#4 St. Benedict's (New Jersey)


St. Benedict's Roster

Head Coach: Mark Taylor

Melvin Johnson

The 6-foot-3 senior guard is labeled by Taylor as "probably the best shooter" he's coached in 15 seasons at three New Jersey schools. That's high praise since Coach Taylor coached Jason Williams at St. Joseph (NJ) among 11 Division I players, including the Lakers' Andrew Bynum, in nine years at his alma mater. "Melvin can fill it up with unlimited range and driving floaters. He's special on the offensive side." The University of Miami recruit is ranked No. 92 in the ESPNU 100 and lived up to his billing with consistent play. Johnson averages 22.5 points, 3.7 assists and 3.2 rebounds for the Gray Bees.

With a new head coach, some first-year players, and a regular season schedule not matching up with some of the top-ranked FAB 50 teams after a 13-12 record in 2010-11, the Gray Bees were absent from the pre- season rankings.

But Taylor guided the Prep to nine straight wins in December before meeting up with defending FAB 50 champion St. Anthony (NJ) in a Jan. 1 clash of unbeatens. The Gray Bees took the current No. 3 ranked Friars to the wire before bowing, 51-50. The Gray Bees reeled off 22 straight wins and soared up the FAB 50 charts to No. 10.

They concluded their regular season at the prestigious Alhambra Catholic Invitational, where they dropped their second game of the season to FAB 50 No. 13 DeMatha Catholic (MD), 64-49, after opening the tournament with a 69-65 victory over John Carroll (MD). They rebounded to defeat FAB 50-ranked Gonzaga (DC) for third place. Coach Taylor doesn't feel the Gray Bees deserved to drop a few seeds after losing to DeMatha without the services of Tyler Ennis. He does understand the Alhambra Tournament served as a nice tune-up for the NHSI, where the Gray Bees will enter with confidence because Ennis will be cleared to play.