Boys Basketball Top 10: Riordan still on top after first loss

Riordan may be flush with transfers now, but standout senior point guard Geru Mabrey won't be losing his starting spot. (Photo by Doug Ko)
Riordan may be flush with transfers now, but standout senior point guard Geru Mabrey won't be losing his starting spot. (Photo by Doug Ko)

Riordan may be flush with transfers now, but standout senior point guard Geru Mabrey won’t be losing his starting spot. (Photo by Doug Ko)

Every week, we will be publishing our take on the top ten boys and girls basketball teams in San Francisco. Feel free to make your own rankings and discuss ours in the comment section.

1. Riordan (9-1, last ranking: 1)

The Crusaders appeared to be on cruise control in the final stages of non-league play, until they were derailed by Eastlake (6-4) of Washington state – the same team that beat unranked Galileo by five points the night before – in the second round of the South San Francisco Tournament. The one-point loss probably doesn’t worry Riordan faithful as much as the now-eligible transfers that will likely mix up an already-cohesive unit. There is no doubt Riordan has the most talent in the City, now we’ll see how they play together.

2. Sacred Heart Cathedral (7-3, last ranking: 3)

The Irish played well at the MaxPreps Holiday Classic last week in Palm Springs and advanced to their division’s championship game, where they lost to JW North (14-2) by six points, a top-25 team in the state according to’s computer rankings. Sacred Heart got to the division title game behind wins over Perris (7-6) and El Toro (13-4), but also dropped its tournament opener to Green Valley (5-9) of Nevada.

3. University (10-3, last ranking: 2)

The Red Devils faced their best competition yet in the loaded Modesto Christian Holiday Hoop Classic last week and had mixed results. University entered the winner’s bracket with a blowout win over Centennial of Compton (7-6), then lost handily to El Camino of Woodland Hills (12-2), which is currently the 13th-best team in the state according to’s computer rankings. The Red Devils finished the trip with a 13-point loss to Central of Fresno (10-2) and a win over Sylmar (7-9). University played a similar level of competition and had similar results as No. 2 Sacred Heart did in its tournament last week, but lost by significantly larger margins.

4. St. Ignatius (9-1, last ranking: 4)

The Wildcats may be riding high after winning the Sand Dune Classic last week with wins over Burlingame (5-7), Santa Cruz (5-7) and Jesuit (8-6), but their overall résumé still doesn’t quite stack up to the teams ahead of them in our rankings. St. Ignatius’ best win is still a road victory over El Camino, but that could all change if the Wildcats shock Riordan tonight in their West Catholic Athletic League opener.

5. Stuart Hall (11-3, last ranking: 5)

The Knights have the most wins in the City, but haven’t been challenged in most of them. Their most recent challenge was a come-from-behind win over Woodside Priory (3-5) two weeks ago, which was followed by two blowout wins over Leadership (3-7) and winless Wallenberg.

6. Urban (10-1, last ranking: 8)

The Blues make the biggest jump this week after an emphatic 16-point win over No. 8 Lick-Wilmerding, which was previously ranked ahead of them, in the Head-Royce Holiday Classic. Urban got to the tournament championship game with double-digit wins over Bay (4-7) and Oakland Military (5-7), and Nate Cohen, arguably the best all-around guard in the San Francisco, is quietly making a case for City Player of the Year.

7. Marshall (4-4, last ranking: 6)

The Phoenix haven’t played since a 2-2 performance in the Rail City Classic in Reno, Nev. two weeks ago, where they beat out-of-state opponent Silver State Academy (7-4) and Rodriguez of Fairfield (4-8), a Sac-Joaquin Section playoff team last season. Marshall’s losses in Reno came against Placer (12-4) and Reed of Sparks, Nev. (6-5).

8. Lick-Wilmerding (9-4, last ranking: 7)

The Tigers took a step back with a double-digit loss to No. 6 Urban last week, but got to the tournament championship game with a close win over California School for the Deaf (3-4) and a double-digit victory over host Head-Royce (8-4). It won’t be long before Lick gets another shot against Urban. The two teams will face off on Tuesday in their Bay Counties League West opener.

9. Lincoln (3-11, last ranking: 10)

The Mustangs finally got in the win column after starting the season 0-7 with two victories in the Mel Goode Tournament two weeks ago, but took another slide in their tournament last week. When Lincoln blew a fourth-quarter lead to University of Irvine (5-10) in the first round of the Don Bambauer Holiday Classic at Marin Catholic, it shifted from a trip to the winner’s bracket to a spot in the last-place game after losses to Terra Linda (6-6) and Mills (7-5). The Mustangs ended the week on a high note, however, by throttling Berean Christian (2-11).

10. Mission (2-11, last ranking: NR)

Like their Academic Athletic Association counterparts in the Sunset, the Bears are finally in the win column with victories over winning teams Los Gatos (7-5) and Branson (7-5). The Branson win came after losses to Oakland Tech (10-3) and Skyline (7-6) in the first two rounds of the Sand Dune Classic.

