The Prep Zone Power Poll powered by Anytime Fitness – 2019-20 Boys Basketball Poll #1
GAINESVILLE – Last year a total of nine boys basketball teams from The Prep Zone’s coverage area advanced to the FHSAA Boys Basketball state championships in Lakeland.
One of those teams, Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville), begins on top of the all-classification regional rankings in the first poll of 2019-20.
In 2018-19 the Tigers, who finished 25-7, won 20 of their last 23 games and advanced to the Class 5A state semifinals for the first time since 2002.
They knocked off Tampa Catholic in the state semifinals before being beaten by nationally-ranked University (Fort Lauderdale) in the state title game.
Through last week, Jackson (3-0), which is ranked 5th in the state in Class 3A by FABC & Source Hoops, has cruised to an undefeated start with wins against Mainland (Daytona Beach), at Baker County (Glen St. Mary), and vs. Potter’s House Christian (Jacksonville) by an average margin of victory of 19 points despite losing five seniors.
Top-200 national prospect Naseem Khaalid, who averaged 18.8 points and 7.4 rebounds as a sophomore, is back after appearing in just seven games last season.
The Tigers received four of the seven first-place votes and narrowly edged Paxon (Jacksonville) in total voting points, 131-130, for the top spot.
The 2nd-ranked Golden Eagles, who went 26-4 last season, advanced to the state semifinals for the first time since their only boys’ basketball state title in 1965. They lost to eventual 6A state runner-up Lakewood (St. Petersburg) in the semifinals.
UCF-bound Isaiah Adams, the 2018-19 All-First Coast player of the year, returns after averaging 19.6 points and 10.8 rebounds last season
Paxon, which received one first-place vote, got off to a 7-0 start this season before falling to receiving votes West Nassau (Callahan), 66-53, in the Fortegra Invitational.
They have wins at current No. 7 Robert E. Lee (Jacksonville) and vs. No. 9 Bolles (Jacksonville) at the Dominic Allmond Memorial Shootout. The Eagles (7-1) have been ranked as high as 9th overall in Florida by MaxPreps and are currently ranked 2nd in the state in Class 4A by FABC & Source Hoops.
Another Jacksonville school, Providence, is ranked third.
The Stallions (7-1), who dropped down to 3A this season, lost at P.K. Yonge (Gainesville) in the first round of the 4A state playoffs last season to finish 23-5.
They have wins this season at receiving votes North Florida Educational Institute (Jacksonville) and vs. receiving votes West Nassau (51-50 to win the Fortegra Invitational). Their only loss was to West Nassau, 72-69, at the Dom Almond Classic.
Another state semifinalist from last season, The Villages, is ranked fourth.
The Class 4A Buffalo (6-0) finished 23-8 last season, falling to eventual state champion and nationally-ranked University (Fort Lauderdale) in the 5A state semifinals. The Villages is ranked 10th in the 4A state rankings.
Rounding out the top five is Columbia (Lake City), which also received a first-place vote.
It was a banner year for the Tigers last season, who advanced to their first regional final in 19 years. Columbia (5-0), which drops to 6A this season, lost at home to Crestview in last year’s 7A Region Final.
Defending 1A state champion Madison County is ranked 6th.
The Cowboys, who finished 26-3 last season, knocked off Hawthorne in the Region 4-1A final for the second straight year to advance back to Lakeland.
They rallied from a double-digit deficit in the first half to defeat defending 1A state champion Wildwood, 62-60 in overtime, in the state title game to win both the 1A football and boys basketball state championship.
Madison County (3-0) also received one first-place vote.
Class 5A Lee (7-1), Wildwood (5-0), Bolles (5-1), and unbeaten Forest (Ocala) round out the top 10.
The 10th-ranked Wildcats, who finished 18-8 but did not make the playoffs after losing to Columbia in the 7A-District 4 semifinals, have five wins by 23 or more points, including a 23-point win against receiving votes vs. Eastside (Gainesville) at the Tim Brinkley Memorial Classic.
The Prep Zone Power Poll ranks the top 20 high school football, basketball, baseball & softball teams (regardless of FHSAA classification) across 26 counties in North Florida (Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Levy, Madison, Marion, Nassau, Putnam, Sumter, St. Johns, Suwannee, Taylor, Union & Volusia counties). It is voted on weekly by sportswriters and sportscasters and it is powered by Anytime Fitness of Gainesville.
THE PREP ZONE POWER POLL – 2019-20 BOYS BASKETBALL POLL #1
(School, followed by this year’s classification, first-place votes, final record last year, this year’s record through 12/14)
1. Andrew Jackson (Jacksonville) (3A) (4) (25-7) (3-0) – 131
2. Paxon (Jacksonville) (4A) (1) (25-4) (7-1) – 130
3. Providence (Jacksonville) (3A) (23-5) (7-1) – 112
4. The Villages (4A) (23-8) (6-0) – 111
5. Columbia (Lake City) (6A) (1) (17-13) (5-0) – 83
6. Madison County (1A) (1) (26-3) (3-0) – 82
7. Robert E. Lee (Jacksonville) (5A) (10-11) (7-1) – 80
8. Wildwood (1A) (18-13) (5-0) – 75
9. Bolles (Jacksonville) (4A) (23-7) (5-1) – 63
10. Forest (Ocala) (6A) (18-8) (7-0) – 61
11. Palatka (4A) (25-4) (3-1) – 60
12. Fleming Island (Orange Park) (6A) (22-3) (4-2) – 55
13. Mainland (Daytona Beach) (6A) (27-2) (4-3) – 48
14. Hawthorne (1A) (25-2) (6-1) – 42
15. Nature Coast Tech (Brooksville) (4A) (24-7) (2-1) – 41
16. Nease (Ponte Vedra) (7A) (10-19) (5-0) – 38
17. Gainesville (6A) (16-13) (4-0) – 33
18. Central (Brooksville) (4A) (12-15) (7-0) – 31
19. Impact Christian Academy (Jacksonville) (2A) (20-5) (6-1) – 29
20. Leesburg (5A) (14-8) (3-1) – 28
Also receiving votes: North Florida Educational Institute (Jacksonville) (2A) (16-14) (5-2) – 27; Mount Dora Christian Academy (2A) (22-6) (7-0) – 23; Hilliard (1A) (20-7) (7-0) – 22; P.K Yonge (Gainesville) (3A) (23-5) (3-2) – 12; West Nassau (Callahan) (4A) (15-12) (3-3) – 12; Eustis (4A) (20-9) (3-2) – 11; University Christian (Jacksonville) (2A) (26-4) (1-2) – 10; Eastside (Gainesville) (4A) (26-3) (2-3) – 9; North Marion (Citra) (4A) (16-10) (4-0) – 3; St. Augustine (5A) (17-7) (5-1) – 3; Orange Park (5A) (16-11) (6-1) – 2; Seacoast Christian Academy (Jacksonville) (2A) (18-9) (5-0) – 2; Crystal River (4A) (22-7) (3-1) – 1.