitney Young is primed and ready for a return to the national rankings for the first time in eight years.
Finally, Florida’s reigning Class 2A state champ, Orlando Christian Prep, brings a 47-game winning streak into the new season and much of their same lineup from last year. Winning by an average margin of 25.3 points last year, the Warriors have a fast-improving big man in 6-9 junior Jayden Hastings and are led by 6-7 senior Ven-Allen Lubin (12.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg) and 6-4 senior A.J. Brown (14.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.1 apg), who have carried much of the offensive load the past two years.
So while Montverde may be Goliath, don’t forget about what happened when he met up with David.
Montverde Academy Highlights
Greensboro Day School Highlights
Whitney Young High School Highlights
Orlando Christian Prep Highlights