News4JAX Super 6 boys basketball: Providence, NFEI open at the top

The News4JAX boys basketball rankings are published Wednesday's during the regular season. (News4JAX)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The News4JAX Super 6 boys basketball rankings will be published each Wednesday during the regular season. Records are through Nov. 29. The girls Super 6 rankings are published Tuesday.

Super 6 boys basketball rankings

Rank, School, Record, Classification

1. Providence (3-0, Class 3A)

Notable wins: Episcopal, IMG Academy Blue, Sandalwood.

Glance: Excellent start for Jim Martin’s Stallions, with three quality wins to open the season. The IMG win was excellent. The Ascenders were 24-4 a season ago. The win over Episcopal (62-22) was a blowout. Considering those teams met in the state playoff opener last season with Providence winning a 34-33 slugfest shows the growth in the Stallions. Providence walloped Sandalwood, another playoff team from a season ago, 96-64. The team’s top three scorers from a year ago, Jaylen Robinson, Mason Lee and Chris Arias, are all back. The Stallions haven’t reached the state semifinals since a state runner-up season in 2017. They’re poised to get back this season.

2. North Florida Educational (2-0, Class 2A)

Notable wins: Potter’s House, Tampa Catholic.

Glance: Excellent start for the Eagles and two major Ws to start the season. They beat Tampa Catholic (72-69) and an always tough Potter’s House (75-72). Coach Stacey Poole Jr. has led NFEI to Lakeland three times in his tenure, including a state semifinal showing last year. Isaac Taverus helped make it impossible to forget about NFEI in Lakeland when he erupted for 44 points and 16 rebounds in last year’s semifinal loss to Sagemont. Taverus is back and is in the conversation as perhaps the top player in the area. The Eagles have an excellent chance at getting back, too. There’s a big showdown against No. 3 Riverside on Wednesday night.

3. Riverside (1-0, Class 5A)

Notable win: Ribault.

Glance: This team was young a season ago with exactly one senior on it. How’d that year play out for coach David Jones? Only by going 24-5 and losing a heartbreaker in the regional finals. They’ve played just once this season and it was a classic, a 65-59 OT win over Ribault. Dominick Scott went for 26-10 in Riverside’s win over the Trojans. He was the catalyst for a young Generals team a season ago which lost a regional final heartbreaker. Antonio Harrison and Darren Smith also had double figures in the win over Ribault.

4. Jackson (1-1, Class 4A)

Notable win: None.

Glance: James Collins has become the public school coaching standard in the city. The Tigers, under Jackson grad Collins, one of the most dominant players in area history during his playing years, have churned to four consecutive state semifinal appearances. They have played for three state championships, including last season. A return trip is going to take role players growing up quickly. Jackson graduated five of its top six scorers from last year and lost the other of those six to transfer. That means players like Fred Gaines and 6-8 C Deonte Crummell will see minutes and production tick upward. Collins has put a very good system in place to get quality play from the very top of his lineup to the last guy on the bench. The Tigers beat Lovejoy, Ga. (76-65) and lost to Tampa Catholic (66-58), a 3A state semifinalist a season ago.

5. Ponte Vedra (2-0, Class 6A)

Notable win: Paxon.

Glance: The Sharks came oh so close to winning a state championship last season, falling in the final minute to Martin County. There’s a new coach for Ponte Vedra (Ben Wilson) and some carryover talent that will ensure Ponte Vedra doesn’t fall off. Israel Nuhu (19.5 ppg), Nathan Bunkosky (17 ppg) and Sam (13 ppg) and Ben Ritchie (10 ppg). Bunkosky is the team’s returning leading scorer after heavy graduation losses at the top of the lineup, and all of those players were contributors last year.

6. Orange Park (1-0, Class 6A)

Notable win: Raines.

Glance: The first few rankings are tough to nail and this spot could easily have a Fleming Island or an Impact Christian or a Paxon in it. I went with the Raiders over Fleming for the No. 6 spot for the first Super 6 as the Raiders embark on the post-Josiah Sabino era. OP went 23-5 last season and had Sabino as the All-News4JAX player of the year. Thomas Faucett (9.9 ppg) is OP’s leading returning scorer and the Raiders will need depth players from 2022 to emerge this season around Faucett. Fellow Clay County school Fleming is off to a 3-0 start and graduated a ton, but the Golden Eagles have gotten big play from players like Ethan Williams (18 ppg) out of the gate.

Others

Bartram Trail (1-0, Class 7A); Bishop Kenny (1-1, Class 4A); Bolles (2-0, Class 4A); Episcopal (2-1, Class 3A); Fleming Island (3-0, Class 6A); Harvest Community (3-0, Class 2A); Impact Christian (1-1, Class 2A); Mandarin (2-1, Class 7A); Oakleaf (2-0, Class 7A); Paxon (3-1, Class 4A); Raines (2-2, Class 4A); St. Joseph (2-0, Class 2A); San Jose Prep (1-0, independent); Sandalwood (2-1, Class 7A).


About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.