Elite High School Basketball Teams to Watch During the 2016-17 Season

Scott Phillips@@phillipshoopsFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2016

Elite High School Basketball Teams to Watch During the 2016-17 Season

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    IMG Academy's Trevon Duval
    IMG Academy's Trevon DuvalGregory Payan/Associated Press

    With the high school basketball season really getting in the full swing of things, it's time to take a look at some of the best teams in the country to follow this season.

    This group of 10 teams won't necessarily be the best ones at the end of the season, but they're all very competitive and feature talent to watch. 

    Some of these teams are prep schools that have players from all over the world while others are public high schools. Many from this group will compete for the national championship.

    Here are the teams you should keep an eye on if they come through your area.

10. Sierra Canyon (CA)

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    Marvin Bagley
    Marvin BagleyGregory Payan/Associated Press

    The wild card on this list could be Sierra Canyon as 5-star junior forward Marvin Bagley becomes eligible this season. Bagley could be the No. 1 junior in the country, so joining UCLA commit and senior 4-star forward Cody Riley makes for a tough duo.

    Helping get those two big men the mall is 4-star point guard and Arizona State commit Remy Martin. Off-guard Adam Seiko is also committed to San Diego State as he adds another dimension to the Sierra Canyon starting lineup.

    Bagley and Riley could be an unstoppable show on their own, but this could be one of California's best teams that also fights for a national title this season.

9. Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (TN)

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    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
    Shai Gilgeous-AlexanderNike

    Hamilton Heights has an intriguing roster led by a pair of high-major senior guards.

    Kentucky commit Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Virginia Tech commit Nickeil Alexander-Walker are a potent one-two punch, and they are only a small part of a deep lineup of players. Leading scorer Therren Shelton-Szmidt also returns for Hamilton Heights as this should be a team that can score from a number of different spots.

    Stretch forward Mark Tikhonenko is a senior committed to Arkansas State, according to Scout.com's Jeff Reed, who also gives Hamilton Heights a unique offensive dimension. 

    Hamilton Heights doesn't compete for a state title in Tennessee, so they'll be gunning for a spot at Dick's Nationals at the end of the season.

8. Chino Hills High School (CA)

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    LiMelo Ball
    LiMelo BallRich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

    It's going to feel a little bit odd for Chino Hills to move on without UCLA star Lonzo Ball, as the point guard graduated after leading the school to a perfect 35-0 record.

    But the Huskies still return a lot of that team, including two more Ball brothers that are committed to UCLA. Senior Li'Angelo Ball is a sharpshooting guard who can fill it up from the perimeter, and the youngest Ball, LaMelo, is starting to come into his own as a sophomore. Sophomore big man Onyeka Okongwu also returns, and senior wing Eli Scott is a Loyola Marymount commit, according to ESPN.com

    It's unlikely this team will go unbeaten with California being such a deep state, but Chino Hills could have another special season in-store with their fast-tempo play.

7. IMG Academy (FL)

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    Trevon Duval
    Trevon DuvalGregory Payan/Associated Press

    When you have the nation's best point guard, that tends to help immensely. And for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, it makes them a major national contender.

    That aforementioned point guard is senior Trevon Duval as the uncommitted 5-star prospect is a blur with the ball and a tremendous weapon on both sides of it. Duval is joined on IMG by a team full of major prospects, including 4-star junior forward Emmitt Williams and 3-star senior big man Isaiah Stokes

    Giving Duval any kind of help is great, and having two big man makes things a lot easier for him as they can clean up any misses and help operate high ball screens. 

    IMG Academy will play a national schedule in 2016-17 as they hope to make a splash nationally.

6. Bishop Montgomery High School (CA)

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    Ethan Thompson
    Ethan ThompsonNike

    California has a ton of talent this season, and Bishop Montgomery will have huge expectations with so many returning players.

    Among them includes 4-star senior Ethan Thompson, who is committed to play for his dad at the college level at Oregon State next season. Junior guard David Singleton is also a 4-star prospect, while senior Jordan Schakel is committed to San Diego State.

