And with all the talent the Comets have back from last year's 29-2 squad, it's also no surprise they cracked the top five. In fact, the only schools ranked ahead of Westchester to start the season are No. 1 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), No. 2 St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) and No. 3 St. Vincent-St. Mary's (Akron, Ohio).
One of Westchester's real strengths should be in the backcourt as coach Ed Azzam will have three seniors who can score, get assists, defend and attack the glass. Also back are interior standouts Keith Everage, Brandon Bowman and Scot Cutley. But the most talented Comet may be 6-8 junior Trevor Ariza, who can play multiple positions and earned a reputation over the summer as being one of the top juniors in the nation.
Two other California teams that cracked the top 20 of the Student Sports preseason FAB 50 were Modesto Christian and defending Div. I state champ Mater Dei of Santa Ana.
Modesto Christian's No. 13 ranking was made under the assumption that the Crusaders (34-4 last season) would once again have point guard Richard Midgely and forward Marc Pratt in the lineup. The two British imports, who helped Modesto Christian reach last season's Div. I state title game, were declared ineligible in June. Local sources, however, think legal action will permit the pair to play by the end of October. Midgely is a returning all-state pick who will play in college at Cal. Also back is 6-8 center David Paris and 6-4 forward Bobby Cole. The major loss is 6-7 Chuck Hayes (now at Kentucky). Another twist is the addition of 7-2 junior Liam Hughes, who will likely come off the bench.
Mater Dei doesn't figure to be as strong as last year's 33-2 squad that was in contention for the mythical national crown, but there's still enough talent around for a very strong season. Senior leadership should come mostly from four-year varsity member Mike Strawberry, an athletic 6-5 forward. The junior class is nails as three key members should play starring roles this season: 6-8 Harrison Schaen, 6-3 Wesley Washington and 5-11 Trevante Nelson. The Monarchs appeared at No. 15 in the Student Sports FAB 50.
Also receiving preseason top 50 acclaim from Student Sports was No. 23 Inglewood, No. 35 Long Beach Poly, No. 44 Fremont of Los Angeles and No. 47 Fairfax of Los Angeles.