Last week, USA TODAY High School Sports began releasing our preseason Super 25 boys basketball rankings with teams 11-25 and teams 6-10. Yesterday, Plano West (Plano, Texas) was released as our No. 5. Today’s team is our No. 4, Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas, which finished 30-3 last season. The rest of the release schedule:
Nov. 5: Team 3
Nov. 6: Team 2
Nov. 7: Team 1
The Gaels have won three consecutive state titles and return two elite seniors: power forward Chase Jeter (15 ppg, 10 rgp, 3.0 bpg), a 6-11 Duke commit considered the No. 9 senior player by ESPN.com; and 7-foot center Stephen Zimmerman (15 ppg, 10 rpg), listed as the No. 10 2015 player by ESPN.com.
Jeter is an athletic, long-limbed shot blocker who has improved steadily on offense. His emergence allows Zimmerman to step out a bit and utilize his shooting touch and passing ability. Another senior, small forward Nick Blair (10.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 3.0 apg), has offers from several Div. I schools and junior power forward Zach Collins (6 ppg, 4 rpg), after a growth spurt that has seen him go from 6-6 to 6-10, is getting interest from several Pac-12 schools.
Gorman’s big three, with the emphasis on big, makes the Gaels unique because all three can run or post it up. Zimmerman, in particular has improved his strength and post game this summer.
“He’s always going to be that four man who can stretch the defense and shoot the ball,” Bishop Gorman coach Grant Rice said. “He’s also posting up and using his quickness against people. He’s a whole new player since the summer and playing USA Basketball. I am excited to see he, Chase Jeter and Zach Collins playing together. That’s probably something we won’t see again at Bishop Gorman — three (near) seven-footers who can all run and do the sprints that we do in practice.”
Bishop Gorman will be tested early and often by its schedule. The Gaels open with No. 16 Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) in Newark, Calif., on Nov. 29 and have games in January with No 12 Simeon (Chicago), last year’s Super 25 champion, Montverde (Fla.) Academy and No. 6 Findlay Prep (Henderson). Bishop Gorman hosts the Tarkanian Classic in December and those teams include Lone Peak (Highland, Utah), Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas) and Long Beach Poly, all of whom have been ranked in recent seasons. Also in December, the Gaels travel to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for the Beach Ball Classic and could face North Little Rock, Ark., Sagemont (Weston, Fla.) and Scott County (Georgetown, Ky.) and St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio).
A schedule like that, while challenging, could also vault Bishop Gorman to the top of the rankings if it won all, or even most, of those big games. That would put the school in the unique position of having the No. 1 team in the Super 25 rankings in football and basketball, which has never happened in the same school year.
“We kept getting calls from people who wanted to play,” Rice said. “It’s just hard to turn down. These kids get a chance to play in a big-time environment and it will prepare them for college. Tony (Gorman football coach Tony Sanchez) and I have the same philosophy on schedules. Our goal is to win the last game of the season and our biggest goal is to win the Nevada state championship.”