    That trio can all score the ball, but this team will be undersized compared to some of the national and top California teams that they will face during the season. The small ball should be fun to watch.

5. The Patrick School (NJ)

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    Nick Richards
    Nick RichardsGregory Payan/Associated Press

    The Patrick School team this season features multiple Division I commitments in the starting lineup.

    Center Nick Richards is the latest 5-star big man to sign with head coach John Calipari and Kentucky as he gives them a rim protector who can also score inside. The point guard spot is also handled by capable senior leadership as Minnesota commit Jamir Harris is back after a strong junior season. The Patrick School's depth also shines in the backcourt this season as they should have plenty of help for Richards and Harris.

    With Richards, a game-changer on the interior, and Harris, a lead scorer, The Patrick School team should be fun to watch.

4. Wheeler High School (GA)

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    Darius Perry
    Darius PerryAdidas

    The state of Georgia is absolutely loaded this season as this team takes top honors from there.

    Wheeler is filled with high-major prospects as they return Louisville commit and point guard Darius Perry for his senior season. Perry will have plenty of weapons as he has 4-star senior Jordan Tucker on the wing and Auburn commit and 5-star big man E.J. Montgomery down low.

    All of that talent makes for high expectations for Wheeler this season as they gun for the AAAAAAA title in Georgia. Perry and Tucker can fill it up from the outside, while Montgomery is a versatile double-double threat who could be a huge addition.

3. Montverde Academy (FL)

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    R.J. Barrett
    R.J. BarrettGregory Payan/Associated Press

    An abundance of young talent makes Montverde Academy intriguing this season. They have some of the top sophomores in the nation.

    Two 5-star sophomores will be a lot of fun to watch as No. 1 sophomore R.J. Barrett is joined by 5-star guard Andrew Nembhard. North Carolina commit and junior guard Rechon Black has also joined the Montverde roster, and he should help make life easier for senior guard and Pitt commit Marcus Carr.

    This group has the talent and athleticism to hang with any team in the country, but it's going to be interesting to see if their inexperience plays a factor while playing a loaded national schedule. Senior forward Sean Mobley, a VCU commit, could be a huge key to the season as he gives the group more size.

2. La Lumiere Prep (IN)

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    Brian Bowen
    Brian BowenGregory Payan/Associated Press

    A roster with multiple 5-star prospects and loads of talented players has made La Lumiere one of the premier schools in the country for high school basketball. This team will look to win a national championship.

    Led by 5-star senior wing Brian Bowen and 5-star big man and Michigan State commit Jaren Jackson, La Lumiere has a lot of talent this season.

    At point guard, sophomore Tyger Campbell is coming off of a strong summer playing older competition and he's a 5-star prospect ready to handle the lead guard spot. Coming in at shooting guard is 4-star senior and Michigan commit Jordan Poole, who gives them another top player in the starting five.

    Playing a tough national schedule, La Lumiere will have to prove itself against every team in the country next season in its quest to win a national title.

1. Oak Hill Academy (VA)

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    Billy Preston
    Billy PrestonGregory Payan/Associated Press

    With a scary amount of backcourt depth and different types of talented players in the front court, the always dangerous Oak Hill Academy could have one of its best teams yet.

    While the backcourt depth is the headliner, the team's top player is 5-star senior Billy Preston. The Kansas commit is a lethal scorer and double-double threat. The Oak Hill backcourt is two deep at point guard and shooting guard and can make for a ton of unique lineups. Point guards include 4-star seniors Matt Coleman and Iowa State commit Lindell Wigginton, while the shooting guards are 4-star senior Devontae Shuler (Ole Miss) and 3-star senior Tyshon Alexander (Creighton).

    Besides Preston in the frontcourt, head coach Steve Smith can trot out 4-star forward Kenneth Nwuba. This team has all the makings of a national champion and they can win in many different ways with different players.


    Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting ratings are via Scout.com and all quotes and information were obtained firsthand.