Prep School Countdown: No. 1 Laurinburg

Laurinburg (N.C.) may not be quite as loaded as last year when they claimed the first-ever prep school national crown, but these guys are still right there - and that's why we've given them the top spot to start the season - until proven otherwise.

We're unveiling the most extensive and only prep school poll of its kind and we're finally down to the top-ranked team in the land – No. 1 Laurinburg (N.C.).

These guys finished on top last season with just a pair of losses and while we have them as our preseason numero uno, this year will be much tougher.

Don't get us wrong. These guys have plenty of talent, but there is more parity this season among the prep school ranks.

``It's just a matter of putting everything together," Chaney said. "Right now we're at the stage where we're changing a lot of things up and we haven't gotten a solid rotation."

``Last year we kind of developed an "us against everyone else" mentality," he added. "The players believed in that and that got us to number one. This year's team is the all-name team. We have an opportunity to do it, but it's a lot different because everybody's juiced for us."

Up front, it'll be 6-11, 220-pound center Longar Longar, a terrific athlete who will play at Oklahoma next season that can run the floor and block shots. Baltimore native Richard Dorsey, a chiseled, 6-9, 225-pound power forward who signed with Memphis, is a man-child who gives the team an intimidator in the paint.

It's likely that Chris Chaney will go with a three-guard offense that includes Vincent Banks, C.J. Anderson and Joe McCray.

The 6-3, 190-pound Banks is a scoring point guard from Georgia who will play for Bob Huggins at Cincinnati. Anderson is a versatile 6-6, 200-pound swingman who could also see some time at the point and is being recruited by Virginia Tech and McCray is a former two-sport star at Ft. Lauderdale Dillard (Fla.) who is a deadly outside shooter headed to Nebraska.

Senior big man Benny Songondo is still recovering from a knee injury, but is expected to play this weekend at the War on the Shore. The 6-11, 245-pound Central Africa Republic native is getting plenty of early looks from high-majors who want to see him in action since he's been injured for much of his time since arriving in the U.S.

Former Las Vegas Cheyenne (Nev.) stars Chad Ferguson and Chris Fuller will both play vital roles coming off the bench. Ferguson is a 6-7 ½, 220-pound forward who can bury the outside shot and has committed to Coastal Carolina while Fuller is a 6-5, 205-pound swingman who will play at Loyola (Ill.) next year.

Other players who will provide depth for Chaney's squad this year are Kiwan Smith (6-7), Kelvin Davis (6-4) Justin Holland (6-3, 180), Kris Clark (6-4, 175), Chance McGrady (6-3, 180), Eric Howard (5-11, 145) and Bruce Royal (6-0, 155). Laurinburg also expects 6-9, 215-pound Cameroon junior Stephon Belindea after the holidays.

``Our strength is definitely our athletic ability and our depth," Chaney said. "We can run out a lot of different lineups, big or small. We don't have trouble scoring, but it'll be interesting to see if we get better as we go on."

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