With the high school hoop season primed to take off, its time to take a look at how the season promises to shape up. Come inside as we release our MagnoliaPreps.com pre-seasons Power 13 Rankings and take a look at the teams to beat in each class.
This season has all the makings of a good old free for all, with numerous teams holding down the top spot in the rankings throughout the course of the season. That's not to say that there aren't any good teams in the state, just that there doesn't seem to be one, two or even three teams that are head and shoulders above the rest.
Last year in this space we informed you that while 5A was strong at the top 4A boast an extremely deep pool of state championship contenders. Well this year the ball is in the other court as while 4A has a number of talented teams 5A has the deep pool of quality championship contenders.
Pre-season Power Rankings Last season's final record in parentheses
1. Starkville (28-4) - Coming off of two strong seasons which ended short of the desired result, Coach Greg Carter's Starkville Yellowjackets will begin the season as our top rated team. Coach Carter's pursuit of that elusive gold ball will be aided by a trio of division 1 prospects; 6'9" Sr. Chris Brand and the potentially dynamic junior duo of 6'4" Rashard Perkins and 6'0" Edward Townsel. 6'4" Sr. Jeffrey Jernigan provides another veteran influence and should to be a fine compliment to the three D1's.
2. Meridian (25-8) - The Wildcats were probably the best team in the state not to make it to the "Big House" last year and promise to be one of this years top 5A contenders. After a full year as a starter 6'7" Soph. Rodney Hood appears to be a star in waiting and he won't have to do it all alone as Coach Randy Bolden will trot out a veteran frontcourt of 6'4" Sr. Deshun Carter, 6'6" Sr. Kenny Brown and 6'3" Sr. Donavan Walker.
3. Biloxi (25-7) - The Indians look to be the class of South Mississippi as they shoot for a return trip to the "Big House" and take aim at a possible 5A title. The Indians will be lead by the backcourt duo of 6'0" Sr. Isaiah Canaan and 6'0" Jr. Jeremiah Dounnings. New addition 6'5" Sr. Demontray McCormick brings added fire power to the lineup.
4. Jackson Callaway (26-10) - The Chargers fell just short of a trip to the "Big House" last season but appear primed to make a run at the 4A title this year. The Chargers will be led by possibly the best backcourt in the state; 5'11" Sr. Julysses Nobles and 5'11" "Deville" Smith, while 6'7" Jr. Jeverick Nelson will be key to the Chargers title hopes.
5. Jackson Provine (30-7) - The defending 5A and overall champion Rams won't go away quietly as they have enough returning to make a run for a third straight 5A championship. Led by bookend forwards 6'7" Sr. Emery Kelly and 6'7" Jalen Courtney the Rams promise to be tough in the paint while 6'2" Soph. Jarvis Summers will provide perimeter scoring and ball handling.
6. Greenville-Weston (20-14) - Top players: Demario Calvin 6'1" Sr.; Robert Williams 6'3" Sr.; Anthony Evans 6'0" Sr.
7. St. Stanislaus (30-6) - Top Players: Pedro Marciel 6'0" Sr.; Thomas Carmargo 6'6" Sr.; Daniel Grevies 6'6" Soph.
8. Jackson Murrah (14-14) - Top Players: Dundrecous Nelson 5'11" Jr.; Laquinton Ross 6'8" Soph.; Trey Felder 6'2" Sr.
9. Oxford (30-4) - Top Players: Keith Sercey 6'4" Sr.; Dan Hicks 6'6" Sr.; Willis Certain 6'0" Sr.
10. Vicksburg (29-8) - Top Players: Michael Ammons 6'6" Soph.; Kelcey Howard 6'3" Jr.; Maurice Williams 6'3" Sr.
12. Columbia (30-5) - Top players: Nicholas Magee 6'4" Sr.; Daniel Magee 6'0" Soph.
13. Ridgeland (28-11) - Top Players: Jeff Stubbs 6'0" Sr.; LeAntwan Luckett 6'4" Soph.
5A teams to watch: In the North watch Olive Branch (24-7). In the South Wingfield (29-6) has lots of potential.
4A teams to watch: Region 3 4A as always is loaded, with three teams in the top 13 and Jackson Lanier (25-8) and Yazoo City (12-17) both perennial contenders. Up North, also, keep an eye on Noxubee County (21-10) and Shannon (22-8). Down South McComb (26-6), Moss Point (32-6), Forest Hill (27-7) and Port Gibson (19-14) all have the potential to make it to the "Big House".
3A Coming off of a State Tournament runners-up finish and returning every starter Columbia seems to have the most potential in the 3A ranks but region mate Pass Christian (31-7) doesn't appear to be too far behind while Region 6 mates Raymond (23-9) and Crystal Springs (23-12) add spice to the 3A South race. The North teams have more question marks but Rosa Fort (28-6), Eastside (26-6), Holly Springs (20-10) and Humphreys County (29-9) all appear to be threats to make it to the "Big House"
2A Taylorsville (24-10), Forest (22-8) and Tchula Marshall (24-11) appear to be the class of 2A. Watch out for Baldwyn (23-8), Coahoma County (22-9) and Bruce.
1A Defending Champion East Webster (24-10) has to be considered a prime contender, also in the South look out for Durant (24-10). In the North keep an eye on Shaw, Myrtle (31-6), Hickory Flat (21-16) and Coldwater (22-12).