Best of the rest: Galileo (4-6), Balboa (6-10), Lowell (4-9), Gateway (6-2)

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13 Comments on "Boys Basketball Top 10: Riordan still on top after first loss"

  1. As usual, JB does a fine job. We will definitely know lots more by the time next weeks rankings come out.

  2. Im not sure of the rules but the transfers had to sit out until today. They still practiced or does the rules say they cant even practice with the team? In any case, too much depth can hurt. Hurt chemistry and feelings. No idea why all those transfers (five? six) went to Riordan when minutes are going to be scarce. This is 32 minutes, not 48 minutes. You think Geru or Jiday will want to play less than 24 minutes? I doubt it.

    In any case, I hope they take SI behind the woodshed tonight. Just hope its not going to turn into an AND 1 dribbling battle between Geru and Trevor.

    • I was surprised at all those transfers, too. I’m pretty sure it’s just 5 transfers. 2 are from the Boarding program (Ndiaye and Vrana); 1 is Jiday’s cousin (Chiefy Ugbaja); Ferrari transferred in the same time his brother entered in as a freshman. Shaq Cooper is a senior transfer from El Cerrito. From the twitter accounts, they have all been playing together since July (informal workouts, pickup games, AAU, etc.) .

      • Does anyone know if SI has any transfers this year because there are players on SI’s varsity that I never heard before, such as Darius Sadeghi and Marques Jones.

      • @Ari Gold- guess what? Si wins 54-49.

        Dunbar best player on floor tonite.

    • Just some facts | January 2, 2013 at 4:55 PM |

      There is only one senior transfer. The other 4 will be there for 1-2 more years and they no doubt got drawn there by the coaching and the possibility to play with the rest of the already good team players there. Maybe also because this is not a team built on a Diva player – that has been a problem for other WCAL teams (SI or SH or Mitty – ? Serra a bit too?) for the last few years,This is a team sport and this team is taught that concept and good preparation, know your opposing team and know your own players etc. and listen to your coaches and do as they instruct you. it is not a team where they pass the ball to the same shooter(s) and just back that one star up. That may be worth the minutes to have quality team time. Is that too hard to understand in this forum? Too much talk on this forum about the Diva players, IMHO.

    • Uncle Frank | January 3, 2013 at 12:04 AM |

      I was sitting with some WCAL veterans tonight at the SI game and the talk there is how we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg with transfers.

      According to them, and maybe JB can verify, under these new rules, a player need only sit out 30 days before playing for his new school.

      You can imagine some of the scenarios with players transferring during the season when they aren’t playing enough or the team is playing well enough.

      In fact, I am not sure there is any reason this can’t happen:

      I am a junior point guard with big ego. I was at School A last year, but transfer to School B in the summer. Start practice in October. Doesn’t go well. Looks like I might not start as a new sophomore transfer plays the same position. Transfer to School C in November. Start playing for Team C in December. Do very well. However, Team C loses its first three league games and Team D offers me financial aid to transfer. I transfer to School D in mid January. Start playing for School D in February as it wins league and goes to playoffs. Now, it Spring and I am about to finish junior year. Where should I go next year?

      • Transfers just ruin the team’s chemistry, I believe. Riordan had alot of guys who could jump out of a building, but ultimately they couldn’t put the ball in the basket in the 4th quarter and that’s why they lost. I may be wrong, but it seemed like they missed their last six 3-pt attempts, after having a hot 3rd quarter from beyond the arc.

      • Based on this scenario, I doubt a basketball player would want to play 5 or 6 basketball games in 1 school year. And transferring to so many high schools in a year would have negative psychological effects to a 17 yr old kid. How would you do your school work, for example? Plus, the head basketball coach would most likely let you warm up the bench if you decided to transfer in February, unless you are a D1 stud like Aaron Gordon.

  3. I know small schools don’t often get into the top ten, but what about Jewish Community (7-2)? We had big wins against Mid-Pen and Oakwood, and this year’s team is better than last year’s team, which almost beat Gateway.

    • Three of the schools in the Top 10 are “small schools,” meaning they are classified in Division V, like Jewish Community. Lick, Marshall and Riordan are also relatively small at the Division IV level.

      The reason why Jewish Community is not in the Top 10 conversation is because its two losses were to Chinese Christian (who lost to Bay, another not Top 10 team) and Fremont Christian (which lost to Leadership).

      • Those are some good points. By small schools, I really meant schools with fewer than 200 students (I think SH is the only school in the top ten with fewer than 200 students). However, JCHS only has ~70 boys, so even compared to the other small schools in the city, their population is still smaller.

        That said, many readers (myself included) sincerely appreciate the great coverage that San Fran Preps gives to schools of all sizes and backgrounds. Keep up the good work!

        I checked Max Preps, and it looks like Leadership beat Fremont Christian (and Jewish Community beat Leadership). Jewish Community’s biggest test of the season will likely come tomorrow when they play Alma Heights (Alma is great this year – they beat Pinewood). Hopefully things will go well for us tomorrow!

  4. Just some facts | January 2, 2013 at 4:41 PM |

    Doug Ko, Some more fabulous photos on all these stories – really draws interest and makes readers feel excited to watch the games live.
    Now of course the players are also pretty photogenic – I see why you get photos of Geru – he looks so intent and targeted even when going up for a shot that is being defended desperately with the whole body of the opposing player. Geru’s eyes are intensely focused on the basket no matter what is in the way. Mind over matter.

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