Only a few teams took the court in a game that counts on Thanksgiving week, while most CHSAA teams took the chance to fine tune a few more things before tipping off for real this week.
There isn’t any change from last week’s preseason ranking because of that, but considering this week’s juicy matchups, these rankings could look significantly different next week.
1. Christ the King (0-0) (Last week: 1)
To be prepared for February and March in the CHSAA Class AA, Christ the King coach Joe Arbitello has a ridiculously difficult non-league schedule. While other programs open up the season against cupcakes, the Royals will meet PSAL powerhouse Thomas Jefferson Saturday in the finale of the Christ the King Invitational.
Next: Thomas Jefferson @ Christ the King Invitational (Dec. 4, 5 p.m.)
2. St. Raymond’s (0-0) (2)
The Ravens also have a stiff test right out of the gate, meeting a Long Island Lutheran squad which, led by Villanova-bound Achraf Yacoubou, smoked Thomas Edison by 40 points in the Kangaroo Classic Sunday at LIU. We can’t wait to see the 6-foot-5 Bronx native duel with the likes of Daniel Dingle and Kerwin Okoro.
Next: Long Island Lutheran @ Christ the King Invitational (Dec. 4, 3 p.m.)
3. Rice (0-0) (3)
The Raiders didn’t look very good in a scrimmage loss against Forest Hills last week at Gauchos Gym, but it would be a huge mistake to count out Rice, a team in transition under new head coach Dwayne Mitchell. The personnel might not be the same as it was last year, but Rice should still play hard, especially on the defensive end of the court.
Next: @ All Hallows (Dec. 7, 4 p.m.)
4. Xaverian (1-0) (4)
It was just one game against an overmatched Thomas Edison squad, but Xaverian looked very impressive in a season-opening 78-52 win on Thanksgiving eve in Bay Ridge. The Clippers passed the ball well and, led by Brian Bernardi who had a game-high 21 points, shot even better against the Inventors zone.
Next: Holy Trinity (Dec. 12, 5:15 p.m.)
5. Holy Cross (0-0) (5)
The Knights had a tough scrimmage schedule, featuring Wings, Lincoln, Cardozo and New Rochelle. That should have them prepared for a challenge non-league slate, which starts with a trip to The Bronx to meet No. 8 Cardinal Hayes. An improved Marcus Hopper will be challenged against the Cardinals solid frontcourt.
Next: @ No. 8 Cardinal Hayes (Dec. 3, 7 p.m.)
6. Bishop Loughlin (0-0) (6)
Senior guard Davonte Dunham, the only returning player from last year’s squad that reached the Class A intersectional final, is still out with a broken foot. But promising guard Elisha Boone, one of three freshman on the varsity squad, is ready to test himself with the big boys.
Next: @ A-Rod Basketball Classic (Dec. 9)
7. Archbishop Stepinac (1-0) (7)
Stepinac opened its defense of the CHSAA Class A intersectional title with a 28-point win at Monsignor Farrell Sunday. With standouts Conroy Baltimore and James Chillemi back and a continued commitment to playing hard-nosed defense, the deep Crusaders should be one of the favorites to compete for the ‘A’ title again.
Next: Blessed Sacrament (Dec. 3, 7 p.m.)
8. Cardinal Hayes (0-0) (8)
Can Cardinal Hayes make it back to the Class A intersectional final? Coach Joe Lods is betting on it. The Cardinals have a legitimate frontcourt with Amadou Sidibe and Jalen Jenkins banging the boards, while Fadil Yacoubou, Achraf’s younger brother, will play the wing and Davon Sylvester is a scoring point guard.
Next: No. 5 Holy Cross (Dec. 3, 7 p.m.)
9. Archbishop Molloy (1-0) (9)
Molloy opened its season with a win, but that’s about the only positive legendary coach Jack Curran could take from a sloppy 59-56 victory against Holy Trinity Saturday night. As advertised, the Stanners did a good job of sharing the basketball as Chris Garcia, Mark Parisi, George Davis, Stephen Kelly and even Chris Dorgler, who struggled, contributed to a season-opening win.
Next: Lehman (Dec. 5, 2 p.m.)
10. St. Francis Prep (0-0) (10)
The Terriers aren’t deep and they lack size, but led by Glyne Straker, George Hatzioannides, Mike Murray and Joe Salerno, St. Francis Prep has some quality shooters and experience in the backcourt and Andrew Winter has been an undersized rebounding machine. The Terriers looked good in scrimmages against Cardozo and St. Mary’s and struggled against Bishop Ford.
Next: Francis Lewis (Nov. 30, 6 p.m.)
On the bubble: Mount St. Michael (0-0), All Hallows (0-0), Xavier (0-0) and St. John’s Prep (0-0)